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Title: The Book of the Bush - Containing Many Truthful Sketches Of The Early Colonial - Life Of Squatters, Whalers, Convicts, Diggers, And Others - Who Left Their Native Land And Never Returned
Author: Dunderdale, George, 1822-1903
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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THE

BOOK OF THE BUSH

CONTAINING

MANY TRUTHFUL SKETCHES OF THE
EARLY COLONIAL LIFE OF SQUATTERS, WHALERS,
CONVICTS, DIGGERS, AND OTHERS
WHO LEFT THEIR NATIVE LAND AND
NEVER RETURNED.


By GEORGE DUNDERDALE.


ILLUSTRATED BY J. MACFARLANE.


LONDON:
WARD, LOCK & CO., LIMITED,
WARWICK HOUSE, SALISBURY SQUARE, E.C.
NEW YORK AND MELBOURNE.


[ILLUSTRATION 1]



CONTENTS.

_____________

PURGING OUT THE OLD LEAVEN.

FIRST SETTLERS.

WRECK OF THE CONVICT SHIP "NEVA" ON KING'S ISLAND.

DISCOVERY OF THE RIVER HOPKINS.

WHALING.

OUT WEST IN 1849.

AMONG THE DIGGERS IN 1853.

A BUSH HERMIT.

THE TWO SHEPHERDS.

A VALIANT POLICE-SERGEANT.

WHITE SLAVERS.

THE GOVERNMENT STROKE.

ON THE NINETY-MILE.

GIPPSLAND PIONEERS.

THE ISLE OF BLASTED HOPES.

GLENGARRY IN GIPPSLAND.

WANTED, A CATTLE MARKET.

TWO SPECIAL SURVEYS.

HOW GOVERNMENT CAME TO GIPPSLAND.

GIPPSLAND UNDER THE LAW.

UNTIL THE GOLDEN DAWN.

A NEW RUSH.

GIPPSLAND AFTER THIRTY YEARS.

GOVERNMENT OFFICERS IN THE BUSH.

SEAL ISLANDS AND SEALERS.

A HAPPY CONVICT.


LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.

ILLUSTRATION 1.
"Joey's out."

ILLUSTRATION 2.
"I'll show you who is master aboard this ship."

ILLUSTRATION 3.
"You stockman, Frank, come off that horse."

ILLUSTRATION 4.
"The biggest bully apropriated the belle of the ball."

* * *


"The best article in the March (1893) number of the 'Austral Light'
is a pen picture by Mr. George Dunderdale of the famous Ninety-Mile
Beach, the vast stretch of white and lonely sea-sands, which forms
the sea-barrier of Gippsland."--'Review of Reviews', March, 1893.

      *     *     *


"The most interesting article in 'Austral Light' is one on Gippsland
pioneers, by George Dunderdale."--'Review of Reviews', March, 1895.

*     *     *

"In 'Austral Light' for September Mr. George Dunderdale contributes,
under the title of 'Gippsland under the Law,' one of those realistic
sketches of early colonial life which only he can write."--'Review
of Reviews', September, 1895.

* * *


THE BOOK OF THE BUSH.

---------------------

PURGING OUT THE OLD LEAVEN.

While the world was young, nations could be founded peaceably.  There
was plenty of unoccupied country, and when two neighbouring
patriarchs found their flocks were becoming too numerous for the
pasture, one said to the other:  "Let there be no quarrel, I pray,
between thee and me; the whole earth is between us, and the land is
watered as the garden of Paradise.  If thou wilt go to the east, I
will go to the west; or if thou wilt go to the west, I will go to the
east."  So they parted in peace.

But when the human flood covered the whole earth, the surplus
population was disposed of by war, famine, or pestilence.  Death is
the effectual remedy for over-population.  Heroes arose who had no
conscientious scruples.  They skinned their natives alive, or
crucified them.  They were then adored as demi-gods, and placed among
the stars.

Pious Aeneas was the pattern of a good emigrant in the early times,
but with all his piety he did some things that ought to have made his
favouring deities blush, if possible.

America, when discovered for the last of many times, was assigned by
the Pope to the Spaniards and Portuguese.  The natives were not
consulted; but they were not exterminated; their descendants occupy
the land to the present day.

England claimed a share in the new continent, and it was parcelled
out to merchant adventurers by royal charter.  The adventures of
these merchants were various, but they held on to the land.

New England was given to the Puritans by no earthly potentate, their
title came direct from heaven.  Increase Mather said:  "The Lord God
has given us for a rightful possession the land of the Heathen People
amongst whom we dwell;" and where are the Heathen People now?

Australia was not given to us either by the Pope or by the Lord.  We
took this land, as we have taken many other lands, for our own
benefit, without asking leave of either heaven or earth.  A
continent, with its adjacent islands, was practically vacant,
inhabited only by that unearthly animal the kangaroo, and by black
savages, who had not even invented the bow and arrow, never built a
hut or cultivated a yard of land.  Such people could show no valid
claim to land or life, so we confiscated both.  The British Islands
were infested with criminals from the earliest times.  Our ancestors
were all pirates, and we have inherited from them a lurking taint in
our blood, which is continually impelling us to steal something or
kill somebody.  How to get rid of this taint was a problem which our
statesmen found it difficult to solve.  In times of war they
mitigated the evil by filling the ranks of our armies from the gaols,
and manning our navies by the help of the press-gang, but in times of
peace the scum of society was always increasing.

At last a great idea arose in the mind of England.  Little was known
of New Holland, except that it was large enough to harbour all the
criminals of Great Britain and the rest of the population if
necessary.  Why not transport all convicts, separate the chaff from
the wheat, and purge out the old leaven?  By expelling all the
wicked, England would become the model of virtue to all nations.

So the system was established.  Old ships were chartered and filled
with the contents of the gaols.  If the ships were not quite
seaworthy it did not matter much.  The voyage was sure to be a
success; the passengers might never reach land, but in any case they
would never return.  On the vessels conveying male convicts, some
soldiers and officers were embarked to keep order and put down
mutiny.  Order was kept with the lash, and mutiny was put down with
the musket.  On the ships conveying women there were no soldiers, but
an extra half-crew was engaged.  These men were called "Shilling-a-month"
men, because they had agreed to work for one shilling a month for the
privilege of being allowed to remain in Sydney.  If the voyage lasted
twelve months they would thus have the sum of twelve shillings with
which to commence making their fortunes in the Southern Hemisphere.
But the "Shilling-a-month" man, as a matter of fact, was not worth
one cent the day after he landed, and he had to begin life once more
barefoot, like a new-born babe.

The seamen's food on board these transports was bad and scanty,
consisting of live biscuit, salt horse, Yankee pork, and Scotch
coffee.  The Scotch coffee was made by steeping burnt biscuit in
boiling water to make it strong.  The convicts' breakfast consisted
of oatmeal porridge, and the hungry seamen used to crowd round the
galley every morning to steal some of it.  It would be impossible for
a nation ever to become virtuous and rich if its seamen and convicts
were reared in luxury and encouraged in habits of extravagance.

When the transport cast anchor in the beautiful harbour of Port
Jackson, the ship's blacksmith was called out of his bunk at
midnight.  It was his duty to rivet chains on the legs of the
second-sentence men--the twice convicted.  They had been told on
the voyage that they would have an island all to themselves, where
they would not be annoyed by the contemptuous looks and bitter jibes
of better men.  All night long the blacksmith plied his hammer and
made the ship resound with the rattling chains and ringing manacles,
as he fastened them well on the legs of the prisoners.  At dawn of
day, chained together in pairs, they were landed on Goat Island;
that was the bright little isle--their promised land.  Every
morning they were taken over in boats to the town of Sydney, where
they had to work as scavengers and road-makers until four o'clock in
the afternoon.  They turned out their toes, and shuffled their feet
along the ground, dragging their chains after them.  The police could
always identify a man who had been a chain-gang prisoner during the
rest of his life by the way he dragged his feet after him.

In their leisure hours these convicts were allowed to make
cabbage-tree hats.  They sold them for about a shilling each, and the
shop-keepers resold them for a dollar. They were the best hats ever
worn in the Sunny South, and were nearly indestructible; one hat
would last a lifetime, but for that reason they were bad for trade,
and became unfashionable.

The rest of the transported were assigned as servants to those
willing to give them food and clothing without wages.  The free men
were thus enabled to grow rich by the labours of the bondmen--vice
was punished and virtue rewarded.

Until all the passengers had been disposed of, sentinels were posted
on the deck of the transport with orders to shoot anyone who
attempted to escape.  But when all the convicts were gone, Jack was
sorely tempted to follow the shilling-a-month men.  He quietly
slipped ashore, hurried off to Botany Bay, and lived in retirement
until his ship had left Port Jackson.  He then returned to Sydney,
penniless and barefoot, and began to look for a berth.  At the Rum
Puncheon wharf he found a shilling-a-month man already installed as
cook on a colonial schooner.  He was invited to breakfast, and was
astonished and delighted with the luxuries lavished on the colonial
seaman.  He had fresh beef, fresh bread, good biscuit, tea, coffee,
and vegetables, and three pounds a month wages.  There was a vacancy
on the schooner for an able seaman, and Jack filled it.  He then
registered a solemn oath that he would "never go back to England no
more," and kept it.

Some kind of Government was necessary, and, as the first inhabitants
were criminals, the colony was ruled like a gaol, the Governor being
head gaoler.  His officers were mostly men who had been trained in
the army and navy.  They were all poor and needy, for no gentleman of
wealth and position would ever have taken office in such a community.
They came to make a living, and when free immigrants arrived and
trade began to flourish, it was found that the one really valuable
commodity was rum, and by rum the officers grew rich.  In course of
time the country was divided into districts, about thirty or
thirty-five in number, over each of which an officer presided as
police magistrate, with a clerk and staff of constables, one of whom
was official flogger, always a convict promoted to the billet for
merit and good behaviour.

New Holland soon became an organised pandemonium, such as the world
had never known since Sodom and Gomorrah disappeared in the Dead Sea,
and the details of its history cannot be written.  To mitigate its
horrors the worst of the criminals were transported to Norfolk
Island.  The Governor there had not the power to inflict capital
punishment, and the convicts began to murder one another in order to
obtain a brief change of misery, and the pleasure of a sea voyage
before they could be tried and hanged in Sydney.  A branch
pandemonium was also established in Van Diemen's Land.  This system
was upheld by England for about fifty years.

The 'Britannia', a convict ship, the property of Messrs. Enderby &
Sons, arrived at Sydney on October 14th, 1791, and reported that vast
numbers of sperm whales were seen after doubling the south-west cape
of Van Diemen's Land.  Whaling vessels were fitted out in Sydney, and
it was found that money could be made by oil and whalebone as well as
by rum.  Sealing was also pursued in small vessels, which were often
lost, and sealers lie buried in all the islands of the southern seas,
many of them having a story to tell, but no story-teller.

Whalers, runaway seamen, shilling-a-month men, and escaped convicts
were the earliest settlers in New Zealand, and were the first to make
peaceful intercourse with the Maoris possible.  They built themselves
houses with wooden frames, covered with reeds and rushes, learned to
converse in the native language, and became family men.  They were
most of them English and Americans, with a few Frenchmen.  They loved
freedom, and preferred Maori customs, and the risk of being eaten, to
the odious supervision of the English Government.  The individual
white man in those days was always welcome, especially if he brought
with him guns, ammunition, tomahawks, and hoes.  It was by these
articles that he first won the respect and admiration of the native.
If the visitor was a "pakeha tutua," a poor European, he might
receive hospitality for a time, in the hope that some profit might be
made out of him.  But the Maori was a poor man also, with a great
appetite, and when it became evident that the guest was no better
than a pauper, and could not otherwise pay for his board, the Maori
sat on the ground, meditating and watching, until his teeth watered,
and at last he attached the body and baked it.

In 1814 the Church Missionary Society sent labourers to the distant
vineyard to introduce Christianity, and to instruct the natives in
the rights of property.  The first native protector of Christianity
and letters was Hongi Hika, a great warrior of the Ngapuhi nation, in
the North Island.  He was born in 1777, and voyaging to Sydney in
1814, he became the guest of the Rev. Mr. Marsden.  In 1819 the rev.
gentleman bought his settlement at Kerikeri from Hongi Hika, the
price being forty-eight axes.  The area of the settlement was
thirteen thousand acres.  The land was excellent, well watered, in a
fine situation, and near a good harbour.  Hongi next went to England
with the Rev. Mr. Kendall to see King George, who was at that time in
matrimonial trouble.  Hongi was surprised to hear that the King had
to ask permission of anyone to dispose of his wife Caroline.  He said
he had five wives at home, and he could clear off the whole of them
if he liked without troubling anybody.  He received valuable presents
in London, which he brought back to Sydney, and sold for three
hundred muskets and ammunition.  The year 1822 was the most glorious
time of his life.  He raised an army of one thousand men, three
hundred of whom had been taught the use of his muskets.  The
neighbouring tribes had no guns.  He went up the Tamar, and at Totara
slew five hundred men, and baked and ate three hundred of them.  On
the Waipa he killed fourteen hundred warriors out of a garrison of
four thousand, and then returned home with crowds of slaves.  The
other tribes began to buy guns from the traders as fast as they were
able to pay for them with flax; and in 1827, at Wangaroa, a bullet
went through Hongi's lungs, leaving a hole in his back through which
he used to whistle to entertain his friends; but he died of the wound
fifteen months afterwards.

Other men, both clerical and lay, followed the lead of the Rev. Mr.
Marsden.  In 1821 Mr. Fairbairn bought four hundred acres for ten
pounds worth of trade.  Baron de Thierry bought forty thousand acres
on the Hokianga River for thirty-six axes.  From 1825 to 1829 one
million acres were bought by settlers and merchants.  Twenty-five
thousand acres were bought at the Bay of Islands and Hokianga in five
years, seventeen thousand of which belonged to the missionaries.  In
1835 the Rev. Henry Williams made a bold offer for the unsold
country.  He forwarded a deed of trust to the governor of New South
Wales, requesting that the missionaries should be appointed trustees
for the natives for the remainder of their lands, "to preserve them
from the intrigues of designing men."  Before the year 1839, twenty
millions of acres had been purchased by the clergy and laity for a
few guns, axes, and other trifles, and the Maoris were fast wasting
their inheritance.  But the titles were often imperfect.  When a man
had bought a few hundreds of acres for six axes and a gun, and had
paid the price agreed on to the owner, another owner would come and
claim the land because his grandfather had been killed on it.  He sat
down before the settler's house and waited for payment, and whether
he got any or not he came at regular intervals during the rest of his
life and sat down before the door with his spear and mere* by his
side waiting for more purchase money.

[Footnote] *Axe made of greenstone.

Some honest people in England heard of the good things to be had in
New Zealand, formed a company, and landed near the mouth of the
Hokianga River to form a settlement.  The natives happened to be at
war, and were performing a war dance.  The new company looked on
while the natives danced, and then all desire for land in New Zealand
faded from their hearts.  They returned on board their ship and
sailed away, having wasted twenty thousand pounds.  Such people
should remain in their native country.  Your true rover, lay or
clerical, comes for something or other, and stays to get it, or dies.

After twenty years of labour, and an expenditure of two hundred
thousand pounds, the missionaries claimed only two thousand converts,
and these were Christians merely in name.  In 1825 the Rev. Henry
Williams said the natives were as insensible to redemption as brutes,
and in 1829 the Methodists in England contemplated withdrawing their
establishment for want of success.

The Catholic Bishop Pompallier, with two priests, landed at Hokianga
on January 10th, 1838, and took up his residence at the house of an
Irish Catholic named Poynton, who was engaged in the timber trade.
Poynton was a truly religious man, who had been living for some time
among the Maoris.  He was desirous of marrying the daughter of a
chief, but he wished that she should be a Christian, and, as there
was no Catholic priest nearer than Sydney, he sailed to that port
with the chief and his daughter, called on Bishop Polding, and
informed him of the object of his visit.  A course of instruction was
given to the father and daughter, Poynton acting as interpreter; they
were baptised, and the marriage took place.  After the lapse of sixty
years their descendents were found to have retained the faith, and
were living as good practical Catholics.

Bishop Pompallier celebrated his first Mass on January 13th, 1838,
and the news of his arrival was soon noised abroad and discussed.
The Methodist missionaries considered the action of the bishop as an
unwarrantable intrusion on their domain, and, being Protestants, they
resolved to protest.  This they did through the medium of thirty
native warriors, who appeared before Poynton's house early in the
morning of January 22nd, when the bishop was preparing to say Mass.
The chief made a speech.  He said the bishop and his priests were
enemies to the Maoris.  They were not traders, for they had brought
no guns, no axes.  They had been sent by a foreign chief (the Pope)
to deprive the Maoris of their land, and make them change their old
customs.  Therefore he and his warriors had come to break the
crucifix, and the ornaments of the altar, and to take the bishop and
his priests to the river.

The bishop replied that, although he was not a trader, he had come as
a friend, and did not wish to deprive them of their country or
anything belonging to them.  He asked them to wait a while, and if
they could find him doing the least injury to anyone they could take
him to the river.  The warriors agreed to wait, and went away.

Next day the bishop went further up the river to Wherinaki, where
Laming, a pakeha Maori, resided.  Laming was an Irish-Protestant who
had great influence with his tribe, which was numerous and warlike.
He was admired by the natives for his strength and courage.  He was
six feet three inches in height, as nimble and spry as a cat, and as
long-winded as a coyote.  His father-in-law was a famous warrior
named Lizard Skin.  His religion was that of the Church of England,
and he persuaded his tribe to profess it.  He told them that the
Protestant God was stronger than the Catholic God worshipped by his
fellow countryman, Poynton.  In after years, when his converts made
cartridges of their Bibles and rejected Christianity, he was forced
to confess that their religion was of this world only.  They prayed
that they might be brave in battle, and that their enemies might be
filled with fear.

Laming's Christian zeal did not induce him to forget the duties of
hospitality.  He received the bishop as a friend, and the Europeans
round Tatura and other places came regularly to Mass.  During the
first six years of the mission, twenty thousand Maoris either had
been baptised or were being prepared for baptism.

Previous to the year 1828 some flax had been brought to Sydney from
New Zealand, and manufactured into every species of cordage except
cables, and it was found to be stronger than Baltic hemp.  On account
of the ferocious character of the Maoris, the Sydney Government sent
several vessels to open communication with the tribes before
permitting private individuals to embark in the trade.  The ferocity
attributed to the natives was not so much a part of their personal
character as the result of their habits and beliefs.  They were
remarkable for great energy of mind and body, foresight, and
self-denial.  Their average height was about five feet six inches,
but men from six feet to six feet six inches were not uncommon.
Their point of honour was revenge, and a man who remained quiet while
the manes of his friend or relation were unappeased by the blood of
the enemy, would be dishonoured among his tribe.

The Maoris were in reality loath to fight, and war was never begun
until after long talk.  Their object was to exterminate or enslave
their enemies, and they ate the slain.

Before commencing hostilities, the warriors endeavoured to put fear
into the hearts of their opponents by enumerating the names of the
fathers, uncles, or brothers of those in the hostile tribe whom they
had slain and eaten in former battles.  When a fight was progressing
the women looked on from the rear.  They were naked to the waist, and
wore skirts of matting made from flax.  As soon as a head was cut off
they ran forward, and brought it away, leaving the body on the
ground.  If many were slain it was sometimes difficult to discover to
what body each head had belonged, whether it was that of a friend or
a foe, and it was lawful to bake the bodies of enemies only.

Notwithstanding their peculiar customs, one who knew the Maoris well
described them as the most patient, equable, forgiving people in the
world, but full of superstitious ideas, which foreigners could not
understand.

They believed that everything found on their coast was sent to them
by the sea god, Taniwa, and they therefore endeavoured to take
possession of the blessings conferred on them by seizing the first
ships that anchored in their rivers and harbours.  This led to
misunderstandings and fights with their officers and crews, who had
no knowledge of the sea god, Taniwa.  It was found necessary to put
netting all round the vessels as high as the tops to prevent
surprise, and when trade began it was the rule to admit no more than
five Maoris on board at once.

The flax was found growing spontaneously in fields of inexhaustible
extent along the more southerly shores of the islands.  The fibre was
separated by the females, who held the top of the leaf between their
toes, and drew a shell through the whole length of the leaf.  It took
a good cleaner to scrape fifteen pounds weight of it in a day; the
average was about ten pounds, for which the traders gave a fig of
tobacco and a pipe, two sheets of cartridge paper, or one pound of
lead.  The price at which the flax was sold in Sydney varied from 20
pounds to 45 pounds per ton, according to quality, so there was a
large margin of profit to the trader.  In 1828 sixty tons of flax
valued at 2,600 pounds, were exported from Sydney to England.

The results of trading with the foreigners were fatal to the natives.
At first the trade was in axes, knives, and other edge-tools,
beads, and ornaments, but in 1832 the Maoris would scarcely take
anything but arms and ammunition, red woollen shirts, and tobacco.
Every man in a native hapu had to procure a musket, or die.  If the
warriors of the hapu had no guns they would soon be all killed by
some tribe that had them.  The price of one gun, together with the
requisite powder, was one ton of cleaned flax, prepared by the women
and slaves in the sickly swamps.  In the meantime the food crops were
neglected, hunger and hard labour killed many, some fell victims to
diseases introduced by the white men, and the children nearly all
died.

And the Maoris are still dying out of the land, blighted by our
civilization.  They were willing to learn and to be taught, and they
began to work with the white men.  In 1853 I saw nearly one hundred
of them, naked to the waist, sinking shafts for gold on Bendigo, and
no Cousin Jacks worked harder.  We could not, of course, make them
Englishmen--the true Briton is born, not made; but could we not
have kept them alive if we had used reasonable means to do so?  Or is
it true that in our inmost souls we wanted them to die, that we might
possess their land in peace?

Besides flax, it was found that New Zealand produced most excellent
timber--the kauri pine.  The first visitors saw sea-going canoes
beautifully carved by rude tools of stone, which had been hollowed
out, each from a single tree, and so large that they were manned by
one hundred warriors.  The gum trees of New Holland are extremely
hard, and their wood is so heavy that it sinks in water like
iron.  But the kauri, with a leaf like that of the gum tree, is the
toughest of pines, though soft and easily worked--suitable for
shipbuilding, and for masts and spars.  In 1830 twenty-eight vessels
made fifty-six voyages from Sydney to New Zealand, chiefly for flax;
but they also left parties of men to prosecute the whale and seal
fisheries, and to cut kauri pine logs.  Two vessels were built by
English mechanics, one of 140 tons, and the other of 370 tons burden,
and the natives began to assist the new-comers in all their labours.

At this time most of the villages had at least one European resident
called a Pakeha Maori, under the protection of a chief of rank and
influence, and married to a relative of his, either legally or by
native custom.  It was through the resident that all the trading of
the tribe was carried on.  He bought and paid for the flax, and
employed men to cut the pine logs and float them down the rivers to
the ships.

Every whaling and trading vessel that returned to Sydney or Van
Diemen's Land brought back accounts of the wonderful prospects which
the islands afforded to men of enterprise, and New Zealand became the
favourite refuge for criminals, runaway prisoners, and other lovers
of freedom.  When, therefore the crew of the schooner 'Industry'
threw Captain Blogg overboard, it was a great comfort to them to know
that they were going to an island in which there was no Government.

Captain Blogg had arrived from England with a bad character. He had
been tried for murder.  He had been ordered to pay five hundred
pounds as damages to his mate, whom he had imprisoned at sea in a
hencoop, and left to pick up his food with the fowls.  He had been
out-lawed, and forbidden to sail as officer in any British ship.
These were facts made known to, and discussed by, all the whalers who
entered the Tamar, when the whaling season was over in the year 1835.
And yet the notorious Blogg found no difficulty in buying the
schooner 'Industry', taking in a cargo, and obtaining a clearance for
Hokianga, in New Zealand.  He had shipped a crew consisting of a
mate, four seamen, and a cook.

Black Ned Tomlins, Jim Parrish, and a few other friends interviewed
the crew when the 'Industry' was getting ready for sea.  Black Ned
was a half-breed native of Kangaroo Island, and was looked upon as
the best whaler in the colonies, and the smartest man ever seen in a
boat.  He was the principal speaker.  He put the case to the crew in
a friendly way, and asked them if they did not feel themselves to be
a set of fools, to think of going to sea with a murdering villain
like Blogg?

Dick Secker replied mildly but firmly.  He reckoned the crew were, in
a general way, able to take care of themselves.  They could do their
duty, whatever it was; and they were not afraid of sailing with any
man that ever trod a deck.

After a few days at sea they were able to form a correct estimate of
their master mariner.  He never came on deck absolutely drunk, but he
was saturated with rum to the very marrow of his bones.  A devil of
cruelty, hate, and murder glared from his eyes, and his blasphemies
could come from no other place but the lowest depths of the
bottomless pit.  The mate was comparatively a gentle and inoffensive
lamb.  He did not curse and swear more than was considered decent and
proper on board ship, did his duty, and avoided quarrels.

One day Blogg was rating the cook in his usual style when the latter
made some reply, and the captain knocked him down.  He then called
the mate, and with his help stripped the cook to the waist and triced
him up to the mast on the weather side.  This gave the captain the
advantage of a position in which he could deliver his blows downward
with full effect.  Then he selected a rope's end and began to flog
the cook.  At every blow he made a spring on his feet, swung the rope
over his head, and brought it down on the bare back with the utmost
force.  It was evident that he was no 'prentice hand at the business,
but a good master flogger.  The cook writhed and screamed, as every
stroke raised bloody ridges on his back; but Blogg enjoyed it.  He
was in no hurry.  He was like a boy who had found a sweet morsel, and
was turning it over in his mouth to enjoy it the longer.  After each
blow he looked at the three seamen standing near, and at the man at
the helm, and made little speeches at them.  "I'll show you who is
master aboard this ship."  Whack!  "That's what every man Jack of you
will get if you give me any of your jaw."  Whack!  "Maybe you'd like
to mutiny, wouldn't you?"  Whack!  The blows came down with
deliberate regularity; the cook's back was blue, black, and bleeding,
but the captain showed no sign of any intention to stay his hand.
The suffering victim's cries seemed to inflame his cruelty.  He was a
wild beast in the semblance of a man.  At last, in his extreme agony,
the cook made a piteous appeal to the seamen:

[ILLUSTRATION 2]

"Mates, are you men?  Are you going to stand there all day, and watch
me being flogged to death for nothing?"

Before the next stroke fell the three men had seized the captain; but
he fought with so much strength and fury that they found it difficult
to hold him.  The helmsman steadied the tiller with two turns of the
rope and ran forward to assist them.  They laid Blogg flat on the
deck, but he kept struggling, cursing, threatening, and calling on
the mate to help him; but that officer took fright, ran to his cabin
in the deckhouse, and began to barricade the door.

Then a difficulty arose.  What was to be done with the prisoner?  He
was like a raving maniac.  If they allowed him his liberty, he was
sure to kill one or more of them.  If they bound him he would get
loose in some way--probably through the mate--and after what had
occurred, it would be safer to turn loose a Bengal tiger on deck then
the infuriated captain.  There was but one way out of the trouble,
and they all knew it.  They looked at one another; nothing was
wanting but the word, and it soon came.  Secker had sailed from the
Cove of Cork, and being an Irishman, he was by nature eloquent, first
in speech, and first in action.  He reflected afterwards, when he had
leisure to do so.

"Short work is the best," he said, "over he goes; lift the devil."
Each man seized an arm or leg, and Blogg was carried round
the mast to the lee side.  The men worked together from training and
habit. They swung the body athwart the deck like a pendulum, and with
a "one!  two!  three!" it cleared the bulwark, and the devil went
head foremost into the deep sea.  The cook, looking on from behind
the mast, gave a deep sigh of relief.

Thus it was that a great breach of the peace was committed on the
Pacific Ocean; and it was done, too, on a beautiful summer's evening,
when the sun was low, a gentle breeze barely filled the sails, and
everybody should have been happy and comfortable.

Captain Blogg rose to the surface directly and swam after his
schooner.  The fury of his soul did not abate all at once.  He roared
to the mate to bring the schooner to, but there was no responsive
"Aye, aye, sir."  He was now outside of his jurisdiction, and his
power was gone.  He swam with all his strength, and his bloated face
still looked red as the foam passed by it. The helmsman had resumed
his place, and steadied the tiller, keeping her full, while the other
men looked over the stern.  Secker said:  "The old man will have a
long swim."

But the "old man" swam a losing race.  His vessel was gliding away
from him:  his face grew pale, and in an agony of fear and despair,
he called to the men for God's sake to take him on board and he would
forgive everything.

But his call came too late; he could find no sureties for his good
behaviour in the future; he had never in his life shown any love for
God or pity for man, and he found in his utmost need neither mercy
nor pity now.  He strained his eyes in vain over the crests of the
restless billows, calling for the help that did not come.  The
receding sails never shivered; no land was near, no vessel in sight.
The sun went down, and the hopeless sinner was left struggling alone
on the black waste of waters.

The men released the cook and held a consultation about a troublesome
point of law.  Had they committed mutiny and murder, or only
justifiable homicide?  They felt that the point was a very important
one to them--a matter of life and death--and they stood in a
group near the tiller to discuss the difficulty, speaking low, while
the cook was shivering in the forecastle, trying to ease the pain.

The conclusion of the seamen was, that they had done what was right,
both in law and conscience.  They had thrown Blogg overboard to
prevent him from murdering the cook, and also for their own safety.
After they had done their duty by seizing him, he would have killed
them if he could.  He was a drunken sweep.  He was an outlaw, and the
law would not protect him.  Anybody could kill an outlaw without fear
of consequences, so they had heard.  But still there was some doubt
about it, and there was nobody there to put the case for the captain.
The law was, at that time, a terrible thing, especially in Van
Diemen's Land, under Colonel Arthur.  He governed by the gallows, to
make everything orderly and peaceable, and men were peaceable enough
after they were hanged.

So Secker and his mates decided that, although they had done nothing
but what was right in throwing Blogg over the side, it would be
extremely imprudent to trust their innocence to the uncertainty of
the law and to the impartiality of Colonel Arthur.

Their first idea was to take the vessel to South America, but after
some further discussion, they decided to continue the voyage to
Hokianga, and to settle among the Maoris.  Nobody had actually seen
them throw Blogg overboard except the cook, and him they looked upon
as a friend, because they had saved him from being flogged to death.
They had some doubts about the best course to take with the mate, but
as he was the only man on board who was able to take the schooner to
port, they were obliged to make use of his services for the present,
and at the end of the voyage they could deal with him in any way
prudence might require, and they did not mean to run any unnecessary
risks.

They went to the house on deck, and Secker called the mate, informing
him that the captain had lost his balance, and had fallen overboard,
and that it was his duty to take charge of the 'Industry', and
navigate her to Hokianga.  But the mate had been thoroughly
frightened, and was loth to leave his entrenchment.  He could not
tell what might happen if he opened his cabin door:  he might find
himself in the sea in another minute.  The men who had thrown the
master overboard would not have much scruple about sending an
inferior officer after him.  If the mate resolved to show fight, it
would be necessary for him to kill every man on board, even the cook,
before he could feel safe; and then he would be left alone in
mid-ocean with nobody to help him to navigate the vessel--a master
and crew under one hat, at the mercy of the winds and the waves, with
six murdered men on his conscience; and he had a conscience, too, as
was soon to be proved.

The seamen swore most solemnly that they did not intend to do him the
least harm, and at last the mate opened his door.  While in his
cabin, he had been spending what he believed to be the last minutes
of his life in preparing for death; he did his best to make peace
with heaven, and tried to pray.  But his mouth was dry with fear, his
tongue clave to the roof of his mouth, his memory of sacred things
failed him, and he could not pray for want of practice.  He could
remember only one short prayer, and he was unable to utter even that
audibly.  And how could a prayer ever reach heaven in time to be of
any use to him, when he could not make it heard outside the
deck-house?  In his desperate straits he took a piece of chalk and
began to write it; so when at last he opened the door of his cabin,
the four seamen observed that he had nearly covered the boards with
writing.  It looked like a litany, but it was a litany of only three
words--"Lord, have mercy"--which were repeated in lines one above
the other.

That litany was never erased or touched by any man who subsequently
sailed on board the 'Industry'.  She was the first vessel that was
piloted up the channel to Port Albert in Gippsland, to take in a
cargo of fat cattle, and when she arrived there on August 3rd, 1842,
the litany of the mate was still distinctly legible.

Nothing exalts a man so quickly in the estimation of his fellow
creatures as killing them.  Emperors and kings court the alliance of
the conquering hero returning from fields of slaughter. Ladies in
Melbourne forgot for a time the demands of fashion in their struggles
to obtain an ecstatic glimpse of our modern Bluebeard, Deeming; and
no one was prouder than the belle of the ball when she danced down
the middle with the man who shot Sandy M'Gee.

And the reverence of the mate for his murdering crew was
unfathomable.  Their lightest word was a law to him.  He wrote up the
log in their presence, stating that Captain Blogg had been washed
into the sea in a sudden squall on a dark night; vessel hove to, boat
lowered, searched for captain all night, could see nothing of him;
mate took charge, and bore away for Hokianga next morning.  When
these untruthful particulars had been entered and read over to the
four seamen, they were satisfied for the present.  They would settle
among the Maoris, and lead a free and happy life.  They could do what
they liked with the schooner and her cargo, having disposed of the
master and owner; and as for the mate, they would dispose of him,
too, if he made himself in any way troublesome.  What a wonderful
piece of good luck it was that they were going to a new country in
which there was no government!

The 'Industry' arrived off the bar at Hokianga on November 30th,
1835, and was boarded by a Captain Young, who had settled seven miles
up the estuary, at One Tree Point, and acted as pilot of the nascent
port.  He inquired how much water the schooner drew, noted the state
of the tide, and said he would remain on board all night, and go over
the bar next morning with the first flood.

The mate had a secret and wanted to get rid of it.  While looking
round at the shore, and apparently talking about indifferent
subjects, he said to the pilot:  "Don't look at the men, and don't
take any notice of them.  They threw Blogg, the master, overboard,
when he was flogging the cook, and they would murder me, too, if they
knew I told you; so you must pretend not to take any notice of them.
What their plans may be, I don't know; but you may be sure they won't
go back to the Tamar, if they can help it."

If the pilot felt any surprise, he did not show it.  After a short
pause he said:  "You go about your business, and don't speak to me
again, except when the men can hear you.  I will think about what is
best to be done."

During the night Captain Young thought about it to some purpose.
Being a master mariner himself he could imagine no circumstances
which would justify a crew in throwing a master mariner overboard.
It was the one crime which could not be pardoned either afloat or
ashore.  Next day he took the vessel up the estuary, and anchored her
within two hundred yards of the shore, opposite the residence of
Captain McDonnell.

It is true there was no government at that time at Hokianga, nor
anywhere else in New Zealand; there were no judges, no magistrates,
no courts, and no police.  But the British Angel of Annexation was
already hovering over the land, although she had not as yet alighted
on it.

At this time the shores of New Zealand were infested with captains.
There was a Captain Busby, who was called British Resident, and,
unfortunately for our seamen, Captain McDonnell had been appointed
Additional British Resident at Hokianga a few weeks previously.  So
far he had been officially idle; there was no business to do, no
chance of his displaying his zeal and patriotism.  Moreover, he had
no pay, and apparently no power and no duties.  He was neither a
Governor nor a Government, but a kind of forerunner of approaching
empire--one of those harmless and far-reaching tentacles which the
British octopus extends into the recesses of ocean, searching for
prey to satisfy the demands of her imperial appetite.

McDonnell was a naval lieutenant; had served under the East India
Company; had smuggled opium to China; had explored the coasts of New
Zealand; and on March 31st, 1831, had arrived at Hokianga from Sydney
in the 'Sir George Murray', a vessel which he had purchased for 1,300
pounds.  He brought with him his wife, two children, and a servant,
but took them back on the return voyage.  He was now engaged in the
flax and kauri pine trade.

The 'Industry' had scarcely dropped her anchor before the Additional
Resident boarded her.  The pilot spoke to him and in a few words
informed him that Blogg, the master, had been pitched into the sea,
and explained in what manner he proposed to arrest the four seamen.
McDonnell understood, and agreed to the plan at once.  He called to
the mate in a loud voice, and said:  "I am sorry to hear that you
have lost the master of this vessel.  I live at that house you see on
the rising ground, and I keep a list in a book of all vessels that
come into the river, and the names of the crews.  It is a mere
formality, and won't take more than five minutes.  So you will oblige
me, mate, by coming ashore with your men at once, as I am in a hurry,
and have other business to attend to."  He then went ashore in his
boat.  The mate and seamen followed in the ship's boat, and waited in
front of the Additional Resident's house.  He had a visitor that
morning, the Pakeha Maori, Laming.

The men had not to wait long, as it was not advisable to give them
much time to think and grow suspicious.  McDonnell came to the front
door and called the mate, who went inside, signed his name,
re-appeared directly, called Secker, and entered the house with him.
The Additional Resident was sitting at a table with the signature
book before him.  He rose from the chair, told Secker to sit down,
gave him a pen, and pointed out the place where his name was to be
signed.  Laming was sitting near the table.  While Secker was signing
his name McDonnell suddenly put a twisted handkerchief under his chin
and tightened it round his neck.  Laming presented a horse-pistol and
said he would blow his brains out if he uttered a word, and the mate
slipped a pair of handcuffs on his wrists.  He was then bundled out
at the back door and put into a bullet-proof building at the rear.
The other three seamen were then called in one after the other,
garrotted, handcuffed, and imprisoned in the same way.  The little
formality of signing names was finished in a few minutes, according
to promise.

If such things could be done in New Zealand, where there was neither
law nor government, what might happen in Van Diemen's Land, where one
man was both law and government, and that man was Colonel Arthur?
The prisoners had plenty of time to make a forecast of their fate,
while the mate engaged a fresh crew and took in a cargo of flax and
timber.  When he was ready to sail, he reshipped his old crew in
irons, returned with them to the Tamar, and delivered them to the
police to be dealt with according to law.  For a long time the law
was in a state of chaos.  Major Abbott was sent from England in 1814
as the first judge.  The proceedings in his court were conducted in
the style of a drum-head court martial, the accusation, sentences,
and execution following one another with military precision and
rapidity.

He adjudicated in petty sessions as a magistrate, and dealt in a
summary manner with capital offences, which were very numerous.  To
imprison a man who was already a prisoner for life was no punishment;
the major's powers were, therefore, limited to the cat and the
gallows.  And as the first gallows had been built to carry only eight
passengers, his daily death sentences were also limited to that
number.  For twenty years torture was used to extort confession--
even women were flogged if they refused to give evidence, and an
order of the Governor was held to be equal to law.  Major Abbott died
in 1832.

In 1835 the court consisted of the judge-advocate and two of the
inhabitants selected by the Governor, Colonel Arthur, who came out in
the year 1824, and had been for eleven years a terror to evil-doers.
His rule was as despotic as he could possibly make it.  If any
officer appointed by the Home Government disagreed with his policy he
suspended him from his office, and left him to seek redress from his
friends in England--a tedious process, which lasted for years.
Disagreeable common people he suspended also--by the neck.  If a
farmer, squatter, or merchant was insubordinate, he stopped his
supply of convict labour, and cruelly left him to do his own work.
He brooked no discussion of his measures by any pestilent editor. He
filled all places of profit with his friends, relatives, and
dependents.  Everything was referred to his royal will and pleasure.
His manners were stiff and formal, his tastes moral, his habits on
Sundays religious, and his temper vindictive.  Next to the articles
of war, the thirty-nine Articles claimed his obedience.  When his
term of office was drawing to a close he went to church on a certain
Sunday to receive the Lord's Supper.  While studying his prayer book
he observed that it was his duty if his brother had anything against
him to seek a reconciliation before offering his gift.  The
ex-Attorney-General, Gellibrand, was present, a brother Christian who
had had many things against him for many years.  He had other
enemies, some living and some dead, but they were absent.  To be
reconciled to all of them was an impossibility.  He could not ask the
minister to suspend the service while he went round Hobart Town
looking for his enemies, and shaking hands with them.  But he did
what was possible.  He rose from his knees, marched over to
Gellibrand, and held out his hand.  Gellibrand was puzzled; he looked
at the hand and could see nothing in it.  By way of explanation
Colonel Arthur pointed out the passage in the prayer-book which had
troubled his sensitive conscience.  Gellibrand read it, and then
shook hands.  With a soul washed whiter than snow, the colonel
approached the table.

Amongst the convicts every grade of society was represented, from
King Jorgensen to the beggar.  One Governor had a convict private
secretary.  Officers of the army and navy, merchants, doctors, and
clergymen consorted with costermongers, poachers, and pickpockets.
The law, it is sad to relate, had even sent out lawyers, who
practised their profession under a cloud, and sometimes pleaded by
permission of the court.  But their ancient pride had been trodden in
the dust; the aureole which once encircled their wigs was gone, and
they were often snubbed and silenced by ignorant justices.  The
punishment for being found out is life-long and terrible.  Their
clients paid the fees partly in small change and partly in rum.

The defence of the seamen accused of murdering Captain Blogg was
undertaken by Mr. Nicholas.  He had formerly been employed by the
firm of eminent solicitors in London who conducted the defence of
Queen Caroline, when the "first gentleman in Europe" tried to get rid
of her, and he told me that his misfortunes (forgeries) had deprived
him of the honour of sharing with Lord Brougham the credit of her
acquittal.

Many years had passed since that celebrated trial when I made the
acquaintance of Nicholas.  He had by this time lost all social
distinction.  He had grown old and very shabby, and was so mean that
even his old friends, the convicts who had crossed the straits,
looked down on him with contempt.  He came to me for an elector's
right, as a vote in our electorate--the Four Counties--was
sometimes worth as much as forty shillings, besides unlimited grog.
We were Conservatives then, true patriots, and we imitated--feebly,
it is true, but earnestly--the time-honoured customs of old England.

Mr. Nicholas had been a man of many employments, and of many
religions.  He was never troubled with scruples of conscience, but
guided his conduct wholly by enlightened self-interest.  He was a
Broad Churchman, very broad.  As tutor in various families, he had
instructed his pupils in the tenets of the Church of England, of the
Catholics, of the Presbyterians, and of the Baptists.  He always
professed the religion of his employer for the time being, and he
found that four religions were sufficient for his spiritual and
temporal wants.  There were many other sects, but the labour of
learning all their peculiar views would not pay, so he neglected
them.  The Wesleyans were at one time all-powerful in our road
district, and Nicholas, foreseeing a chance of filling an office of
profit under the Board, threw away all his sins, and obtained grace
and a billet as toll-collector or pikeman.  In England the pike-man
was always a surly brute, who collected his fees with the help of a
bludgeon and a bulldog, but Nicholas performed his duties in the
disguise of a saint.  He waited for passengers in his little wooden
office, sitting at a table, with a huge Bible before him, absorbed in
spiritual reading.  He wore spectacles on his Roman nose, had a long
grey beard, quoted Scripture to chance passengers, and was very
earnest for their salvation.  He was atoning for the sins of his
youth by leading the life of a hermit by praying and cheating.  He
has had many followers. He made mistakes in his cash, which for a
while were overlooked in so good a man, but they became at length so
serious that he lost his billet.  He had for some time been spoken of
by his friends and admirers as "Mr. Nicholas," but after his last
mistakes had been discovered, he began to be known merely as "Old
Nick the Lawyer," or "Old Nick the Liar," which some ignorant people
look upon as convertible terms.  I think Lizard Skin, the cannibal,
was a better Christian than old Nick the lawyer, as he was brave and
honest, and scorned to tell a lie.

The convict counsel for the four seamen defended them at a great
expenditure of learning and lies.  He argued at great length:--
"That there was no evidence that a master mariner named Blogg ever
existed; that he was an outlaw, and, as such, every British subject
had an inchoate right to kill him at sight, and, therefore, that the
seamen, supposing for the sake of argument that they did kill him,
acted strictly within their legal rights; that Blogg drowned himself
in a fit of delirium tremens, after being drunk on rum three days and
nights consecutively; that he fell overboard accidentally and was
drowned; that the cook and mate threw him overboard, and then laid
the blame on the innocent seamen; that Blogg swam ashore, and was now
living on an unchartered island; that if he was murdered, his body
had not been found:  there could be no murder without a corpse; and
finally, he would respectfully submit to that honourable court, that
the case bristled with ineradicable difficulties."

The seamen would have been sent to the gallows in any case, but
Nicholas' speech made their fate inevitable.  The court brushed aside
the legal bristles, and hanged the four seamen on the evidence of the
mate and the cook.

The tragedy of the gallows was followed by a short afterpiece.  Jim
Parrish, Ned Tomlins, and every whaler and foremast man in Hobart
Town and on the Tamar, discussed the evidence both drunk and sober,
and the opinion was universal that the cook ought to have sworn an
oath strong enough to go through a three-inch slab of hardwood that
he had seen Captain Blogg carried up to heaven by angels, instead of
swearing away the lives of men who had taken his part when he was
triced up to the mast.  The cook was in this manner tried by his
peers and condemned to die, and he knew it.  He tried to escape by
shipping on board a schooner bound to Portland Bay with whalers.  The
captain took on board a keg of rum, holding fifteen gallons, usually
called a "Big Pup," and invited the mate to share the liquor with
him.  The result was that the two officers soon became incapable of
rational navigation.  Off King's Island the schooner was hove to in a
gale of wind, and for fourteen days stood off and on--five or six
hours one way, and five or six hours the other--while the master
and mate were down below, "nursing the Big Pup."  The seamen were all
strangers to the coast, and did not know any cove into which they
could run for refuge.  The cook was pitched overboard one dark night
during that gale off King's Island, and his loss was a piece of
ancient history by the time the master and mate had consumed the rum,
and were able to enter up the log.

Ex-Attorney-General Gellibrand sailed to Port Philip to look for
country in Australia Felix, and he found it.  He was last seen on a
rounded hill, gazing over the rich and beautiful land which borders
Lake Colac; land which he was not fated to occupy, for he wandered
away and was lost, and his bones lay unburied by the stream which now
bears his name.

When Colonel Arthur's term of office expired he departed with the
utmost ceremony.  The 21st Fusiliers escorted him to the wharf.  As
he entered his barge his friends cheered, and his enemies groaned, and
then went home and illuminated the town, to testify their joy at
getting rid of a tyrant.  He was the model Governor of a Crown
colony, and the Crown rewarded him for his services.  He was made a
baronet, appointed Governor of Canada and of Bombay, was a member of
Her Majesty's Privy Council, a colonel of the Queen's Own regiment,
and he died on September 19th, 1854, full of years and honours, and
worth 70,000 pounds.

Laming was left an orphan by the death of Lizard Skin.  The chief had
grown old and sick, and he sat every day for two years on a fallen
puriri near the white man's pah, but he never entered it.  His spear
was always sticking up beside him.  He had a gun, but was never known
to use it.  He was often humming some ditty about old times before
the white man brought guns and powder, but he spoke to no one.  He
was pondering over the future of his tribe, but the problem was too
much for him.  The white men were strong and were overrunning his
land.  His last injunction to his warriors was, that they should
listen to the words of his Pakeha, and that they should be brave that
they might live.

When the British Government took possession of New Zealand without
paying for it, they established a Land Court to investigate the
titles to lands formerly bought from the natives, and it was decided
in most cases that a few axes and hoes were an insufficient price to
pay for the pick of the country; the purchases were swindles.  Laming
had possession of three or four hundred acres, and to the surprise of
the Court it was found that he had paid a fair price for them, and
his title was allowed.  Moreover, his knowledge of the language and
customs of the Maoris was found to be so useful that he was appointed
a Judge of the Land Court.

The men who laid the foundations of empire in the Great South Land
were men of action.  They did not stand idle in the shade, waiting
for someone to come and hire them.  They dug a vineyard and planted
it.  The vines now bring forth fruit, the winepress is full, the must
is fermenting.  When the wine has been drawn off from the lees, and
time has matured it, of what kind will it be?  And will the Lord of
the Vineyard commend it?



FIRST SETTLERS.

The first white settler in Victoria was the escaped convict Buckley;
but he did not cultivate the country, nor civilise the natives.  The
natives, on the contrary, uncivilised him.  When white men saw him
again, he had forgotten even his mother tongue, and could give them
little information.  For more than thirty years he had managed to
live--to live like a savage; but for any good he had ever done he
might as well have died with the other convicts who ran away with
him.  He never gave any clear account of his companions, and many
people were of opinion that he kept himself alive by eating them,
until he was found and fed by the blacks, who thought he was one of
their dead friends, and had "jumped up a white fellow."

While Buckley was still living with the blacks about Corio Bay, in
1827, Gellibrand and Batman applied for a grant of land at Western
Port, where the whalers used to strip wattle bark when whales were
out of season; but they did not get it.

Englishmen have no business to live anywhere without being governed,
and Colonel Arthur had no money to spend in governing a settlement at
Western Port.  So Australia Felix was unsettled for eight years
longer.

Griffiths & Co., of Launceston, were trading with Sydney in 1833.
Their cargo outward was principally wheat, the price of which varied
very much; sometimes it was 2s. 6d. a bushel in Launceston, and 18s.
in Sydney.  The return cargo from Port Jackson was principally coal,
freestone, and cedar.

Griffiths & Co. were engaged in whaling in Portland Bay.  They sent
there two schooners, the 'Henry' and the 'Elizabeth', in June, 1834.
They erected huts on shore for the whalers.  The 'Henry' was wrecked;
but the whales were plentiful, and yielded more oil than the casks
would hold, so the men dug clay pits on shore, and poured the oil
into them.  The oil from forty-five whales was put into the pits, but
the clay absorbed every spoonful of it, and nothing but bones was
gained from so much slaughter.  Before the 'Elizabeth' left Portland
Bay, the Hentys, the first permanent settlers in Victoria, arrived in
the schooner 'Thistle', on November 4th, 1834.

When the whalers of the 'Elizabeth' had been paid off, and had spent
their money, they were engaged to strip wattle bark at Western Port,
and were taken across in the schooner, with provisions, tools, six
bullocks and a dray.  During that season they stripped three hundred
tons of bark and chopped it ready for bagging.  John Toms went over
to weigh and ship the bark, and brought it back, together with the
men, in the barque 'Andrew Mack'.


WRECK OF THE CONVICT SHIP "NEVA," ON KING'S ISLAND.

She sailed from Cork on January 8th, 1835, B. H. Peck, master; Dr.
Stevenson, R.N., surgeon.  She had on board 150 female prisoners and
thirty-three of their children, nine free women and their twenty-two
children, and a crew of twenty-six.  Several ships had been wrecked
on King's Island, and when a vessel approached it the mate of the
watch warned his men to keep a bright look out.  He said, "King's
Island is inhabited by anthropophagi, the bloodiest man eaters ever
known; and, if you don't want to go to pot, you had better keep your
eyes skinned."  So the look-out man did not go to sleep.

Nevertheless, the 'Neva' went ashore on the Harbinger reef, on May
13th unshipped her rudder and parted into four pieces.  Only nine men
and thirteen women reached the island; they were nearly naked and had
nothing to eat, and they wandered along the beach during the night,
searching amongst the wreckage.  At last they found a puncheon of
rum, upended it, stove in the head, and drank.  The thirteen women
then lay down on the sand close together, and slept.  The night was
very cold, and Robinson, an apprentice, covered the women as well as
he could with some pieces of sail and blankets soaked with salt
water.  The men walked about the beach all night to keep themselves
warm, being afraid to go inland for fear of the cannibal
blackfellows.  In the morning they went to rouse the women, and found
that seven of the thirteen were dead.

The surviving men were the master, B. H. Peck, Joseph Bennet, Thomas
Sharp, John Watson, Edward Calthorp, Thomas Hines, Robert Ballard,
John Robinson, and William Kinderey.  The women were Ellen Galvin,
Mary Stating, Ann Cullen, Rosa Heland, Rose Dunn, and Margaret Drury.

For three weeks these people lived almost entirely on shellfish.
They threw up a barricade on the shore, above high water mark, to
protect themselves against the cannibals.  The only chest that came
ashore unbroken was that of Robinson the apprentice, and in it there
was a canister of powder.  A flint musket was also found among the
wreckage, and with the flint and steel they struck a light and made a
fire.  When they went down to the beach in search of shellfish, one
man kept guard at the barricade, and looked out for the blackfellows;
his musket was loaded with powder and pebbles.

Three weeks passed away before any of the natives appeared, but at
last they were seen approaching along the shore from the south.  At
the first alarm all the ship-wrecked people ran to the barricade for
shelter, and the men armed themselves with anything in the shape of
weapons they could find.  But their main hope of victory was the
musket.  They could not expect to kill many cannibals with one shot,
but the flash and report would be sure to strike them with terror,
and put them to flight.

By this time their diet of shellfish had left them all weak and
emaciated, skeletons only just alive; the anthropophagi would have
nothing but bones to pick; still, the little life left in them was
precious, and they resolved to sell it as dear as they could.  They
watched the savages approaching; at length they could count their
number.  They were only eleven all told, and were advancing slowly.
Now they saw that seven of the eleven were small, only picaninnies.
When they came nearer three out of the other four were seen to be
lubras, and the eleventh individual then resolved himself into a
white savage, who roared out, "Mates ahoy!"

The white man was Scott, the sealer, who had taken up is abode on the
island with his harem, three Tasmanian gins and seven children.

They were the only permanent inhabitants; the cannibal blacks had
disappeared, and continued to exist only in the fancies of the
mariners.  Scott's residence was opposite New Year's Island not far
from the shore; there he had built a hut and planted a garden with
potatoes and other vegetables.  Flesh meat he obtained from the
kangaroos and seals.  Their skins he took to Launceston in his boat,
and in it he brought back supplies of flour and groceries.  He had
observed dead bodies of women and men, and pieces of a wrecked vessel
cast up by the sea, and had travelled along the shore with his
family, looking for anything useful or valuable which the wreck might
yield.  After hearing the story, and seeing the miserable plight of
the castaways, he invited them to his home.  On arriving at the hut
Scott and his lubras prepared for their guests a beautiful meal of
kangaroo and potatoes. This was their only food as long as they
remained on King's Island, for Scott's only boat had got adrift, and
his flour, tea, and sugar had been all consumed.  But kangaroo beef
and potatoes seemed a most luxurious diet to the men and women who
had been kept alive for three weeks on nothing but shellfish.

Scott and his hounds hunted the kangaroo, and supplied the colony
with meat.  The liver of the kangaroo when boiled and left to grow
cold is a dry substance, which, with the help of hunger and a little
imagination, is said to be as good as bread.

In the month of July, 1835, heavy gales were blowing over King's
Island.  For fourteen days the schooner 'Elizabeth', with whalers for
Port Fairy, was hove to off the coast, standing off and on, six hours
one way and six hours the other.  Akers, the captain, and his mate
got drunk on rum and water daily.  The cook of the 'Industry' was on
board the 'Elizabeth', the man whom Captain Blogg was flogging when
his crew seized him and threw him overboard.  The cook also was now
pitched overboard for having given evidence against the four men who
had saved him from further flogging.

At this time also Captain Friend, of the whaling cutter 'Sarah Ann',
took shelter under the lee of New Year's Island, and he pulled ashore
to visit Scott the sealer.  There he found the shipwrecked men and
women whom he took on board his cutter, and conveyed to Launceston,
except one woman and two men.  It was then too late in the season to
take the whalers to Port Fairy.  Captain Friend was appointed chief
District Constable at Launceston; all the constables under him were
prisoners of the Crown, receiving half a dollar a day.  He was
afterwards Collector of Customs at the Mersey.

In November, 1835 the schooner 'Elizabeth' returned to Launceston
with 270 tuns of oil.  The share of the crew of a whaling vessel was
one-fiftieth of the value of the oil and bone.  The boat-steerer
received one-thirtieth, and of the headmen some had one-twenty-fifth,
others one-fifteenth.  In this same year, 1835, Batman went to Port
Phillip with a few friends and seven Sydney blackfellows.  On June
14th he returned to Van Diemen's Land, and by the 25th of the same
month he had compiled a report of his expedition, which he sent to
Governor Arthur, together with a copy of the grant of land executed
by the black chiefs.  He had obtained three copies of the grant
signed by three brothers Jagga-Jagga, by Bungaree, Yan-Yan, Moorwhip,
and Marmarallar.  The area of the land bought by Batman was not
surveyed with precision, but it was of great extent, like infinite
space, whose centre is everywhere, and circumference nowhere.  And in
addition he took up a small patch of one hundred thousand acres
between the bay and the Barwon, including the insignificant site of
Geelong, a place of small account even to this day.  Batman was a
long-limbed Sydney native, and he bestrode his real estate like a
Colossus, but King William was a bigger Colossus than Batman--he
claimed both the land and the blacks, and ignored the Crown grant.

Next, John Fawkner and his friends chartered the schooner
'Enterprise' for a voyage across the Straits to Australia Felix.  He
afterwards claimed to be the founder of Melbourne.  He could write
and talk everlastingly, but he had not the 'robur' and 'as triplex'
suitable for a sea-robber.  Sea-sickness nearly killed him, so he
stayed behind while the other adventurers went and laid the
foundation.  They first examined the shores of Western Port, then
went to Port Philip Bay and entered the River Yarra.  They
disembarked on its banks, ploughed some land, sowed maize and wheat,
and planted two thousand fruit trees.  They were not so grasping as
Batman, and each man pegged out a farm of only one hundred acres.
These farms were very valuable in the days of the late boom, and are
called the city of Melbourne.  Batman wanted to oust the newcomers;
he claimed the farms under his grant from the Jagga-Jaggas.  He
squatted on Batman's Hill, and looked down with evil eyes on the
rival immigrants.  He saw them clearing away the scrub along Flinders
Street, and splitting posts and rails all over the city from Spencer
Street to Spring Street, regardless of the fact that the ground under
their feet would be, in the days of their grandchildren, worth 3,000
pounds per foot.  Their bullock-drays were often bogged in Elizabeth
Street, and they made a corduroy crossing over it with red gum logs.
Some of these logs were dislodged quite sound fifty years afterwards
by the Tramway Company's workmen.



DISCOVERY OF THE RIVER HOPKINS.

"Know ye not that lovely river?
Know ye not that smiling river?
Whose gentle flood, by cliff and wood,
With 'wildering sound goes winding ever."

In January, 1836, Captain Smith, who was in charge of the whaling
station at Port Fairy, went with two men, named Wilson and Gibbs, in
a whale boat to the islands near Warrnambool, to look for seal.  They
could find no seal, and then they went across the bay, and found the
mouth of the river Hopkins.  In trying to land there, their boat
capsized in the surf, and Smith was drowned.  The other two men
succeeded in reaching the shore naked, and they travelled back along
the coast to Port Fairy, carrying sticks on their shoulders to look
like guns, in order to frighten away the natives, who were very
numerous on that part of the coast.  On this journey they found the
wreck of a vessel, supposed to be a Spanish one, which has since been
covered by the drifting sand.  When Captain Mills was afterwards
harbour master at Belfast, he took the bearings of it, and reported
them to the Harbour Department in Melbourne.  Vain search was made
for it many years afterwards in the hope that it was a Spanish
galleon laden with doubloons.

Davy was in the Sydney trade in the 'Elizabeth' until March, 1836; he
then left her and joined the cutter 'Sarah Ann', under J. B. Mills,
to go whaling at Port Fairy.  In the month of May, Captain Mills was
short of boats, and went to the Hopkins to look for the boat lost by
Smith.  He took with him two boats with all their whaling gear, in
case he should see a whale.  David Fermaner was in one of the boats,
which carried a supply of provisions for the two crews; in the other
boat there was only what was styled a nosebag, or snack--a mouthful
for each man.

On arriving off the Hopkins, they found a nasty sea on, and Captain
Mills said it would be dangerous to attempt to land; but his brother
Charles said he would try, and in doing so his boat capsized in the
breakers.  All the men clung to the boat, but the off-sea prevented
them from getting on shore.  When Captain Mills saw what had
happened, he at once pushed on his boat through the surf and
succeeded in reaching the shore inside the point on the eastern side
of the entrance.  He then walked round towards the other boat with a
lance warp, waded out in the water as far as he could, and then threw
the warp to the men, who hauled on it until their boat came ashore,
and they were able to land.

All the provisions were lost.  The water was baled out of the boat
that had been capsized, and she was taken over to the west head.  All
the food for twelve men was in the nosebag, and it was very little;
each man had a mere nibble for supper.  In those days wombats were
plentiful near the river, but the men could not catch or kill one of
them.  Captain Mills had a gun in his boat which happened to be
loaded, and he gave it to Davy to try if he could shoot anything for
breakfast next morning.  There was only one charge, all the rest of
the ammunition having been lost in the breakers.  Davy walked up the
banks of the river early in the morning, and saw plenty of ducks, but
they were so wild he could not get near them.  At last he was so
fortunate as to shoot a musk duck, which he brought back to the camp,
stuck up before the fire, and roasted.  He then divided it into
twelve portions, and gave one portion to each of the twelve men for
breakfast; but it was a mockery of a meal, as unsubstantial as an
echo--smell, and nothing else.

The two boats were launched, and an attempt was made to pass out to
sea through the surf, but the wind was far down south, and the men
had to return and beach the boats.  The sails were taken ashore and
used as tents.  In the evening they again endeavoured to catch a
wombat, but failed.

On the next day they tried again to get out of the river, but the
surf half filled the boats with water, and they were glad to reach
the camp again.

Captain Mills was a native of Australia, and a good bushman; he told
the men that sow thistles were good to eat, so they went about
looking for them, and having found a quantity ate them.  On the third
day they tried once more to get out of the river, but without success.

On the fourth day Mills decided to carry the boats and whaling gear
overland to a bight in the bay to the west.  The gear was divided
into lots among the men, and consisted of ten oars, two steer-oars,
two tubs of whale line each 120 fathoms in length, two fifty-pound
anchors, four harpoons, six lances, six lance warps, two tomahawks,
two water kegs, two piggins for balers, two sheath knives, and two
oil-stones for touching up the lances when they became dull.  These
were carried for about a quarter of a mile, and then put down for a
rest, and the men went back to the camp.  The boats were much lighter
than the gear, being made of only half-inch plank.  One boat was
capsized bottom up, and the men took it on their shoulders, six on
each side, the tallest men being placed in the middle on account of
the shear of the boat, and it was carried about half a mile past the
gear.  They then returned for the other boat, and in this way brought
everything to the bight close to the spot where the bathing house at
Warrnambool has since been erected.  There they launched the boats,
and got out to sea, pulling against a strong westerly breeze.

The men were very weak, having had nothing to eat for four days but
some sow thistles and a musk duck, and the pull to Port Fairy was
hard and long.  They landed about four o'clock in the afternoon, and
Captain Mills told them not to eat anything, saying he would give
them something better.  At that time there was a liquor called "black
strap," brought out in the convict ships for the use of the
prisoners, and it was sold with the ships' surplus stores in Sydney
and Hobarton.  Mills had some of it at Port Fairy.  He now put a
kettle full of it on the fire, and when it was warmed gave each man a
half a pint to begin with.  He then told them to go and get supper,
and afterwards he gave each of them another half pint.

Rum was in those days a very profitable article of commerce, and the
trade in it was monopolised by the Government officers, civil and
military.  Like flour in the back settlements of the United States,
it was reckoned "ekal to cash," and was made to do the office of the
pagoda tree in India, which rained dollars at every shake.

The boat that was lost by Smith at the Hopkins was found in good
condition, half filled with sand.  Joe Wilson went for it afterwards,
and brought it back to Port Fairy.  He was a native of Sydney, and
nephew of Raibey of Launceston, and was murdered not long afterwards
at the White Hills.  He was sent by Raibey on horseback to Hobarton
to buy the revenue cutter 'Charlotte', which had been advertised for
sale.  He was shot by a man who was waiting for him behind a tree.
He fell from his horse, and although he begged hard for his life, the
man beat out his brains with the gun.  The murderer took all the
money Wilson had, which was only one five-pound note, the number of
which Raibey knew.  A woman tried to pass it in Launceston, and her
statements led to the discovery and conviction of the murderer, who
was hanged in chains at the White Hills, and the gibbet remained
there for many years.



WHALING.

"I wish I were in Portland Bay,
Oh, yes, Oh!
Harpooning whales on a thirtieth lay,
A hundred years ago."

In the year 1837, J. B. Mills had charge of the Portland Fishery, and
Davy went with him in the 'Thistle' schooner as mate and navigator,
and they were over a month on the passage.  Charles Mills was second
in command at the station at Portland, and Peter Coakley, an
Irishman, was third; the remainder of the crew required for whaling
was on board the 'Thistle'.  Among them was one named McCann, a
Sydney native, a stonemason by trade, and father of the McCann who
was afterwards member of Parliament for Geelong.  During a westerly
gale the schooner ran to Western Port for shelter.  In sailing
through the Rip, McCann, who was acting as steward, while going aft
to the cabin, had to cross over a colonial sofa which was lashed on
deck.  Instead of stepping over it gently, he made a jump, and the
vessel lurching at the same time, he went clean overboard.  Davy, who
was standing by the man at the helm, told him to put the helm down
and let the vessel come to.  He then ran forward and got a steer-oar
from underneath the boots, and threw it overboard.  McCann, being an
expert swimmer, swam to the oar, a boat was launched, four men got
into it, picked him up, and brought him aboard again none the worse.
There was too much sea on to hoist in the boat, as there were no
davits, and while she was being towed in she ran ahead of the vessel,
which went over her and filled her with water.  On arriving in
Western Port the boat was found to have been not much damaged.  There
was on board the 'Thistle' an apprentice whom Davy had stolen in
Sydney after he had served four years of his time to a boat-builder
named Green.  This apprentice repaired the boat, which afterwards
proved to be the fastest out of forty-one boats that went out whaling
in Portland Bay every  morning.

There were in 1837 eight parties of whalers in Portland Bay, and so
many whales were killed that the business from that year declined and
became unprofitable.  Mills' party in the 'Thistle' schooner, of
which Davy was mate and navigator, or nurse to Mills, who was not a
trained seaman, had their station at Single Corner; Kelly's party was
stationed at the neck of land where the breakwater has been
constructed.  Then there were Dutton's party, with the barque
'African'; Nicholson's, with the barque 'Cheviot', from Hobarton;
Chamberlain's, with the barque 'William the Fourth', of Hobarton; the
'Hope' barque, and a brig, both from Sydney.  The Hentys also had a
whaling station at Double Corner, and by offering to supply their men
with fresh meat three times a week, obtained the pick of the whalers.
Their head men were Johnny Brennan, John Moles, and Jim Long,
natives of Sydney or Tasmania, and all three good whalers.

When the 'Thistle' arrived at Portland Bay every other party had got
nearly one hundred tuns of oil each, and Mills' party had none.  He
started out next morning, choosing the boat which had picked up
McCann at Western Port, and killed one whale, which turned out six
tuns of oil.  He did not get any more for three weeks, being very
unlucky.  After getting the schooner ready for cutting in, Davy went
to steer the boat for Charles Mills, and always got in a mess among
the whales, being either capsized or stove in among so many boats.
At the end of three weeks Captain Mills got a whale off the second
river, halfway round towards Port Fairy.  She was taken in tow with
the three boats, and after two days' towing, she was anchored within
half-a-mile of the schooner in Portland Bay, and the men went ashore.
During the night a gale of wind came on from the south-west, and the
whale, being a bit stale and high out of the water, drove ashore at
the Bluff, a little way past Henty's house.

In the morning Mills said he would go and see what he could get from
her on the beach, and ordered his brother, Charles Mills, and Coakley
to go out looking for whales.  All the boats used to go out before
daylight, and dodge one another round the Bay for miles.  It was cold
work sitting in the boats. The men stayed out until ten or eleven
o'clock, and went ashore that day on the Convincing Ground, which was
so-called because the whalers used to go down there to fight, and
convince one another who was the best man.

In the afternoon, about two o'clock, it was Davy's turn to go up a
tree to look for whales.  In looking round the Bay towards the Bluff,
he saw a boat with a whiff on.  He jumped down, and told Charles
Mills, who said:  "Come on."  there was a great rush of all the
boats, but Mills' boat kept well forward of the lot.  When they
arrived off the Bluff they found Captain Mills had fastened to a
whale, two other loose whales being near.  They pulled up alongside
him, and he pointed out a loose whale, to which they fastened.
Mansfield, of the Hobarton party, fastened to the third whale.  Davy
came aft to the steer-oar, and Charles Mills went forward to kill his
whale.  He had hardly got the lance in his hand when the whale threw
herself right athwart the nose of the boat.  He then sent the lance
right into her and killed her stone dead.  Mansfield, in hauling up
his whale got on top of Captain Mills' whale, which stove in
Mansfield's boat, and sent all his men flying in the air.  There was
a rush then to pick up the men.  Charles Mills, finding his whale
dead, struck a whiff in the lance-hole he had made when he killed
her, cut the line that was fast to her, and bent it on to another
spare iron.  Mansfield's whale then milled round and came right on to
Charles Mills' boat, and he fastened to her.  This gave him a claim
of one half of her, so that Mills and his men got two and a half out
of the three whales.  The men were all picked up.  Mills' whales were
anchored about half-a-mile from the schooner, and the boats went out
next morning and took them in tow.

The whales tow very easily when fresh killed, but if they are allowed
to get stiff their fins stand out and hinder the towing.  When the
two whales were brought alongside the schooner, the boats of Kelly's
party were seen fast to a whale off Black Nose Point.  Charles Mills
pulled over, and when he arrived he found a loose whale, Mansfield
and Chase being fast to two other whales.  Mills fastened to the
loose whale, and then the three whales fouled the three lines, and
rolled them all together like a warp, which made it difficult to kill
them.  After the men had pulled up on them for some time with the
oars, two of them began spouting blood and sickened, and Chase's boat
got on to them and capsized.  Then the whales took to running, and
Mansfield cut his line to pick up Chase and his crew.  Mansfield's
whale being sick, went in a flurry and died.  Mills' whale and
Chase's worked together until Mills killed his whale; he then whiffed
her and fastened to Chase's whale, which gave him a claim for half,
and he killed her; so that his party got one and a-half out of the
three whales.  Chase and his crew were all picked up.

 From that day the luck of Mills and his party turned, and they could
not try out fast enough.  In four months from the time the 'Thistle'
left Launceston she had on board two hundred and forty tuns of oil.

In the year 1836, the Hentys had a few cattle running behind the
Bluff when Major Mitchell arrived overland from Sydney, and reported
good country to the north.  They then brought over more cattle from
Launceston, and stocked a station.

The first beast killed by the Hentys for their whalers was a heifer,
and the carcase, divided into two parts, was suspended from the
flagstaff at their house.  It could be seen from afar by the men who
were pulling across the bay in their boats, and they knew that
Henty's men were going to feed on fresh meat, while all the rest were
eating such awful stuff as Yankee pork and salt horse.  The very
sight of the two sides of the heifer suspended at the flagstaff was
an unendurable insult and mockery to the carnivorous whalers, and an
incitement to larceny.  Davy Fermaner was steering one of the boats,
and he exclaimed: "There, they are flashing the fresh meat to us.
They would look foolish if they lost it to-night."

There was feasting and revelry that night at Single Corner.  Hungry
men were sharpening their sheath-knives with steel, and cutting up a
side of beef.  A large fire was burning, and on the glowing coals,
and in every frying-pan rich steaks were fizzing and hissing.  It was
like a feast of heroes, and lasted long through the night.  They sang
responsively, like gentle shepherds--shepherds of the ocean fields
whose flocks were mighty whales:

"Mother, the butcher's brought the meat,
What shall I do with it?
Fry the flesh, and broil the bones,
And make a pudding of the su-et."

Next morning the Hentys looked for the missing beef up the flagstaff,
and along the shore of the ever-sounding ocean, but their search was
vain.  They suspected that the men of Kelly's party were the thieves,
but these all looked as stupid, ignorant, and innocent as the adverse
circumstances would permit.  There was no evidence against them to be
found; the beef was eaten and the bones were burned and buried.
Mills' men were the beef lifters, and some of Kelly's men helped them
to eat it.

The whales killed at the Portland fishery were of two kinds, the
right or black whale, and the sperm whale.  The right whale has an
immense tongue, and lives by suction, the food being a kind of small
shrimp.  When in a flurry--that is, when she has received her
death-stroke with the lance--she goes round in a circle, working
with her head and flukes.  The sperm whales feed on squid, which they
bite, and when in a flurry they work with the head and flukes, and
with the mouth open, and often crush the boats.

After the crew of the 'Thistle' had spent their money, they were
taken back to Port Fairy for the purpose of stripping bark, a large
quantity of wattle trees having been found in the neighbouring
country.  Sheep were also taken there in charge of Mr. J. Murphy, who
intended to form a station.  John Griffiths also sent over his
father, Jonathan, who had been a carpenter on board the first
man-of-war that had arrived at Port Jackson, three old men who had
been prisoners, four bullocks, a plough, and some seed potatoes.  A
cargo of the previous season's bark was put into the 'Thistle', and
on her return to Launceston, was transferred to the 'Rhoda' brig,
Captain Rolls, bound for London.  More sheep and provisions were then
taken in the 'Thistle', and after they were landed at Port Fairy,
another cargo of bark was put on board.  For three days there was no
wind, and a tremendous sea setting in from the south-east, the
schooner could not leave the bay.  On the night of December 24th a
gale of wind came on from the south-east; one chain parted, and after
riding until three o'clock in the morning of Christmas Day, the other
chain also parted.  The vessel drew eight feet, and was lying in
between three and four fathoms of water.  As soon as the second chain
broke, Davy went up on the fore-yard and cut the gaskets of the
foresail.  The schooner grounded in the trough of sea, but when she
rose the foresail was down, and she paid off before the wind.  The
shore was about a mile, or a mile and a half distant, and she took
the beach right abreast of a sheep yard, where her wreck now lies.
The men got ashore in safety, but all the cargo was lost.

A tent was pitched on shore near the wreck, but as there was no
vessel in the bay by which they could return to Launceston, the four
men, Captain Mills, D. Fermaner, Charles Ferris, and Richard
Jennings, on December 31st, 1837, set sail in a whaleboat for Port
Philip.  Davy had stolen Jennings from the 'Rhoda' brig at
Launceston, when seamen were scarce.  He was afterwards a pilot at
Port Philip, and was buried at Williamstown.

The whaleboat reached Port Philip on January 3rd, 1838, having got
through the Rip on the night of the 2nd. Ferris was the only man of
the crew who had been in before, he having gone in with Batman, in
the 'Rebecca' cutter, Captain Baldwin.  Baldwin was afterwards before
the mast in the 'Elizabeth' schooner; he was a clever man, but fond
of drink.

The whaleboat anchored off Portsea, but the men did not land for fear
of the blacks.

At daylight Davy landed to look for water, but could not find any;
and there were only three pints in the water-bag.  The wind being
from the north, the boat was pulled over to Mud Island, and the men
went ashore to make tea with the three pints of water.  Davy walked
about the island, and found a rookery of small mackerel-gulls and a
great quantity of their eggs in the sand.  He broke a number of them,
and found that the light-coloured eggs were good, and that the dark
ones had birds in them.  He took off his shirt, tied the sleeves
together, bagged a lot of the eggs, and carried them back to the
camp.  Mills broke the best of them into the great pot, and the eggs
and water mixed together and boiled made about a quart for each man.

After breakfast the wind shifted to the southward, and the 'Henry'
brig, from Launceston, Captain Whiting, ran in, bound to Point Henry
with sheep; but before Mills and his men could get away from Mud
Island the brig had passed.  They pulled and sailed after her, but
did not overtake her until she arrived off the point where Batman
first settled, now called Port Arlington; at that time they called
the place Indented Heads.

When the whaleboat came near the brig to ask for water, two or three
muskets were levelled at the men over the bulwarks, and they were
told to keep off, or they would be shot.  At that time a boat's crew
of prisoners had escaped from Melbourne in a whale boat, and the
ship-wrecked men were suspected as the runaways.  But one of the crew
of the 'Henry', named Jack Macdonald, looked over the side, and
seeing Davy in the boat, asked him what they had done with the
schooner 'Thistle', and they told him they had lost her at Port Fairy.

Captain Whiting asked Macdonald if he knew them, and on being
informed that they were the captain and crew of the schooner
'Thistle', he invited them on board and supplied them with a good
dinner.  They went on to Point Henry in the brig, and assisted in
landing the sheep.

Batman was at that time in Melbourne.  Davy had seen him before in
Launceston.  After discharging the sheep the brig proceeded to
Gellibrand's Point, and as Captain Whiting wanted to go up to
Melbourne, the men pulled him up the Yarra in their whaleboat.
Fawkner's Hotel at that time was above the site of the present
customs House, and was built with broad paling.  Mills and Whiting
stayed there that night, Davy and the other two men being invited to
a small public-house kept by a man named Burke, a little way down
Little Flinders Street, where they were made very comfortable.

Next day they went back to the brig 'Henry', and started for Launceston.

In May, 1838, Davy was made master of the schooner 'Elizabeth', and
took in her a cargo of sheep, and landed them at Port Fairy.  The
three old convicts whom Griffiths had sent there along with his
father Jonathan, had planted four or five acres of potatoes at a
place called Goose Lagoon, about two miles behind the township.  The
crop was a very large one, from fifteen to twenty tons to the acre,
and Davy had received orders to take in fifty tons of the potatoes,
and to sell them in South Australia.  He did so, and after four days'
passage went ashore at the port, offered the potatoes for sale, and
sold twenty tons at 22 pounds 10 shillings per ton.  On going ashore
again next morning, he was offered 20 pounds per ton for the
remainder, and he sold them at that price.

On the same day the 'Nelson' brig, from Hobarton, arrived with one
hundred tons of potatoes, but she could not sell them, as Davy had
fully stocked the market.  He was paid for the potatoes in gold by
the two men who bought them.

He went up to the new city of Adelaide.  All the buildings were of
the earliest style of architecture, and were made of tea-tree and
sods, or of reeds dabbed together with mud.  The hotels had no
signboards, but it was easy to find them by the heaps of bottles
outside.  Kangaroo flesh was 1s. 6d. a pound, but grog was cheap.
Davy was looking for a shipmate named Richard Ralph, who was then the
principal architect and builder in the city.  He found him erecting
homes for the immigrants out of reeds and mud.  He was paid 10 pounds
or 12 pounds for each building.  He was also hunting kangaroo and
selling meat.  He was married to a lady immigrant, and on the whole
appeared to be very comfortable and prosperous.  Davy gave the lady a
five-shilling piece to go and fetch a bottle of gin, and was
surprised when she came back bringing two bottles of gin and 3s.
change.  In the settlement the necessaries of life were dear, but the
luxuries were cheap.  If a man could not afford to buy kangaroo beef
and potatoes, he could live sumptuously on gin.  Davy walked back to
the port the same evening, and next day took in ballast, which was
mud dug out among the mangroves.

He arrived at Launceston in four days, and then went as coasting
pilot of the barque 'Belinda', bound to Port Fairy to take in oil for
London.  The barque took in 100 head of cattle, the first that were
landed at Port Fairy.  He then went to Port Philip, and was employed
in lightering cargo up the Yarra, and in ferrying between
Williamstown and the beach now called Port Melbourne.  He took out
the first boatman's licence issued, and has the brass badge, No. 1,
still.  Vessels at that time had to be warped up the Yarra from below
Humbug Reach, as no wind could get at the topsails, on account of the
high tea-tree on the banks.



OUT WEST IN 1849.

I did not travel as a capitalist, far from it.  I went up the
Mississippi as a deck passenger, sleeping at night sometimes on
planks, at other times on bags of oats piled on the deck about six
feet high.  The mate of a Mississippi boat is always a bully and
every now and then he came along with a deck-hand carrying a lamp,
and requested us to come down.  He said it was "agen the rules of the
boat to sleep on oats"; but we kept on breaking the rules as much as
possible.

Above the mouth of the Ohio the river bank on the Missouri side is
high, rocky, and picturesque. I longed to be the owner of a farm up
there, and of a modest cottage overlooking the Father of Waters.  I
said, "If there's peace and plenty to be had in this world, the heart
that is humble might hope for it here," and then the very first
village visible was called "Vide Poche."  It is now a suburb of St.
Louis.

I took a passage on another boat up the Illinois river.  There was a
very lordly man on the lower deck who was frequently "trailing his
coat."  He had, in fact, no coat at all, only a grey flannel shirt
and nankeen trousers, but he was remarkably in want of a fight, and
anxious to find a man willing to be licked.  He was a desperado of
the great river.  We had heard and read of such men, of their
reckless daring and deadly fights; but we were peaceful people; we
had come out west to make a living, and therefore did not want to be
killed.  When the desperado came near we looked the other way.

There was a party of five immigrant Englishmen sitting on their
luggage.  One of them was very strongly built, a likely match for the
bully, and a deck-hand pointing to him said:

"Jack, do you know what that Englishman says about you?"

"No, what does he say?"

"He says he don't think you are of much account with all your brag.
Reckons he could lick you in a couple of minutes."

Uttering imprecations, Jack approached the Englishman, and dancing
about the deck, cleared the ring for the coming combat.

"Come on, you green-horn, and take your gruel.  Here's the best man
on the river for you.  You'll find him real grit."

The stranger sat still, said he was not a fighting man, and did not
want to quarrel with anybody.

Jack grew more ferocious than ever, and aimed a blow at the peaceful
man to persuade him to come on.  He came on suddenly.  The two men
were soon writhing together on the guard deck, and I was pleased to
observe the desperado was undermost.  The Englishman was full of
fear, and was fighting for his life.  He was doing it with great
earnestness.  He was grasping the throat of his enemy tightly with
both hands, and pressing his thumbs on the wind-pipe.  We could see
he was going to win in his own simple way, without any recourse to
science, and he would have done so very soon had he not been
interrupted.  But as Jack was growing black in the face, the other
Englishmen began to pull at their mate, and tried to unlock his grip
on Jack's throat.  It was not easy to do so.  He held on to his man
to the very last, crying out:  "Leave me alone till I do for him.
Man alive, don't you know the villain wants to murder me?"

The desperado lay for a while gulping and gasping on his bed of
glory, unable to rise.  I observed patches of bloody skin hanging
loose on both sides of his neck when he staggered along the deck
towards the starboard sponson.

There was peace for a quarter of an hour.  Then Jack's voice was
heard again.  He had lost prestige, and was coming to recover it with
a bowie knife.  He said:

"Where's that Britisher?  I am going to cut his liver out."

The Englishman heard the threat, and said to him mates:

"I told you so!  He means to murder me.  Why didn't you leave me
alone when I had the fine holt of him?"

He then hurried away and ran upstairs to the saloon.

Jack followed to the foot of the ladder, and one wild-eyed young lady said:

"Look at the Englishman [he was sitting on a chair a few feet
distance].  Ain't he pale?  Oh! the coward!"

She wanted to witness a real lively fight, and was disappointed.  The
smell of blood seems grateful to the nostrils of both ladies and
gentlemen in the States.  A butcher from St. Louis explained it thus:

"It's in the liver.  Nine out of ten of the beasts I kill have liver
complaint.  I am morally sartin I'd find the human livers just the
same if I examined them in any considerable quantity."

The captain came to the head of the stairs and descended to the deck.
He was tall and lanky and mild of speech.  He said:

"Now, Jack, what are you going to do with that knife?"

"I am waiting to cut the liver out of that Englishman.  Send him
down, Captain, till I finish the job."

"Yes, I see.  He has been peeling your neck pretty bad, ain't he?
Powerful claws, I reckon.  Jack, you'll be getting into trouble some
day with your weepons."  He took a small knife out of his pocket.
"Look here, Jack.  I've been going up and down the river more'n
twenty years, and never carried a weepon bigg'n that, and never had a
muss with nobody.  A man who draws his bowie sometimes gets shot.
Let's look at your knife."

He examined it closely, deciphered the brand, drew his thumb over the
edge, and observed:

"Why, blame me, if it ain't one of them British bowies--a
Free-trade Brummagen. I reckon you can't carve anyone with a thing
like this."  He made a dig at the hand-rail with the point, and it
actually curled up like the ring in a hog's snout.  "You see, Jack, a
knife like that is mean, unbecoming a gentleman, and a disgrace to a
respectable boat."  He pitched the British article into the river and
went up into the saloon.

As Jack had not yet recovered his prestige, he went away, and
returned with a dinner knife in one hand and a shingling hammer in
the other.  He waited for his adversary until the sun was low and the
deck passengers were preparing their evening meal.  Two of the
Englishmen came along towards the stairs and ascended to the saloon.
Presently they began to descend with their mate in the middle.  Jack
looked at them, and for some reason or other he did not want any more
prestige.  He sauntered away along the guard deck, and remained in
retirement during the rest of the voyage.  He was not, after all, a
very desperate desperado.

During the next night our boat was racing with a rival craft, and one
of her engines was damaged.  She had then to hop on one leg, as it
were, as far as Peoria.  The Illinois river had here spread out into
a broad lake; the bank was low, there were no buildings of any kind
near the water; some of the passengers landed, and nobody came to
offer them welcome.

I stood near an English immigrant who had just brought his luggage
ashore, and was sitting on it with his wife and three children.  They
looked around at the low land and wide water, and became full of
misery.  The wife said:

"What are we boun' to do now, Samiul?  Wheer are me and the childer
to go in this miserable lookin' place?"

Samiul:  "I'm sure, Betsy, I don't know.  I've nobbut hafe a dollar
left of o' my money.  They said Peoria was a good place for us to
stop at, but I don't see any signs o' farmin' about here, and if I go
away to look for a job, where am I to put thee and the childer, and
the luggage and the bedding?"

"Oh!" said Betsy, beginning to cry; "I'm sorry we ever left owd
England.  But thou would come, Samiul, thou knows, and this is the
end on it.  Here we are in this wild country without house or home,
and wi' nothin' to eat.  I allus thowt tha wor a fool, Samiul, and
now I'm sure and sartin on it."

Samiul could not deny it. His spirit was completely broken; he hung
down his head, and tears began to trickle down his eyes.  The three
children--two sturdy little boys and a fair-haired little girl--
seeing their dad and ma shedding tears, thought the whole world must
be coming to an end, and they began howling out aloud without any
reserve.  It was the best thing they could have done, as it called
public attention to their misery, and drew a crowd around them.  A
tall stranger came near looked at the group, and said:

"My good man, what in thunder are you crying for?"

"I was told Peoria was a good place for farmin'," Samuel said, "and
now I don't know where to go, and I have got no money."

"Well, you are a soft 'un,"  replied the stranger.  "Just dry up and
wait here till I come back."

He walked away with long strides.  Peoria was then a dreary-looking
city, of which we could see nothing but the end of a broad road, a
few frame buildings, two or three waggons, and some horses hitched to
the posts of the piazzas.

The stranger soon returned with a farmer in a waggon drawn by two
fine upstanding horses, fit for a royal carriage.  The farmer at once
hired the immigrant at ten dollars a month with board for himself and
family.  He put the luggage into his waggon, patted the boys on the
head and told them to be men; kissed the little girl as he lifted her
into the waggon, and said:

"Now, Sissy, you are a nice little lady, and you are to come along
with me, and we'll be good friends."

Never was sorrow so quickly turned into joy.  The man, his wife, and
children, actually began smiling before the tears on their cheeks
were dry.

Men on every western prairie were preparing their waggons for the
great rush to California; new hands were wanted on the lands, and the
immigrants who were then arriving in thousands, took the place of the
other thousands who went westward across the plains.  There was
employment for everybody, and during my three years' residence on the
prairies I only saw one beggar.  He was an Italian patriot, who said
he had fought for Italy; he was now begging for it in English,
badly-broken, so I said:

"You are a strong, healthy man; why don't you go to work?  You could
earn eight or ten dollars a month, with board, anywhere in these
parts."

But the Italian patriot was a high-class beggar; he was collecting
funds, and had no idea of wasting his time in hard work.  He gave me
to understand that I had insulted him.

Besides this patriot, there were a few horse-thieves and hog duffers
on the prairies, but these, when identified, were either stretched
under a tree or sent to Texas.

In those days the prairie farmers were all gentlemen, high-minded,
truthful, honourable, and hospitable.  There were no poor houses, no
asylums.  All orphans were adopted and treated as members of some
family in the neighbourhood.

I am informed that things are quite different now.  The march of
empire has been rapid; many men have grown rich, to use a novel
expression, beyond the dreams of avarice, and ten times as many have
grown poor and discontented.

The great question for statesmen now is, "What is to be done for the
relief of the masses?" and the answer to it is as difficult to find
as ever.

But I have to proceed up the Illinois river.

The steamboat stopped at Lasalle, the head of navigation, and we had
then to travel on the Illinois and Michigan canal.  We went on board
a narrow passenger boat towed by two horses, and followed by two
freight barges.  We did not go at a breakneck pace, and had plenty of
time for conversation, and to look at the scenery, which consisted of
prairies, sloughs, woods, and rivers.  The picture lacked background,
as there is nothing in Illinois deserving the name of hill.  But we
passed an ancient monument, a tall pillar, rising out of the bed of
the Illinois river.  It is called "Starved Rock."  Once a number of
Indian warriors, pursued by white men, climbed up the almost
perpendicular sides of the pillar.  They had no food, and though the
stream was flowing beneath them, they could not obtain a drink of
water without danger of death from rifle bullets.  The white men
instituted a blockade of the pillar, and the red men all perished of
starvation on the top of it.

The conversation was conducted by the captain of the canal boat, as
he walked on the deck to and fro.  He was full of information.  He
said he was a native of Kentucky; had come down the Ohio river from
Louisville; was taking freight to Chicago; reckoned he was bound to
rake in the dollars on the canal; was no dog-gonned Abolitionist;
niggers were made to work for white folks; they had no souls any more
than a horse; he'd like to see the man who would argue the point.

Mrs. Beecher Stowe was then writing "Uncle Tom's Cabin," at too great
a distance to hear the challenge, but a greenhorn ventured to argue
the point.

"What about the mulatto? Half black, half white.  His father being a
white man had a whole soul; his mother being black had no soul.  Has
the mulatto a whole soul, half a soul, or no soul at all?"

The captain paused in his walk, with both hands in his pockets, gazed
at the argumentative greenhorn, turned his quid, spat across the
canal, went away whistling "Old Dan Tucker," and left the question of
the mulatto's soul unsolved.

When I arrived at Joliet there was a land boom at Chicago.  The canal
company had cut up their alternate sections, and were offering them
at the usual alarming sacrifice.  A land boom is a dream
of celestial bliss.  While it lasts, the wisest men and the greatest
fools walk with ecstatic steps through the golden streets of a New
Jerusalem. I have been there three times.  It is dreadful to wake up
and to find that all the gold in the street is nothing but moonshine.

I proceeded to the Lake City to lay the foundation of my fortune by
buying town lots.  I laid the foundation on a five-acre block in West
Joliet, but had to borrow seven dollars from my nearest friend to pay
the first deposit. Chicago was then a small but busy wooden town,
with slushy streets, plank sidewalks, verandahs full of rats, and
bedrooms humming with mosquitoes.  I left it penniless but proud, an
owner of real estate.

While returning to Joliet on the canal boat my nearest friend, from
whom I had borrowed the seven dollars, kindly gave me his views on
the subject of "greenhorns."  (The Australian equivalent of
"greenhorn" is "new chum."  I had the advantage of serving my time in
both capacities).  "No greenhorn," he observed, "ever begins to get
along in the States until he has parted with his bottom dollar.  That
puts a keen edge on his mind, and he grows smart in business.  A
smart man don't strain his back with hard work for any considerable
time.  He takes out a patent for something--a mowing machine, or
one for sowing corn and pumpkins, a new churn or wash-tub, pills for
the shakes, or, best of all, a new religion--anything, in fact,
that will catch on and fetch the public."

I had parted with my bottom dollar, was also in debt, and therefore
in the best position for getting along; but I could not all at once
think of anything to patent, and had to earn my daily bread some way
or other.  I began to do it by hammering sheets of iron into the
proper curves for an undershot water-wheel.  After I had worked two
days my boss suggested that I should seek other employment--in a
school, for instance; a new teacher was wanted in the common school
of West Joliet.

I said I should prefer something higher; a teacher was of no more
earthly account than a tailor.

The boss said:  "That might be so in benighted Britain, but in the
Great United States our prominent citizens begin life as teachers in
the common schools, and gradually rise to the highest positions in
the Republic."

I concluded to rise, but a certificate of competency was required,
and I presented myself for examination to the proper official, the
editor and proprietor of 'The True Democrat' whose office was across
the bridge, nearly opposite Matheson's woollen factory. I found the
editor and his compositor labouring over the next edition of the
paper.

The editor began the examination with the alphabet.  I said in
England we used twenty-six letters, and I named all of them correctly
except the last.  I called it "zed," but the editor said it was
"zee," and I did not argue the point.

He then asked me to pick out the vowels, the consonants, the flats,
the sharps, the aspirates, the labials, the palatals, the dentals,
and the mutes.  I was struck dumb; I could feel the very foundation
of all learning sinking beneath me, and had to confess that I did not
know my letters.

Then he went on to spelling and writing.  My writing was barely
passable, and my spelling was quite out of date.  I used superfluous
letters which had been very properly abolished by Webster's
dictionary.

At last the editor remarked, with becoming modesty, that he was
himself of no account at figures, but Mr. Sims would put me through
the arithmetic.  Mr. Sims was the compositor, and an Englishman; he
put me through tenderly.

When the examination was finished, I felt like a convicted impostor,
and was prepared to resume work on the undershot water-wheel, but the
two professors took pity on me, and certified in writing that I was
qualified to keep school.

Then the editor remarked that the retiring teacher, Mr. Randal, had
advertised in the 'True Democrat' his ability to teach the Latin
language; but, unfortunately, Father Ingoldsby had offered himself as
a first pupil; Mr. Randal never got another, and all his Latin oozed
out.  On this timely hint I advertised my ability to teach the
citizens of Joliet not only Latin, but Greek, French, Spanish, and
Portuguese.  My advertisement will be found among the files of the
'True Democrat' of the year 1849 by anyone taking the trouble to look
for it.  I had carelessly omitted to mention the English language,
but we sometimes get what we don't ask for, and no less than sixteen
Germans came to night school to study our tongue.  They were all
masons and quarrymen engaged in exporting steps and window sills to
the rising city of Chicago.

When Goldsmith tried to earn his bread by teaching English in
Holland, he overlooked the fact that it was first necessary for him
to learn Low Dutch.  I overlooked the same fact, but it gave me no
trouble whatever.  There was no united Germany then, and my pupils
disagreed continually about the pronunciation of their own language,
which seemed, like that of Babel, intelligible to nobody.  I composed
their quarrels by confining their minds to English solely, and
harmony was restored each night by song.

The school-house was a one-storey frame building on the second
plateau in West Joliet, and was attended by about one hundred
scholars.  In the rear was a shallow lagoon, fenced on one side by a
wall of loose rocks, infested with snakes.  The track to the cemetery
was near, and it soon began to be in very frequent use.  One day
during recess the boys had a snake hunt, and they tied their game in
one bunch by the heads with string, and suspended them by the
wayside.  I counted them, and there were twenty-seven snakes in the
bunch.

The year '49 was the 'annus mirabilis' of the great rush for gold
across the plains, and it was also an 'annus miserabilis' on account
of the cholera.  In three weeks fourteen hundred waggons bound for
California crossed one of the bridges over the canal.  I was desirous
of joining the rush, but was, as usual, short of cash, and I had to
stay at Joliet to earn my salary.  I met the editor of the 'True
Democrat' nearly every day carrying home a bucket of water from the
Aux Plaines river.  He did his own chores.  He sent two young men who
wished to become teachers to my school to graduate.  One was named
O'Reilly, lately from Ireland; I gave him his degree in a few weeks,
and he kept school somewhere out on the prairie.  The other did not
graduate before the cholera came.  He was a native of Vermont, and he
played the clarionet in our church choir.  The instrumental music
came from the clarionet, from a violin, and a flute.  The choir came
from France and Germany, Old England and New England, Ireland,
Alsace, and Belgium.  It was divided into two hostile camps, and the
party which first took possession of the gallery took precedence in
the music for that day only.  There was a want of harmony.  One
morning when the priest was chanting the first words of the Gloria,
the head of a little French bugler appeared at the top of the gallery
stairs, and at once started a plaint chant, Gloria, we had never
rehearsed or heard before.  He sang his solo to the end.  He was
thirsting for glory, and he took a full draught.

I don't think there was ever a choir like ours but one, and that was
conducted by a butcher from Dolphinholm in the Anglican Church at
Garstang.  One Sunday he started a hymn with a new tune.  Three times
his men broke down, and three times they were heard by the whole
congregation whispering ferociously at one another. At length the
parson tried to proceed with the service, and said:  "Let us pray."
But the bold butcher retorted:  "Pray be hanged.  Let us try again,
lads; I know we can do it."  He then started the hymn for the fourth
time, and they did it.  After the service the parson demanded
satisfaction of the butcher, and got it in a neighbouring pasture.

The cholera came, and we soon grew very serious.  The young man from
Vermont walked with me after school hours, and we tried to be
cheerful, but it was of no use. Our talk always reverted to the
plague, and the best way to cure it or to avoid it.  The doctors
disagreed.  Every theory was soon contradicted by facts; all kinds of
people were attacked and died; the young and the old, the weak and
the strong, the drunken and the sober.  Every man adopted a special
diet or a favourite liquor--brandy, whiskey, bitters, cherry-bounce,
sarsaparilla.  My own particular preventive was hot tea, sweetened
with molasses and seasoned with cayenne pepper.  I survived, but that
does not prove anything in particular.

The two papers, the 'Joliet Signal' and the 'True Democrat', scarcely
ever mentioned the cholera.  It would have been bad policy, tending
to scare away the citizens and to injure trade.

Many men suddenly found that they had urgent business to look after
elsewhere, and sneaked away, leaving their wives and families behind
them.

On Sunday Father Ingoldsby advised his people to prepare their souls
for the visit of the Angel of Death, who was every night knocking at
their doors.  There were many, he said, whose faces he had never seen
at the rails since he came to Joliet; and what answer would they give
to the summons which called them to appear without delay before the
judgment seat of God?  What doom could they expect but that of
damnation and eternal death?

The sermon needed no translation for the men of many nations who were
present.  Irishmen and Englishmen, Highlanders and Belgians, French
and Germans, Mexicans and Canadians, could interpret the meaning of
the flashing eye which roamed to every corner of the church, singling
out each miserable sinner; the fierce frown, the threatening gesture,
the finger first pointing to the heaven above, and then down to the
depths of hell.

Some stayed to pray and to confess their sins; others hardened their
hearts and went home unrepentant.  Michael Mangan went to Belz's
grocery near the canal.  He said he felt pains in his interior, and
drank a jigger of whisky.  Then he bought half-a-gallon of the same
remedy to take home with him.  It was a cheap prescription, costing
only twelve and a half cents, but it proved very effective.  Old Belz
put the stuff into an earthenware bottle, which he corked with a
corncob.  Michael started for home by the zigzag path which led up
the steep limestone bluff, but his steps were slow and unsteady; he
sat down on a rock, and took another dose out of his bottle.  He
never went any further of his own motion, and we buried him next day.
We were of different opinions about the cause of his death; some
thought it was the cholera, others the pangs of conscience, some the
whisky, and others a mixture of all three; at any rate, he died
without speaking to the priest.

Next day another neighbour died, Mr. Harrigan.  He had lost one arm,
but with the other he wrote a good hand, and registered deeds in the
County Court.  I called to see him.  He was in bed lying on his back,
his one arm outside the coverlet, his heaving chest was bare, and his
face was ghastly pale.  There were six men in the room, one of whom
said:

"Do you know me, Mr. Harrigan?"

"Sure, divil a dog in Lockport but knows you, Barney," said the dying man.

Barney lived in Lockport, and in an audible whisper said to us:  "Ain't
he getting on finely?  He'll be all right again to-morrow, please
God."

"And didn't the doctor say I'd be dead before twelve this day?"
asked Harrigan.

I looked at the clock on the mantelshelf.  It was past ten.  He died
an hour later.

One day the young man from Vermont rose from his seat and looked at
me across the schoolroom.  I thought he was going to say something.
He took down his hat, went to the door, turned and looked at me
again, but he did not speak or make any sign.  Next morning his place
was vacant, and I asked one of the boys if he had seen the young man.
The boy said:

"He ain't a-coming to school no more, I calkilate.  He was buried
this morning before school hours."

That year, '49 was a dismal year in Joliet.

Mr. Rogers, one of the school managers, came and sat on a bench near
the door.  He was a New Englander, a carpenter, round-shouldered,
tall and bony.  He said:

"I called in to tell you that I can't vote for appinting you to this
school next term.  Fact is the ladies are dead against you; don't see
you at meeting on the Sabbath; say you go to the Catholic Church with
the Irish and Dutch.  I a'n't a word to say agen you myself.  This is
a free country; every man can go, for aught I care, whichever way he
darn chooses--to heaven, or hell, or any other place.  But I want
to be peaceable, and I can't get no peace about voting for you next
term, so I thought I'd let you know, that you mightn't be
disappointed."

In that way Mr. Rogers washed his hands of me.  I said I was sorry I
did not please the ladies, but I liked to hear a man who spoke his
mind freely.

Soon afterwards the Germans brought me word that the Yankees were
calling a meeting about me.  I was aware by this time that when a
special gathering of citizens takes place to discuss the demerits of
any individual, it is advisable for that individual to be absent if
possible; but curiosity was strong within me; hitherto I had never
been honoured with any public notice whatever, and I attended the
meeting uninvited.

The Yankees are excellent orators; they are born without bashfulness;
they are taught to speak pieces in school from their childhood; they
pronounce each word distinctly; they use correctly the rising
inflection and the falling inflection.   Moreover, they are always in
deadly earnest; there is another miserable world awaiting their
arrival.  Their humorists are the most unhappy of men.  You may smile
when you read their jokes, but when you see the jokers you are more
inclined to weep.  With pain and sorrow they grind, like Samson, at
the jokers' mill all the days of their lives.

The meeting was held in the new two-storey school-house.

Deacon Beaumont took the chair--my chair--and Mr Curtis was
appointed secretary.  I began to hate Deacon Beaumont, as also Mr.
Curtis, who was the only other teacher present; it was evident they
were going to put him in my place.

Each speaker on rising put his left hand in the side pocket of his
pants.  I was not mentioned by name, but nevertheless I was given
clearly to understand that I had been reared in a land whose people
are under the dominion of a tyrannical monarch and a bloated
aristocracy; that therefore I had never breathed the pure air of
freedom, and was unfitted to teach the children of the Great Republic.

Mr. Tucker, an influential citizen, moved finally that the school
managers be instructed to engage a Mr. Sellars, of Dresden, as
teacher at the West Joliet School.  He said Mr. Sellars was a young
man from New England who had been teaching for a term at Dresden, and
had given great satisfaction.  He had the best testimony to the
character and ability of the young man from his own daughter, Miss
Priscilla Tucker, who had been school marm in the same school, and
was now home on a visit.  She could give, from her own personal
knowledge, any information the managers might require.

Mr. Tucker's motion was seconded.  There was no amendment proposed,
and all in favour of the motion were requested by Deacon Beaumont to
stand up.  The Yankees all rose to their feet, the others sat still,
all but old Gorges, a Prussian, who, with his two sons, had come to
vote for me.  But the old man did not understand English.  His son
John pulled him down, but Deacon Beaumont had counted his vote, and
the motion was carried by a majority of one.  So I was, in fact, put
out of the school by my best friend, old Gorges.

I went away in a dudgeon and marked off a cellar on my real estate,
30 feet by 18 feet, on the top of the bluff, near the edge of the
western prairie.  The ground was a mixture of stiff clay and
limestone rock, and I dug at it all through the month of September.
Curious people came along and made various remarks; some said
nothing, but went away whistling.  One day Mr. Jackson and Paul
Duffendorff were passing by, and I wanted them to pass, but they
stopped like the rest.  Mr. Jackson was reckoned one of the smartest
men in Will county.  He had a large farm, well stocked, but he was
never known to do any work except with his brains.  He was one of
those men who increased the income of the State of Illinois by
ability.  Duffendorf was a huge Dutchman, nearly seven feet in
height.  He was a great friend of mine, great every way, but very
stupid; he had no sense of refinement.  He said:

"Ve gates, schoolmeister?  Py golly!  Here, Mr. Shackson, is our
schoolmeister a vurkin mit spade and bick.  How vas you like dat
kind of vurk, Mr. Shackson?"

"Never could be such a darned fool; sooner steal," answered Jackson.

Duffendorf laughed until he nearly fell into the cellar.  Now this
talk was very offensive.  I knew Mr. Jackson was defendant in a case
then pending.  He had been charged with conspiring to defraud; with
having stolen three horses; with illegally detaining seventy-five
dollars; and on other counts which I cannot remember just now.  The
thing was originally very simple, even Duffendorff could understand
it.

Mr. Jackson was in want of some ready money, so he directed his hired
man to steal three of his horses in the dead of night, take them to
Chicago, sell them to the highest bidder, find out where the highest
bidder lived, and then return with the cash to Joliet.  The hired man
did his part of the business faithfully, returned and reported to his
employer.  Then Mr. Jackson set out in search of his stolen horses,
found them, and brought them home.  The man expected to receive half
the profits of the enterprise.  The boss demurred, and only offered
one-third, and said if that was not satisfactory he would bring a
charge of horse-stealing.  The case went into court, and under the
treatment of learned counsel grew very complicated.  It was
remarkable as being the only one on record in Will county in which a
man had made money by stealing his own horses.  It is, I fancy, still
'sub judice'.

Both the old school and the new school remained closed even after the
cholera ceased to thin out the citizens, but I felt no further
interest in the education of youth.  When winter came I tramped three
miles into the forest, and began to fell trees and split rails in
order to fence in my suburban estate.  For some time I carried a
rifle, and besides various small game I shot two deer, but neither of
them would wait for me to come up with them even after I had shot
them; they took my two bullets away with them, and left me only a few
drops of blood on the snow; then I left the rifle at home.  For about
four months the ground was covered with snow, and the cold was
intense, but I continued splitting until the snakes came out to bask
in the sun and warm themselves.  I saw near a dead log eight coiled
together, and I killed them all.  The juice of the sugar maples began
to run.  I cut notches in the bark in the shape of a broad arrow,
bored a hole at the point, inserted a short spout of bark, and on
sunny mornings the juice flowed in a regular stream, clear and
sparkling; on cloudy days it only dropped.

One evening as I was plodding my weary way homeward, I looked up and
saw in the distance a man inspecting my cellar.  I said, "Here's
another disgusting fool who ain't seen it before."  It certainly was
a peculiar cellar, but not worth looking at so much.  I hated the
sight of it.  It had no building over it, never was roofed in, and
was sometimes full of snow.

The other fool proved to be Mr. Curtis, the teacher who had written
the resolution of the meeting which voted me out of the school.  He
held out his hand, and I took it, but reluctantly, and under secret
protest.  I thought to myself, "This mine enemy has an axe to grind,
or he would not be here.  I'll be on my guard."

"I have been waiting for you some time," said Mr. Curtis.  "I was
told you were splitting rails in the forest, and would be home about
sundown.  I wanted to see you about opening school again.  Mr. Rogers
won't have anything to say to it, but the other two managers, Mr.
Strong and Mr. Demmond, want to engage you and me, one to teach in
the upper storey of the school, the other down below, and I came up
to ask you to see them about it."

"How does it happen that Mr. Sellars has not come over from Dresden?"
I said.

"Joliet is about the last place on this earth that Mr. Sellars will
come to.  Didn't you hear about him and Priscilla?"  asked Mr. Curtis.

"No, I heard nothing since that meeting; only saw the school doors
were closed every time I passed that way."

"Well, I am surprised.  I thought everybody knew by this time, though
we did not like to say much about it."

I began to feel interested.  Mr. Curtis had something pleasant to
tell me about the misfortunes of my enemies, so I listened
attentively.

It was a tale of western love, and its course was no smoother in
Illinois than in any less enlightened country of old Europe.  Miss
Priscilla reckoned she could hoe her own row.  She and Mr. Sellars
conducted the Common School at Dresden with great success and
harmony.  All went merry as a marriage bell, and the marriage was to
come off by-and-by--so hoped Miss Priscilla.  During the recess she
took the teacher's arm, and they walked to and fro lovingly.  All
Dresden said it was to be a match, but at the end of the term Miss
Priscilla returned to Joliet--the match was not yet made.

It was at this time that the dissatisfaction with the new British
teacher became extreme; Miss Priscilla fanned the flame of
discontent.  She did not "let concealment like a worm i' th' bud feed
on her damask cheek," but boldly proposed that Mr. Sellars--a
true-born native of New England, a good young man, always seen at
meetings on the Sabbath--should be requested to take charge of the
West Joliet school.  So the meeting was held:  I was voted out, Mr.
Sellars was voted in, and the daughters of the Puritans triumphed.

Miss Priscilla wrote to Dresden, announcing to her beloved the
success of her diplomacy, requesting him to come to Joliet without
delay, and assume direction of the new school.  This letter fell into
the hands of another lady who had just arrived at Dresden from New
England in search of her husband, who happened to be Mr. Sellars.
The letter which that other lady wrote to Miss Priscilla I did not
see, but it was said to be a masterpiece of composition, and it
emptied two schools.  Mr. Tucker went over to Dresden and looked
around for Mr. Sellars, but that gentleman had gone out west, and was
never heard of again.  The west was a very wide unfenced space,
without railways.

"The fact is," said Mr. Curtis, "we were all kinder shamed the way
things turned out, and we just let 'em rip.  But people are now
stirring about the school being closed so long, so Mr. Strong and Mr.
Demmond have concluded to engage you and me to conduct the school."

We were engaged that night, and I went rail-splitting no more.  But I
fenced my estate; and while running the line on the western boundary
I found the grave of Highland Mary.  It was in the middle of a grove
of oak and hickory saplings, and was nearly hidden by hazel bushes.
The tombstone was a slab about two feet high, roughly hewn.  Her
epitaph was, "Mary Campbell, aged 7.  1827."  That was all.  Poor
little Mary.

The Common Schools of Illinois were maintained principally from the
revenue derived from grants of land.  When the country was first
surveyed, one section of 640 acres in each township of six miles
square was reserved for school purposes.  There was a State law on
education, but the management was entirely local, and was in the
hands of a treasurer and three directors, elected biennally by the
citizens of each school district.  The revenue derived from the
school section was sometimes not sufficient to defray the salary of
the teacher, and then the deficiency was supplied by the parents of
the children who had attended at the school; those citizens whose
children did not attend were not taxed by the State for the Common
Schools; they did not pay for that which they did not receive.  In
some instances only one school was maintained by the revenue of two
school sections.  When the attendance in the school was numerous, a
young lady, called the "school-marm," assisted in the teaching.
Sometimes, as in the case of Miss Priscilla, she fell into trouble.

The books were provided by the enterprise of private citizens, and an
occasional change of "Readers" was agreeable both to teachers and
scholars.  The best of old stories grow tiresome when repeated too
often.  One day a traveller from Cincinnati brought me samples of a
new series of "Readers," offering on my approval, to substitute next
day a new volume for every old one produced.  I approved, and he
presented each scholar with copies of the new series for nothing.

The teaching was secular, but certain virtues were inculcated either
directly or indirectly.  Truth and patriotism were recommended by the
example of George Washington, who never told a lie, and who won with
his sword the freedom of his country.  There were lessons on history,
in which the tyranny of the English Government was denounced; Kings,
Lords and Bishops, especially Bishop Laud, were held up to eternal
abhorrence; as was also England's greed of gain, her intolerance,
bigotry, taxation; her penal and navigation laws.  The glorious War
of Independence was related at length.  The children of the Puritans,
of the Irish and the Germans, did not in those days imbibe much
prejudice in favour of England or her institutions, and the English
teacher desirous of arriving at the truth, had the advantage of
having heard both sides of many historical questions; of listening,
as it were, to the scream of the American eagle, as well as to the
roar of the British lion.

Mr. Curtis was a good teacher, systematic, patient, persevering, and
ingenious.  I ceased to hate him; Miss Priscilla's downfall cemented
our friendship.  We kept order in the school by moral suasion, but
the task was sometimes difficult.  My private feelings were in favour
of the occasional use of the hickory stick, the American substitute
for the rod of Solomon, and the birch of England.

The geography we taught was principally that of the United States and
her territories, spacious maps of which were suspended round the
school, continually reminding the scholars of their glorious
inheritance.  It was then full of vacant lots, over which roamed the
Indian and the buffalo, species of animals now nearly extinct.  We
did not pay much attention to the rest of the world.

Elocution was inculcated assiduously, and at regular intervals each
boy and girl had to come forth and "speak a piece" in the presence of
the scholars, teachers, and visitors.

Mental arithmetic and the use of fractions were taught daily.  The
use of the decimal in the American coinage is of great advantage; it
is easier and more intelligible to children than the clumsy old
system of pounds, shillings, pence, and farthings.  It is a system
which would no doubt have been long ago adopted by England, if it had
not been humiliating to our national pride to take even a good thing
from rebellious Yankees, and inferior Latin races.  We cling fondly
to absurdities because they are our own.  In Australia wild rabbits
are vermin, in England they are private property; and if one of the
three millions of her miserable paupers is found with a rabbit in
each of his coat pockets, he is fined 10s. or sent to gaol.  Pope
Gregory XIII. demonstrated the error of the calendar then in use, and
all Catholic nations adopted his correction.  But when the adoption
of the calendar was proposed in Parliament, John Bull put his big
foot down at once; he would receive no truth, not even a mathematical
one, from the Pope of Rome, and it was only after the lapse of nearly
200 years, when the memory of Gregory and his calendar had almost
faded away from the sensitive mind of Protestantism, that an Act was
passed, "equalising the style in Great Britain and Ireland with that
used in other countries of Europe."

A fugitive slave with his wife and daughter came to Joliet.  One day
he was seized by three slave-hunters, who took him towards the canal.
A number of abolitionists assembled to rescue the slave, but the
three men drew their revolvers, and no abolitionist had the courage
to fire the first shot.  The slave was put in a canal boat and went
south; his wife remained in Joliet and earned her bread by weaving
drugget; the daughter came to my school; she was of pure negro blood,
but was taught with the white girls.

The abolitionists were increasing in number, and during the war with
the South the slaves were freed.  They are now like Israel in Egypt,
they increase too rapidly.  If father Abraham had sent them back to
Africa when they were only four millions, he would have earned the
gratitude of his country.  Now they number more than eight millions;
the Sunny South agrees with their constitution; they work as little
and steal as much as possible.  In the days of their bondage they
were addicted to petty larceny; now they have votes, and when they
achieve place and power they are addicted to grand larceny, and they
loot the public treasury as unblushingly as the white politicians.

The nigger question has doubled in magnitude during the last thirty
years, and there will have to be another abolition campaign of some
kind.  The blacks are incapable of ruling the whites; no time was
given to educate them for their new duties, if teaching them was
possible; the Declaration of Independence was in their case a mockery
from the beginning.  When all the old abolitionists and slave-holders
are dead, another generation of men grown wiser by the failure of the
policy of their forefathers may solve the black problem.

Complaint is made that the American education of to-day is in a
chaotic condition, due to the want of any definite idea of what
education is aiming at.  There is evidence that the ancients of New
England used to birch their boys, but after independence had been
fought for and won, higher aims prevailed.  The Puritan then believed
that his children were born to a destiny far grander than that of any
other children on the face of the earth; the treatment accorded to
them was therefore to be different.  The fundamental idea of American
life was to be "Freedom," and the definition of "Freedom" by a
learned American is, "The power which necessarily belongs to the
self-conscious being of determining his actions in view of the
highest, the universal good, and thereby of gradually realising in
himself the eternal divine perfection."  The definition seems a
little hazy, but the workings of great minds are often unintelligible
to common people.  "The American citizen must be morally autonomous,
regarding all institutions as servants, not as masters.  So far man
has been for the most part a thrall.  The true American must worship
the inner God recognised as his own deepest and eternal self, not an
outer God regarded as something different from himself."

Lucifer is said to have entertained a similar idea.  He would not be
a thrall, and the result as described by the republican Milton was
truly disastrous:

"Him the Almighty Power
Hurl'd headlong
down
to bottomless perdition
Region of sorrow, doleful shades, where peace
And rest can never dwell."

The manner in which the American citizen is to be made "morally
autonomous, and placed beyond the control of current opinion," will
require much money; his parents must therefore be rich; they must already
have inherited wealth, or have obtained it by ability or labour.  The
course of training to be given to youth includes travelling for six
years in foreign countries under private tutors, studying human
history, ethnic, social, political, industrial, æsthetic, religious;
gems of poetry; the elements of geometry; mechanics; art, plastic,
and graphic; reading Confucius, Sakya-muni, Themistocles, Socrates,
Julius Caesar, Paul, Mahommed, Charlemagne, Alfred, Gregory VII., St.
Bernard, St. Francis, Savonarola, Luther, Queen Elizabeth, Columbus,
Washington, Lincoln, Homer, Virgil, Dante, Tennyson, and Lowell.

The boys on the prairies had to earn their bread; they could not
spend six years travelling around and studying all the writers above
mentioned, making themselves morally autonomous, and worshipping
their own deepest and eternal selves.  The best men America has
produced were reared at home, and did chores out of school hours.

When I was expelled from school by the Yankees, Mr. McEvoy, the
leading Irish politician, called me aside and said:  "Whisper, you
just hang round until next election, and we'll turn out the Yankee
managers, and put you in the school again."  The Germans were slow in
acquiring political knowledge as well as in learning the English
language; but language, politics, and law itself are the birthright
of the Irish.  By force of circumstances, and through the otherwise
deplorable failure of Miss Priscilla, I resumed work in the school
before the election, but Mr. McEvoy, true to his promise, organised
the opposition--it is always the opposition--and ejected the
Yankee managers, but in the fall of 1850 I resigned, and went a long
way south.

When I returned, Joliet was a city, and Mr. Rendel, one of my German
night scholars, was city marshal.  I met him walking the streets, and
carrying his staff of office with great dignity.  I took up my abode
in an upper apartment of the gaol, then in charge of Sheriff
Cunningham, who had a farm in West Joliet, near a plank road, leading
on to the prairie.  I had known the Sheriff two years before, but did
not see much of him at this time, though I was in daily communication
with his son, Silas, the Deputy Sheriff.  It was under these
favourable circumstancesthat I was enabled to witness a General Gaol
Delivery of all the prisoners in Joliet.  One, charged with killing
his third man, was out on bail.  I saw him in Matheson's
boarding-house making love to one of the hired girls, and she seemed
quite pleased with his polite attentions.  Matheson was elected
Governor of the State of Illinois, and became a millionaire by
dealing in railways.  He was a native of Missouri, and a man of
ability; In '49 I saw him at work in a machine shop.

The prisoners did not regain their freedom all at once, but in the
space of three weeks they trickled out one by one.  The Deputy
Sheriff, Silas, had been one of my pupils; he was now about seventeen
years of age, and a model son of the prairies.  His features were
exceedingly thin, his eyes keen, his speech and movements slow, his
mind cool and calculating.  He never injured his constitution by any
violent exertion; in fact, he seemed to have taken leave of active
life and all its worries, and to have settled down to an existence of
ease and contemplation.  If he had any anxiety about the safe custody
of his prisoners he never showed it.  He had finished his education,
so I did not attempt to control him by moral suasion, or by anything
else, but by degrees I succeeded in eliciting from him all the
particulars he could impart about the criminals under his care.
There was no fence around the gaol, and Silas kept two of them always
locked in.  He "calkilated they wer kinder unsafe."  They belonged to
a society of horse thieves whose members were distributed at regular
intervals along the prairies, and who forwarded their stolen animals
by night to Chicago.  The two gentlemen in gaol were of an
untrustworthy character, and would be likely to slip away.  About a
week after my arrival I met Silas coming out of the gaol, and he said:

"They're gone, be gosh."  Silas never wasted words.

"Who is gone?" I inquired.

"Why, them two horse thieves.  Just look here."

We went round to the east side of the gaol, and there was a hole
about two feet deep, and just wide enough to let a man through.  The
ground underneath the wall was rocky, but the two prisoners had been
industrious, had picked a hole under the wall and had gone through.

"Where's the Sheriff?" I asked.  "Won't Mr. Cunningham go after the men?"

"He's away at Bourbonnais' Grove, about suthin' or other, among the
Bluenoses; can't say when he'll be back; it don't matter anyhow.  He
might just as well try to go to hell backwards as catch them two
horse thieves now."

Silas had still two other prisoners under his care, and he let them
go outside as usual to enjoy the fresh air.  They had both been
committed for murder, but their crime was reckoned a respectable one
compared to the mean one of horse stealing, so Silas gave them
honourable treatment.

One of the prisoners was a widow lady who had killed another lady
with an axe, at a hut near the canal on the road to Lockport.  She
seemed crazy, and when outside the gaol walked here and there in a
helpless kind of way, muttering to herself; but sometimes an idea
seemed to strike her that she had something to do Lockport way, and
she started in that direction, forgetting very likely that she had
done it already; but whenever Silas called her back, she returned
without giving any trouble.  One day, however, when Silas was asleep
she went clean out of sight, and I did not see her any more.  The
Sheriff was still absent among the Bluenoses.

The fourth prisoner was an Englishman named Wilkins who owned a farm
on the prairie, in the direction of Bourbonnais' Grove.  A few weeks
before, returning home from Joliet with his waggon and team of
horses, he halted for a short time at a distillery, situated at the
foot of the low bluff which bounded the bottom, through which ran the
Aux Plaines River.  It was a place at which the farmers often called
to discuss politics, the prices of produce, and other matters, and
also, if so disposed, to take in a supply of liquor.  The corn whisky
of Illinois was an article of commerce which found its way to many
markets.  Although it was sold at a low price at home, it became much
more valuable after it had been exported to England or France, and
had undergone scientific treatment by men of ability.  The corn used
in its manufacture was exceedingly cheap, as may be imagined when
corn-fed pork was, in the winter of '49, offered for sale in Joliet
at one cent per pound.  After the poison of the prairies had been
exported to Europe, a new flavour was imparted to it, and it became
Cognac, or the best Irish or Scotch whisky.

Wilkins halted his team and went into the whisky-mill, where the
owner, Robinson, was throwing charcoal into the furnace under his
boiler with a long-handled shovel.  He was an enterprising Englishman
who was wooing the smiles of fortune with better prospects of success
than the slow, hard-working farmer.  I had seen him first
in West Joliet in '49, when he was travelling around buying corn for
his distillery.  He was a handsome man, about thirty years of age,
five feet ten inches in height, had been well educated, was quite
able to hold his own among the men of the West, and accommodated
himself to their manners and habits.

There were three other farmers present, and their talk drifted from
one thing to another until it at last settled on the question of the
relative advantages of life in England and the States.  Robinson took
the part of England, Wilkins stuck to the States; he said:

"A poor man has no chance at home; he is kept down by landlords, and
can never get a farm of his own.  In Illinois I am a free man, and
have no one to lord it over me.  If I had lived and slaved in England
for a hundred years I should never have been any better off, and now
I have a farm as good as any in Will County, and am just as good a
man as e'er another in it."

Now Wilkins was only a small man, shorter by four inches than
Robinson, who towered above him, and at once resented the claim to
equality.  He said:

"You as good as any other man, are you?  Why there ain't a more
miserable little skunk within twenty miles round Joliet."

Robinson was forgetting the etiquette of the West.  No man--except,
perhaps, in speaking to a nigger--ever assumed a tone of insolent
superiority to any other man; if he did so, it was at the risk of
sudden death; even a hired man was habitually treated with civility.
The titles of colonel, judge, major, captain, and squire were in
constant use both in public and private; there was plenty of humorous
"chaff," but not insult.  Colonels, judges, majors, captains, and
squires were civil, both to each other and to the rest of the
citizens.  Robinson, in speaking to his fellow countryman, forgot for
a moment that he was not in dear old England, where he could settle a
little difference with his fists.  But little Wilkins did not forget,
and he was not the kind of man to be pounded with impunity. He had in
his pocket a hunting knife, with which he could kill a hog--or a
man.  When Robinson called him a skunk he felt in his pocket for the
knife, and put his thumb on the spring at the back of the buckhorn
handle, playing with it gently.  It was not a British Brummagem
article, made for the foreign or colonial market, but a genuine
weapon that could be relied on at a pinch.

"Oh, I dare say you were a great man at home, weren't you?" he said.
"A lord maybe, or a landlord.  But we don't have sich great men here,
and I am as good a man as you any day, skunk though I be."

Robinson had just thrown another shovelful of charcoal into the
furnace under his boiler, and he held up his shovel as if ready to
strike Williams, but it was never known whether he really intended to
strike or not.

The three other men standing near were quite amused with the dispute
of the two Englishmen, and were smiling pleasantly at their
foolishness.  But little Wilkins did not smile, nor did he wait for
the shovel to come down on his head; he darted under it with his open
knife in the same manner as the Roman soldier went underneath the
dense spears of the Pyrrhic phalanx, and set to work.  Robinson tried
to parry the blows with the handle of the shovel, but he made only a
poor fight; the knife was driven to the hilt into his body seven
times, then he threw down his shovel, and tried to save himself
behind the boiler, but it was too late; the dispute about England and
the States was settled.

Wilkins took his team home, then returned to Joliet and gave himself
into the custody of the squire, Hoosier Smith.  At the inquest he was
committed to take his trial for murder, and did not get bail.  His
wife left the farm, and with her two little boys lived in an old log
hut near the gaol.  She brought with her two cows, which Wilkins
milked each morning as soon as Silas let him out of prison.  I could
see him every day from the window of my room, and I often passed by
the hut when he was doing chores, chopping wood, or fetching water,
but I never spoke to him.  He did not look happy or sociable, and I
could not think of anything pleasant to say by way of making his
acquaintance.  After much observation and thought I came to the
conclusion that Sheriff Cunningham wanted his prisoner to go away; he
would not like to hang the man; the citizens would not take Wilkins
off his hands; if two fools chose to get up a little difficulty and
one was killed, it was their own look-out; and anyway they were only
foreigners.  The fact was Wilkins was waiting for someone to purchase
his farm.

The court-house for Will County was within view of the gaol, at the
other side of the street, and one day I went over to look at it.  The
judge was hearing a civil case, and I sat down to listen to the
proceedings.  A learned counsel was addressing the jury.  He talked
at great length in a nasal tone, slowly and deliberately; he had one
foot on a form, one hand in a pocket of his pants, and the other hand
rested gracefully on a volume of the statutes of the State of
Illinois.  He had much to say about various horses running on the
prairie, and particularly about one animal which he called the
"Skemelhorne horse."  I tried to follow his argument, but the
"Skemelhorne horse" was so mixed up with the other horses that I
could not spot him.

Semicircular seats of unpainted pine for the accommodation of the
public rose tier above tier, but most of them were empty.  There were
present several gentlemen of the legal profession, but they kept
silence, and never interrupted the counsel's address.  Nor did the
judge utter a word; he sat at his desk sideways, with his boots
resting on a chair.  He wore neither wig nor gown, and had not even
put on his Sunday go-to-meeting clothes.  Neither had the lawyers.
If there was a court crier or constable present he was indistinguishable
from the rest of the audience.

Near the judge's desk there was a bucket of water and three tumblers
on a small table.  It was a hot day.  The counsel paused in his
speech, went to the table, and took a drink; a juryman left the box
and drank.  The judge also came down from his seat, dipped a tumbler
in the bucket and quenched his thirst; one spectator after another
went to the bucket.  There was equality and fraternity in the court
of law; the speech about the Skemelhorne horse went on with the
utmost gravity and decorum, until the nasal drawl of the learned
counsel put me to sleep.

On awakening, I went into another hall, in which dealings in real
estate were registered.  Shelves fixed against the walls held huge
volumes lettered on the back.  One of these volumes was on a table in
the centre of the hall, and in it the registrar was copying a deed.
Before him lay a pile of deeds with a lead weight on the top.  A
farmer came in with a paper, on which the registrar endorsed a number
and placed at the bottom of the pile.  There was no parchment used;
each document was a half-sheet foolscap size, party printed and
partly written.  Another farmer came in, took up the pile and
examined the numbers to see how soon his deed was likely to be
copied, and if it was in its proper place according to the number
endorsed.  The registrar was not fenced off from the public by a wide
counter; he was the servant of the citizens, and had to satisfy those
who paid him for his labours.  His pay was a fixed number of cents
per folio, not dollars, nor pounds.

When I went back to gaol I found it deserted.  Wilkins had sold his
farm and disappeared.  His wife remained in the hut.  Sheriff
Cunningham was still away among the Bluenoses, and Silas was 'functus
officio', having accomplished a general gaol delivery.  He did not
pine away on account of the loss of his prisoners, nor grow any
thinner--that was impossible.  I remained four days longer,
expecting something would happen; but nothing did happen, then I left
the gaol.

I wrote out two notices informing the public that I was willing to
sell my real estate; one of these I pasted up at the Post Office, the
other on the bridge over the Aux Plaines River.  Next day a German
from Chicago agreed to pay the price asked, and we called on Colonel
Smith, the Squire.  The Colonel filled in a brief form of transfer,
witnessed the payment of the money--which was in twenty-dollar gold
pieces, and he charged one dollar as his fee.  The German would have
to pay about 35 cents for its registration.  If the deed was lost or
stolen, he would insert in a local journal a notice of his intention
to apply for a copy, which would make the original of as little value
to anybody as a Provincial and Suburban bank note.

In Illinois, transfers of land were registered in each county town.
To buy or sell a farm was as easy as horse-stealing, and safer.
Usually, no legal help was necessary for either transaction.

By this time California had a rival; gold had been found in
Australia.  I was fond of gold; I jingled the twenty dollar gold
pieces in my pocket, and resolved to look for more at the
fountainhead, by way of my native land.  A railway from Chicago had
just reached Joliet, and had been opened three days before.  It was
an invitation to start, and I accepted it.

Nobody ever loved his native land better than I do when I am away
from it.  I can call to mind its innumerable beauties, and in fancy
saunter once more through the summer woods, among the bracken, the
bluebells, and the foxglove.  I can wander by the banks of the Brock,
where the sullen trout hide in the clear depths of the pools.  I can
walk along the path--the path to Paradise--still lined with the
blue-eyed speedwell and red campion; I know where the copse is
carpeted with the bluebell and ragged robin, where grow the alders,
and the hazels rich with brown nuts, the beeches and the oaks; where
the flower of the yellow broom blazes like gold in the noontide sun;
where the stockdove coos overhead in the ivy; where the kingfisher
darts past like a shaft of sapphire, and the water ouzel flies up
stream; where the pheasant glides out from his home in the wood to
feed on the headland of the wheat field; where the partridge broods
in the dust with her young; where the green lane is bordered by the
guelder-rose or wayfaring tree, the raspberry, strawberry, and
cherry, the wild garlic of starlike flowers, the woodruff, fragrant
as new-mown hay; the yellow pimpernel on the hedge side.  I see in
the fields and meadows the bird's foot trefoil, the oxeye daisy, the
lady smocks, sweet hemlock, butterbur, the stitchwort, and the
orchis, the "long purpled" of Shakespeare.  By the margin of the pond
the yellow iris hangs out its golden banners over which the dragon
fly skims.  The hedgerows are gay with the full-blown dog-roses, the
bells of the bilberries droop down along the wood-side, and the
red-hipped bumble bees hum over them.  Out of the woodland and up
Snaperake Lane I rise to the moorland, and then the sea coast comes
in sight, and the longing to know what lies beyond it.

I have been twice to see what lies beyond it, and when I return once
more my own land does not know me.  There is another sea coast in
sight now, and when I sail away from it I hope to land on some one of
the Isles of the Blest.

I called on my oldest living love; she looked, I thought, even
younger than when we last parted.  She was sitting before the fire
alone, pale and calm, but she gave me no greeting; she had forgotten
me.  I took a chair, sat down beside her, and waited.  A strange lass
with a fair face and strong bare arms came in and stared at me
steadily for a minute or two, but went away without saying a word.  I
looked around the old house room that I knew so well, with its floor
of flags from Buckley Delph, scoured white with sandstone. There
stood, large and solid, the mealark of black oak, with the date,
1644, carved just below the heavy lid, more than 200 years old, and
as sound as ever.  The sloping mirror over the chest of drawers was
still supported by the four seasons, one at each corner.  Above it
was Queen Caroline, with the crown on her head, and the sceptre in
her hand, seated in a magnificent Roman chariot, drawn by the lion
and the unicorn.  That team had tortured my young soul for years.  I
could never understand why that savage lion had not long ago devoured
both the Queen and the unicorn.

My old love was looking at me, and at last she put one hand on my
knee, and said:

"It's George."

"Yes," I said, "it's George."

She gazed a while into the fire and said:

"Alice is dead."

"Yes, Alice is dead."

"And Jenny is dead."

"Yes, and Jenny.  They are at the bottom of the sea."

In that way she counted a long list of the dead, which she closed
by saying:

"They are all gone but Joe."

She had been a widow more than twenty-five years.  She was a young
woman, tall and strong, before Bonaparte, Wellington, the United
States, or Australia, had ever been heard of in Lancashire, and from
the top of a stile she had counted every windmill and chimney in
Preston before it was covered with the black pall of smoke from the
cotton-mills.



AMONG THE DIGGERS IN 1853.

I.

I lost a summer in 1853, and had two winters instead, one in England,
the other in Australia.

It was cold in the month of May as we neared Bendigo.  We were a
mixed party of English,  Irish, and Scotch, twelve in number, and
accompanied by three horse-teams, carrying tubs, tents, and
provisions.  We also had plenty of arms wherewith to fight the
bush-rangers, but I did not carry any myself; I left the fighting
department to my mate, Philip, and to the others who were fond of
war.  Philip was by nature and training as gentle and amiable as a
lamb, but he was a Young Irelander, and therefore a fighter on
principle.  O'Connell had tried moral suasion on the English
Government long enough, and to no purpose, so Philip and his fiery
young friends were prepared to have recourse to arms.  The arms he
was now carrying consisted of a gleaming bowie knife, and two pistols
stuck in his belt.  The pistols were good ones; Philip had tried them
on a friend in the Phoenix Park the morning after a ball at the
Rotunda, and had pinked his man--shot him in the arm.  It is
needless to say that there was a young lady in the case; I don't know
what became of her, but during the rest of her life she could boast
of having been the fair demoiselle on whose account the very last
duel was fought in Ireland.  Then the age of chivalry went out.  The
bowie knife was the British article bought in Liverpool.  It would
neither kill a man nor cut a beef-steak, as was proved by experience.

We met parties of men from Bendigo--unlucky diggers, who offered to
sell their thirty-shilling licenses.  By this time my cash was low;
my twenty-dollar gold pieces were all consumed.  While voyaging to
the new Ophir, where gold was growing underfoot, I could not see any
sound sense in being niggardly.  But when I saw a regular stream of
disappointed men with empty pockets offering their monthly licenses
for five shillings each within sight of the goldfield, I had
misgivings, and I bought a license that had three weeks to run from
William Matthews.  Ten other men bought licenses, but William
Patterson, a canny Scotchman, said he would chance it.

It was about midday when we halted near Bendigo Creek, opposite a
refreshment tent.  Standing in front of it was a man who had passed
us on the road, and lit his pipe at our fire.  When he stooped to
pick up a firestick I saw the barrel of a revolver under his coat.
He was accompanied by a lady on horseback, wearing a black riding
habit.  Our teamsters called him Captain Sullivan.  He was even then
a man well known to the convicts and the police, and was supposed to
be doing a thriving business as keeper of a sly grog shop, but in
course of time it was discovered that his main source of profit was
murder and robbery.  He was afterwards known as "The New Zealand
Murderer," who turned Queen's evidence, sent his mates to the
gallows, but himself died unhanged.

While we stood in the track, gazing hopelessly over the endless heaps
of clay and gravel covering the flat, a little man came up and spoke
to Philip, in whom he recognised a fellow countryman.  He said:

"You want a place to camp on, don't you?"

"Yes," replied Philip, "we have only just come up from Melbourne."

"Well, come along with me," said the stranger.

He was a civil fellow, and said his name was Jack Moore.  We went
with him in the direction of the first White Hill, but before
reaching it we turned to the left up a low bluff, and halted in a
gully where many men were at work puddling clay in tubs.

After we had put up our tent, Philip went down the gully to study the
art of gold digging.  He watched the men at work; some were digging
holes, some were dissolving clay in tubs of water by stirring it
rapidly with spades, and a few were stooping at the edge of
water-holes, washing off the sand mixed with the gold in milk pans.

Philip tried to enter into conversation with the diggers.  He stopped
near one man, and said:

"Good day, mate.  How are you getting along?"

The man gazed at him steadily, and replied "Go you to hell," so
Philip moved on.  The next man he addressed sent him in the same
direction, adding a few blessings; the third man was panning off, and
there was a little gold visible in his pan.  He was gray, grim, and
hairy.  Philip said:

"Not very lucky to-day, mate?"

The hairy man stood up, straightened his back, and looked at Philip
from head to foot.

"Lucky be blowed.  I wish I'd never seen this blasted place.  Here
have I been sinking holes and puddling for five months, and hav'n't
made enough to pay my tucker and the Government license, thirty bob a
month.  I am a mason, and I threw up twenty-eight bob a day to come
to this miserable hole.  Wherever you come from, young man, I advise
you to go back there again.  There's twenty thousand men on Bendigo,
and I don't believe nineteen thousand of 'em are earning their grub."

"I can't well go back fifteen thousand miles, even if I had money to
take me back," answered Philip.

"Well, you might walk as far as Melbourne," said the hairy man, "and
then you could get fourteen bob a day as a hodman; or you might take
a job at stone breaking; the Government are giving 7s. 6d. a yard for
road metal.  Ain't you got any trade to work at?"

"No, I never learned a trade, I am only a gentleman."  He felt mean
enough to cry.

"Well, that's bad.  If you are a scholar, you might keep school, but
I don't believe there's half-a-dozen kids on the diggin's.  They'd be
of no mortal use except to tumble down shafts.  Fact is, if you are
really hard up, you can be a peeler.  Up at the camp they'll take on
any useless loafer wot's able to carry a carbine, and they'll give
you tucker, and you can keep your shirt clean.  But, mind, if you do
join the Joeys, I hope you'll be shot.  I'd shoot the hull blessed
lot of 'em if I had my way.  They are nothin' but a pack of robbers."
The hairy man knew something of current history and statistics, but
he had not a pleasant way of imparting his knowledge.

Picaninny Gully ended in a flat, thinly timbered, where there were
only a few diggers.  Turning to the left, Philip found two men near a
waterhole hard at work puddling.  When he bade them good-day, they
did not swear at him, which was some comfort.  They were brothers,
and were willing to talk, but they did not stop work for a minute.
They had a large pile of dirt, and were making hay while the sun
shone--that is, washing their dirt as fast as they could while the
water lasted.  During the preceding summer they had carted their
wash-dirt from the gully until rain came and filled the waterhole.
They said they had not found any rich ground, but they could now make
at least a pound a day each by constant work.  Philip thought they
were making more, as they seemed inclined to sing small; in those
days to brag of your good luck might be the death of you.

While Philip was away interviewing the diggers, Jack showed me where
he had worked his first claim, and had made 400 pounds in a few days.
"You might mark off a claim here and try it," he said.  "I think I
took out the best gold, but there may be a little left still
hereabout."  I pegged off two claims, one for Philip, and one for
myself, and stuck a pick in the centre of each.  Then we sat down on
a log.  Six men came up the gully carrying their swags, one of them
was unusually tall.  Jack said:  "Do you see that big fellow there?
His name is McKean.  He comes from my part of Ireland.  He is a
lawyer; the last time I saw him he was in a court defending a
prisoner, and now the whole six feet seven of him is nothing but a
dirty digger."

"What made you leave Ireland, Jack?" I asked.

"I left it, I guess, same as you did, because I couldn't live in it.
My father was a fisherman, and he was drowned.  Mother was left with
eight children, and we were as poor as church mice.  I was the
oldest, so I went to Belfast and got a billet on board ship as cabin
boy.  I made three voyages from Liverpool to America, and was boxed
about pretty badly, but I learned to handle the ropes.  My last port
there was Boston, and I ran away and lived with a Yankee farmer named
Small.  He was a nigger driver, he was, working the soul out of him
early and late.  He had a boat, and I used to take farm produce in it
across the bay to Boston, where the old man's eldest son kept a
boarding-house.  There was a daughter at home, a regular high-flier.
She used to talk to me as if I was a nigger.  One day when we were
having dinner, she was asking me questions about Ireland, and about
my mother, sisters, and brothers.  Then I got mad, thinking how poor
they were, and I could not help them.  'Miss Small,' I said, 'my
mother is forty years old, and she has eight children, and she looks
younger than you do, and has not lost a tooth.'

"Miss Small, although quite young, was nearly toothless, so she was
mad enough to kill me; but her brother Jonathan was at table, and he
took my part, saying, 'Sarves you right, Sue;' why can't you leave
Jack alone?'

"But Sue made things most unpleasant, and I told Jonathan I couldn't
stay on the farm, and would rather go to sea again.  Jonathan said
he, too, was tired of farming, and he would go with me.  He could
manage a boat across Boston Harbour, but he had never been to sea.
Next time there was farm stuff to go to Boston he went with me; we
left the boat with his brother, and shipped in a whaler bound for the
South Seas.  I used to show him how to handle the ropes, to knot and
splice, and he soon became a pretty good hand, though he was not
smart aloft when reefing.  His name was Small, but he was not a small
man; he was six feet two, and the strongest man on board, and he
didn't allow any man to thrash me, because I was little.  After
eighteen months' whaling he persuaded me to run away from the ship at
Hobarton; he said he was tired of the greasy old tub; so one night we
bundled up our swags, dropped into a boat, and took the road to
Launceston, where we expected to find a vessel going to Melbourne.
When we were half-way across the island, we called just before
sundown at a farmhouse to see if we could get something to eat, and
lodging for the night.  We found two women cooking supper in the
kitchen, and Jonathan said to the younger one, 'Is the old man at
home?'  She replied quite pertly:

"'Captain Massey is at home, if that's what you mean by 'old man.'

"'Well, my dear,' said Jonathan, 'will you just tell him that we are
two seamen on our way to Launceston, and we'd like to have a word
with him.'

"'I am not your dear,' she replied, tossing her head, and went out.
After a while she returned, and said:  'Captain Massey wanted to
speak to the little man first.'  That was me.

"I went into the house, and was shown into the parlour, where the
captain was standing behind a table.  There was a gun close to his
hand in a corner, two horse pistols on a shelf, and a sword hanging
over them.  He said:  'Who are you, where from, and whither bound?'
to which I replied:

"'My name is John Moore; me and my mate have left our ship, a whaler,
at Hobarton, and we are bound for Launceston.'

"'Oh, you are a runaway foremast hand are you?  Then you know
something about work on board ship.'  He then put questions to me
about the work of a seaman, making sail, and reefing, about masts,
yards, and rigging, and finished by telling me to box a compass.  I
passed my examination pretty well, and he told me to send in the
other fellow.  He put Jonathan through his sea-catechism in the same
way, and then said we could have supper and a shake-down for the
night.

"After supper the young lady sat near the kitchen fire sewing, and
Jonathan took a chair near her and began a conversation.  He said:

"I must beg pardon for having ventured to address you as 'my dear,'
on so short an acquaintance, but I hope you will forgive my boldness.
Fact is, I felt quite attached to you at first sight.'  And so on.
If there was one thing that Jonathan could do better than another it
was talking.  The lady was at first very prim and reserved; but she
soon began to listen, smiled, and even tittered.  A little boy about
two years old came in and stood near the fire.  Having nothing else
to do, I took him on my knee, and set him prattling until we were
very good friends.  Then an idea came into my head.  I said:

"'I guess, Jonathan, this little kid is about the same age as your
youngest boy in Boston, ain't he?'

"Of course, Jonathan had no boy and was not married, but the sudden
change that came over that young lady was remarkable.  She gave
Jonathan a look of fury, jumped up from her seat, snatched up her
sewing, and bounced out of the kitchen.  The old man came in, and
told us to come along, and he would show us our bunks.  We thought he
was a little queer, but he seemed uncommonly kind and anxious to make
us comfortable for the night.  He took us to a hut very strongly
built with heavy slabs, left us a lighted candle, and bade us
good-night.  After he closed the door we heard him put a padlock on
it; he was a kindly old chap, and did not want anybody to disturb us
during the night, and we soon fell fast asleep.  Next morning he came
early and called us to breakfast.  He stayed with us all the time,
and when we had eaten, said:

"'Well, have you had a good breakfast?'

"Jonathan spoke:

"'Yes, old man, we have.  You are a gentleman; you have done yourself
proud, and we are thankful, ain't we, Jack?  You are the best and
kindest old man we've met since we sailed from Boston.  And now I
think it's time we made tracks for Launceston.  By-bye, Captain.
Come along, Jack.'

"'No you won't, my fine coves,' replied the captain.  'You'll go back
to Hobarton, and join your ship if you have one, which I don't
believe.  You can't humbug an old salt like me.  You are a pair of
runaway convicts, and I'll give you in charge as sich.  Here,
constables, put the darbies on 'em, and take 'em back to Hobarton.'

"Two men who had been awaiting orders outside the door now entered,
armed with carbines, produced each a pair of handcuffs, and came
towards us.  But Jonathan drew back a step or two, clenched his big
fists, and said:

"'No, you don't.  If this is your little game, captain, all I have to
say is, you are the darndest double-faced old cuss on this side of
perdition.  You can shoot me if you like, but neither you nor the
four best men in Van Diemen's Land can put them irons on me.  I am a
free citizen of the Great United States, and a free man I'll be or
die.  I'll walk back to Hobarton, if you like, with these men, for I
guess that greasy old whaler has gone to sea again by this time, and
we'll get another ship there as well as at Launceston.'

"Captain Massey did not like to venture on shooting us off-hand, so
at last he told the constables to put up their handcuffs and start
with us for Hobarton.

"After we had travelled awhile Jonathan cooled down and began to talk
to the constables.  He asked them how they liked the island, how long
they had been in it, if it was a good country for farming, how they
were getting along, and what pay they got for being constables.  One
of them said:  'The island is pretty good in parts, but it's too
mountaynyus; we ain't getting along at all, and we won't have much
chance to do any good until our time is out.'

"'What on airth do you mean by saying "until you time is out?"  Ain't
your time your own?' asked Jonathan.

"'No, indeed.  I see you don't understand.  We are Government men,
and we ain't done our time.  We were sent out from England.'

"'Oh!  you were sent out, were you?  Now, I see, that means you are
penitentiary men, and ought to be in gaol.  Jack, look here.  This
kind of thing will never do.  You and me are two honest citizens of
the United States, and here we are, piloted through Van Diemen's Land
by two convicts, and Britishers at that.  This team has got to be
changed right away.'

"He seized both carbines and handed them to me; then he handcuffed
the constables, who were so taken aback they never said a word.  Then
Jonathan said, 'This is training day.  Now, march.'

"The constables walked in front, me and Jonathan behind, shouldering
the guns.  In this way we marched until we sighted Hobarton, but the
two convicts were terribly afraid to enter the city as prisoners;
they said they were sure to be punished, would most likely be sent
into a chain gang, and would soon be strangled in the barracks at
night for having been policemen.  We could see they were really
afraid, so we took off the handcuffs and gave them back the carbines.

"Before entering the city we found that the whaler had left the
harbour, and felt sure we would not be detained long, as nothing
could be proved against us.  When we were brought before the beak
Jonathan told our story, and showed several letters he had received
from Boston, so he was discharged.  But I had nothing to show; they
knew I was an Irishman, and the police asked for a remand to prove
that I was a runaway convict.  I was kept three weeks in gaol, and
every time I was brought to court Jonathan was there.  He said he
would not go away without me.  The police could find out nothing
against me, so, at last, they let me go.  We went aboard the first
vessel bound for Melbourne, and, when sail was made, I went up to the
cross-trees and cursed Van Diemen's Land as long as I could see it.
Jonathan took ship for the States, but I went shepherding, and grew
so lazy that if my stick dropped to the ground I wouldn't bend my
back to pick it up.  But when I heard of the diggings, I woke up,
humped my swag, and ran away--I was always man enough for that--
and I don't intend to shepherd again."

When Philip returned from his excursion down the gully, he gave me a
detailed report of the results and said, "Gold mining is remarkable
for two things, one certain, the other uncertain.  The certain thing
is labour, the uncertain thing is gold."  This information staggered
me, so I replied, "Those two things will have to wait till morning.
Let us boil the billy."  Our spirits were not very high when we began
work next day.

We slept under our small calico tent, and our cooking had to be done
outside.  Sometimes it rained, and then we had to kindle a fire with
stringy bark under an umbrella   The umbrella was mine--the only
one I ever saw on the diggings.  Some men who thought they were witty
made observations about it, but I stuck to it all the same.  No man
could ever laugh me out of a valuable property.

We lived principally on beef steak, tea, and damper.  Philip cut his
bread and beef with his bowie knife as long as it lasted.  Every man
passing by could see that we were formidable, and ready to defend our
gold to the death--when we got it.  But the bowie was soon useless;
it got a kink in the middle, and a curl at the point, and had no edge
anywhere.  It was good for nothing but trade.

A number of our shipmates had put up tents in the neighbourhood, and
at night we all gathered round the camp fire to talk and smoke away
our misery.  One, whose name I forget, was a journalist,
correspondent for the 'Nonconformist'.  Scott was an artist, Harrison
a mechanical engineer.  Doran a commercial traveller, Moran an
ex-policeman, Beswick a tailor, Bernie a clogger.  The first lucky
digger we saw, after Picaninny Jack, came among us one dark night; he
came suddenly, head foremost, into our fire, and plunged his hands
into the embers.  We pulled him out, and then two other men came up.
They apologised for the abrupt entry of their mate.  They said he was
a lucky digger, and they were his friends and fellow-countrymen.  A
lucky digger could find friends anywhere, from any country, without
looking for them, especially if he was drunk, as was this stranger.
They said he had travelled from Melbourne with a pack horse, and,
near Mount Alexander, he saw a woman picking up something or other on
the side of a hill.  She might be gathering flowers, but he could not
see any.  He stopped and watched her for a while and then went
nearer.  She did not take any notice of him, so he thought the poor
thing had been lost in the bush, and had gone cranky.  He pitied her,
and said:

"My good woman, have you lost anything?  Could I help you to look for it?"

"I am not your good woman, and I have not lost anything; so I don't
want anybody to help me to look for it."

He was now quite sure she was cranky.  She stooped and picked up
something, but he could not see what it was.  He began to look on the
ground, and presently he found a bright little nugget of gold.  Then
he knew what kind of flowers the woman was gathering.  Without a word
he took his horse to the foot of the hill, hobbled it, and took off
his swag.  He went up the hill again, filled his pan with earth, and
washed it off at the nearest waterhole.  He had struck it rich; the
hill-side was sprinkled with gold, either on the surface or just
below it.  For two weeks there were only two parties at work on that
hill, parties of one, but they did not form a partnership.  The woman
came every day, picking and scratching like an old hen, and went away
at sundown.

When the man went away he took with him more than a hundredweight of
gold.  He was worth looking at, so we put more wood on the fire, and
made a good blaze.  Yes, he was a lucky digger, and he was enjoying
his luck.  He was blazing drunk, was in evening dress, wore a black
bell-topper, and kid gloves.  The gloves had saved his hands from
being burned when he thrust them into the fire.  There could be no
doubt that he was enjoying himself.  He came suddenly out of the
black night, and staggered away into it again with his two friends.

One forenoon, about ten o'clock, while we were busy, peacefully
digging and puddling, we heard a sound like the rumbling of distant
thunder from the direction of Bendigo flat.  The thunder grew louder
until it became like the bellowing of ten thousand bulls.  It was the
welcome accorded by the diggers to our "trusty and well-beloved"
Government when it came forth on a digger hunt.  It was swelled by
the roars, and cooeys, and curses of every man above ground and
below, in the shafts and drives on the flats, and in the tunnels of
the White Hills, from Golden Gully and Sheep's Head, to Job's Gully
and Eaglehawk, until the warning that "Joey's out" had reached to the
utmost bounds of the goldfield.

There was a strong feeling amongst the diggers that the license fee
of thirty shillings per month was excessive, and this feeling was
intensified by the report that it was the intention of the Government
to double the amount.  As a matter of fact, by far the larger number
of claims yielded no gold at all, or not enough to pay the fee.  The
hatred of the hunted diggers made it quite unsafe to send out a small
number of police and soldiers, so there came forth at irregular
intervals a formidable body of horse and foot, armed with carbines,
swords, and pistols.

This morning they marched rapidly along the track towards the White
Hills, but wheeling to the left up the bluff they suddenly appeared
at the head of Picaninny Gully.  Mounted men rode down each side of
the gully as fast as the nature of the ground would permit, for it
was then honeycombed with holes, and encumbered with the trunks and
stumps of trees, especially on the eastern side.  They thus managed
to hem us in like prisoners of war, and they also overtook some
stragglers hurrying away to right and left.  Some of these had
licenses in their pockets, and refused to stop or show them until
they were actually arrested.  It was a ruse of war.  They ran away as
far as possible among the holes and logs, in order to draw off the
cavalry, make them break their ranks, and thus to give a chance to
the unlicensed to escape or to hide themselves.  The police on foot,
armed with carbines and accompanied by officers, next came down the
centre of the gully, and every digger was asked to show his license.
I showed that of William Matthews.

It was not that the policy of William Patterson was tried and found
wanting.  He was at work on his claim a little below mine, and
knowing he had no license, I looked at him to see how he would behave
in the face of the enemy.  He had stopped working, and was walking in
the direction of his tent, with head bowed down as ifin search of
something he had lost.  He disappeared in his tent, which was a large
one, and had, near the opening, a chimney built up with ironstone
boulders and clay.  But the police had seen him; he was followed,
found hiding in the corner of his chimney, arrested, and placed among
the prisoners who were then halted near my tub.  Immediately behind
Patterson, and carrying a carbine on his shoulder, stood a well-known
shipmate named Joynt, whom poverty had compelled to join the enemy.
He would willingly have allowed his friend and prisoner to escape,
but no chance of doing so occurred, and long after dark Patterson
approached our camp fire, a free man, but hungry, tired, and full of
bitterness.  He had been forced to march along the whole day like a
convicted felon, with an ever-increasing crowd of prisoners, had been
taken to the camp at nightfall and made to pay 6 pounds 10s.--viz.,
a fine of 5 pounds and 1 pound 10s. for a license.

The feelings of William Patterson, and of thousands of other diggers,
were outraged, and they burned for revenge.  A roll-up was called,
and three public meetings were held on three successive Saturday
afternoons, on a slight eminence near the Government camp.  The
speakers addressed the diggers from a wagon.  Some advocated armed
resistance.  It was well known that many men, French, German, and
even English, were on the diggings who had taken part in the
revolutionary outbreak of '48, and that they were eager to have
recourse to arms once more in the cause of liberty.  But the majority
advocated the trial of a policy of peace, at least to begin with.  A
final resolution was passed by acclamation that a fee of ten
shillings a month should be offered, and if not accepted, no fee
whatever was to be paid.

It was argued that if the diggers stood firm, it would be impossible
for the few hundreds of soldiers and police to arrest and keep in
custody nearly twenty thousand men.  If an attempt was made to take
us all to gaol, digger-hunting would have to be suspended, the
revenue would dwindle to nothing, and Government would be starved
out.  It was, in fact, no Government at all; it was a mere assemblage
of armed men sent to rob us, not to protect us; each digger had to do
that for himself.

Next day, Sunday, I walked through the diggings, and observed the
words "No License Here" pinned or pasted outside every tent, and
during the next month only about three hundred licenses were taken
out, instead of the fourteen or fifteen thousand previously issued,
the digger-hunting was stopped, and a license-fee of forty shillings
for three months was substituted for that of thirty shillings per
month.

II.

As no man who had a good claim would be willing to run the risk of
losing it, the number of licenses taken out after the last meeting
would probably represent the number of really lucky diggers then at
work on Bendigo, viz., three hundred more or less, and of the three
hundred I don't think our gully could boast of one.  All were finding
a little gold, but even the most fortunate were not making more than
"tucker."  By puddling eight tubs of washdirt I found that we could
obtain about one pound's worth of gold each per day; but this was
hardly enough to keep hope alive.  The golden hours flew over us, but
they did not send down any golden showers.  I put the little that
fell to my share into a wooden match-box, which I carried in my
pocket.  I knew it would hold twelve ounces--if I could get so much
--and looked into it daily and shook the gold about to see if I were
growing rich.

It was impossible to feel jolly, and I could see that Philip was
discontented.  He had never been accustomed to manual labour; he did
not like being exposed to the cold winds, to the frost or rain, with
no shelter except that afforded by our small tent.  While at work we
were always dirty, and often wet; and after we had passed a miserable
night, daylight found us shivering, until warmth came with hard work.
One morning Philip lost his temper; his only hat was soaked with
rain, and his trousers, shirt, and boots were stiff with clay.  He
put a woollen comforter on his head in lieu of the hat.  The
comforter was of gaudy colours, and soon attracted public attention.
A man down the gully said:

"I obsarved yesterday we had young Ireland puddling up here, and I
persave this morning we have an Italian bandit or a Sallee rover at
work among us."

Every digger looked at Philip, and he fell into a sudden fury; you
might have heard him at the first White Hill.

"Yesterday I heard a donkey braying down the gully, and this morning
he is braying again."

"Oh! I see," replied the Donkey.  "We are in a bad temper this morning."

Father Backhaus was often seen walking with long strides among the
holes and hillocks on Bendigo Flat or up and down the gullies, on a
visit to some dying digger, for Death would not wait until we had all
made our pile.  His messengers were going around all the time;
dysentery, scurvy, or fever; and the priest hurried after them.
Sometimes he was too late; Death had entered the tent before him.

He celebrated Mass every Sunday in a tent made of drugget, and
covered with a calico fly.  His presbytery, sacristy, confessional,
and school were all of similar materials, and of small dimensions.
There was not room in the church for more than thirty or forty
persons; there were no pews, benches, or chairs.  Part of the
congregation consisted of soldiers from the camp, who had come up
from Melbourne to shoot us if occasion required.  Six days of the
week we hated them and called "Joey" after them, but on the seventh
day we merely glared at them, and let them pass in silence.  They
were sleek and clean, and we were gaunt as wolves, with scarcely a
clean shirt among us.  Philip, especially hated them as enemies of
his country, and the more so because they were his countrymen, all
but one, who was a black man.

The people in and around the church were not all Catholics.  I saw a
man kneeling near me reading the Book of Common Prayer of the Church
of England; there was also a strict Presbyterian, to whom I spoke
after Mass.  He said the priest did not preach with as much energy as
the ministers in Scotland.  And yet I thought Father Backhaus' sermon
had that day been "powerful," as the Yankees would say.  He preached
from the top of a packing case in front of the tent.  The audience
was very numerous, standing in close order to the distance of
twenty-five or thirty yards under a large gum tree.

The preacher spoke with a German accent, but his meaning was plain.

He said:

"My dear brethren' 'Beatus ille qui post aurum non abiit'.  Blessed
is the man who has not gone after gold, nor put his trust in money or
treasures.  You will never earn that blessing, my dear brethren.  Why
are you here?  You have come from every corner of the world to look
for gold.  You think it is a blessing, but when you get it, it is
often a curse.  You go what you call 'on the spree'; you find the
'sly grog'; you get drunk and are robbed of your gold; sometimes you
are murdered; or you fall into a hole and are killed, and you go to
hell dead drunk.  Patrick Doyle was here at Mass last Sunday; he was
then a poor digger.  Next day he found gold, 'struck it rich,' as you
say; then he found the grog also and brought it to his tent.
Yesterday he was found dead at the bottom of his golden shaft, and he
was buried in the graveyard over there near the Government camp."

My conscience was quite easy when the sermon was finished.  It would
be time enough for me to take warning from the fate of Paddy Doyle
when I had made my pile.  Let the lucky diggers beware!  I was not
one of them.

After we had been at work a few weeks, Father Backhaus, before
stepping down from the packing-case, said:

"I want someone to teach in a school; if there is anyone here willing
to do so, I should like to see him after Mass."

I was looking round for Philip among the crowd when he came up, eager
and excited.

"I am thinking of going in to speak to the priest about that school,"
he said.  "Would you have any objection?  You know we are doing no
good in the gully, but I won't leave itif you think I had better not."

Philip was honourable; he would not dissolve our short partnership,
and leave me alone unless I was quite willing to let him go.

"Have you ever kept school before?"

"No, never.  But I don't think the teaching will give me much
trouble.  There can't be many children around here, and I can surely
teach them A B C and the Catechism."

Although I thought he had not given fortune a fair chance to bless
us, he looked so wistful and anxious that I had not the heart to say
no.  Philip went into the tent, spoke to the priest, and became a
schoolmaster.  I was then a solitary "hatter."

Next day a man came up the gully with a sack on his back with
something in it which he had found in a shaft.  He thought the shaft
had not been dug down to the bedrock, and he would bottom it.  He
bottomed on a corpse.  The claim had been worked during the previous
summer by two men.  One morning there was only one man on it; he said
his mate had gone to Melbourne, but he had in fact killed him during
the night, and dropped him down the hole.  The police never hunted
out that murderer; they were too busy hunting us.

I was not long alone.  A beggarly looking young man came a few days
later, and said:

"I hear you have lost your mate Philip, and my mates have all gone
away and taken the tent with them; so I want to ask you to let me
stay in your tent until I can look round a bit."

This young man's name was David Beswick, but he was known simply as
"Bez."  He was a harmonious tailor from Manchester; he played the
violoncello, also the violin; had a good tenor voice, and a talent
for the drama.  He, and a man named Santley from Liverpool, had taken
leading parts in our plays and concerts on shipboard.  Scott, the
artist, admired Bez; he said he had the head, the features, and the
talent of a Shakespeare.  He had a sketch of Bez in his portfolio,
which he was filling with crooked trees, common diggers, and ugly
blackamoors.  I could see no Shakespeare in Bez; he was nothing but a
dissipated tailor who had come out in the steerage, while I had
voyaged in the house on deck.  I was, therefore, a superior person,
and looked down on the young man, who was seated on a log near the
fire, one leg crossed over the other, and slowly stroking his
Elizabethan beard.  I said:

"Yes, Philip has left me, but I don't want any partner.  I understand
you are a tailor by trade, and I don't think much of a tailor."

"Well," replied Bez, "I don't think much of him myself, so I have
dropped the business.  I am now a sailor.  You know yourself I sailed
from Liverpool to Melbourne, and, anyhow, there's only the difference
of a letter between a tailor and a sailor."

There was a flaw somewhere in the argument, but I only said, "'Valeat
quantum valere potest.'"  Bez looked solemn; a little Latin goes a
long way with some people.  He was an object of charity, and I made
him feel it.

"In the first place this tent is teetotal.  No grog is to come inside
it.  There is to be no mining partnership.  You can keep all the gold
you get, and I shall do the same.  You must keep all trade secrets,
and never confess you are a tailor.  I could never hold up my head
among the diggers if they should discover that my mate was only the
ninth part of a man.  You must carry to the tent a quantity of clay
and rocks sufficient to build a chimney, of which I shall be the
architect.  You will also pay for your own tucker, chop wood, make
the fire, fetch water, and boil the billy."  Bez promised solemnly to
abide by these conditions, and then I allowed him to deposit his swag
in the tent.

The chimney was built in three days, and we could then defy the
weather, and dispense with the umbrella.  Bez performed his part of
the contract well.  He adopted a rolling gait and the frown of a
pirate; he swore naval oaths strong enough to still a hurricane.
Among his digging outfit was a huge pick; it was a two-man pick, and
he carried it on his shoulder to suggest his enormous strength.  He
threw tailordom to the winds; when a rent appeared in his trousers he
closed it with pins, disdaining the use of the needle, until he
became so ragged that I ordered him into dock for repairs.

One day in passing Philip's school I peeped in at the flap of the
tent.  He had already acquired the awe-inspiring look of the
schoolmaster.  He was teaching a class of little boys, whose
wandering eyes were soon fixed on my face, and then Philip saw me.
He smiled and blushed, and came outside.  He said he was getting
along capitally, and did not want to try digging any more.  He had
obtained a small treatise called "The Twelve Virtues of a Good
Master," and he was studying it daily in order to qualify himself for
his new calling.  He had undertaken to demonstrate one of Euclid's
propositions every night by way of exercising his reasoning
faculties.  He was also making new acquaintances amongst men who were
not diggers--doctors, storekeepers, and the useful blacksmiths who
pointed our picks with steel.  He had also two or three friends at
the Governmnt camp, and I felt inclined to look upon him as a traitor
to the diggers' cause but although he had been a member of the party
of Young Irelanders, he was the most innocent traitor and the poorest
conspirator I ever heard of.  He could keep nothing from me.  If he
had been a member of some secret society, he would have burst up the
secret, or the secret would have burst him.

He had some friends among the diggers.  The big gum tree in front of
the church tent soon became a kind of trysting place on Sundays, at
which men could meet with old acquaintances and shipmates, and
convicts could find old pals.  Amongst the crowd one Sunday were five
men belonging to a party of six from Nyalong; the sixth man was at
home guarding the tent.  Four of the six were Irish Catholics, and
they came regularly to Mass every Sunday; the other two were
Englishmen, both convicts, of no particular religion, but they had
married Catholic immigrants, and sometimes went to church, but more
out of pastime than piety.  One of these men, known as John Barton--
he had another name in the indents--stood under the gum tree, but
not praying; I don't think he ever thought of praying except the need
of it was extreme.  He was of medium height, had a broad face, snub
nose, stood erect like a soldier, and was strongly built.  His small
ferrety eyes were glancing quickly among the faces around him until
they were arrested by another pair of eyes at a short distance.  The
owner of the second pair of eyes nudged two other men standing by,
and then three pairs of eyes were fixed on Barton.  He was not a
coward, but something in the expression of the three men cowed him
completely.  He turned his head and lowered it, and began to push his
way among the crowd to hide himself.  After Mass, Philip found him in
his tent, and suspecting that he was a thief put his hand on a
medium-sized Colt's revolver, which he had exchanged for his duelling
pistols, and said:

"Well, my friend, and what are you doing here?"

"For God's sake speak low," whispered Barton.  "I came in here to
hide.  There are three men outside who want to kill me."

"Three men who want to kill you, eh?  Do you expect me to believe
that anybody among the crowd there would murder you in broad
daylight?  My impression is, my friend, that you are a sneaking
thief, and that you came here to look for gold.  I'll send a man to
the police to come and fetch you, and if you stir a step I'll shoot
you."

"For goodness' sake, mate, keep quiet. I am not a burglar, not now at
any rate.  I'll tell you the truth.  I was a Government flagellator,
a flogger, you know, on the Sydney side, and I flogged those three
men.  Couldn't help it, it was my business to do it.  I know they are
looking for me, and they will follow me and take the first chance to
murder me.  They are most desperate characters.  One of them was
insubordinate when he was assigned servant to a squatter, and the
squatter, who was on horseback, gave him a cut with his stockwhip.
Then this man jumped at his master, pulled him off his horse, dragged
him to the wood-heap, held his head on the block, seized the axe, and
was just going to chop his master's head off, when another man
stopped him.  That is what I had to flog him for, and then he was
sent back to Sydney.  So you can just think what a man like that
would do.  When my time was up I went as a trooper to the Nyalong
district under Captain Foster, the Commissioner, and after a while I
settled down and married an immigrant woman from Tipperary, a
Catholic.  That's the way I happened to be here at Mass with my
mates, who are Catholics; but I'll never do it again; it's as much as
my life is worth.  I daresay there are lots of men about Bendigo whom
I flogged while I was in the business, and every single man-jack of
them would kill me if he got the chance.  And so for goodness' sake
let me stay here till dark.  I suppose you are an honest man; you
look like it anyway, and you would not want to see me murdered, now,
would you?"

Barton was, in fact, as great a liar and rogue as you would meet with
anywhere, but in extreme cases he would tell the truth, and the
present case was an extreme one.  Philip was merciful; he allowed
Barton to remain in his tent all day, and gave him his dinner.  When
darkness came he escorted him to the tent of the men from Nyalong,
and was introduced to them by his new friend.  Their names were
Gleeson, Poynton, Lyons, and two brothers McCarthy.  One of these men
was brother-in-law to Barton, and had been a fellow-trooper with him
under Captain Foster.  Barton had entered into family relations as an
honest man; he could give himself any character he chose until he was
found out.  He was too frightened to stay another night on Bendigo,
and he began at once to bundle up his swag.  Gleeson and Poynton
accompanied him for some distance beyond the pillar of white quartz
on Specimen Hill, and then he left the track and struck into the
bush.  Fear winged his feet' he arrived safely at Nyalong, and never
went to another rush.  The other five then stayed on Bendigo for
several weeks longer, and when they returned home their gold was
sufficient for a dividend of 700 pounds for each man.  Four of them
bought farms, one kept a store, and Barton rented some land.  Philip
met them again when he was promoted to the school at Nyalong, and
they were his firm friends as long as he lived there.

I went to various rushes to improve my circumstances.  Once I was
nearly shot.  A bullet whizzed past my head, and lodged in the trunk
of a stringy bark a little further on.  That was the only time in my
life I was under fire, and I got from under it as quickly as
possible.  Once I went to a rush of Maoris, near Job's Gully, and
Scott came along with his portfolio, a small pick, pan, and shovel.
He did not dig any, but got the ugliest Maori he could find to sit on
a pile of dirt while he took his portrait and sketched the tattoos.
That spoiled the rush; every man, black and white, crowded around
Scott while he was at work with his pencil, and then every single
savage shook hands with him, and made signs to have his tattoos
taken, they were so proud of their ugliness.  They were all naked to
the waist.

Near the head of Sheep's Head Gully, Jack Moore and I found the cap
of a quartz reef with visible gold in it.  We broke up some of it,
but could not make it pay, having no quartz-crushing machinery.
Golden Gully was already nearly worked out, but I got a little gold
in it which was flaky, and sticking on edge in the pipeclay bottom.
I found some gold also in Sheep's Head, and then we heard of a rush
on the Goulburn River.  Next day we offered our spare mining plant
for sale on the roadside opposite Specimen Hill, placing the tubs,
cradles, picks and spades all in a row.  Bez was the auctioneer.  He
called out aloud, and soon gathered a crowd, which he fascinated by
his eloquence.  The bidding was spirited, and every article was sold,
even Bez's own two-man pick, which would break the heart of a Samson
to wield it.

When we left Bendigo, Bez, Birnie, Dan, Scott, and Moses were of the
party, and a one-horse cart carried our baggage.  When we came to a
swamp we carried the baggage over it on our backs, and then helped
the horse to draw the empty cart along.  Our party increased in
number by the way, especially after we met with a dray carrying kegs
of rum.

Before reaching the new rush, afterwards known as Waranga, we
prospected some country about twenty miles from the Goulburn river.
Here Scott left us.  Before starting he called me aside, and told me
he was going to the Melbourne Hospital to undergo an operation.  He
had a tumour on one leg above the knee, for which he had been treated
in Dublin, and had been advised to come to Australia, in the hope
that a change of climate and occupation might be of benefit, but he
had already walked once from Bendigo to Melbourne, and now he was
obliged to go again.  He did not like to start without letting
someone know his reason for leaving us.  I felt full of pity for
Scott, for I thought he was going to his death alone in the bush, and
I asked him if he felt sure that he could find his way.  He showed me
his pocket compass and a map, and said he could make a straight
course for Melbourne.  He had always lived and worked alone, but
whenever we moved he accompanied us not wishing to be quite lost
amongst strangers.  He arrived at the hospital, but he never came out
of it alive.

Dan gave me his money to take care of while he and Bez were living on
rum from the dray, and I gave out as little cash as possible in order
to promote peace and sobriety.  One night Dan set fire to my tent in
order to rouse his banker.  I dragged Bez outside the tent and
extinguished the fire.  There was bloodshed afterwards--from Dan's
nose--and his account was closed.  After a while some policemen in
plain clothes came along and examined the dray.  They found fourteen
kegs of rum in it, which they seized, together with four horses and
the dray.

I worked for seven months in various parts of the Ovens district
until I had acquired the value in gold of my vanished twenty-dollar
pieces; that was all my luck.  During this time some of us paid the
£2 license fee for three months.  We were not hunted by the military.
Four or five troopers and officials rode slowly about the diggings
and the cry of "Joey" was never raised, while a single unarmed
constable on foot went amongst the claims to inspect licenses.  He
stayed with us awhile, talking about digging matters.  He said the
police were not allowed to carry carbines now, because a digger had
been accidentally shot.  He was a very civil fellow, and his price,
if I remember rightly was half-a-crown.  Yet the digger hunting was
continued at Ballarat until it ended in the massacre of December 3rd
1854.

At that time I was at Colac, and while Dr. Ignatius was absent, I had
the charge of his household, which consisted of one old convict known
as "Specs," who acted in the capacity of generally useless, received
orders most respectfully, but forgot them as much as possible.  He
was a man of education who had gone astray in London, and had fallen
on evil days in Queensland and Sydney.  When alone in  the kitchen he
consoled himself with curses.  I could hear his voice from the other
side of the slabs.  He cursed me, he cursed the Doctor, he cursed the
horses, the cat, the dog, and the whole world and everything in it.
It was impossible to feel anything but pity for the man, for his life
was ruined, and he had ruined it himself.  I had also under my care a
vegetable garden, a paddock of Cape barley, two horses, some guinea
fowls, and a potato patch.  One night the potatoes had been
bandicooted.  To all the early settlers in the bush the bandicoot is
well known.  It is a marsupial quadruped which lives on bulbs, and
ravages potato patches.  It is about eighteen inches in length from
the origin of its tail to the point of its nose.  It has the habits
of a pickpocket.  It inserts its delicate fore paws under the stalks
of the potato, and pulls out the tubers.  That morning I had
endeavoured to dig some potatoes; the stalks were there, but the
potatoes were gone.  I stopped to think, and examined the ground.  I
soon discovered tracks of the bandicoot, but they had taken the shape
of a small human foot.  We had no small human feet about our
premises, but at the other side of the fence there was a bark hut
full of them.  I turned toward the hut suspiciously, and saw the
bandicoot sitting on a top-rail, watching me, and dangling her feet
to and fro.  She wore towzled red hair, a short print frock, and a
look of defiance.  I went nearer to inspect her bandicoot feet.  Then
she openly defied me, and said:

"You need not look so fierce, mister.  I have as much right to sit on
this rail as you have."

"Lilias," I replied, "you won't sit there long.  You bandicooted my
potatoes last night, and you've left the marks of your dirty feet on
the ground.  The police are coming to measure your feet, and then
they will take you to the lock-up."

I gazed across the barley paddock for the police, and Lilias looked
as well.  There was a strange man approaching rapidly, and the
bandicoot's courage collapsed.  She slid from the fence, took to
flight, and disappeared among the tussocks near the creek.

The stranger did not go to the garden gate, but stood looking over
the fence.  He said:  "Is Dr. Ignatius at home?"

"No, he is away somewhere about Fiery Creek, and I don't think he'll
return until Saturday."

The stranger hung down his head and was silent.  He was a young man
of small frame, well dressed for those days, but he had o luggage.
He looked so miserable that I pitied him.  He was like a hunted
animal.  I said:

"Are you a friend of Dr. Ignatius?"

"Yes, he knows me well.  My name is Carr; I have come from Ballarat."

"I knew various men had left Ballarat.  One had arrived in Geelong on
December 4th, and had consulted Dr. Walshe about a bullet between his
knuckles, another was hiding in a house at Chilwell.*  He had lost
one arm, and the Government were offering 400 pounds for him, so he
took outdoor exercise only by night, disguised in an Inverness cape.

"There was a chance for me to hear exciting news from the lips of a
warrior fresh from the field of battle, so I said:

"If you would like to stay here until the doctor returns you will
be welcome."

*[Footnote]  Peter Lalor.

He was my guest for four days.  He said that he went out with the
military on the morning of December 3rd, and was the first surgeon
who entered the Eureka Stockade after the fight was over.  He found
twelve men dead in it, and twelve more mortally wounded.  This was
about all the information he vouchsafed to give me.  I was anxious
for particulars.  I wanted to know what arms he carried to the fray,
whether he touched up his sword on the grind-stone before sallying
forth, how many men or women he had called upon to stand in the name
of her gracious Majesty Queen Victoria, how many skulls he had
cloven, how many diggers he had "slewed," and how many peaceful
prisoners he had brought back to the Government camp.  On all these
points he was silent, and during his stay with me he spoke as little
as possible,  neither reading, writing, nor walking about.  But there
was something to be learned from the papers.  He had been a witness
at the inquest on Scobie, killed by Bentley and two others, and
principally on his evidence Bentley was discharged, but was
afterwards re-arrested and condemned to three years' imprisonment.
Dr. Carr was regarded as a "colluding associate" with Bentley and
Dewes, the magistrate, and the official condemnation of Dewes
confirmed the popular denunciation of them.  At a dinner given to Mr.
Tarleton, the American Consul, Dr. Otway, the Chairman said:

"While I and my fellow-colonists are thoroughly loyal to our
Sovereign Lady, the Queen, we do not, and will not, respect her men
servants, her maid servants, her oxen, or her asses."

A Commission was coming to Ballarat to report on wrong doings there,
and they were looking for witnesses.  On Friday, December 8th, the
camp surgeon and Dr. Carr had a narrow escape from being shot.  While
the former gentleman was entering the hospital he was fired at by one
of the sentries.  The ball passed close to the shoulder of Dr. Carr,
who was reading inside, went through the lid of the open medicine
chest, and some splinters struck him on the side.  There were in the
hospital at that time seven diggers seriously wounded and six
soldiers, including the drummer boy.  Troubles were coming in crowds,
and the bullet, the splinters, and the Commission put the little
doctor to flight.  He left the seven diggers, the five soldiers, and
the drummer boy in the hospital, and made straight for Colac.  Fear
dogged his footsteps wherever he went, and the mere sight of him had
sent the impudent thief Lilias to hide behind the tussocks.

I always hate a man who won't talk to me and tell me things, and the
doctor was so silent and unsociable, that, by way of revenge, I left
him to the care and curses of old "Specs."

After four days he departed, and he appeared again at Ballarat on
January 15th, giving evidence at an inquest on one Hardy, killed by a
gunshot wound.  In the meantime a total change had taken place among
the occupants of the Government camp.  Commissioner Rede had retired,
Dr. Williams, the coroner, and the district surgeons had received
notice to quit in twenty-four hours, and they left behind them
twenty-four patients in and around the camp hospital.

Dr. Carr left the colony, and the next report about him was from
Manchester, where he made a wild and incoherent speech to the crowd
at the Exchange.  His last public appearance was in a police-court on
a charge of lunacy.  He was taken away by his friends, and what
became of him afterwards is not recorded.

Doctors, when there is a dearth of patients, sometimes take to war,
and thus succeed in creating a "practice."  Occasionally they meet
with disaster, of which we can easily call to mind instances, both
ancient and modern.


III.

Diggers do not often turn their eyes heavenwards; their treasure does
not lie in that direction.  But one night I saw Bez star-gazing.

"Do you know the names of any of the stars in this part of the roof?"
I asked.

"I can't make out many of the Manchester stars," he replied.  "I knew
a few when I was a boy, but there was a good deal of fog and smoke,
and latterly I have not looked up that way much; but I can spot a few
of them yet, I think."

Bez was a rather prosy poet, and his eye was not in a fine frenzy rolling.

"Let me see," he said; "that's the north; Charles' Wain and the North
Pole ought to be there, but they have gone down somewhere.  There are
the Seven Stars--I never could make 'em seven; if there ever were
that number one of 'em has dropped out.  And there's Orion; he has
somehow slipped up to the north, and is standing on his head, heels
uppermost.  There are the two stars in his heels, two on his
shoulders, three in his belt, and three in his sword.  There is the
Southern Cross; we could never see that in our part of England, nor
those two silvery clouds, nor the two black holes.  They look
curious, don't they?  I suppose the two clouds are the Gates of
Heaven, and the two black spots the Gates of Hell, the doors of
eternity.  Which way shall we go?  That's the question."

The old adage is still quite true--'coelum non animum mutant qui
trans mare currunt'.  When a young gentleman in England takes to
idleness and grog, and disgraces his family, he is provided with a
passage to Australia, in order that he may become a reformed
prodigal; but the change of climate does not effect a reform; it
requires something else.

Dan in Glasgow and Bez in Manchester had both been given to drink too
much.  They came to Victoria to acquire the virtue of temperance, and
they were sober enough when they had no money.

Dan told me that when he awoke after his first week at sea, he sat
every day on the topgallant forecastle thinking over his past
wickedness, watching the foam go by, and continually tempted to
plunge into it.

After the rum, the dray, and the four horses were seized by the
police.  Dan and Bez grew sober, and went to Reid's Creek, passing me
at work on Spring Creek.  They came back as separate items.  Dan
called at my tent, and I gave him a meal of damper, tea, and jam.  He
ate the whole of the jam, which cost me 2s. 6d. per pound.   He then
humped his swag and started for Melbourne.  On his way through the
township, since named Beechworth, he took a drink of liquor which
disabled him, and he lay down by the roadside using an ant-hill for a
pillow.  He awoke at daylight covered with ants, which were stinging
and eating him alive.

Some days later Bez came along, passed my tent for a mile, and then
came back.  He said he was ashamed of himself.  I gave him also a
feed of damper, tea, and jam limited.  Dan had made me cautious in
the matter of lavish hospitality.  The Earl of Lonsdale lately spent
fifty thousand pounds in entertaining the Emperor of Germany, but it
was money thrown away.  The next time the Kaiser comes to
Westmoreland he will have to pay for his board and buy his preserves.
Bez made a start for Melbourne, met an old convict, and with him took
a job at foot-rotting sheep on a station owned by a widow lady.  Here
he passed as an engraver in reduced circumstances.  He told lies so
well, that the convict was filled with admiration, and said, "I'm
sure, mate, you're a flash covey wot's done his time in the island."

The two chums foot-rotted until they had earned thirty shillings
each, then they went away and got drunk at a roadside shanty; at
least, Bez did, and when the convict picked his pockets, he kindly
put back three shillings and sixpence, saying, "That will give him
another start on the wallaby track."

Bez at last arrived at Flagstaff Hill, which was then bare, with a
sand-hole on one side of it.  He had had nothing to eat for
twenty-four hours, and had only one shilling and sixpence in his
pocket, which he was loath to spend for fear of arriving in Melbourne
a complete beggar.  He lay down famishing and weary on the top of the
hill near Flagstaff, and surveyed the city, the bay, and the
shipping.  He had  hoped by this time to have been ready to take a
passage in one of those ships to Liverpool, and to return home a
lucky digger.  But he had only eighteen pence, so he said, "I am
afraid, Bez, you will never see Manchester again."

There was at that time a small frame building at the west end of
Flinders Street, with a hill behind it, on which goats were browsing;
the railway viaduct runs now over the exact spot.  Many parties of
hopeful diggers from England and California had slept there on the
floor the night before they started for Ballarat, Mount Alexander, or
Bendigo.  We called it a house of refuge, and Bez now looked for
refuge in it.  There he met Dan and Moran, who had both found
employment in the city, and they fed the hungry Bez.  Dan was
labouring at his trade in the building business, and he set Bez to
work roofing houses with corrugated iron.  They soon earned more
money than they had ever earned by digging for gold, but on Saturday
nights and Sundays they took their pleasure in the old style, and so
they went to the dogs.  I don't know how Dan's life ended (his real
name was Donald Fraser), but Bez died suddenly in the bar of a
public-house, and he was honoured with an inquest and a short
paragraph in the papers.

Moran had saved a hundred pounds by digging in Picaninny Gully, and
he was soon afterwards admitted to serve Her Majesty again in the
police department.  On the Sunday after Price was murdered by the
convicts at Williamstown I met Moran after Mass in the middle of
Lonsdale Street.  I reproached him for his baseness in deserting to
the enemy--Her Majesty, no less--and in self-defence he nearly
argued my head off.  At last I threatened to denounce him as a "Joey"
--he was in plain clothes--and have him killed by the crowd in the
street.  Nothing but death could silence Moran.  The rest of his
history is engraved on a monument in the Melbourne Cemetery; he, his
wife, and all his children died many years ago.--R.I.P.  He was
really a good man, with only one defect--most of us have many--he
was always trying to divide a hair 'twixt West and South-West side.

I met Santley after thirty years, sitting on a bench in front of the
"Travellers' Rest" at Alberton, in Gippsland.  He had a wrinkled old
face, and did not recognise my beautiful countenance until he heard
my name.  He had half-a-dozen little boys and girls around him--his
grandchildren, I believe--and was as happy as a king teaching them
to sing hymns.  I don't think Santley had grown rich, but he always
carried a fortune about with him wherever he went, viz., a kind heart
and a cheerful disposition.  Nobody could ever think of quarrelling
with Santlay any more than with George Coppin, or with that
benevolent bandmaster, Herr Plock.  He told me that he was now
related to the highest family in the world, his daughter having
married the Chinese giant, whose brothers and sisters were all of the
race of Anak.

My mate, Philip, was so successful with his little school in the tent
that he was promoted to another at the Rocky Waterholes, and then he
went to the township at Lake Nyalong.  Philip had never travelled as
far as Lake Nyalong, but Picaninny Jack told him that he had once
been there, and that it was a beautiful country.  He tried to find it
at another time, but got bushed on the wrong side of the lake; now he
believed there was a regular track that way if Philip could only find
it.  The settlers and other inhabitants ought to be well off; if not,
it was their own fault, for they had the best land in the whole of
Australia.

Philip felt sure that he would find at least one friend at Nyalong--
viz., Mr. Barton, whom he had harboured in his tent at Bendigo, and
had sheltered from the pursuit of the three bloodthirsty convicts.
Some people might be too proud to look forward to the friendship of a
flagellator, but in those days we could not pick and choose our
chums; Barton might not be clubable, but he might be useful, and the
social ladder requires a first step.

Thanks to such men as Dan and Bez, in Melbourne, and to other
enterprising builders in various places, habitable dwellings of wood,
brick, and bluestone began to be used, instead of the handy but
uncomfortable tent, and, at the Rocky Waterholes, Philip had for some
time been lodging in a weatherboard house with the respectable Mrs.
Martin.  Before going to look for Nyalong he introduced his successor
to her, and also to the scholars.  Her name was Miss Edgeworth.

The first virtue of a good master is gravity, and Philip had begun at
the beginning.  He was now graver even than usual while he briefly
addressed his youthful auditors.

"My dear children," he said, "I am going away, and have to leave you
in the care of this young lady, Miss Edgeworth.  I am sure you will
find her to be a better teacher than myself, because she has been
trained in the schools of the great city of Dublin, and I,
unfortunately, had no training at all; she is highly educated, and
will be, I doubt not, a perfect blessing to the rising generation of
the Rocky Waterholes.  I hope you will be diligent, obedient, and
respectful to her.  Good-bye, and God bless you all."

These words were spoken in the tone of a judge passing sentence of
death on a criminal, and Miss Edgeworth was in doubt whether it would
be becoming under the circumstances to laugh or to cry, so she made
no speech in reply.  She said afterwards to Mrs. Martin, "Mr. Philip
must have been a most severe master; I can see sternness on his
brow."  Moreover, she was secretly aware that she did not deserve his
compliments, and that her learning was limited, especially in
arithmetic; she had often to blame the figures for not adding up
correctly.  For this reason she had a horror of examinations, and
every time the inspector came round she was in a state of mortal
fear.  His name was Bonwick.  He was a little man, but he was so
learned that the teachers looked forward to his visits with awe.  A
happy idea came into Miss Edgeworth's mind.  She was, it is true, not
very learned, nor was she perfect in the practice of the twelve
virtues, but she had some instinctive knowledge of the weakness of
the male man.  Mr. Bonwick was an author, a learned author who had
written books--among others a school treatise on geography.  Miss
Edgeworth bought two copies of this work, and took care to place them
on her table in the school every morning with the name of the author
in full view.  On his next visit Mr. Bonwick's searching eyes soon
detected the presence of his little treatise, and he took it up with
a pleased smile.  This was Miss Edgeworth's opportunity; she said, in
her opinion, the work was a must excellent one, and extremely well
adapted for the use of schools.

The inspector was more than satisfied; a young lady of so much
judgment and discrimination was a peerless teacher, and Miss
Edgeworth's work was henceforward beyond all question.

There were no coaches running to Nyalong, and, as Philip's poverty
did not permit him to purchase a horse, and he had scruples about
stealing one, he packed up his swag and set out on foot.  It may be
mentioned as bearing on nothing in particular that, after Philip had
taken leave of Miss Edgeworth, she stood at a window, flattened her
little nose against one of the panes, and watched him trudging away
as long as he was in sight.  Then she said to Mrs. Martin:

"Ain't it a pity that so respectable a young man should be tramping
through the bush like a pedlar with a pack?"

"No, indeed, miss, not a bit of it," replied Mrs. Martin; "nearly
every man in the country has had to travel with his swag one time or
another.  We are all used to it; and it ain't no use of your looking
after him that way, for most likely you'll never see him again."  But
she did.

About two miles from the Waterholes Philip overtook another swagman,
a man of middle age, who was going to Nyalong to look for work.  He
had tried the diggings, and left them for want of luck, and Philip,
having himself been an unlucky digger, had a fellow feeling for the
stranger.  He was an old soldier named Summers.

"I am three and fifty years old," he said, "and I 'listed when I was
twenty.  I was in all the wars in India for nineteen years, and never
was hit but once, and that was on the top of my head.  Look here," he
took off his hat and pointed to a ridge made by the track of a
bullet, "if I had been an inch taller I shouldn't be here now.  And
maybe it would have been all the better.  I have been too long at the
fighting to learn another trade now.  When I 'listed I was told my
pay would be a shilling a day and everything found.  A shilling a day
is seven shillings a week, and I thought I should live like a
fighting cock, plenty to eat and a shilling a day for drink or sport.
But I found out the difference when it was too late.  They kept a
strict account against every man; it was full of what they called
deductions, and we had to pay for so many things out of that shilling
that sometimes for months together I hadn't the price of a pint o'
threepenny with a trop o' porter through it."

"What was the biggest battle you ever were in?" enquired Philip.

"Well, I had some close shaves, but the worst was when we took a
stockade from the Burmans.  My regiment was the 47th, and one company
of ours, sixty-five, rank and file, and two companies from other
regiments were ordered to attack it.  Our officers were all shot down
before we reached the stockade, but we got in, and went at the
Burmans with the bayonet.  But such a crowd came at us from the rear
of the stockade that we had to go out again, and we ran down the
hill.  Our ranks were broken, and we had no time to rally before a
lot of horsemen were among us.  My bayonet was broken, and I had
nothing but my empty musket to fight with.  I warded off the sabre
cuts with it right and left, so, dodging among the horses, and I was
not once wounded.  It was all over in a hot minute or two, but, when
the supports came up, and we were afterwards mustered, only five men
of our company answered the roll-call.  Of course I was one of them,
and the barrel of my musket was notched like a saw by all the strokes
I had parried with it."  The last time Philip saw Summers he was
hammering bluestone by the roadside.  The pomp and circumstance of
glorious war had left him in hisold age little better than a beggar.

Philip found Nyalong without much trouble, and renewed the
acquaintance begun at Bendigo with Mr. Barton and the other diggers.
To all appearance his promotion was not worth much; he might as well
have stayed at the Waterholes.  Mr. McCarthy acted as school director
--an honorary office--and he showed Philip the school.  He said:

"It is not of much account, I must acknowledge; we were short of
funds, and had to put it up cheap.  Most of the wall, you see, is
only half a brick thick, and, during the sudden gusts that come
across the lake, the north side bulges inward a good deal; so, when
you hear the wind coming you had better send the children outside
until the gale is over.  That is what Mr. Foy, the last teacher did.
And, I must tell you also this school has gone to the dogs; there are
some very bad boys here--the Boyles and the Blakes.  When they saw
Mr. Foy was going to use his cane on them they would dart out of the
school, the master after them.  Then there was a regular steeplechase
across the paddocks, and every boy and girl came outside to watch it,
screaming and yelling.  It was great fun, but it was not
school-teaching.  I am afraid you will never manage the Boyles and
the Blakes.  Mr. McLaggan, the minister, once found six of them
sitting at the foot of a gum tree, drinking a bottle of rum.  He
spoke to them, told them that they were young reprobates, and were
going straight to hell.  Hugh Boyle held out the bottle, and said,
'Here, Mr. McLaggan, wouldn't you like a nip yourself?'  The minister
was on horseback, and always carried a whip with a heavy lash, and it
was a beautiful sight the way he laid the lash on those Boyles and
Blakes.  I really think you had better turn them out of the school,
Mr. Philip, or else they will turn you out."

Mr. Philip's lips closed with a snap.  He said, "It is my duty to
educate them; turning them out of school is not education.  We will
see what can be done."

As everyone knows, the twelve virtues of a good master are Gravity,
Silence, Humility, Prudence, Wisdom, Patience, Discretion, Meekness,
Zeal, Vigilance, Piety, and Generosity.  I don't suppose any teacher
was ever quite perfect in the practice of them, but a sincere
endeavour is often useful.  On reflection, Philip thought it best to
add two other virtues to the catalogue--viz., Firmness, and a Strap
of Sole-Leather.

There was a full attendance of scholars the first morning, and when
all the names had been entered on the roll, Philip observed that the
Boyles and the Blakes were all there; they were expecting some new
kind of fun with the new master.  In order that the fun might be
inside the school and not all over the paddocks, Philip placed his
chair near the door, and locked it.  Then education began; the
scholars were all repeating their lessons, talking to one another
aloud and quarrelling.

"Please, sir, Josh Blake's a-pinching me."  "Please, sir, Hugh Boyle
is a-scroodgin."  "Please, sir, Nancy Toomey is making faces at me."

It was a pandemonium of little devils, to be changed, if possible,
into little angels.  The master rose from the chair, put up one hand,
and said:  "Silence!"

Every eye was on him, every tongue was silent, and every ear was
listening, "Joseph Blake and Hugh Boyle, come this way."  They did so.

"No one here is to shout or talk, or read in a loud voice.  If any of
you want to speak to me you must hold up your hand, so.  When I nod
you can come to me.  If you don't do everything I tell you, you will
be slapped on the hand, or somewhere else, with this strap."

He held it up to view.  It was eighteen inches long, three inches
broad, heavy, and pliant.  The sight of it made Tommy Traddles and
many other little boys and girls good all at once; but Joseph and
Hugh went back to their seats grinning at one another.  Mr. Foy had
often talked that way, but it always came to nothing.

Hugh was the hero of the school, or rather the leading villain.  In
about two minutes he called out, "Please, sir, Josh Blake is
a-shoving me with his elbow."

"Hugh Boyle, come this way."  He came.

"Now, Hugh, I told you that there must be no speaking or reading
aloud.  Of course you forgot what I said; you should have put up your
hand."

In the course of the day Hugh received two slaps, then three, then
four.  He began to fear the strap as well as to feel it.  That was
the beginning of wisdom.

Nancy Toomey was naughty, and was sent into a corner.  She was sulky
and rebellious when told to return to her seat.  She said, in the
hearing of Tommy Traddles, "The master is a carroty-headed crawler."

It is as well to remark that Philip's hair was red; a man with red
hair is apt to be of a hasty temper, and, as a matter of fact, I had
seen Philip's fist fly out very rapidly on several occasions before
he began to practise the twelve virtues.

Tommy put up his hand, and, at a nod, went up to the master.

"Well, Tommy, what is the matter?"

"Please, sir, Nancy Toomey has been calling you a carroty-headed crawler."

Tommy's eyebrows were raised, his eyes and mouth wide open.  Philip
looked over his head at Nancy, whose face was on fire.  He slowly
repeated:

"Nancy Toomey has been calling me a carroty-headed crawler, has she?"

"Yes, sir.  That's what she called you.  I heard her."

"Well, Tommy, go to your seat like a good boy.  Nancy won't call
names any more."

In a little more than a week perfect discipline and good order
prevailed in the school.


A BUSH HERMIT.

It is not good for man to be alone, but Philip became a hermit.  Half
a mile from the school and the main road there was an empty slab hut
roofed with shingles.  It was on the top of a long sloping hill,
which afforded a beautiful view over the lake and the distant hills.
Half an acre of garden ground was fenced in with the hut, and it was
part of the farm of a man from Hampshire, England, who lived with his
wife near the main road.  A man from  Hampshire is an Englishman, and
should speak English; but, when Philip tried to make a bargain about
the hut, he could not understand the Hampshire language, and the
farmer's wife had to interpret.  And that farmer lived to the age of
eighty years, and never learned to speak English.  He was not a fool
by any means; knew all about farming; worked twelve or fourteen hours
a day all the year round, having never heard of the eight hours
system; but he talked, and prayed, and swore all his life in the
Hampshire dialect.  Whenever he spoke to the neighbours a look of
pain and misery came over them.  Sometimes he went to meetings, and
made a speech, but he was told to go and fetch a Chinaman to
interpret.

Philip entered into possession of the hut.  It had two rooms, and the
furniture did not cost much.  At Adams' store he bought a camp oven,
an earthenware stew-pot, a milk pan, a billy, two pannikins, two
spoons, a whittle, and a fork.  The extra pannikin and spoon were for
the use of visitors, for Philip's idea was that a hermit, if not
holy, should be at least hospitable.  With an axe and saw he made his
own furniture--viz., two hardwood stools, one of which would seat
two men; for a table he sawed off the butt end of a messmate, rolled
it inside the hut, and nailed on the top of it a piece of a pine
packing case.  His bedstead was a frame of saplings, with strong
canvas nailed over it, and his mattress was a sheet of stringy bark,
which soon curled up at the sides and fitted him like a coffin.  His
pillow was a linen bag filled with spare shirts and socks, and under
it he placed his revolver, in case he might want it for unwelcome
visitors.

Patrick Duggan's wife did the laundry work, and refused to take
payment in cash.  But she made a curious bargain about it.  A priest
visited Nyalong only once a month; he lived fifty miles away; when
Mrs. Duggan was in her last sickness he might be unable to administer
to her the rites of the church.  So her bargain was, that in case the
priest should be absent, the schoolmaster, as next best man, was to
read prayers over her grave.  Philip thought there was something
strange, perhaps simoniacal, about the bargain.  Twice Mrs. Duggan,
thinking she was on the point of death, sent a messenger to remind
him of his duty; and when at last she did die, he was present at the
funeral, and read the prayers for the dead over her grave.

Avarice is a vice so base that I never heard of any man who would
confess that he had ever been guilty of it.  Philip was my best
friend, and I was always loath to think unkindly of him, but at this
time I really think he began to be rather penurious--not
avaricious, certainly not.  But he was not a hermit of the holiest
kind.  He began to save money and acquire stock.  He had not been
long on the hill before he owned a horse, two dogs, a cat, a native
bear, a magpie, and a parrot, and he paid nothing for any of them
except the horse.  One day he met Mr. McCarthy talking to Bob Atkins,
a station hand, who had a horse to sell--a filly, rising three.
McCarthy was a good judge of horses, and after inspecting the filly,
he said:  "She will just suit you, Mr. Philip, you ought to buy her."
So the bargain was made; the price was ten pounds, Bob giving in the
saddle, bridle, a pair of hobbles, and a tether rope.  He was proud
of his deal.

Two years afterwards, when Philip was riding through the bush, Bob
rode up alongside, and after a while said:

"Well, Mister, how do you like that filly I sold you?"

"Very well indeed.  She is a capital roadster and stockhorse."

"Does she ever throw you?"

"Never.  What makes you ask?"

"Well, that's queer.  The fact is I sold her to you because I could
not ride her.  Every time I mounted, she slung me a buster."

"I see, Bob, you meant well, didn't you?  But she never yet slung me
a buster; she is quieter than a lamb, and she will come to me
whenever I whistle, and follow me like a dog."

Philip's first dog was named Sam.  He was half collie and half bull
dog, and was therefore both brave and full of sagacity.  He guarded
the hut and the other domestics during school hours, and when he saw
Philip coming up the hill, he ran to meet him, smiling and wagging
his tail, and reported all well.  The other dog was only a small pup,
a Skye terrier, like a bunch of tow, a present from Tommy Traddles.
Pup's early days were made very miserable by Maggie, the magpie.
That wicked bird used to strut around Philip while he was digging in
the garden, and after filling her crop with worms and grubs, she
flapped away on one wing and went round the hut looking for
amusement.  She jumped on Pup's back, scratched him with her claws,
pecked at his skull, and pulled locks of wool out of it, the poor
innocent all the while yelping and howling for mercy.  Sam never
helped Pup, or drove Maggie away; he was actually afraid of her, and
believed she was a dangerous witch.  Sometimes she pecked at his
tail, and he dared not say a word, but sneaked away, looking sideways
at her, hanging down his ears, and afraid to say his tail was his
own.  Joey, the parrot, watched all that was going on from his cage,
which was hung on a hook outside the hut door.  Philip tried to teach
Joey to whistle a tune:  "There is na luck aboot the hoose, There is
na luck at a'," but the parrot had so many things to attend to that
he never had time to finish the tune.  He was, indeed, very vain and
flighty, sidling along his perch and saying:  "Sweet pretty Joey, who
are you, who are you?  Ha!  Ha!  Ha!"  wanting everybody to take
notice and admire him.  When Maggie first attacked poor Pup,
scratched his back, pecked at his head, and tore locks of wool out
of him, and Pup screamed pitifully to all the world for
help, Joey poked his head between the wires of his cage, turned one
eye downwards, listened to the language, and watched the new
performance with silent ecstacy.  He had never heard or seen anything
like it in the whole course of his life.  Philip used to drive Maggie
away, take up poor Pup and stroke him, while Maggie, the villain,
hopped around, flapping her wings and giving the greatest impudence.

It really gave Philip a great deal of trouble to keep order among his
domestics.  One day, while hoeing in the garden, he heard the Pup
screaming miserably.  He said, "There's that villain, Maggie, at him
again," and he ran up to the hut to drive her away.  But when he reached
it there was neither Pup nor Maggie to be seen, only Joey in his cage,
and he was bobbing his head up and down, yelping exactly like the
Pup, and then he began laughing at Philip ready to burst, "Ha!  Ha!
Ha!  Who are you?  Who are you?  There is no luck aboot the hoose,
There is na luck at a'."

The native bear resided in a packing case, nailed on the top of a
stump nearly opposite the hut door.  He had a strap round his waist,
and was fastened to the stump by a piece of clothes line.  The boys
called him a monkey-bear, but though his face was like that of a bear
he was neither a monkey nor a bear.  He was in fact a sloth; his legs
were not made for walking, but for climbing, and although he had
strong claws and a very muscular forearm, he was always slow in his
movements.  He was very silent and unsociable, never joined in the
amusements of the other domestics, and when Philip brought him a
bunch of tender young gum-tree shoots for his breakfast in the
morning, he did not even say "thanks" or smile, or show the least
gratitude.  He never spoke except at dead of night, when he was
exchanging compliments with some other bear up a gum tree in the
forty-acre paddock.  And such compliments!  Their voices were
frightful, something between a roar and a groan, and although Philip
was a great linguist he was never quite sure what they were saying.
But the bear was always scheming to get away; he was like the Boers,
and could not abide British rule.  Philip would not have kept him at
all, but as he had taken him into the family circle when a cub he did
not like to be cruel and turn him out along in a heartless world.
Twice Bruin managed to untie the clothes line and started for the
forty-acre.  He crawled along very slowly, and when he saw Philip
coming after him, he stopped, looked behind him, and said, "Hoo,"
showing his disgust.  Then Philip took hold of the end of the clothes
line and brought him back, scolding all the time.

"You miserable Bruin, you don't know what's good for you; you can't
tell a light-wood from a gum-tree, and you'll die of starvation, or
else the boys will find you, and they will kill you, thinking you are
a wild bush bear, for you don't show any signs of good education,
after all the trouble I have taken to teach you manners.  I am afraid
you will come to a bad end."

And so he did.  The third time Bruin loosed the clothes line he had a
six hours' start before he was missed, and sure enough he hid himself
in a lightwood for want of sense, and that very night the boys saw
him by the light of the moon, and Hugh Boyle climbed up the tree and
knocked him down with a waddy.

Pussy, Philip's sixth domestic, had attained her majority; she had
never gone after snakes in her youth, and had always avoided bad
company.  She did her duty in the house as a good mouser, and when
mice grew scarce she went hunting for game; she had a hole under the
eaves near the chimney, through which she could enter the hut at any
time of the night or day.  While Philip was musing after tea on the
"Pons Asinorum" by the light of a tallow candle, Pussy was out
poaching for quail, and as soon as she caught one she brought it
home, dropped it on the  floor, rubbed her side against Philip's
boot, and said, "I have brought a little game for breakfast."  Then
Philip stroked her along the back, after which she lay down before
the fire, tucked in her paws and fell asleep, with a good conscience.

But many bush cats come to an unhappy and untimely end by giving way
to the vice of curiosity.  When Dinah, the vain kitten, takes her
first walk abroad in spring time, she observes something smooth and
shiny gliding gently along.  She pricks up her ears, and gazes at the
interesting stranger; then she goes a little nearer, softly lifting
first one paw and then another.

The stranger is more intelligent than Dinah.  He says to himself, "I
know her sort well, the silly thing.  Saw her ages ago in the Garden.
She wants mice and frogs and such things--takes the bread out of my
mouth.  Native industry must be protected."  so the stranger brings
his head round under the grass and waits for Dinah, who is watching
his tail.  The tail moves a little and then a little more.  Dinah
says, "It will be gone if I don't mind," and she jumps for it.  At
that instant the snake strikes her on the nose with his fangs.
Dinah's fur rises on end with sudden fright, she shakes her head, and
the snake drops off.  She turns away, and says, "This is frightful;
what a deceitful world!  Life is not worth living."  Her head feels
queer, and being sleepy she lies down, and is soon a dead cat.

That summer was very hot at Nyalong, one hundred and ten degrees in
the shade.  Philip began to find his bed of stringy bark very hard,
and as it grew older it curled together so much that he could
scarcely turn in it from one side to the other.  So he made a
mattress which he stuffed with straw, and he found it much softer
than the stringy bark.  But after a while the mattress grew flat, and
the stuffing lumpy.  Sometimes on hot days he took out his bed, and
after shaking it, he laid it down on the grass; his blankets he hung
on the fence for many reasons which he wanted to get rid of.

The water in the forty-acre to the south was all dried up.  An old
black snake with a streak of orange along his ribs grew thirsty.  His
last meal was a mouse, and he said, "That was a dry mouthful, and
wants something to wash it down."  He knew his way to the water-hole
at the end of the garden, but he had to pass the hut, which when he
travelled that way the summer before was unoccupied.  After creeping
under the bottom rail of the fence, he raised his head a little, and
looked round.  He said, "I see there's another tenant here"--Bruin
was then alive and was sitting on the top of his stump eating gum
leaves--"I never saw that fellow so low down in the world before; I
wonder what he is doing here; been lagged, I suppose for something or
other.  He is a stupid, anyway, and won't take any notice even if he
sees me."

Sam and Puss were both blinking their eyes in the shade of the
lightwood, and whisking the flies from their ears.  Maggie was
walking about with beak open, showing her parched tongue; the heat
made her low-spirited.

The snake had crept as far as Philip's mattress, which was lying on
the grass, when Maggie saw him.  She instantly gave the alarm, "A
snake, a snake!" for she knew he was a bad character.  Sam and Puss
jumped up and began to bark; Joey said, "There is na luck aboot the
hoose."  Bruin was too stupid to say anything.  The snake said, "Here
is a terrible row all at once, I must make for a hole."  He had a
keen eye for a hole, and he soon saw one.  It was a small one, in
Philip's mattress, almost hidden by the seam, and had been made most
likely by a splinter or a nail.  The snake put his head in it,
saying, "Any port in a storm," then drew in his whole length, and
settled himself comfortably among the straw.

Beasts and birds have instincts, and a certain amount of will and
understanding, but no memory worth mentioning.  For that reason the
domestics never told Philip about the snake in his mattress, they had
forgotten all about it.  If Sam had buried a bone, he would have
remembered it a week afterwards, if he was hungry; but as for snakes,
it was, "out of sight, out of mind."

Philip took in his mattress and blanket before sundown and made his
bed.  The snake was still in the straw; he had been badly scared, and
thought it would be best to keep quiet until he saw a chance to creep
out, and continue his journey down the garden.  But it was awfully
dark inside the mattress, and although he went round and round
amongst the straw he could not find any way out of it, so at last he
said:  "I must wait till morning," and went to sleep.

When Philip went to bed the snake was disturbed, and woke up.  There
was so heavy a weight on him that he could scarcely move, and he was
almost suffocated.  He said:  "This is dreadful; I have been in many
a tight place in my time, but never in one so tight as this.
Whatever am I to do? I shall be squeezed to death if I don't get away
from this horrid monster on top of me."

Philip fell asleep as usual, and by-and-by the snake began to flatten
his ribs, and draw himself from under the load, until at last he was
clear of it; then, heaving a deep sigh of relief he lay quiet for
awhile to recover his breath.  He knew there was a hole somewhere if
he could only find it and he kept poking his nose here and there
against the mattress.

After sleeping an  hour or two, Philip turned on his other side, and
the snake had to move out of the way in a hurry for fear of being
squeezed to death.  There was a noise as of something rustling in the
straw, and after listening awhile, Philip said:  "I suppose it's a
mouse," and soon fell fast asleep again, because he was not afraid of
mice even when they ran across his nose.

In the morning he took his blankets out again, and hung them on the
fence, shook up his mattress and pillow, and then spread the sheets
over them, tucking them in all round, and then he got ready his
breakfast.

The whole of that day was spent by the snake in trying to find a way
out.  The sheets being tucked in  he was still in the dark, and he
kept going round and round, feeling for the hole with his nose until
he went completely out of his mind, just as a man does when he is
lost in the bush.  So the day wore on, night and bedtime came again,
and Philip lay down to rest once more right over the imprisoned
snake.  Then that snake went raving mad, lost all control of himself,
and rolled about recklessly.  Philip sat up in bed, and a cold sweat
began to trickle down his face, and his hair stood on end.  He
whispered to himself as if afraid the snake might hear him.  "The
Lord preserve us, that's no mouse; it's a snake right under me.  What
shall I do?"

The first thing to do was to strike a light; the matches and candle
were on a box at his bedside, and he slowly put out his hand to reach
them, expecting every moment to feel the fangs in his wrist.  But he
found the match-box, struck a light, carefully examined the floor as
far as he could see it, jumped out of bed at one bound, and took
refuge in the other room.  There he looked in every corner, and along
every rafter for the other snake, for he knew that at this season
snakes are often found in pairs, but he could not see the mate of the
one he had left in bed.

There was no sleep for Philip that night, and, by the light of the
candle, he sat waiting for the coming day, and planning dire
vengeance.  At sunrise he examined closely every hole, and crevice,
and corner, and crack in both rooms, floor and floor, slabs,
rafters, and shingles.  He said, at last:  "I think there is only
one snake, and he is in the bed."

Then he went outside, and cut a stick about five feet long, one end
of which he pointed with his knife.  Returning to the bedroom, he
lifted up with the point of his stick the sheets, blankets, and
pillows, took them outside, and hung them on the fence.  Next he
turned over the mattress slowly, but there was nothing to be seen
under it.  He poked the mattress with the blunt end of his stick here
and there, and he soon saw that something was moving inside.  "Ah!"
he said, "there you are, my friend."  The thought of having slept two
nights on a live snake made him shudder a little, but he was bent on
vengeance.  He took hold of one end of the mattress with one hand,
and holding the stick in the other, he carried it outside and laid it
on the grass.  Looking carefully at every side of the mattress he
discovered the hole through which the snake had entered.  It was so
small that he could scarcely believe that a snake had gone through
it, but no other hole was anywhere visible.  Philip said, "If the
beast comes out it shall be through fire," so he picked up a few
pieces of bark which he placed over the hole, and set on fire.  The
straw inside was soon in a blaze, and the snake was lively.  His
situation was desperate, and his movements could be traced by the
rising and falling of the ticking.  Philip said, "My friend, you are
looking for a hole, but when you find it it will be a hot one."  The
snake at last made a dash for life through the fire, and actually
came out into the open air.  But he was dazed and blinded, and his
skin was wet and shining with oil, or perspiration, or something.

Philip gave him a finishing stroke with his stick, and tossed him
back into the fire.  Of course a new mattress was necessary, and a
keen eye for snakes ever afterwards.

The teaching in the school went on with regularity and success.
There was, however, an occasional interruption.  Once a furious
squall came over the lake, and shook the frail building so much that
Philip threw open the door and sent out all the children, the little
ones and girls first, and then the boys, remaining himself to the
last like the captain of a sinking ship; but he was not so much of a
fool to stay inside and brave destruction; he went out to a safe
distance until the squall was over.

Sometimes a visitor interfered with the work of the school, and
Philip for that reason hated visitors; but it was his duty to be
civil and patient.  Two inspectors called on two different occasions
to examine the scholars.  One of them was scarcely sober, and he
behaved in a manner so eccentric that the master had a strong
temptation to kick him out.  However, he at last succeeded in seeing
the inspector outside the door peaceably, and soon afterwards the
department dispensed with that gentleman's services.

He had obtained his office by favour of a minister at home for
services rendered at an election.  His salary was 900 pounds per
annum.  The next inspector received the same salary.  He was brother
or brother-in-law to a bishop, and had many ancestors and relatives
of high degree.  Philip foolishly showed him a few nuggets which he
had picked up in Picaninny Gully, and the inspector showed Philip the
letter by which he had obtained his appointment and 900 pounds a
year.  It was only a couple of lines written and signed by a certain
lord in London, but it was equivalent to an order for a billet on the
government of Victoria.  Then the inspector said he would feel
extremely obliged to Philip if he would give him one of his little
nuggets that he might send it to my lord as a present, and Philip at
once handed over his biggest nugget.  Little amenities of this kind
make life so pleasant.  My lord would be pleased to receive the
nugget, the inspector was pleased to send it, and Philip said "it
cannot be bribery and corruption, but this inspector being a
gentleman will be friendly.  When he mentions me and my school in his
report he cannot possibly forget the nugget."

Barney, the boozer, one day visited the school.  He opened the door
and stood on the threshold.  His eyes seemed close together, and
there was a long red scar on his bare neck, where he had on a former
occasion cut his throat.  All the scholars were afraid of Barney, and
the girls climbed up on the benches and began to scream.

Philip went up to the Boozer and said:

"Well, my friend, what do you want here?"

"The devil knows," replied Barney.

"Very likely, but he is not here, he has gone down the road."

Then taking Barney by the arm he turned him round and guided him to
the road.  Barney went about twenty yards until he came to a pool of
water.  He stepped on to the fence and sat on the top rail gazing
into the pool.  At last he threw his hat into it, then his boots,
coat, shirt, and trousers.  When he was quite naked, he stamped on
his clothes until they were thoroughly soaked and buried in mud.
Barney then resumed his search for the devil, swinging his arms to
and fro in a free and defiant manner.

The school was also visited by a bishop, a priest, a squatter, and a
judge.  The dress and demeanour of the judge were very impressive at
so great a distance from any centre of civilization, for he wore a
tall beaver hat, a suit of black broadcloth, and a white necktie.
Philip received him with reverence, thinking he could not be anything
less than a lord spiritual, such is the power of broadcloth and fine
linen.  Nosey, the shepherd, was then living at Nyalong, having
murdered the other shepherd, Baldy, about six months before, and this
judge sent Nosey to the gallows seventeen years afterwards; but
neither Nosey nor the judge knew what was to happen after seventeen
years.  This is the story of Nosey and Baldy.


THE TWO SHEPHERDS.

By the men on the run they were known as Nosey and Baldy, but in a
former stage of their existence, in the days of the Emperor Augustus
Cæsar, they were known as Naso and Balbus.  They were then rivals in
love and song, and accused each other of doing things that were mean.
And now, after undergoing for their sins various transmigrations into
the forms of inferior animals, during two thousand years, as soon as
shepherds are required in Australia Felix, they appear once more
following their flocks and herds.  But they are entirely forgetful of
all Greek and Roman civilization; their morals have not improved, and
their quarrels are more bitter than ever.  In the old times they
tootled on the tuneful reed, and sang in purest Latin the sweetest
ditties ever heard, in praise of Galatea and Amyntas, Delia and
Iolla.  But they never tootle now, and never sing, and when they
speak, their tongue is that of the unmusical barbarians.  In their
pagan days they stained their rustic altars with the blood of a kid,
a sacrifice to Jupiter, and poured out libations of generous wine;
but they offer up neither prayer nor sacrifice now, and they pour
libations of gin down their throats.

The Italian rustic is yet musical, and the Roman citizen has not lost
the genius of his race.  He is still unrivalled in sculpture and
architecture, in painting, in poetry, and philosophy; and in every
handicraft his fingers are as deft as ever.  But empire has slipped
from his grasp, and empire once lost, like time, never returns.  Who
can rebuild Ninevah or Babylon, put new life into the mummies of the
Pharoahs, and recrown them; raise armies from the dust of the
warriors of Sesostris, and send them forth once more to victory and
slaughter?  Julian the Apostate tried to rebuild the Holy City and
Temple of Israel, to make prophecy void--apparently a small
enterprise for a Roman Emperor--but all his labours were vain.
Modern Julians have been trying to resuscitate old Rome, and to found
for her a new empire, and have only made Italy another Ireland, with
a starving people and a bankrupt government.  'Nos patriæ fines, nos
dulcia linquimus arva'.  The Italians are emigrating year after year
to avoid starvation in the Garden of Europe.  In every city of the
great empire on which the sun never sets they wander through the
streets, clad in faded garments of olive green--the toga long since
discarded and forgotten--making sweet music from the harp and
violin, their melancholy eyes wandering after the passing crowd,
hoping for the pitiful penny that is so seldom given.

The two shepherds were employed on a station north of Lake Nyalong.
It is a country full of dead volcanoes, whose craters have been
turned into salt lakes, and their rolling floods of lava have been
stiffened into barriers of black rocks; where the ashes belched forth
in fiery blasts from the deep furnaces of a burning world have
covered the hills and plains with perennial fertility.

Baldy had been entrusted with a fattening flock, and Nosey had in his
care a lambing flock.  From time to time the sheep were counted, and
it was found that the fattening flock was decreasing in numbers.  The
squatter wanted to know what had become of his missing sheep, but
Baldy could give no account of them.  His suspicions, however, soon
fell on Nosey.  The latter was his nearest neighbour, and although he
had only the same wages--viz., thirty pounds a year and rations--
he seemed to be unaccountably prosperous, and was the owner of a wife
and two horses.  He had been transported for larceny when he was only
fifteen years of age, and at twenty-eight he was suspected of being
still a thief.  Girls of the same age were sent from Great Britain to
Botany Bay and Van Diemen's Land for stealing one bit of finery,
worth a shilling, and became the consorts of criminals of the deepest
dye.  You may read their names in the Indents to this day, together
with their height, age, complexion, birthplace, and other important
particulars.

Baldy went over to Nosey's hut one evening when the blue smoke was
curling over the chimney, and the long shadows of the Wombat Hills
were creeping over the Stoney Rises.  Julia was boiling the billy for
tea, and her husband was chopping firewood outside.

"Good evening, Julia," said Baldy; "fine evening."

"Same to you, Baldy.  Any news to-day?" asked Julia.

"Well, there is," said Baldy, "and it's bad news for me; there's ten
more of my fatteners missing"  (Nosey stopped chopping and listened)
"and the master says I'll have to hump my swag if I can't find out
what has become of them.  I say, Nosey, you don't happen to have seen
any dingoes or blacks about here lately?"

"I ain't seen e'er a one, neither dingo nor blackfellow.  But, you
know, if they were after mischief they'd take care not to make a
show.  There might be stacks of them about and we never to see one of
them."

Nosey was proud of his cunning.

"Well," said Baldy, "I can hear of nobody having seen any strangers
about the Rises, nor dingoes, nor black fellows.  And the dingoes,
anyhow, would have left some of the carcases behind; but the thieves,
whoever they are, have not left me as much as a lock of the wool of
my sheep.  I have been talking about 'em with old Sharp; he is the
longest here of any shepherd in the country, and knows all the
blacks, and he says it's his opinion the man who took the sheep is
not far away from the flock now.  What do you think about it, Nosey?"

"What the----should I know about your sheep?" said Nosey.  "Do you
mean to insinivate that I took 'em?  I'll tell you what it is, Baldy;
it'll be just as well for you to keep your blasted tongue quiet about
your sheep, for if I hear any more about 'em, I'll see you for it; do
you hear?"

"Oh, yes, I hear.  All right, Nosey, we'll see about it," said Baldy.

There would have been a fight perhaps, but Baldy was a smaller man
than the other and was growing old, while Nosey was in the prime of
life.

Baldy went to Nyalong next day.  His rations did not include gin, and
he wanted some badly, the more so because he was in trouble about his
lost sheep.  Gin, known then as "Old Tom," was his favourite remedy
for all ailments, both of mind and body.  If he could not find out
what had become of his sheep, his master might dismiss him without a
character.  There was not much good character running to waste on the
stations, but still no squatter would like to entrust a flock to a
shepherd who was suspected of having stolen and sold his last
master's sheep.

Baldy walked to Nyalong along the banks of the lake.  The country was
then all open, unfenced, except the paddocks at the home stations.
The boundary between two of the runs was merely marked by a ploughed
furrow, not very straight, which started near the lake, and went
eastward along the plains.  In the Rises no plough could make a line
through the rocks, and the boundaries there were imaginary.  Stray
cattle were roaming over the country, eating the grass, and the main
resource of the squatters was the Pounds Act.  Hay was then sold at
80 pounds per ton at Bendigo; a draft of fat bullocks was worth a
mine of gold at Ballarat, and, therefore, grass was everywhere
precious.  No wonder if the hardy bullock-driver became a cattle
lifter after his team had been impounded by the station stockman when
found only four hundred yards from the bush track.  Money, in the
shape of fat stock, was running loose, as it were, on every run, and
why should not the sagacious Nosey do a little business when Baldy's
fat sheep were tempting him, and a market for mutton could be found
no farther away than the Nyalong butcher's shop.

Baldy left the township happier than usual, carrying under his arm
two bottles of Old Tom.  He was seen by a man who knew him entering
the Rises, and going away in the direction of Nosey's hut, and then
for fifteen years he was a lost shepherd.  In course of time it was
ascertained that he had called at Nosey's hut on his way home.  He
had the lost sheep on his mind, and he could not resist the impulse
to have another word or two with Nosey about them.  He put down the
two bottles of gin outside the door of the hut, near an axe whose
handle leaned against the wall.  Nosey and his wife, Julia, were
inside, and he bade them good evening.  Then he took a piece of
tobacco out of his pocket, and began cutting it with his knife.  He
always carried his knife tied to his belt by a string which went
through a hole bored in the handle.  It was a generally useful knife,
and with it he foot-rotted sheep, stirred the tea in his billy, and
cut beef and damper, sticks, and tobacco.

"I have been to Nyalong," he said, "and I heern something about my
sheep; they went to the township all right, strayed away, you know,
followed one another's tails, and never came back, the O. K. bullocks
go just the same way.  Curious, isn't it?"

Nosey listened with keen interest.  "Well, Baldy," he said, "and what
did you hear?  Did you find out who took 'em?"

"Oh, yes," said Baldy; "I know pretty well all about 'em now, both
sheep and bullocks.  Old Sharp was right about the sheep, anyway.
The thief is not far from the flock, and it's not me."  Baldy was
brewing mischief for himself, but he did not know how much.

"Did you tell the police about 'em?" asked Nosey.

"Oh, no, not to-day!" answered Baldy.  "Time enough yet. I ain't in
no hurry to be an informer."

Nosey eyed him with unusual savagery, and said:

"Now didn't I tell you to say no more about your blasted sheep, or
I'd see you for it?  and here you are again, and you can't leave 'em
alone.  You are no better than a fool."

"Maybe I am a fool, Nosey.  Just wait till I get a light, and I'll
leave your hut and trouble you no more."

He was standing in the middle of the floor cutting his tobacco, and
rubbing it between the palms of his hands, shaking his head, and
eyeing the floor with a look of great sagacity.

Nosey went outside, and began walking to and fro, thinking and
whispering to himself.  It was a habit he had acquired while slowly
sauntering after his sheep.  He seemed to have another self, an
invisible companion with whom he discussed whatever was uppermost in
his mind.  If he had then consulted his other self, Julia, he might
have saved himself a world of trouble; but he did not think of her.
He said to himself:  "Now, Nosey, if you don't mind, you are going to
be in a hole.  That old fool inside has found out something or other
about the sheep, and the peelers will have you, if you don't look
out, and they'll give you another seven years and maybe ten.  You've
done your time once, Nosey, and how would you like to do it again?
Why couldn't you leave the cursed sheep alone and keep out of
mischief just when you were settling down in life comfortable, and
might have a chance to do better.  Baldy will be telling the peelers
to-morrow all he knows about the sheep you stole, and then they'll
fetch you, sure.  There's only one thing to stop the old fool's jaw,
and you are not game to do it, Nosey; you never done a man yet, and
you are not game to do it now, and you'll be damned if you do it, and
the devil will have you, and you'll be hanged first maybe.  And if
you don't do him you'll be lagged again for the sheep, and in my
opinion, Nosey, you are not game.  Yes, by the powers, you are,
Nosey, damned if you ain't.  Who's afeered?  And you'll do it quick
--do it quick.  Now or never's your time."

While talking thus to himself, Nosey was pacing to and fro, and he
glanced at the axe every time he passed the door.  The weapon was
ready to his hand, and seemed to be inviting him to use it.

"Baldy is going to light his pipe, and while he is stooping to get a
firestick, I'll do him with the axe."

When Baldy turned towards the fire, Nosey grasped the axe and held it
behind him.  He waited a moment, and then entered the hut; but Baldy
either heard his step, or had some suspicion of danger, for he looked
around before takingup a firestick.  At that instant the blow,
intended for the back of the head, struck him on the jaw, and he fell
forward among the embers.  For one brief moment of horror he must
have realised that he was being murdered, and then another blow
behind the head left him senseless.

Nosey dragged the body out of the fireplace into the middle of the
floor, intending, while he was doing a man, to do him well.  He
raised the axe to finish his work with a third blow, but Julia gave a
scream so piercing that his attention was diverted to her.

"Oh, Nosey," she said, "what are you doing to poor Baldy?  You are
murdering him."

Nosey turned to his wife with upraised axe.

"Hold your jaw, woman, and keep quiet, or I'll do as much for you."

She said no more.  She was tall and stout, had small, sharp, roving
eyes; and Nosey was a thick-set man, with a thin, prominent nose,
sunken eyes, and overhanging brows.  He never had a prepossessing
appearance, and now his look and attitude were so ugly and fierce
that the big woman was completely cowed.  The pair stood still for
some time, watching the last convulsive movements of the murdered
Baldy.

Nosey could now pride himself on having been "game to do his man,"
but he could not feel much glory in his work just yet.  He had done
it without sufficient forethought, and his mind was soon full of
trouble.

Murder was worse than sheep stealing, and the consequences of his new
venture in crime began to crowd on his mind with frightful rapidity.
He had not even thought of any plan for hiding away the corpse.  He
had no grave ready, and could not dig one anywhere in the
neighbourhood.  The whole of the country round his hut was rocky--
little hills of bare bluestone boulders, and grassy hollows covered
with only a few inches of soil--rocks everywhere, above ground and
below.  He could burn the body, but it would take a long time to do
it well; somebody might come while he was at the work, and even the
ashes might betray his secret.  There were shallow lakes and swamps,
but he could not put the corpse into any of them with safety:  search
would be made wherever there was water, on the supposition that Baldy
had been drowned after drinking too freely of the gin he had brought
from Nyalong, and if the body was found, the appearance of the skull
would show that death had been caused, not by drowning, but by the
blows of that cursed axe.  Nosey began to lay all the blame on the
axe, and said, "If it had not stood up so handy near the door, I
wouldn't have killed the man."

It was the axe that tempted him.  Excuses of that sort are of a very
ancient date.

Luckily Nosey owned two horses, one of which was old and quiet.  He
told Julia to fasten the door, and to open it on no account whatever,
while he went for the horse, which was feeding in the Rises hobbled,
and with a bell tied round his neck.  When he returned he saddled the
animal, and Julia held the bridle while he went into the hut for the
body.  He observed Baldy's pipe on the floor near the fire-place, and
he replaced it in the pocket in which it had been usually kept, as it
might not be safe to leave anything in the hut belonging to the
murdered man.  There was a little blood on the floor, but he would
scrape that off by daylight, and he would then also look at the axe
and put away the two bottles of gin somewhere; he could do all that
next morning before Baldy was missed.  But the corpse must be taken
away at once, for he felt that every minute of delay might endanger
his neck.  He dragged the body outside, and with Julia's help lifted
it up and placed it across the saddle.  Then he tried to steady his
load with his right hand, and to guide the horse by the bridle with
his left, but he soon found that a dead man was a bad rider; Baldy
kept slipping towards the near side or the off side with every stride
of the horse, and soon fell to the ground.

Nosey was in a furious hurry, he was anxious to get away; he cursed
Baldy for giving him so much trouble; he could have killed him over
again for being so awkward and stubborn, and he begun to feel that
the old shepherd was more dangerous dead than alive.  At last he
mounted his horse, and called to Julia to come and help him.

"Here, Julia, lift him up till I catch hold of his collar, and I'll
pull him up in front of me on the saddle, and hold him that way."

Julia, with many stifled moans, raised the body from the ground,
Nosey reached down and grasped the shirt collar, and thus the two
managed to place the swag across the saddle.  Then Nosey made a
second start, carefully balancing the body, and keeping it from
falling with his right hand, while he held the bridle with his left.

The funeral procession slowly wound its way in a westerly direction
among the black rocks over the softest and smoothest ground to avoid
making any noise.  There was no telling what stockman or
cattle-stealer the devil might send at any moment to meet the
murderer among the lonely Rises, and even in the darkness his
horrible burden would betray him.  Nosey was disturbed by the very
echo of his horse's steps; it seemed as if somebody was following him
at a little distance; perhaps Julia, full of woman's curiosity; and
he kept peering round and looking back into the darkness.  In this
way he travelled about a mile and a half, and then dismounting,
lowered the body to the ground, and began to look for some suitable
hiding place.  He chose one among a confused heap of rocks, and by
lifting some of them aside he made a shallow grave, to which he
dragged the body, and covered it by piling boulders over and around
it.  He struck several matches to enable him to examine his work
carefully, and closed up every crevice through which his buried
treasure might be visible.

The next morning Nosey was astir early.  He had an important part to
act, and he was anxious to do it well.  He first examined the axe and
cleaned it well, carefully burning a few of Baldy's grey hairs which
he found on it.  Then he searched the floor for drops of blood, which
he carefully scraped with a knife, and washed until no red spot was
visible.  Then he walked to Baldy's and pretended to himself that he
was surprised to find it empty.  What had happened the previous night
was only a dream, an ugly dream.  He met an acquaintance and told him
that Baldy was neither in his hut nor with his sheep.

The two men called at old Sharp's hut to make enquiries.  The latter
said, "I seen Baldy's sheep yesterday going about in mobs, and nobody
to look after them."  Then the three men went to the deserted hut.
Everything in it seemed undisturbed.  The dog was watching at the
door, and they told him to seek Baldy.  He pricked up his ears,
wagged his tail, and looked wistfully in the direction of Nosey's
hut, evidently expecting his master to come in sight that way.

The men went to the nearest magistrate and informed him that the
shepherd was missing.  A messenger went to the head station.
Enquiries were made at the township, and it was found that Baldy had
been to Nyalong the previous day, and had left in the evening
carrying two bottles of gin.  This circumstance seemed to account for
his absence; he had taken too much of the liquor, was lying asleep
somewhere, and would reappear in the course of the day.  Men both on
foot and on horseback roamed through the Rises, examining the hollows
and the flats, the margins of the shallow lakes, and peering into
every wombat hole as they passed.  They never thought of turning over
any of the boulders; a drunken man would never make his bed and
blanket of rocks; he would be found lying on the top if he had
stumbled amongst them.  One by one as night approached the searchers
returned to the hut.  They had discovered nothing, and the only
conclusion they could come to was, that Baldy was taking a very long
sleep somewhere--which was true enough.

Next day every man from the neighbouring stations, and some from
Nyalong, joined in the search.  The chief constable was there, and as
became a professed detector of crime, he examined everything minutely
inside and outside the two huts, but he could not find anything
suspicious about either of them.  He entered into conversation with
Julia, but the eye of her husband was on her, and she had little to
say.  Nosey, on the contrary, was full of suggestions as to what
might have happened to Baldy, and he helped to look for him eagerly
and actively in every direction but the right one.

For many days the Rises were peopled with prospectors, but one by one
they dropped away.  The chief constable was loath to leave the riddle
unsolved; he had the instinct of the sleuth-hound on the scent of
blood.  He had been a pursuer of bad works amongst the convicts for a
long time, both in Van Diemen's Land and in Victoria, and had helped
to bring many men to the gallows or the chain-gang.  He had once been
shot in the back by a horse thief who lay concealed behind the door
of a shepherd's hut, but he secured the horse thief.  He was a man
without nerves, of medium height, strongly built, had a broad face,
massive ears, wide, firm mouth, and strong jaws.

One night after the searchers had departed to their various homes,
the chief remained alone in the Rises, and leaving his horse hobbled
at a distance, cautiously approached Nosey's hut.  He placed his ear
to the outside of the weatherboards, and listened for some time to
the conversation of Nosey and his wife, expecting to obtain by chance
some information about the disappearance of the other shepherd.
Nosey was in a bad temper, swearing and finding fault with
everything.  Julia was prudent and said little; it was best not to
say too much to a man who was so handy with the family axe.  But at
last she made use of one expression which seemed to mean something.
She said, "Oh, Nosey, you murdering villain, you know you ought to be
hanged."  There was a prophetic ring in these words which delighted
the chief constable, and he glued his great ear to the weatherboards,
eagerly listening for more; but the wrangling pair were very
disappointing; they would not keep to the point.  At last he walked
round the hut, suddenly opened the door, and entered.  Nosey was
struck dumb at once.  His first thought was that his plan had been
sprung, and that the murder was out.  The chief addressed Julia in a
tone of authority, imitating the counsel for the crown when examining
a prevaricating witness.

"Now, missus, remember you will be put on your oath.  You said just
now, 'Oh, Nosey, you murdering villain, you know you ought to be
hanged.'  Those were your very words.  Now what did you mean?  On
your oath, mind; out with it at once."

But Julia was not to be caught so easily.  She replied:

"Oh, bad luck to him, he is always angry.  I don't know what to do
with him.  I did not mean anything."

"You did not mean anything about Baldy, I suppose, did you, now?"
queried the constable, shamefully leading the witness, and looking
hard at Nosey.

Julia parried the question by heaving a deep sigh, and saying:  "Hi,
ho, Harry, if I were a maid, I never would marry;" and then she began
singing a silly old song.

The constable was disgusted, and said:

"My good woman, you'll find there will be nothing to laugh at in this
job, when I see you again."

As he left the hut, he turned at the door and gave one more look at
Nosey, who had stood all the time rivetted to the ground, expecting
every moment that the constable would produce the handcuffs.  Soon
afterwards Julia went outside, walked round the hut, and stayed
awhile, listening and looking in every direction.  When she returned,
Nosey said, in a hoarse whisper:

"Is he gan yet?"

"I think," replied Julia, "he won't be coming again to-night.  He has
thrown away his trouble this time, anyhow; but ye must hould your
tongue, Nosey, if ye want to save your neck; he means to have you if
he can."

Nosey stayed on the run some weeks longer, following his sheep.  It
would not be advisable to go away suddenly, and, moreover, he
recollected that what the eye could not see might some time be
discovered by another of the senses.  So he waited patiently,
standing guard as it were over the dead, until his curiosity induced
him to pay a farewell visit by daylight to the place where Baldy was
buried.

There had been hot weather since the body had been deposited in the
shallow grave, and the crevices among the piles of bluestones had
been filled by the wind with the yellow stalks of decayed grass.
Nosey walked round his own particular pile, and inspected it closely.
He was pleased to find that it showed no signs of having been touched
since he raised it.  It was just like any of the other heaps of rocks
around it.  He had, at any rate, given Baldy as good a funeral as
circumstances would permit, better than that of many a man who had
perished of hunger, heat, and thirst, in the shelterless wastes of
the Never-Never Land, "beyond Moneygrub's farthest run."  Nosey and
the weather had done their work so well that for the next fifteen
years no shepherd, stockman, or squatter ever gave a second look at
that unknown grave.  The black snake coiled itself beneath the
decaying skeleton, and spent the winter in secure repose.  The native
cat tore away bits of Baldy's clothing, and with them and the yellow
grass made, year after year, a nest for its young among the whitening
bones.

Everything, so far, had turned out quite as satisfactorily as any
murderer could expect.  Nosey had been game to do his man, and he had
done him well.  Julia was prudent enough to hold her tongue for her
own sake; it was unlikely that any further search would be made for
the lost shepherd; he had been safely put out of sight, and not even
Julia knew where he was buried.

Nosey began to have a better opinion of himself than ever.  Neither
the police nor the law could touch him.  He would never be called to
account for putting away his brother shepherd, in this world at any
rate; and as for the next, why it was a long way off, and there was
time enough to think about it.  The day of reckoning was distant, but
it came at last, as it always does to every sinner of us all.

Nosey resigned his billet, and went to Nyalong.  He lived in a hut in
the eastern part of the township, not far from the lake, and near the
corner of the road coming down from the Bald Hill.  Here had been
laid the foundation of a great inland city by a bush publican, two
storekeepers, a wheelwright, and a blacksmith.  Another city had been
started at the western side of Wandong Creek, but its existence was
ignored by the eastern pioneers.

The shepherd soon began to forget or despise the advice of his wife,
Julia; his tongue grew loose again, and at the bar of the inn of the
crossroads his voice was often heard loud and abusive.  He felt that
he had become a person of importance, as the possessor of a secret
which nobody could discover.  What he said and what he did was
discussed about the township, and the chief constable listened to
every report, expecting that some valuable information would
accidentally leak out.

One day a man wearing a blue jumper and an old hat came down the
road, stepped on to the verandah of the inn, and threw down his swag.
Nosey was there, holding forth to Bill the Butcher, Dick Smalley,
Frank Barton, Bob Atkins, Charley Goodall, and George Brown the Liar.
A dispute occurred, in which the presumptuous stranger joined, and
Nosey promptly knocked him off the verandah into the gutter.  A valid
claim to satisfaction was thus established, and the swagman showed a
disposition to enforce it.  He did not attempt to regain his position
on the boards, but took his stand on the broad stone of honour in the
middle of the road.  He threw up his hat into the air, and began
walking rapidly to and fro, clenched his fists, stiffened his sinews,
and at every turn in his walk said:

"You'll find me as good a man as ever you met in your life."

This man's action promised real sport, and true Britons as we all
were we were delighted to see him.  Nosey stood on the verandah for a
minute or two, watching the motions of the swagman; he did not seem
to recollect all at once what the code of honour required, until Bill
the Butcher remarked, "He wants you, Nosey," then Nosey went.

The two men met in the middle of the road, and put up their hands.
They appeared well-matched in size and weight.  The swagman said:

"You'll find me as good a man as ever you met in your life."

Nosey began the battle by striking out with his right and left, but
his blows did not seem to reach home, or to have much effect.

The swagman dodged and parried, and soon put in a swinging blow on
the left temple.  Nosey fell to the ground, and the stranger resumed
his walk as before, uttering his war cry:

"You'll find me as good a man as ever you met in your life."

There were no seconds, but the rules of chivalry were strictly
observed; the stranger was a true gentleman, and did not use his
boots.

In the second round Nosey showed more caution, but the result was the
same, and it was brought about by another hard blow on the temple.
The third round finished the fight.  Nosey lay on the ground so long
that Bill, the Butcher, went over to look at him, and then he threw
up the sponge--metaphorically--as there was no sponge, nor any
need of one.

The defeated Nosey staggered towards his hut, and his temper was
afterwards so bad that Julia declined to stay with him any longer;
she loosed the marriage bonds without recourse to law, and
disappeared.  Her husband went away westward, but he did not stay
long. He returned to Nyalong and lived awhile alone in his hut there,
but he was restless and dissatisfied.  Everybody looked at him so
curiously.  Even the women and children stood still as he passed by
them, and began whispering to one another, and he guessed well enough
why they were looking at him and what they were saying--"That's
Nosey the murderer; he killed Baldy and hid him away somewhere; his
wife said he ought to be hanged, and she has run away and left him."

When the hungry hawk comes circling over the grove of crookedy gum in
which two magpies are feeding their callow young, the bush is soon
filled with cries of alarm.  The plump quail hides himself in the
depths of a thick tussock; the bronze-winged pigeon dives into the
shelter of the nearest scrub, while all the noisiest scolds of the
air gather round the intruder.  Every magpie, minah, and wattle-bird
within a mile joins in the clamour.  They dart at the hawk as he
flies from tree to tree.  When he alights on a limb they give him no
peace; they flap their wings in his face, and call him the worst of
names.  Even the Derwent Jackass, the hypocrite with the shining
black coat and piercing whistle, joins in the public outcry, and his
character is worse than that of the hawk himself, for he has been
caught in the act of kidnapping and devouring the unfledged young of
his nearest neighbour.  The distracted hawk has at length to retreat
dinnerless to the swampy margin of the river where the tallest
tea-trees wave their feathery tops in the wind.

In like manner the human hawk was driven from the township.  He
descended in the scale of crime, stole a horse, and departed by night.

Bill, the butcher, said next day:  "Nosey has gone for good this
time.  He will ride that horse to death and then steal another."

At this time I rode through the Rises and called at the two huts; I
found them occupied by two shepherds not unlike the former tenants,
who knew little and cared less what had become of their predecessors.
Time empties thrones and huts impartially, and the king feels no
pride in his monument of marble, nor the shepherd any shame beneath
the shapeless cairn which hides his bones.

At this time the old races both of men and animals were dying out
around Lake Nyalong, and others were taking their places.  The last
black child ever seen in the township was brought by its mother to
the hut of a white woman.  It was naked and very dirty, and she laid
it down on the clay floor.  The white woman's heart was moved with
pity at the sight of the miserable little bairn.  She took it up,
washed it with warm water and soap, wrapped it in flannel, and gave
it back to the mother.  But the lubra was loath to receive it.  She
said, "Black picaninny all die.  No good; white picaninny live."

The kangaroo, wombat, and dingo were fast dying out, as well a the
blackfellow.  We could all see well enough how the change was brought
about.  Millions of years ago, new species may have been evolved out
of the old species, but nothing of the kind happens now.  The white
men of Australia were not evolved out of the black men.  There are no
family ties, and never will be, between the kangaroo, the wombat and
wallaby, and their successors, the cattle, the sheep, and the goats.
We can kill species, but we can't create any.

The rabbit, destined to bring Nosey to the gallows, was a favoured
animal on Austin's station at the Barwon.  It was a privilege to
shoot him--in small quantities--he was so precious.  But he soon
became, as the grammar says, a noun of multitude.  He swarmed on the
plains, hopped over the hills, burrowed among the rocks in the Rises,
and nursed his multitudinous progeny in every hollow log of the
forest.  Neither mountain, lake, or river ever barred his passage.
He ate up all the grass and starved the pedigree cattle, the
well-born dukes and duchesses, and on tens of thousands of fertile
acres left no food to keep the nibbling sheep alive.  Every hole and
crevice of the rocks was full of him.  An uninvited guest, he dropped
down the funnel-shaped entrance to the den of the wombat, and made
himself at home with the wild cat and snake.  He clothed the hills
with a creeping robe of fur, and turned the Garden of the West into a
wilderness.  Science may find a theory to account for the beginning
of all things, but among all her triumphs she has been unable to put
an end to the rabbit.  War has been made upon them by fire, dynamite,
phosphorus, and all deadly poisons; by dogs, cats, weasels, foxes,
and ferrets, but he still marches over the land triumphantly.

For fifteen years Nosey roamed from station to station under various
names, between Queensland and the Murray, but wherever he went, the
memory of his crime never left him.  He had been taught in his
boyhood that murder was one of the four sins crying to heaven for
vengeance, and he knew that sooner or later the cry would be heard.
Sometimes he longed to unburden his mind to a priest, but he seldom
saw or heard of one.  The men with whom he worked and wandered were
all like himself--lost souls who had taken the wrong turn in the
beginning of their days, the failures of all trades and professions;
thieves, drunkards, and gamblers; criminals who had fled from
justice; men of pleasure and, therefore, of misery; youths of good
family exported from England, Ireland, and Scotland to mend their
morals, to study wool, and become rich squatters.  All these men get
colonial experience, but it does not make them saintly or rich.  Here
and there, all over the endless plains, they at last lie down and
die, the dingoes hold inquests over them, and, literally, they go to
the dogs, because they took the wrong turn in life and would not come
back.

In 1868 Nosey and his two mates were approaching a station on the
Lachlan.  Since sunrise they had travelled ten miles without
breakfast, and were both hungry and weary.  They put down their swags
in the shade of a small grove of timber within sight of the station
buildings.  Bob Castles said:

"I was shearing in them sheds in '52 when old Shenty owned the run.
He was a rum old miser, he was, would skin two devils for one hide;
believe he has gone to hell; hope so, at any rate.  He couldn't read
nor write much, but he could make money better'n any man I ever heard
of.  Bought two runs on the Murray, and paid 180,000 pounds for 'em
in one cheque.  He kept a lame schoolmaster to write his cheques and
teach his children, gave him 40 pounds a year, the same as a
shepherd.  Lived mostly on mutton all the year round; never killed no
beef for the station, but now and then an old bullock past work,
salted him down in the round swamp for a change o' grub.  Never grew
no cabbage or wegetables, only a paddock of potatoes.  Didn't want no
visitors, 'cos he was afraid they'd want to select some of his run.
Wanted everything to look as poor and miserable as possible.  He put
on a clean shirt once a week, on Sabbath to keep it holy, and by way
of being religious.  Kept no fine furniture in the house, only a big
hardwood table, some stools, and candle boxes.  After supper old
Mother Shenty scraped the potato skins off the table into her apron
--she always boiled the potatoes in their jackets--and then Shenty
lay down on it and smoked his pipe till bedtime, thinking of the best
way to keep down expenses.  A parson came along one day lifting a
subscription for a church, or school, or something.  He didn't get
anything out of old Shenty, only a pannikin of tea and some damper
and mutton.  The old cove said:  'Church nor school never gave me
nothing, nor do me no good, and I could buy up a heap o' parsons and
schoolmasters if I wanted to, and they were worth buying.  Us
squatters is the harrystockrisy out here.  The lords at home sends
out their good-for-nothing sons to us, to get rich and be out of the
way, and much good they does.  Why don't you parsons make money by
your eddication if it's any good, instead of goin' round beggin'?
You are all after the filthy lucre, wantin' to live on other folks.'
I was holdin' the parson's horse, and when he got into the saddle, he
turns to old Shenty, and says:  'From rottenness you sprung, and to
rottenness you'll go.  Your money will drag you down to hell; you'll
want to throw it away, but it will burn into your soul for all
eternity.'

"I am mortal hungry," continued Bob, "and they don't give no rations
until about sundown, and we'll have to wait six hours.  It's hard
lines.  I see there's an orchard there now, and most likely a
wegtable garden--and cabbages.  I'd like some boiled beef and
cabbage.  It wouldn't be no harm to try and get somethin' to eat,
anyhow.  What do you say, Ned?  You was a swell cove once, and knows
how to talk to the quality.  Go and try 'em."

Ned went and talked to the "quality" so well that he brought back
rations for three.

Towards the end of the year Nosey arrived at Piney Station, about
forty miles from the Murray, and obtained employment.  Baldy's bones
had been lying under the rocks for nearly fifteen years.  It was
absurd to suppose they could ever be discovered now, or if they were,
that any evidence could be got out of them.  Nosey felt sure that all
danger for himself was passed, but still the murder was frequently in
his mind.  The squatter was often lonely, and his new man was
garrulous, and one day Nosey, while at work, began to relate many
particulars of life in the old country, in Van Diemen's Land, and in
the other colonies, and he could not refrain from mentioning the
greatest of his exploits.

"I once done a man in Victoria," he said, "when I was shepherding; he
found me out taking his fat sheep, and was going to inform on me, so
I done him with an axe, and put him away so as nobody could ever find
him."

The squatter thought that Nosey's story was mostly blowing,
especially that part of it referring to the murder.  No man who had
really done such a deed, would be so foolish as to confess it to a
stranger.

Another man was engaged to work at the station.  As soon as he saw
Nosey he exclaimed, "Hello, Nosey, is that you?"

"My name is not Nosey."

"All right; a name is nothing.  We are old chums, anyway."

That night the two men had a long talk about old times.  They had
both served their time in the island, and were, moreover, "townies,"
natives of the same town at home.  Nosey began the conversation by
saying to his old friend, "I've been a bad boy since I saw you last
--I done a man in Victoria"; and then he gave the full particulars
of his crime, as already related.  But the old chum could not believe
the narrative, any more than did the squatter.

"Well, Nosey," he said, "you can tell that tale to the marines."

In the meantime the runs around Lake Nyalong had been surveyed by the
government and sold.  In the Rises the land was being subdivided and
fenced with stone walls, and there was a chance that Baldy's grave
might be discovered if one of the surveyed lines ran near it, for the
stonewallers picked up the rocks as near as possible to the wall they
were building, and usually to about the distance of one chain on each
side of it.

A man who had a contract for the erection of one of these walls took
with him his stepson to assist in the work.  In the month of August,
1869, they were on their way to their work accompanied by a dog which
chased a rabbit into a pile of rocks.  The  boy began to remove the
rocks in order to find the rabbit, and in doing so uncovered part of
a human skeleton.  He beckoned to his stepfather, who was rather
deaf, to come and look at what he had found.  The man came, took up
the skull, and examined it.

"I'll be bound this skull once belonged to Baldy," he said.  "There
is a hole here behind; and, yes, one jaw has been broken.  That's
Nosey's work for sure' I wonder where he is now."

No work was done at the wall that day, but information was given to
the police.

Mounted constable Kerry came over to the Rises.  The skeleton was
found to be nearly entire; one jaw-bone was broken, and there was a
hole in the back of the skull.  The feet were still encased in a pair
of boots laced high above the ankles.  There were portions of a
blue-striped shirt, and of a black silk necktie with reddish stripes.
There was also the brim of an oiled sou'wester' hat, a pipe, and a
knife.  The chin was very prominent, and the first molar teeth on the
lower jaw were missing.  The remains were carefully taken up and
conveyed to Nyalong; they were identified as those of Baldy; an
inquest was held, and a verdict of wilful murder was returned against
Nosey and his wife.

After the inquest mounted constable Kerry packed up the skeleton in a
parcel with every small article found with it, placed it in a sack,
put it under his bed, slept over it every night, and patiently waited
for some tidings of the murderer.  In those days news travelled
slowly, and the constable guarded his ghastly treasure for eighteen
months.

Nemesis was all the time on her way to Piney station, but her steps
were slow, and she did not arrive until the seventeenth anniversary
of the disapppearance of Baldy.

On that day she came under the guise of constable, who produced a
warrant, and said:

"Cornelius Naso, alias Nosey, alias Pye, I arrest you under this
warrant, charging you with having murdered a shepherd, named Thomas
Balbus, alias Baldy, at Nyalong, in the colony of Victoria, on the
28th day of February, 1854.  You need not say anything unless you
like, but if you do say anything I shall take it down in writing, and
it will be used as evidence against you at your trial."

Nosey had nothing to say, except, "I deny the charge"; he had said
too much already.

He was handcuffed and taken to the police station at Albury.  In one
of his pockets a letter was found purporting to be written by Julia,
and disclosing her place of residence.

Soon afterwards Nosey and his wife met in captivity after their long
separation, but their meeting was not a happy one; they had no word
of welcome for each other.

The preliminary examination was held in the court house at Nyalong,
and there was a large gathering of spectators when the proceedings
commenced.  On a form below the witness box there was something
covered with a white sheet.  Men craned their necks and looked at it
over one another's shoulders.  The two prisoners eyed it intently.
It was guarded by constable Kerry, who allowed no one to approach it,
but with an authoritative wave of the hand kept back all impertinent
intruders.  That day was the proudest in all his professional career.
He had prepared his evidence and his exhibits with the utmost care.
At the proper moment he carefully removed the white sheet, and the
skeleton was exposed to view, with everything replaced in the
position in which it had been found under the rocks in the Rises.
Nosey's face grew livid as he eyed the evidence of his handiwork;
Julia threw up both hands, and exclaimed:

"Oh! there's poor Baldy that you murdered!"

Nosey felt that this uncalled-for statement would damage his chance
of escape, so, turning to the bench, he said:

"Don't mind what the woman says, your lordship; she is not in her
right senses, and always was weak-minded."

The constable being sworn, related how, on information received, he
had gone to the Stoney Rises, and had uncovered a skeleton which was
lying on a broad flat stone.  The bones of the legs from the knees
downward were covered with stones.  The boots were attached to the
feet, and were pointing in such a direction as to show that the body
must have rested on the right side.  Large stones, but such as one
man could lift, had been placed over the feet and the legs.  The
other bones were together, but had been disturbed.  With them he
found the brim of an oiled sou'-westr' hat, a clay tobacco pipe, a
rusty clasp-knife with a hole bored through the handle, fragments of
a blue shirt; also pieces of a striped silk neckerchief, marked D. S.
over 3; the marks had been sewn in with a needle.  There was a hole
in the back of the skull, and the left jaw was broken.

Just at this time a funeral procession, with a few attendants, passed
the court-house on its way to the cemetery.  Julia's father was going
to his grave.  He had come over the sea lately to spend the rest of
his days in peace and comfort in the home of his daughter, and he
found her in gaol under the charge of murder.  There was nothing more
to live for, so he went out and died.

The two prisoners were committed, but they remained in gaol for more
than seven months longer, on account of the difficulty of securing
the attendance of witnesses from New South Wales.

But when the evidence was given it was overwhelming.  Every man who
had known Baldy seemed to have been kept alive on purpose to give
evidence against the murderer.  Every scrap of clothing which the
wild cats had left was identified, together with the knife, the pipe,
the hat brim, and the boots; and the prisoner's own confession was
repeated.  Julia also took the side of the prosecution.  When asked
if she had any questions to put, she said, "My husband killed the
man, and forced me to help him to put the body on his horse."

The jury retired to consider their verdict, and spent two hours over
it.  In the meantime the two prisoners sat in the dock as far apart
as possible.  They had never spoken to each other during the trial,
and Nosey now said in a low voice:

"You had no call, Julia, to turn on me the way you did.  What good
could it do you?  Sure you might at least have said nothing against
me."

The pent-up bitterness of seventeen years burst forth.  The constable
standing near tried to stop the torrent, but he might as well have
tried to turn back a south-east gale with a feather.

"I was to say nothing, indeed, was I?  And what call had I to say
nothing?  Is that what you ask?  Was I to stand here all day and say
never a word for myself until they were ready to hang me?  Tell me
now, did I murder poor Baldy or did you?  Was it not you who struck
him down with the axe without saying as much as 'by your leave,'
either to me or to him?  Did you say a word to me until you finished
your bloody work?  And then you threatened to cut me down, too, with
the axe, if I didn't hold my tongue, and help you to lift the man on
to your horse. It is this day you should have remembered before you
began that night's work.  Sorrow's the day I ever met you at all,
with the miserable life you led me; and you know I was always the
good wife to you until you gave yourself entirely to the devil with
your wicked ways.  Wasn't I always on the watch for you every evening
looking for you, and the chop on the fire, and the hot tea, and
everything comfortable?  And is it to hang me now you want to pay me
back for the trouble I took for you and all the misery I suffered
these long years?  And the death of my poor father, who found me in
gaol, is at your door too, for he would have been alive and well this
day but for the deed you done, which broke his poor old heart; the
Lord have mercy on him.  And who is to blame but your own self for
being in this place at all?  You not only done the man to death, but
you must go about the bush bragging of it to strangers, and twisting
the halter for your own neck like a born idiot; and that's what you
are, in spite of your roguery and cunning."

And so on for two hours of hell until the jury came back.  They
acquitted Julia and found her husband guilty.  She left the court
without once looking back, and he faced the jury alone.

Judge Pohlman had never before sent a man to the gallows.  He made
the usual little moral speech, and bewailed his own misfortune in
having to perform so disagreeable a duty.  Then he put on the black
cap and passed sentence.  At the concluding words, "May the Lord have
mercy on your soul," the condemned man responded with a fervent
"Amen," adding, "And that's the last of poor Nosey."  He seemed
greatly relieved when the ceremony was over, but it was not quite the
last, there was another to follow.

For ten days he remained in his cell, and no one visited him except
the priest.  His examination of conscience was not difficult, for he
had often rehearsed it, and much of it had been done for him in
public.

He made his last journey between two priests, joining fervently in
their prayers for the dying.  His step was firm, and he showed
neither fear nor bravado.  The hangman quickly drew down the cap, but
he seemed more flurried than his victim.  The sheriff, without
speaking, motioned him to place the knot in the correct position
under the ear.  Then the bolt was drawn and the story of "The Two
Shepherds" was finished.


The man whom Philip met at Bendigo had farms in the country thinly
timbered.  North, south, east, and west the land was held under
squatting licenses; with the exception of the home paddocks it was
unfenced, and the stock was looked after by boundary riders and
shepherds.  To the south, between Nyalong and the sea--a distance
of fifty or sixty miles--the country was not occupied by either the
white or the black men.  It consisted of ranges of hills heavily
timbered, furrowed by deep valleys, through which flowed innumerable
streams, winding their way to the river of the plains.  Sometimes the
solitary bushman or prospector, looking across a deep valley, saw,
nestled amongst the opposite hills, a beautiful meadow of grass.  But
when he had crossed the intervening creek and scrubby valley, and
continued his journey to the up-land, he found that the deceitful
meadow was only a barren plain, covered, not with grass, but with the
useless grass-tree.  There is a little saccharine matter in the roots
of the grass-tree, and a hopeful man from Corio once built a
sugar-mill near the stream, and took possession of the plain as a
sugar plantation.  There was much labour, but very little sugar.

In the dense forest, cattle had run wild, and were sometimes seen
feeding in the thinly-timbered grass land outside; but whenever a
horseman approached they dashed headlong into the scrub where no
horseman could follow them.  Wild boars and their progeny also rooted
among the tall tussocks in the marshes by the banks of the river,
where it emerged from the ranges into the plains.

Blackfish and eels were plentiful in the river, but they were of a
perverse disposition, and would not bite in the day-time.  The bend
nearest to Nyalong was twelve miles distant, and Philip once spent a
night there with Gleeson and McCarthy.  A fire was kindled and some
fish were caught, but Philip took none home.  Gleeson and McCarthy
reserved their catches for their wives and families, and Philip's
fish were all cooked on the fire at sunrise, and eaten for breakfast.
Fishing was sport, certainly, but it was not profitable, nor
exciting, except to the temper.  Sometimes an eel took the bait, and
then twisted himself round the limb of a tree at the bottom of the
river.  He then pulled all he was able until either the line or the
hook was broken, or his jaw was torn into strips.

After midnight Philip was drowsy, and leaned his back against a tree
to woo sweet sleep.  But there were mosquitos in millions, bandicoots
hopping close to the fire, and monkey-bears, night hawks, owls,
'possums and dingoes, holding a corroboree hideous enough to break
the sleep of the dead.

After breakfast the horses were saddled for home.  Philip carried his
revolver in his belt, and Gleeson had a shot-gun.  A kangaroo was
seen feeding about a hundred yards distant, and Gleeson dismounted
and shot at it, but it hopped away unharmed.  A few minutes
afterwards, as the men were riding along at an easy walk, three other
horsemen suddenly came past them at a gallop, wheeled about, and
faced the fishermen.  One was Burridge, a station manager, the other
two were his stockmen.  The six men looked at one another for a few
moments without speaking.  Both Gleeson and McCarthy had the
Tipperary temper, and it did not remain idle long.

"Well," asked Gleeson, "is anything the matter?"

"I dinna ken yet," said Burridge.  "Did na ye hear a gunshot just now?"

"Yes, I fired at a kangaroo."

"A kangaroo, eh?  Are you sure it was a kangaroo?"

"Yes, it was a kangaroo.  What of that?  Oh, I see, you think we are
after shooting your cattle.  Is that it?  Speak out like a man."

"Sometimes a beast is shot about here, and I'd like to find out who
does it."

"Oh, indeed!  you'd like to know who does it, would you?  I can tell
you, anyway, who is the biggest cattle duffer round here, if you'd
like to know!"  Gleeson touched one flank of his horse with his heel,
and rode close up to Burridge with the gun in his right hand.  "His
name is Burridge, and that's yourself.  Everybody knows you, you old
Scotch hound.  You have as many cattle on the run with your brand on
them as your master has.  There is not a bigger cattle thief than old
Burridge within a hundred miles, and you'll be taken off the run in
irons yet.  Get out of my way, or I'll be tempted to send you to
blazes before your time."

Burridge did not go off the run in irons; he left it honourably for
another run which he took up, and stocked with cattle bearing no
brand but his own.  Evil tongues might tattle, but no man could prove
that Burridge ever broke the law.

One fishing excursion to the bend was enough for Philip, but a pig
hunt was organised, and he joined it.  The party consisted of
Gleeson, McCarthy, Bill the Butcher, Bob Atkins, and George Brown the
Liar, who brought a rope-net and a cart in which all the game caught
was to be carried home.  Five dogs accompanied the party, viz., Lion
and Tiger, crossbred bull and mastiffs, experienced pig fighters, Sam
as a reserve, and three mongrels as light skirmishers.

The first animal met with was a huge old boar, the hero of a hundred
fights, the great-grandfather of pigs.  He stood at bay among the
tussocks, the dogs barking furiously around him.  Bill the Butcher
said, "Keep back, you men, or he'll rip the guts out of your horses.
I know him well.  He has only one tusk, but it's a boomer.  Look out
sharp till the dogs tackle him, he might make a rush at some of us."

The boar was a frightful-looking beast, long, tall, and slab-sided,
in perfect condition for fight, all bone, muscle, and bristles, with
not an ounce of lard in his lean body.  He stood still and stiff as a
rock watching the dogs, his one white tusk, long and keen sticking
out above his upper lip.  The loss of the other tusk left him at a
disadvantage, as he could only strike effectively on one side.  Lion
and Tiger had fought him before, and he had earned their respect.
They were wary and cautious, and with good reason. Their best hold
was by the ears, and these had been chewed away in former wars, till
nothing was left of them but the ragged roots.  Bill the Butcher
dismounted, dropped his bridle, and cheered on the dogs at a prudent
distance, "Good dogs; seek him Lion; hold him Tiger."

The dogs went nearer and nearer, jumping away whenever the boar made
an attack.  At last they seized him by the roots of his ears, one on
each side, and held on.  Bob Atkins and Bill approached the
combatants, carrying some strong cord, of New Zealand flax.  A
running noose was secured round the hind legs of the boar; he was
then thrown on his side, and his forelegs were tied together.

Lion and Tiger stood near panting, with blood dripping from their
open jaws.  Philip could not imagine why Bill did not butcher the
beast at once; it seemed impossible that a leathery old savage like
that could ever be transformed into tender pork.  For the present he
was left prone on the field of battle, and the pig hunt proceeded.
There was soon much squealing of pigs, and barking of dogs among the
tussocks.  Gleenson's dog pinned a young boar, and after its legs
were tied Philip agreed to stand by and guard it, while Gleeson
fetched the cart.  But the boar soon slipped the cord from his legs,
and at once attacked his nearest enemy, rushing at Philip and trying
to rip open his boots.  Philip's first impulse was to take out his
revolver, and shoot; but he was always conscientious, and it occurred
to him that he would be committing a breach of trust, as he had
undertaken to guard the game alive until Gleeson came back with the
cart.  So he tried to fight the pig with his boots, kicking him on
the jaws right and left.  But the pig proved a stubborn fighter, and
kept coming up to the scratch again and again, until Philip felt he
had got into a serious difficulty.  He began to think as well as to
kick quickly.

"If I could only throw the animal to the ground I could hold him down."

The dogs had shown him that the proper mode of seizing a hog was by
the ears, so at the next round he seized both ears and held them.
There was a pause in the fight, and Philip took advantage of it to
address his enemy after the manner of the Greeks and Trojans.

"I have got you at last, my friend, and the curse of Cromwell on you,
I'd like to murder you without mercy; and if Gleeson don't come soon
he'll find here nothing but dead pig.  I must try to throw you
somehow."  After examining the pig narrowly he continued, "It will be
done by the hind legs."

He let go one ear and seized a hind leg instead, taking the enemy, as
it were, both in front and rear.  For some time there was much
kicking and squealing, until one scientific kick and a sudden twist
of the hind quarters brought the quarry to earth.

Philip knelt on the ribs of his foe, still holding one ear and one
hind leg.  Then he proceeded with his speech, gasping for breath:

"And this is what happens to a poor man in Australia!  Here have I
been fighting a wild beast of a pig for half an hour, just to keep
him alive, and all to oblige a cockatoo farmer, and small thanks to
me for that same.  May all the curses--the Lord preserve us and
give us patience; I am forgetting the twelve virtues entirely."

Gleeson came at last with the cart and George Brown the Liar; the
pig's legs were again tied together, he was lifted into the cart and
covered with the rope net.  Four other pigs were caught, and then the
hunters and dogs returned to the place in which the old boar had been
left.  But he had broken or slipped his bonds, and had gone away.  He
was tracked to the river, which was narrow but deep, so he had saved
his bacon for another day.

At the division of the game Philip declined to take any share.  He said:

"Thanks, I have had pig enough for the present."

So there were exactly five pigs for the other five men.

Having been satiated with the pleasures of fishing and pig-hunting,
Philip was next invited to try the pursuit of the kangaroo.  The
first meet of men and hounds took place at Gleeson's farm.  McCarthy
brought his dogs, and Philip brought Sam, his revolver, and a club.
Barton was too proud to join in the sport; he despised inferior game.
It might amuse new chums, but it was below the notice of the old
trooper, whose business had been for many years to hunt and shoot
bushrangers and black-fellows, not to mention his regular duty as
flagellator.

Gleeson that morning was cutting up his pumpkin plants with an axe.

"Good morning, Mr. Gleeson," said Philip.  "Is anything the matter?
Is it a snake you are killing?"

Gleeson began to laugh, a little ashamed of himself, and said, "Look
at these cursed pumpkins.  I think they are bewitched.  Every morning
I come to see if the fruit is growing, but this is what they do.  As
soon as they get as big as a small potato, they begin to wither and
turn yellow, and not a bit more will they grow.  So I'm cutting the
blessed things to pieces."

Philip saw that about half the runners had been already destroyed.
He said, "Don't chop any more, Gleeson, and I'll show you how to make
pumpkins grow."

He picked up a feather in the fowl-yard, and went inside the garden.

"Now look at these flowers closely; they are not all alike.  This
flower will never turn into a pumpkin, but this one will if it gets a
little of the dust from the first flower.  The bees or other insects
usually take the dust from one flower to the other, but I suppose
there are no bees about here just now?"

Philip then dusted every flower that was open and said:  "Now, my
friend, put away the axe, and you will have fruit here yet."  And the
pumpkins grew and ripened.

The two men then went towards the house, and Philip observed the
fragments of a clock scattered about the ground in front of the
verandah.

"What happened to the clock?" said Philip.

"Why," replied Gleeson, "the thing wasn't going right at all, so I
took it to pieces just to examine it, and to oil the wheels, and when
I tried to put it together again, the fingers were all awry, and the
pins wouldn't fit in their places, and the pendulum swung crooked,
and the whole thing bothered me so that I just laid it on the floor
of the verandah, and gave it one big kick that sent it to
smithereens.  But don't mind me or the clock at all, master; just
come inside, and we'll have a bit o' dinner before we start."

Gleeson was the kindest man in the world; all he wanted was a little
patience.

The kangaroo gave better sport than either the fish or the pig, and
Philip enjoyed it.  His mare proved swift, but sometimes shied at the
start, when the kangaroos were in full view.  She seemed to think
that there was a kangaroo behind every tree, so she jumped aside from
the trunks.  That was to kill Philip at last, but he had not the
least idea what was to happen, and was as happy as hermits usually
are, and they have their troubles and accidents just like other
people.

The kangaroos when disturbed made for the thick timber, and the
half-grown ones, called "Flying Joeys," always escaped; they were so
swift, and they could jump to such a distance that I won't mention
it, as some ignorant people might call me a liar.  Those killed were
mostly does with young, or old men.  Any horse of good speed could
round up a heavy old man, and then he made for the nearest gum tree,
and stood at bay with his back to it.  It was dangerous for man or
dog to attack him in front, for with his long hind claws he could cut
like a knife.

Philip's family began to desert him.  Bruin, as already stated,
sneaked away and was killed by Hugh Boyle.  Joey opened his
cage-door, and flew up a gum tree.  When Philip came home from the
school, and saw the empty cage, he called aloud, "Joey, Joey, sweet
pretty Joey," and whistled.  The bird descended as far as the
lightwood, but would not be coaxed to come any nearer.  He actually
mocked his master, and said, "Ha, ha, ha! who are you?  Who are you?
There is na luck aboot the hoose," which soon proved true, for the
next bird Pussy brought into the house was Joey himself.

Pup led a miserable life, and died early.  The coroner suspected that
he had been murdered by Maggie, but there was no absolute proof.

Maggie had really no conscience.  She began to gad about the bush.
In her girlish days she wore short frocks, as it were, having had her
wings clipped, but the next spring she went into society, was a
debutante, wore a dress of black and white satin which shone in the
sun, and she grew so vain and flighty, and strutted about so, that it
was really ridiculous to watch her.  She began also to stay out late
in the evening, which was very improper, and before going to bed
Philip would go under the lightwood with a lighted candle, and look
for her amongst the leaves,  saying, "Maggie, are you there?"  She
was generally fast asleep, and all she could do was to blink her
eyes, and say, "Peet, peet," and fall asleep again.  But one night
she never answered at all.  She was absent all next day, and many a
day after that.  October came, when all the scrub, the lightwood, and
wattle were in full bloom, and the air everywhere was full of
sweetness.  Philip was digging his first boiling of new potatoes,
when all at once Maggie swooped down into the garden, and began
strutting about, and picking up the worms and grubs from the soil
newly turned up.

"Oh, you impudent hussy!" he said.  "Where have you been all this
time?"  He stooped, and tried to stroke her head as usual with his
forefinger, but Maggie stuck her bill in the ground, turned a
complete somersault, and caught the finger with both claws, which
were very sharp.  She held on for a short time, then dropped nimbly
to her feet, and said, "There, now, that will teach you to behave
yourself."

"Why, Maggie," said Philip, "what on earth is the matter with you?"

"Oh, there's nothing the matter with me, I assure you.  I suppose you
didn't hear the news, you are such an old stick-in-the-mud.  It was
in the papers, though--no cards--and all the best society ladies
knew it of course."

"Why, Maggie, you don't mean to say you have got a mate?"

"Of course I have, you horrid man, you are so vulgar.  We were
married ages ago.  I didn't invite you of course, because I knew you
would make yourself disagreeable--forbid the banns, or something,
and scare away all the ladies and gentlemen, for you are a most awful
fright, with your red hair and freckles, so I thought it best to say
nothing about the engagement until the ceremony was over.  It was
performed by the Rev. Sinister Cornix, and it was a very select
affair, I assure you, and the dresses were so lovely.  There were six
bridesmaids--the Misses Mudlark.  The Mudlarks, you know, have a
good pedigree, they are come of the younger branch of our family.  We
were united in the bonds under a cherry tree.  Oh! it was a lovely
time, it was indeed, I assure you."

"And where are you living now, Maggie?"

"Oh, I am not going to tell you; you are too inquisitive.  But our
mansion is on the top of a gum tree.  It is among the leaves at the
end of a slender branch.  If Hugh Boyle tries to kidnap my babies,
the branch will snap, and he will fall and break his neck, the
wretch.  Oh, I assure you we thought of everything beforehand; for I
know you keep a lot of boys bad enough to steal anything."

"And what sort of a mate--husband, I mean--have you got?"

"Oh, he is a perfect gentleman, and so attentive to me.  Latterly he
has been a little crusty, I must admit; but you must not say a word
against him.  If you do, I'll peck your eyes out.  A family, you
know, is so troublesome, and it takes all your time to feed them.
There are two of them, the duckiest little fluffy darlings you ever
saw.  They were very hungry this morning, so when I saw you digging I
knew you wouldn't begrudge them a breakfast, and I just flew down
here for it.  But bless my soul, the little darlings will be
screaming their hearts out with hunger while I am talking to you, and
himself will be swearing like a Derviner.  So, by-by."

Philip found Maggie's mansion easily enough; for, in spite of all her
chatter, she had no depth of mind.  The tallest gum-tree was on
Barlow's farm which adjoined the forty-acre on the east.  Barlow had
been a stockman for several years on Calvert's run, and had saved
money.  He invested his money in the Bank of Love, and the bank
broke.  It happened in this way.

A new shepherd from the other side was living with his wife and
daughter near the Rises, and one day when Barlow was riding over the
run, he heard some strange sounds, and stopped his horse to listen.
There was nobody in sight in any direction, and Barlow said,
"There's something the matter at the new shepherd's hut," and he rode
swiftly towards it. As he approached the hut, he heard the screams of
women and the voice of a blackfellow, who was hammering on the door
with his waddy.  He was a tame blackfellow who had been educated at
the Missionary Station.  He could write English, say prayers, sing
hymns, read the Bible, and was therefore named Parson Bedford by the
Derviners, after the Tasmanian Missionary.  He could box and wrestle
so well that few white men could throw him.  He could also drink rum;
so whenever he got any white money he knew how to spend it.  He was
the best thief and the worst bully of all the blacks about Nyalong,
because he had been so well educated.  I knew him well, and attended
his funeral, walking in the procession with the doctor and twenty
blackfellows. He had a white man's funeral, but there was no live
parson present, so king Coco Quine made an oration, waving his hands
over the coffin, "All same as whitefellow parson," then we all threw
clods on the lid.

So much noise was made by the women screaming and the Parson
hammering, that the stockman was able to launch one crack of his
stock-whip on the Parson's back before his arrival was observed.  The
Parson sprang up into the air like a shot deer, and then took to his
heels.  He did not run towards the open plains, but made a straight
line for the nearest part of the Rises.  As he ran, Frank followed at
an easy canter, and over and over again he landed his lash with a
crack like a pistol on the behind of the black, who sprang among the
rough rocks which the horse could not cross, and where the lash could
not reach him.

[ILLUSTRATION 3.]

Then there was a parley.  The Parson was smarting and furious.  He
had learned the colonial art of blowing along with the language.  He
threw down his waddy and said:

"You stockman, Frank, come off that horse, drop your whip, and I'll
fight you fair, same as whitefellow.  I am as good a man as you any
day."

"Do you take me for a blooming fool, Parson?  No fear.  If ever I see
you at that hut again, or anywhere on the run, I'll cut the shirt off
your back.  I shall tell Mr. Calvert what you have been after, and
you'll soon find yourself in chokey with a rope round your neck."

The Parson left Nyalong, and when he returned he was dying of rum and
rheumatism.

Frank rode back to the hut.  The mother and daughter had stood at the
door watching him flog the Parson.  He was in their eyes a hero; he
had scourged their savage enemy, and had driven him to the rocks.
They were weeping beauties--at least the daughter was a beauty in
Frank's eyes--but now they wiped away their tears, smoothed their
hair, and thanked their gallant knight over and over again.  Two at a
time they repeated their story, how they saw the blackfellow coming,
how they bolted the door, and how he battered it with his club,
threatening to kill them if they did not open it.

Frank had never before been so much praised and flattered, at least
not since his mother weaned him; but he pretended not to care.  He
said:

"Tut, tut, it's not worth mentioning.  Say no more about it.  I would
of course have done as much for anybody."

Of course he could not leave the ladies again to the mercy of the
Parson, so he waited until the shepherd returned with his flock.

Then Frank rode away with a new sensation, a something as near akin
to love as a rough stockman could be expected to feel.

Neddy, the shepherd, asked Mr. Calvert for the loan of arms, and he
taught his wife and daughter the use of old Tower muskets.  He said,
"If ever that Parson comes to the hut again, put a couple of bullets
through him."

After that Frank called at the hut nearly every day, enquiring if the
Parson had been seen anywhere abroad.

"No," said Cecily, "we haven't seen him any more;" and she smiled so
sweetly, and lowered her eyes, and spoke low, with a bewitching
Tasmanian accent.

Frank was in the mud, and sinking daily deeper and deeper.  At last
he resolved to turn farmer and leave the run, so he rented the land
adjoining Philip's garden and the forty-acre.  There was on it a
four-roomed, weather-board house and outbuildings, quite a bush
palace.  Farming was then profitable.  Frank ploughed a large paddock
and sowed it with wheat and oats.  Then while the grain was ripening
he resolved to ask Cecily a very important question.  One Sunday he
rode to the hut with a spare horse and side saddle.  Both horses were
well groomed, the side saddle was new, the bits, buckles, and
stirrup-irons were like burnished silver.  Cecily could ride well
even without a saddle, but had never owned one.  She yielded to
temptation, but with becoming coyness and modesty.  Frank put one
hand on his knee, holding the bridle with the other; then Cicely
raised one of her little feet, was lifted lightly on to the saddle,
and the happy pair cantered gaily over the plain to their future home.

Frank showed his bride-elect the land and the crops, the cows and the
horses, the garden and the house.  Cecily looked at everything, but
said next to nothing.  "She is shy," Frank thought, "and I must treat
her gently."  But the opportunity must not be thrown away, and on
their way over the plains Frank told his tale of love.  I don't know
precisely what he said or how he said it, not having been present,
but he did not hook his fish that day, and he took home with him the
bait, the horse, and the empty side-saddle.  But he persevered with
his suit, and before the wheat was ripe, Cecily consented to be his
bride.

He was so overjoyed with his success that instead of waiting for the
happy day when he had to say "With this ring I thee wed, with all my
worldly goods I thee endow," he gave Cecily the worldly goods
beforehand--the horse, with the beautiful new side saddle and
bridle--and nearly all his cash, reserving only sufficient to
purchase the magic ring and a few other necessaries.

The evening before the happy day the pair were seen walking together
before sundown on a vacant lot in the township, discussing, it was
supposed, the arrangements for the morrow.

It was the time of the harvest, and Philip had been engaged to
measure the work of the reapers on a number of farms.  I am aware
that he asked and received 1 pound for each paddock, irrespective of
area.  On the bridal morn he walked over Frank's farm with his chain
and began the measurement, the reapers, most of them broken down
diggers, following him and watching him.  Old Jimmy Gillon took one
end of the chain; he said he had been a chainman when the railway
mania first broke out in Scotland, so he knew all about land
surveying.  Frank was absent, but he returned while Philip was
calculating the wages payable to each reaper, and he said:  "Here's
the money, master; pay the men what's coming to 'em and send 'em
away."

Frank looked very sulky, and Philip was puzzled.  He knew the
blissful ceremony was to take place that day, but there was no sign
of it, nor of any bliss whatever; no wedding garments, no parson, no
bride.

The bare matter of fact was, the bride had eloped during the night.

"For young Lochinvar had come out of the West,
And an underbred, fine-spoken fellow was he."

He was a bullock-driver of superior manners and attractive
personality, and was the only man in Australia who waxed and curled
his moustaches.  Cecily had for some time been listening to
Lochinvar, who was known to have been endeavouring to "cut out"
Frank.  She was staying in the township with her mother preparing for
matrimony, and her horse was in the stable at Howell's Hotel.

When Frank rode away to his farm on that fateful evening, Lochinvar
was watching him.  He saw Cecily going home to her mother for the
last night, and while he was looking after her wistfully, and the
pangs of despairing love were in his heart, Bill the Butcher came up
and said:

"Well, Lock, what are you going to do?"

"Why, what can I do?  She is going to marry Frank in the morning."

"I don't believe it:  not if you are half the man you ought to be."

"But how can I help it?"

"Help it?  Just go and take her.  Saddle your horse and her own, take
'em up to the cottage, and ask her just to come outside for a minute.
And if you don't persuade her in five minutes to ride away with you
to Ballarat, I'll eat my head off.  I know she don't want to marry
Frank; all she wants is an excuse not to, and it will be excuse
enough when she has married you."

These two worthy men went to the Hotel and talked the matter over
with Howell.  The jolly landlord slapped his knee and laughed.  He
said:  "You are right, Bill.  She'll go, I'll bet a fiver, and here
it is, Lock; you take it to help you along."

This base conspiracy was successful, and that was the reason Frank
was so sulky on that harvest morning.

He was meditating vengeance.  Love and hate, matrimony and murder,
are sometimes not far asunder, but Frank was not by nature vengeful;
he had that "foolish hanging of the nether lip which shows a lack of
decision."

I would not advise any man to seek in a law court a sovereign remedy
for the wounds inflicted by the shafts of Cupid; but Frank tried it.
During his examination in chief his mien was gloomy and his answers
brief.

Then Mr. Aspinall rose and said:  "I appear for the defendant, your
Honour, but from press of other engagements I have been unable to
give that attention to the legal aspects of this case which its
importance demands, and I have to request that your Honour will be
good enough to adjourn the court for a quarter of an hour."

The court was adjourned for half an hour, and Mr. Aspinall and his
solicitor retired to a room for a legal consultation.  It began thus:

"I say, Lane, fetch me a nobbler of brandy; a stiffener, mind."

Lane fetched the stiffener in a soda-water bottle, and it cleared the
legal atmosphere.

When the court resumed business, Frank took his stand in the witness
box, and a voice said:  "Now, Mr. Barlow, look at me."

Frank had been called many names in his time, but never "Mr. Barlow"
before now.  He looked and saw the figure of a little man with a
large head, whose voice came through a full-grown nose like the blast
of a trumpet.

"You say you gave Cecily some money, a horse, saddle, and bridle?"

"I did."

"And you bought a wedding ring?"

"I've got it in my pocket."

"I see.  Your Honour will be glad to hear that the ring, at any rate,
is not lost.  It will be ready for another Cecily, won't it, Mr.
Barlow?"

Barlow, looking down on the floor of the court and shaking his head
slowly from side to side, said:

"No, it won't  No fear.  There 'ull be no more Cecilies for me."

There was laughter in the court, and when Frank raised his eyes, and
saw a broad grin on every face, he, too, burst into a fit of laughter.

I saw Mr. Aspinall and Dr. Macadam walking together arm-in-arm from
the court.  The long doctor and the little lawyer were a strange
pair.  Everybody knew that they were sliding down the easy slope to
their tragic end, but they seemed never to think of it.

Frank returned to Nyalong, happier than either.  He related the
particulars of the trial to his friends with the utmost cheerfulness.
Whether he recovered all the worldly goods with which he had endowed
Cecily is doubtful, but he faithfully kept his promise that "There
'ull be no more Cecilies for me."

There was a demon of mischief at work on Philip's hill at both sides
of the dividing fence.  Sam was poisoned by a villainous butcher;
Bruin had been killed by Hugh Boyle; Maggie had eloped with a wild
native to a gum-tree; Joey had been eaten by Pussy; Barlow had been
crossed in love, and then the crowning misfortune befell the hermit.

Mrs. Chisholm was a lady who gave early tokens of her vocation.  At
the age of seven she began to form benevolent plans for the colonies
of Great Britain.  She built ships of broad beans, filled them with
poor families of Couchwood, sent them to sea in a wash-basin, landed
them in a bed-quilt, and started them growing wheat.  Then she loaded
her fleet with a return cargo for the British pauper, one grain of
wheat in each ship, and navigated it safely to Old England.  She made
many prosperous voyages, but once a storm arose which sent all her
ships to the bottom of the sea.  She sent a Wesleyan minister and a
Catholic priest to Botany Bay in the same cabin, strictly enjoining
them not to quarrel during the voyage.  At the age of twenty she
married Captain Chisholm, and went with him to Madras.  There she
established a School of Industry for Girls, and her husband seconded
her in all her good works.

Mr. Chamier, the secretary, took a great interest in her school; Sir
Frederick Adams subscribed 20 pounds, and officers and gentlemen in
Madras contributed in five days 2,000 rupees.  The school became an
extensive orphanage.

Mrs. and Captain Chisholm came to Australia in 1838 for the benefit
of his health, and they landed at Sydney.  They saw Highland
immigrants who could not speak English, and they gave them tools and
wheelbarrows wherewith to cut and sell firewood.

Captain Chisholm returned to India in 1840, but the health of her
young family required Mrs. Chisholm to remain in Sydney.

Female immigrants arriving in Sydney were regularly hired on board
ship, and lured into a vicious course of life.  Mrs. Chisholm went on
board each ship, and made it her business to protect and advise them,
and begged the captain and agent to act with humanity.  Some place of
residence was required in which the new arrivals could be sheltered,
until respectable situations could be found for them, and in January,
1841, she applied to Lady Gipps for help.  A committee of ladies was
formed, and Mrs. Chisholm at length obtained a personal audience from
the Governor, Sir George Gipps.  He believed she was labouring under
an amiable delusion.  He wrote to a friend:

"I expected to have seen an old lady in a white cap and spectacles,
who would have talked to me about my soul.  I was amazed when my aide
introduced a handsome, stately young woman, who proceeded to reason
the question as if she thought her reason, and experience too, worth
as much as mine."

Sir George at last consented to allow her the use of a Government
building, a low wooden one.  Her room was seven feet by seven feet.
Rats ran about in it in all directions, and then alighted on her
shoulders.  But she outgeneraled the rats.  She gave them bread and
water the first  night, lit two candles, and sat up in bed reading
"Abercrombie."  There came never less than seven nor more than
thirteen rats eating at the same time.  The next night she gave them
another feast seasoned with arsenic.

The home for the immigrants given her by Sir George had four rooms,
and in it at one time she kept ninety girls who had no other shelter.
About six hundred females were then wandering about Sydney unprovided
for.  Some slept in the recesses of the rocks on the Government
domain.  She received from the ships in the harbour sixty-four girls,
and all the money they had was fourteen shillings and three
half-pence.

She took them to the country, travelling with a covered cart to sleep
in.  She left married families at different stations, and then sent
out decent lasses who should be married.

In those days the dead bodies of the poor were taken to the cemetery
in a common rubbish-cart.

By speeches and letters both public and private, and by interviews
with influential men, Mrs. Chisholm sought help for the emigrants
both in Sydney and England, where she opened an office in 1846.

In the year 1856 Major Chisholm took a house at Nyalong, near
Philip's school.  Two of the best scholars were John and David.  When
David lost his place in the class he burst into tears, and the Blakes
and the Boyles laughed.  The Major spoke to the boys and girls
whenever he met them.  He asked John to tell him how many
weatherboards he would have to buy to cover the walls of his house,
which contained six rooms and a lean-to, and was built of slabs.
John measured the walls and solved the problem promptly.  The Major
then sent his three young children to the school, and made the
acquaintance of the master.

Mrs.  Chisholm never went to Nyalong, but the Major must have given
her much information about it, for one day he read a portion of one
of her letters which completely destroyed Philip's peace of mind.  It
was to the effect that he was to open a school for boarders at
Nyalong, and, as a preliminary, marry a wife.  The Major said that if
Philip had no suitable young lady in view, Mrs. Chisholm, he was
sure, would undertake to produce one at a very short notice.  She had
the whole matter already planned, and was actually canvassing for
  pupils among the wealthiest families in the colony.  The Major
smiled benevolently, and said it was of no use for Philip to think of
resisting Mrs. Chisholm; when she had once made up her mind,
everybody had to give way, and the thing was settled.  Philip, too,
smiled faintly, and tried to look pleased, dissembling his outraged
feelings, but he went away in a state of indignation.  He actually
made an attack on the twelve virtues, which seemed all at once to
have conspired against  his happiness.  He said:  "If I had not kept
school so conscientiously, this thing would never have happened.  I
don't want boarders, and I don't want anybody to send me a wife to
Nyalong.  I am not, thank God, one of the royal family, and not even
Queen Victoria shall order me a wife."

In that way the lonely hermit put his foot down and began a
countermine, working as silently as possible.

During the Christmas holidays, after his neighbour Frank had been
jilted by Cecily, he rode away, and returned after a week's absence.
The Major informed him that Mrs. Chisholm had met with an accident
and would be unable to visit Nyalong for some time.  Philip was
secretly pleased to hear the news, outwardly he expressed sorrow and
sympathy, and nobody but himself suspected how mean and deceitful he
was.

At Easter he rode away again and returned in less than a week.  Next
day he called at McCarthy's farm and dined with the family.  He said
he had been married the previous morning before he had started for
Nyalong, and had left his wife at the Waterholes.  McCarthy began to
suspect that Philip was a little wrong in his head;  it was a kind of
action that contradicted all previous experience.  He could remember
various lovers running away together before marriage, but he could
not call to mind a single instance in which they ran away from one
another immediately after marriage.  But he said to himself, "It will
all be explained by-and-by," and he refrained from asking any
impertinent questions merely to gratify curiosity.

After dinner Gleeson, Philip, and McCarthy rode into the bush with
the hounds.  A large and heavy "old man" was sighted; and the dogs
stuck him up with his back to a tree.  While they were growling and
barking around the tree Gleeson dismounted, and, going behind the
tree, seized the "old man" by the tail.  The kangaroo kept springing
upwards and at the dogs, dragging Gleeson after  him, who was jerking
the tail this way and that to bring his game to the ground, for the
"old man" was so tall that the dogs could not reach his throat while
he stood upright.  Philip gave his horse to McCarthy and approached
the "old man" with his club.

"Shoot him with your revolver," said Gleeson.  "If I let go his tail,
he'll be ripping you with his toe."

"I might shoot you instead," said Philip; "better to club him.  Hold
on another moment."

Philip's first blow was dodged by the kangaroo, but the second fell
fairly on the skull; he fell down, and Ossian, a big and powerful
hound, seized him instantly by the throat and held on.  The three men
mounted their horses and rode away, but Philip's mare was, as usual,
shying at every tree.  As he came near one which had a large branch,
growing horizontally from the trunk, his mare spring aside, carried
him under the limb, which struck his head, and threw him to the
ground.  He never spoke again.

After the funeral, McCarthy rode over to the Rocky Waterholes to make
some enquiries.  He called at Mrs. Martin's residence, and he said:

"Mr. Philip told us he was married the day before the accident, but
it seemed so strange, we could not believe it; so I thought I would
just ride over and enquire about it, for, of course, if he had a
wife, she will be entitled to whatever little property he left behind
him."

"Yes, it's quite true," said Mrs. Martin.  "They were married sure
enough.  He called here at Christmas, and said he would like to see
Miss Edgeworth; but she was away on a visit to some friends.  I asked
him if he had any message to leave for her, but he said, 'Oh, no;
only I thought I should like to see how she is getting along.  That's
all, thank you.  I might call again at Easter.'  So he went away.  On
last Easter Monday he came again.  Of course I had told Miss
Edgeworth, about his calling at Christmas and enquiring about her,
and it made me rather suspicious when he came again.  As you may
suppose, I could not help taking notice; but for two days, nor, in
fact, for the whole week, was there the slightest sign of anything
like lovemaking between them.  No private conversation, no walking
out together, nothing but commonplace talk and solemn looks.  I said
to myself, 'If there is anything between them, they keep it mighty
close to be sure.'  On the Tuesday evening, however, he spoke to me.
He said:

"'I hope you won't mention it, Mrs. Martin, but I would like to have
a little advice from you, if you would be so kind as to give it.
Miss Edgeworth has been living with you for some time, and you must
be well acquainted with her.  I am thinking of making a proposal, but
our intercourse has been so slight, that I should be pleased first to
have your opinion on the matter.'

"'Mr. Philip,' I said, 'you really must not ask me to say anything
one way or the other, for or against.  I have my own sentiments, of
course; but nobody shall ever say that I either made a match or
marred one.'

"Nothing happened until the next day.  In the afternoon Miss
Edgeworth was alone in this room, when I heard Mr. Philip walking
down the passage, and stopping at the door, which was half open.  I
peeped out, and then put off my slippers, and stepped a little
nearer, until through the little opening between the door and the
door-post, I could both see and hear them.  He was sitting on the
table, dangling his boots to and fro just above the floor, and she
was sitting on a low rocking-chair about six feet distant.  He did
not beat about the bush, as the saying is; did not say, 'My dear,' or
'by your leave, Miss,' or 'excuse me,' or anything nice, as one would
expect from a gentleman on a delicate occasion of the kind, but he
said, quite abruptly:

"'How would you like to live at Nyalong, Miss Edgeworth?'

"She was looking on the floor, and her fingers were playing with a
bit of ribbon, and she was so nice and winsome, and well dressed, you
couldn't have helped giving her a kiss.  She never raised her eyes to
his face, but I think she just looked as high as his boots, which
were stained and dusty.  The silly man was waiting for her to say
something; but she hung down her head, and said nothing.  At last he
said:

"'I suppose you know what I mean, Miss Edgeworth?'

"'Yes,' she said, in a low voice.  'I know what you mean, thank you.'

"Then there was silence for I don't know how long; it was really
dreadful, and I couldn't think how it was going to end.  At last he
heaved a big sigh, and said:

"'Well, Miss Edgeworth, there is no need to hurry; take time to think
about it.  I am going to ride out, and perhaps you will be good
enough to let me know your mind when I come back.'

"Then he just shook her hand, and I hurried away from the door.  It
was rather mean of me to be listening to them, but I took as much
interest in Miss Edgeworth as if she were my own daughter.

"'There is no need to hurry,' he had said, but in my opinion there
was too much hurry, for they were married on the Saturday, and he
rode away the same morning having to open school again on Monday.

"Of course, Miss Edgeworth was a good deal put about when we heard
what had happened, through the papers, but I comforted her as much as
possible.  I said, 'as for myself, I had never liked the look of the
poor man with his red hair and freckles.  I am sure he had a bad
temper at bottom, for red-haired men are always hasty; and then he
had a high, thin nose, and men of that kind are always close and
stingy, and the stingiest man I ever knew was a Dublin man.  Then his
manners, you must remember, were anything but nice; he didn't wasteany
compliments on you before you married him, so you may just fancy what
kind of compliments you would have had to put up with afterwards.
And perhaps you have forgotten what you said yourself about him at
Bendigo.  You were sure he was a severe master, you could see
sternness on his brow.  And however you could have consented to go to
the altar with such a man I cannot understand to this day.  I am sure
it was a very bad match, and by-and-by you will thank your stars that
you are well out of it.'

"I must acknowledge that Miss Edgeworth did not take what I said to
comfort her very kindly, and she 'gave me fits,' as the saying is;
but bless your soul, she'll soon get over it, and will do better next
time."

Soon after the death of Philip, Major Chisholm and his family left
Nyalong, and I was appointed Clerk to the Justices at Colac.  I sat
under them for twelve years, and during that time I wrote a great
quantity of criminal literature.  When a convict of good conduct in
Pentridge was entitled to a ticket-of-leave, he usually chose the
Western district as the scene of his future labours, so that the
country was peopled with old Jack Bartons and young ones.  Some of
the young ones had been Philip's scholars--viz., the Boyles and the
Blakes.  They were friends of the Bartons, and Old John, the
ex-flogger, trained them in the art of cattle-lifting.  His teaching
was far more successful than that of Philip's, and when in course of
time Hugh Boyle appeared in the dock on a charge of horse-stealing, I
was pained but not surprised.  Barton, to whose farm the stolen horse
had been brought by Hugh, was summoned as witness for the Crown, but
he organised the evidence for the defence so well that the prisoner
was discharged.

On the next occasion both Hugh and his brother James were charged
with stealing a team of bullocks, but this time the assistance of
Barton was not available.  The evidence against the young men was
overwhelming, and we committed them for trial.  I could not help
pitying them for having gone astray so early in life.  They were both
tall and strong, intelligent and alert, good stockmen, and quite able
to earn an honest living in the bush.  They had been taught their
duty well by Philip, but bad example and bad company out of school
had led them astray.  The owner of the bullocks, an honest young boor
named Cowderoy, was sworn and gave his evidence clearly.  Hugh and
James knew him well.  They had no lawyer to defend them, and when the
Crown Prosecutor sat down, there seemed no loophole left for the
escape of the accused, and I mentally sentenced them to seven years
on the roads, the invariable penalty for their offence.

But now the advantages of a good moral education were brilliantly
exemplified.

"Have you any questions to put to this witness?" asked the Judge of
the prisoners.

"Yes, your Honour," said Hugh.  Then turning to Cowderoy, he said:
"Do you know the nature of an oath?"

The witness looked helplessly at Hugh, then at the Judge and Crown
Prosecutor; stood first on one leg, then on the other; leaned down
with his elbows on the edge of the witness-box apparently staggering
under the weight of his own ignorance.

"Why don't you answer the question?" asked the Judge sharply.  "Do
you know the nature of an oath?"

Silence.

Mr. Armstrong saw his case was in danger of collapse, so he said:  "I
beg to submit, your Honour, that this question comes too late and
should have been put to the witness before he was sworn.  He has
already taken the oath and given his evidence."

"The question is a perfectly fair one, Mr. Armstrong," said the
Judge:  and turning to the witness he repeated:  "Do you know the
nature of an oath?"

"No," said Cowderoy.

The prisoners were discharged, thanks to their good education.



A VALIANT POLICE-SERGEANT.

Sergeant Hyde came to my office and asked me to accompany him as far
as Murray Street.  He said there was a most extraordinary dispute
between a white woman and a black lubra about the ownership of a
girl, and he had some doubts whether it was a case within the
jurisdiction of a police-court, but thought we might issue a summons
for illegal detention of property.  He wanted me to advise him, and
give my opinion on the matter, and as by this time my vast experience
of Justices' law entitled me to give an opinion on any imaginable
subject, I very naturally complied with his request.  He was,
moreover, a man so remarkable that a request by him for advice was of
itself an honour.  In his youth he had been complimented on the
possession of a nose exactly resembling that of the great Duke of
Wellington, and ever since that time he had made the great man the
guiding star of his voyage over the ocean of life, the only saint in
his calendar; and he had, as far as human infirmity would permit,
modelled his conduct and demeanour in imitation of those of the
immortal hero.  He spoke briefly, and in a tone of decision.  The
expression of his face was fierce and defiant, his bearing erect, his
stride measured with soldierly regularity.  He was not a large man,
weighing probably about nine stone; but that only enhanced his
dignity, as it is a great historical fact that the most famous
generals have been nearly all small men.

When he came into my office, he always brought with him an odour of
peppermint, which experience had taught me to associate with the
proximity of brandy or whisky.  I have never heard or read that the
Iron Duke took pepperment lozenges in the morning, but still it might
have been his custom to do so.  The sergeant was a Londoner, and knew
more about the private habits of his Grace than I did.  If he had
been honoured with the command of a numerous army, he would, no
doubt, have led it onward, or sent it forward to victory.  His
forces, unfortunately, consisted of only one trooper, but the way in
which he ordered and manoeuvred that single horseman proved what
glory he would have won if he had been placed over many squadrons.
By a general order he made him parade outside the gate of the station
every morning at ten o'clock.  He then marched from the front door
with a majestic mien and inspected the horse, the rider, and
accoutrements.  He walked slowly round, examining with eagle eye the
saddle, the bridle, the bits, the girth, the sword, pistols, spurs,
and buckles.  If he could find no fault with anything, he gave in
brief the word of command, "Patrol the forest road," or any other
road on which an enemy might be likely to appear.  I never saw the
sergeant himself on horseback.  He might have been a gay cavalier in
the days of his fiery youth, but he was not one now.

As we passed the "Crook and Plaid Hotel," on our return to the
court-house, after investigating the dispute in Murray Street, I
observed a stranger standing near the door, who said:

"Hello, Hyde!  is that you?"

He was evidently addressing the sergeant, but the latter merely gave
him a slight glance, and went away with his noble nose in the air.

The stranger looked after him and laughed.  He said:

"That policeman was once a shepherd of mine up in Riverina, but I see
he don't know me now--has grown too big for his boots.  Cuts me
dead, don't he?  Ha!  ha!  ha!  Well I never!"

The stranger's name was Robinson; he had been selling some cattle to
a neighbouring squatter, and was now on his way home.  He explained
how he had, just before the discovery of gold, hired Hyde as a
shepherd, and had given him charge of a flock of sheep.

There were still a few native blacks about the run, but by this time
they were harmless enough:  never killed shepherds, or took mutton
without leave.  They were somewhat addicted to petty larceny, but felony
had been frightened out of their souls long ago.  They knew all the
station hands, and the station hands knew them.  They soon spotted a
new chum, and found out the soft side of him; and were generally able
to coax or frighten him to give them tobacco, some piece of clothing,
or white money.

When the new shepherd had been following his flock for a few days,
Mr. Robinson, while looking out from the verandah of his house over
the plains, observed a strange object approaching at some distance.
He said to himself, "That is not a horseman, nor an emu, nor a native
companion, nor a swagman, nor a kangaroo."  He could not make it out;
so he fetched his binocular, and then perceived that it was a human
being, stark naked.  His first impression was that some unfortunate
traveller had lost his way in the wide wilderness, or a station hand
had gone mad with drink, or that a sundowner had become insane with
hunger, thirst, and despair.

He took a blanket and went to meet the man, in order that he might
cover him decently before he arrived too near the house.  It was
Hyde, the new shepherd, who said he had been stripped by the blacks.

 From information afterwards elicited by Robinson it appeared that the
blacks had approached Hyde in silence while his back was turned to
them.  The sight of them gave a sudden shock to his system.  He was
totally unprepared for such an emergency.  If he had had time to
recall to memory some historical examples, he might have summoned up
his sinking courage, and have done a deed worthy of record.  There
was David, the youthful shepherd of Israel, who slew a lion and a
bear, and killed Goliath, the gigantic champion of the Philistines.
There were the Shepherd Kings, who ruled the land of Egypt.  there
was one-eyed Polyphemus, moving among his flocks on the mountain tops
of Sicily; a monster, dreadful, vast, and hideous; able to roast and
eat these three blackfellows at one meal.  And nearer our own time
was the youth whose immortal speech begins, "My name is Norval; on
the Grampian Hills my father fed his flocks."  Our shepherd had a
stick in his hand and a collie dog at his command.  Now was the time
for him to display "London Assurance" to some purpose; and now was
the time for the example of the ever-victorious Duke to work a
miracle of valour.  But the crisis had come on too quickly, and there
was no time to pump up bravery from the deep well of history.  The
unearthly ugliness of the savages, their thick lips, prominent cheek
bones, scowling and overhanging brows, broad snub noses, matted black
hair, and above all the keen, steady, and ferocious scrutiny of their
deep-set eyes, extinguished the last spark of courage in the heart of
Hyde.  He did not look fierce and defiant any more.  He felt inclined
to be very civil, so he smiled a sickly smile and tried to say
something, but his chin wobbled, and his tongue would not move.

The blacks came nearer, and one of them said, "Gib fig tobacker,
mate?"  Here was a gleam of hope, a chance of postponing his final
doom.  When a foe cannot be conquered, it is lawful to pay him to be
merciful; to give him an indemnity for his trouble in not kicking
you.  The shepherd instantly pulled out his tobacco, his pipe, his
tobacco-knife, and matches, and handed them over.  A second
blackfellow, seeing him so ready to give, took the loan of his tin
billy, with some tea and sugar in it, and some boiled mutton and
damper.  These children of the plains now saw that they had come upon
a mine of wealth, and they worked it down to the bed rock.  One after
another, and with the willing help of the owner, they took possession
of his hat, coat, shirt, boots, socks, trousers, and drawers, until
the Hyde was completely bare, as naked, and, it is to be hoped, as
innocent, as a new-born babe.  His vanity, which was the major part
of his personality, had vanished with his garments, and the remnant
left of body and soul was very insignificant.

Having now delivered up everything but his life, he had some hope
that his enemies might at least spare him that.  They were jabbering to
one another at a great rate, trying on, putting off, and exchanging
first one article and then another of the spoils they had won.  They
did not appear to think that the new chum was worth looking after any
longer.  So he began slinking away slowly towards his flock of sheep,
trying to look as if nothing in particular was the matter; but he
soon turned in the direction of the home station.  He tried to run,
and for a short time fear winged his feet; but the ground was hard
and rough, and his feet were tender; and though he believed that
death and three devils were behind him, he could go but slowly.  A
solitary eaglehawk sat on the top branch of a dead gum-tree, watching
him with evil eyes; a chorus of laughing jackasses cackled after him
in derision from a grove of young timber; a magpie, the joy of the
morning, and most mirthful of birds, whistled for him sweet notes of
hope and good cheer; then a number of carrion crows beheld him, and
approached with their long-drawn, ill-omened "croank, croank," the
most dismal note ever uttered by any living thing.  They murder sick
sheep, and pick out the eyes of stray lambs.  They made short
straggling flights, alighting on the ground in front of the miserable
man, inspecting his condition, and calculating how soon he would be
ready to be eaten.  They are impatient gluttons, and often begin
tearing their prey before it is dead.

Mr. Robinson clothed the naked, and then mounted his horse and went
for the blacks.  In a short time he returned with them to the
station, and made them disgorge the stolen property, all but the tea,
sugar, mutton, and damper, which were not returnable.  He gave them
some stirring advice with his stockwhip, and ordered them to start
for a warmer climate.  He then directed Hyde to return to his sheep,
and not let those blank blacks humbug him out of clothes any more.
But nothing would induce the shepherd to remain another day; he
forswore pastoral pursuits for the rest of his life.  His courage had
been tried and found wanting; he had been covered--or, rather,
uncovered--with disgrace; and his dignity--at least in Riverina
--was gone for ever.  In other scenes, and under happier auspices,
he might recover it, but on Robinson's station he would be subjected
to the derision of the station hands as long as he stayed.

How he lived for some time afterwards is unknown; but in 1853 he was
a policeman at Bendigo diggings.  At that time any man able to carry
a carbine was admitted into the force without question.  It was then
the refuge of the penniless, of broken-down vagabonds, and unlucky
diggers.  Lords and lags were equally welcomed without characters or
references from their former employers, the Masters' and Servants'
Act having become a dead letter.  Hyde entered the Government
service, and had the good sense to stay there.  His military bearing
and noble mien proclaimed him fit to be a leader of men, and soon
secured his promotion.  He was made a sergeant, and in a few years
was transferred to the Western District, far away, as he thought,
from the scene of his early adventure.

He lived for several years after meeting with and cutting his old
employer, Robinson, and died at last of dyspepsia and peppermints,
the disease and the remedy combined.



WHITE SLAVES.

Many men who had been prisoners of the Crown, or seamen, lived on the
islands in Bass' Straits, as well as on islands in the Pacific Ocean,
fishing, sealing, or hunting, and sometimes cultivating patches of
ground.  The freedom of this kind of life was pleasing to those who
had spent years under restraint in ships, in gaols, in chain-gangs,
or as slaves to settlers in the bush, for the lot of the assigned
servant was often worse than that of a slave, as he had to give his
labour for nothing but food and clothing, and was liable to be
flogged on any charge of disobedience, insolence, or insubordination
which his master might choose to bring against him.  Moreover, the
black slave might be sold for cash, for five hundred to a thousand
dollars, according to the quality of the article and the state of the
market, so that it was for the enlightened self-interest of the owner
to keep him in saleable condition.  But the white slave was
unsaleable, and his life of no account.  When he died another could
be obtained for nothing from the cargo of the next convict ship.

Some masters treated their men well according to their deserts; but
with regard to others, the exercise of despotic authority drew forth
all the evil passions of their souls, and made them callous to the
sufferings of their servants.

The daily fear of the lash produced in the prisoners a peculiar
expression of countenance, and a cowed and slinking gait, which I
have never seen in any other men, white or black.  And that gait and
expression, like that of a dog crouching at the heels of a cruel
master in fear of the whip, remained still after the prisoners had
served the time of their sentences, and had recovered their freedom.
They never smiled, and could never regain the feelings and bearing of
free men; they appeared to feel on their faces the brand of Cain, by
which they were known to all men, and the scars left on their backs
by the cruel lash could never be smoothed away.  Whenever they met,
even on a lonely bush track, a man who, by his appearance might be a
magistrate or a Government officer, they raised a hand to the
forehead in a humble salute by mere force of habit.  There were some,
it is true, whose spirits were never completely broken--who fought
against fate to the last, and became bushrangers or murderers; but
sooner or later they were shot, or they were arrested and hanged.
The gallows-tree on the virgin soil of Australia flourished and bore
fruit in abundance.

The trial of a convict charged with disobedience or insubordination
was of summary jurisdiction.  Joe Kermode, a teamster, chanced to be
present at one of these trials.  It was about ten o'clock in the
morning when he saw near a house on the roadside a little knot of men
at an open window.  He halted his team to see what was the matter,
and found that a police magistrate, sitting inside a room, was
holding a Court of Petty Sessions at the window.  It was an open
court, to which the public were admitted according to law; a very
open court, the roof of which was blue--the blue sky of a summer's
morning.  A witness was giving evidence against an assigned servant,
charged with some offence against his master.  His majesty, the
magistrate, yawned--this kind of thing was tiresome.  Presently a
lady came into the room, walked to the open window, clasped her hands
together, and laid them affectionately on the shoulder of the court.
After listening for a few moments to the evidence she became
impatient, and said, "Oh, William, give him three dozen and come to
breakfast."  So William gave the man three dozen and went to
breakfast--with a good conscience; having performed the ordinary
duty of the day extraordinarily well, he was on the high road to
perfection.

The sentence of the court was carried out by a scourger, sometimes
called flagellator, or flogger. The office of scourger was usually
held by a convict; it meant promotion in the Government service, and
although there was some danger connected with it, there was always a
sufficient number of candidates to fill vacancies.  In New South
Wales the number of officers in the cat-o'-nine tails department was
about thirty.  The danger attached to the office consisted in the
certainty of the scourger being murdered by the scourgee, if ever the
opportunity was given.

Joe Kermode had once been a hutkeeper on a station.  The hut was
erected about forty yards from the stockyard, to which the sheep were
brought every evening, to protect them from attack by dingoes or
blackfellows.  If the dingoes and blackfellows had been content with
one sheep at a time to allay the pangs of hunger, they could not have
been blamed very much; but after killing one they went on killing as
many more as they could, and thus wasted much mutton to gratify their
thirst for blood.

Joe and the shepherd were each provided with a musket and bayonet for
self-defence.

The hut was built of slabs, and was divided by a partition into two
rooms, and Joe always kept his musket ready loaded,  night and day,
just inside the doorway of the inner room.  Two or three blacks would
sometimes call, and ask for flour, sugar, tobacco, or a firestick.
If they attempted to come inside the hut, Joe ordered them off,
backing at the same time towards the inner door, and he always kept a
sharp look-out for any movement they made; for they were very
treacherous, and he knew they would take any chance they could get to
kill him, for the sake of stealing the flour, sugar, and tobacco.
Two of them once came inside the hut and refused to go out, until Joe
seized his musket, and tickled them in the rear with his bayonet,
under the "move on" clause in the Police Offences Statute.

Early one morning there was a noise as of some disturbance in the
stockyard, and Joe, on opening the door of his hut, saw several
blacks spearing the sheep.  He seized his musket and shouted, warning
them to go away.  One of them, who was sitting on the top rail with
his back towards the hut, seemed to think that he was out of range of
the musket, for he made most unseemly gestures, and yelled back at
Joe in a defiant and contemptuous manner.  Joe's gun was charged with
shot, and he fired and hit his mark, for the blackfellow dropped
suddenly from the top rail, and ran away, putting his hands behind
him, and trying to pick out the pellets.

One day a white stockman came galloping on  his horse up to the door
of the hut, his face, hands, shirt and trousers being smeared and
saturated with blood.  Joe took him inside the hut, and found that he
had two severe wounds on the left shoulder.  After the bleeding had
been stanched and the wounds bandaged, the stranger related that as
he was riding he met a blackfellow carrying a fire-stick.  He thought
it was a good opportunity of lighting his pipe, lucifer matches being
then unknown in the bush; so he dismounted, took out his knife, and
began cutting tobacco.  The blackfellow asked for a fig of tobacco,
and, after filling his pipe, the stockman gave him the remainder of
the fig he had been cutting, and held out his hand for the firestick.
The blackfellow seemed disappointed; very likely expecting to receive
a whole fig of tobacco--and, instead of handing him the firestick
he threw it on the ground.  At the first moment the stockman did not
suspect any treachery, as he had seen no weapon in possession of the
blackfellow.  He stooped to pick up the firestick; but just as he was
touching it, he saw the black man's feet moving nearer, and becoming
suddenly suspicious, he quickly moved his head to one side and stood
upright.  At the same instant he received a blow from a tomahawk on
his left shoulder.  This blow, intended for his head, was followed by
another, which inflicted a second wound; but the stockman succeeded
in grasping the wrist of his enemy.  Then began a wrestling match
between the two men, the stakes two lives, no umpire, no timekeeper,
no backers, and no bets.  The only spectator was the horse, whose
bridle was hanging on the ground.  But he seemed to take no interest
in the struggle, and continued  nibbling the grass until it was over.

The black man, who had now dropped his rug, was as agile and nimble
as a beast of prey, and exerted all his skill and strength to free
his hand.  But the white man felt that to loose his hold would be to
lose his life, and he held on to his grip of the blackfellow's wrist
with desperate resolution.  The tomahawk fell to the ground, but just
then neither of the men could spare a hand to pick it up.  At length,
by superior strength, the stockman brought his enemy to the ground.
He then grasped the thick, matted hair with one hand, and thus
holding the black's head close to the ground, he reached with the
other hand for the tomahawk, and with one fierce blow buried the
blade in the savage's brain.  Even then he did not feel quite sure of
his safety.  He had an idea that it was very difficult to kill
blackfellows outright, that theywere like American 'possums, and were
apt to come to life again after they had been killed, and ought to be
dead.  So to finish his work well, he hacked at the neck with the
tomahawk until he had severed the head completely from the body; then
taking the head by the hair, he threw it as far as he could to the
other side of the track.  By this time he began to feel faint from
loss of blood, so he mounted his horse and galloped to Joe Kermode's
hut.

When Joe had performed his duties of a good Samaritan to the stranger
he mounted his horse, and rode to the field of battle.  He found the
headless body of the black man, the head at the other side of the
track, the tomahawk, the piece of tobacco, the rug, and the
firestick.  Joe and the shepherd buried the body; the white man
survived.



THE GOVERNMENT STROKE.

"The Government Stroke" is a term often used in the colonies, and
indicates a lazy and inefficient manner of performing any kind of
labour.  It originated with the convicts.  When a man is forced to
work through fear of the lash, and receives no wages, it is quite
natural and reasonable that he should exert himself as little as
possible.  If you were to reason with him, and urge him to work
harder at, for instance, breaking road metal, in order that the
public might have good roads to travel on, and show him what a great
satisfaction it should be to know that his labours would confer a
lasting benefit on his fellow creatures; that, though it might appear
a little hard on him individually, he should raise his thoughts to a
higher level, and labour for the good of humanity in general, he
would very likely say, "Do you take me for a fool?"  But if you gave
him three dozen lashes for his laziness he will see, or at least
feel, that your argument has some force in it.  As a matter of fact
men work for some present or future benefit for themselves.  The
saint who sells all he has to give to the poor, does so with the hope
of obtaining a reward exceedingly great in the life to come.  And
even if there were no life to come, his present life is happier far
than that of the man who grabs at all the wealth he can get until he
drops into the grave.  The man who works "all for love and nothing
for reward" is a being incomprehensible to us ordinary mortals; he is
an angel, and if ever he was a candidate for a seat in Parliament he
was not elected.  Even love--"which rules the court, the camp, the
grove"--is given only with the hope of a return of love; for
hopeless love is nothing but hopeless misery.

I once hired an old convict as gardener at five shillings a day.  He
began to work in the morning with a great show of diligence while I
was looking on.  But on my return home in the evening it was
wonderful to find how little work he had contrived to get through
during the day; so I began to watch him.  His systematic way of doing
nothing would have been very amusing if it cost nothing.  He pressed
his spade into the ground with his boot as slowly as possible, lifted
the sod very gently, and turned it over.  Then he straightened his
back, looked at the ground to the right, then to the left, then in
front of him, and then cast his eyes along the garden fence.  Having
satisfied himself that nothing particular was happening anywhere
within view, he gazed awhile at the sod he had turned over, and then
shaved the top off with his spade.  Having straightened his back once
more, he began a survey of the superficial area of the next sod, and
at length proceeded to cut it in the same deliberate manner,
performing the same succeeding ceremonies.  If he saw me, or heard me
approaching, he became at once very alert and diligent until I spoke
to him, then he stopped work at once.  It was quite impossible for
him both to labour and to listen; nobody can do two things well at
the same time.  But his greatest relief was in talking;  he would
talk with anybody all day long if possible, and do nothing else; his
wages, of course, still running on.  There is very little talk worth
paying for.  I would rather give some of my best friends a fee to be
silent, than pay for anything they have to tell me.  My gardener was
a most unprofitable servant; the only good I got out of him was a
clear knowledge of what the Government stroke meant, and the
knowledge was not worth the expense.  He was in other respects
harmless and useless, and, although he had been transported for
stealing, I could never find that he stole anything from me.  The
disease of larceny seemed somehow to have been worked out of his
system; though he used to describe with great pleasure how his
misfortunes began by stealing wall-fruit when he was a boy; and
although it was to him like the fruit

"Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste
Brought death into the world, and all our woe."

it was so sweet that, while telling me about it sixty years
afterwards, he smiled and smacked his lips, renewing as it were the
delight of its delicious taste.

He always avoided, as much as possible, the danger of dying of hard
work, so he is living yet, and is eighty-six years old.  Whenever I
see him he gives me his blessing, and says he never worked for any
man he liked so well.  A great philosopher says, in order to be happy
it is necessary to be beloved, but in order to be beloved we must
know how to please, and we can only please by ministering to the
happiness of others.  I ministered to the old convict's happiness by
letting him work so lazily, and so I was beloved and happy.

He had formerly been an assigned servant to Mr. Gellibrand,
Attorney-General of Tasmania, before that gentleman went with Mr.
Hesse on that voyage to Australia Felix from which he never returned.
Some portions of a skeleton were found on the banks of a river, which
were supposed to belong to the lost explorer, and that river, and
Mount Gellibrand, on which he and Hesse parted company, were named
after him.

There was a blackfellow living for many years afterwards in the Colac
district who was said to have killed and eaten the lost white man;
the first settlers therefore call him Gellibrand, as they considered
he had made out a good claim to the name by devouring the flesh.
This blackfellow's face was made up of hollows and protuberances ugly
beyond all aboriginal ugliness.  I was present at an interview
between him and senior-constable Hooley, who nearly rivalled the
savage in lack of beauty.  Hooley had been a soldier in the Fifth
Fusiliers, and had been convicted of the crime of manslaughter,
having killed a coloured man near Port Louis, in the Mauritius.  He
was sentenced to penal servitude for the offence, and had passed two
years of his time in Tasmania.  This incident had produced in his
mind an interest in blackfellows generally, and on seeing Gellibrand
outside the Colac courthouse, he walked up to him, and looked him
steadily in the face, without saying a word or moving a muscle of his
countenance.  I never saw a more lovely pair.  The black fellow
returned the gaze unflinchingly, his deep-set eyes fixed fiercely on
those of the Irishman, his nostrils dilated, and his frowning
forehead wrinkled and hard, as if cast in iron.  The two men looked
like two wild beasts preparing for a deadly fight.  At length, Hooley
moved his face nearer to that of the savage, until their noses almost
met, and between his teeth he slowly ejaculated:  "You eat white man?
You eat me?  Eh?"  Then the deep frown on Gellibrand's face began
slowly to relax, his thick lips parted by degrees, and displayed,
ready for business, his sharp and shining teeth, white as snow and
hard as steel.  A smile, which might be likened to that of a humorous
tiger, spread over his spacious features, and so the interview ended
without a fight.  I was very much disappointed, as I hoped the two
man-slayers were going to eat each other for the public good, and I
was ready to back both of them without fear, favour, or affection.

There is no doubt that the blacks ate human flesh, not as an article
of regular diet, but occasionally, when the fortune of war, or
accident, favoured them with a supply.  When Mr. Hugh Murray set out
from Geelong to look for country to the westward, he took with him
several natives belonging to the Barrabool tribe.  When they arrived
near Lake Colac they found the banks of the Barongarook Creek covered
with scrub, and on approaching the spot where the bridge now spans
the watercourse, they saw a blackfellow with his lubra and a little
boy, running towards the scrub.  The Barrabool blacks gave chase, and
the little boy was caught by one of them before he could find
shelter, and was instantly killed with a club.  That night the
picaninny was roasted at the camp fire, and eaten.

And yet these blacks had human feelings and affections.  I once saw a
tribe travelling from one part of the district to another in search
of food, as was their custom.  One of the men was dying of
consumption, and was too weak to follow the rest.  He looked like a
living skeleton, but he was not left behind to die.  He was sitting
on the shoulders of his brother, his hands grasping for support the
hair on the head, and his wasted legs dangling in front of the
other's ribs.  These people were sometimes hunted as if they were
wolves, but two brother wolves would not have been so kind to each
other.

Before the white men came the blacks never buried their dead; they
had no spades and could not dig graves.  Sometimes their dead were
dropped into the hollow trunks of trees, and sometimes they were
burned.  There was once a knoll on the banks of the Barongarook
Creek, below the court-house, the soil of which looked black and
rich.  When I was trenching the ground near my house for vines and
fruit trees, making another garden of paradise in lieu of the one I
had lost, I obtained cart loads of bones from the slaughter yards and
other places, and placed them in trenches; and in order to fertilize
one corner of the garden, I spread over it several loads of the
rich-looking black loam taken from the knoll near the creek.  After a
few years the vines and trees yielded great quantities of grapes and
fruit, and I made wine from my vineyard.  But the land on which I had
spread the black loam was almost barren, and yet I had seen fragments
of bones mixed with it, and amongst them a lower jaw with perfect
teeth, most likely the jaw of a young lubra.  On mentioning the
circumstance to one of the early settlers, he said my loam had been
taken from the spot on which the blacks used to burn their dead.
Soon after he arrived at Colac he saw there a solitary blackfellow
crouching before a fire in which bones were visible.  So, pointing to
them, he asked what was in the fire, and the blackfellow replied with
one word "lubra."  He was consuming the remains of his dead wife, and
large tears were coursing down his cheeks.  Day and night he sat
there until the bones had been nearly all burned and covered with
ashes.  This accounted for the fragments of bones in my black loam;
why it was not fertile, I know, but I don't know how to express the
reason well.

While the trenching of my vineyard was going on, Billy Nicholls
looked over the fence, and gave his opinion about it.  He held his
pipe between his thumb and forefinger, and stopped smoking in stupid
astonishment.  He said--"That ground is ruined, never will grow
nothing no more; all the good soil is buried;  nothing but gravel and
stuff on top; born fool."

Old Billy was a bullock driver, my neighbour and enemy, and lived,
with his numerous progeny, in a hut in the paddock next to mine.  In
the rainy seasons the water flowed through my ground on to his, and
he had dug a drain which led the water past his hut, instead of
allowing it to go by the natural fall across his paddock.  The floods
washed his drain into a deep gully near his hut, which was sometimes
nearly surrounded with the roaring waters.  He then tried to dam the
water back on to my ground, but I made a gap in his dam with a
long-handled shovel, and let the flood go through.  Nature and the
shovel were too much for Billy.  He came out of his hut, and stood
watching the torrent, holding his dirty old pipe a few inches from
his mouth, and uttered a loud soliloquy:--"Here I am--on a
miserable island--fenced in with water--going to be washed away
--by that Lord Donahoo, son of a barber's clerk--wants to drown me
and my kids--don't he--I'll break his head wi' a paling--blowed
if I don't."  He then put his pipe in his mouth, and gazed in silence
on the rushing waters.

I planted my ground with vines of fourteen different varieties, but,
in a few years, finding that the climate was unsuitable for most of
them, I reduced the number to about five.  These yielded an unfailing
abundance of grapes every year, and as there was no profitable
market, I made wine.  I pruned and disbudded the vines myself, and
also crushed and pressed the grapes.  The digging and hoeing of the
ground cost about 10 pounds each year.  When the wine had been in the
casks about twelve months I bottled it; in two years more it was fit
for consumption, and I was very proud of the article.  But I cannot
boast that I ever made much profit out of it--that is, in cash--
as I found that the public taste for wine required to be educated,
and it took so long to do it that I had to drink most of the wine
myself.  The best testimony to its excellence is the fact that I am
still alive.

The colonial taste for good liquor was spoiled from the very
beginning, first by black strap and rum, condensed from the steam of
hell, then by Old Tom and British brandy, fortified with tobacco--
this liquor was the nectar with which the ambrosial station hands
were lambed down by the publicans--and in these latter days by
colonial beer, the washiest drink a nation was ever drenched with.
the origin of bad beer dates from the repeal of the sugar duty in
England; before that time beer was brewed from malt and hops, and
that we had "jolly good ale and old," and sour pie.

A great festival was impending at Colac, to consist of a regatta on
the lake, the first we ever celebrated, and a picnic on its banks.
All the people far and near invited themselves to the feast, from the
most extensive of squatters to the oldest of old hands.  The
blackfellows were there, too--what was left of them.  Billy Leura
walked all the way from Camperdown, and on the day before the regatta
came to my house with a couple of black ducks in his hand.  Sissy,
six years old, was present; she inspected the blackfellow and the
ducks, and listened.  Leura said he wanted to sell me the ducks, but
not for money; he would take old clothes for them.  He was wearing
nothing but a shirt and trousers, both badly out of repair, and was
anxious to adorn his person with gay attire on the morrow.  So I
traded off a pair of old cords and took the ducks.

Next day we had two guests, a Miss Sheppard, from Geelong, and
another lady, and as my house was near the lake, we did our
picnicking inside.  We put on as much style as possible to suit the
occasion, including, of course, my best native wine, and the two
ducks roasted.  Sissy sat at the table next to Miss Sheppard, and
felt it her duty to lead the conversation in the best society style.
She said:

"You see dose two ducks, Miss Sheppard?"

"Yes, dear; very fine ones."

"Well, papa bought 'em from a black man yesterday.  De man said dey
was black ducks, but dey was'nt black, dey was brown.  De fedders are
in de yard, and dey are brown fedders."

"Yes, I know, dear; they call them black ducks, but they are brown--
dark brown."

"Well, you see, de blackfellow want to sell de ducks to papa, but
papa has no money, so he went into de house and bring out a pair of
his old lowsers, and de blackfellow give him de ducks for de lowsers,
and dems de ducks you see."

"Yes, dear; I see," said Miss Sheppard, blushing terribly.

We all blushed.

"You naughty girl," said mamma; "hold your tongue, or I'll send you
to the kitchen."

"But mamma, you know its quite true," said Sissy.  "Didn't I show you
de black man just now, Miss Sheppard, when he was going to de lake?
I said dere's de blackfellow, and he's got papa's lowsers on, didn't
I now?"

The times seemed prosperous with us, but it was only a deceptive
gleam of sunshine before the coming storm of adversity.  I built an
addition to my dwelling; and when it was completed I employed a
paperhanger from London named Taylor, to beautify the old rooms.  He
was of a talkative disposition; when he had nobody else to listen he
talked to himself, and when he was tired of that he began singing.
The weather was hot, and the heat, together with his talking and
singing, made him thirsty; so one day he complained to me that his
work was very dry.  I saw at once an opportunity of obtaining an
independent and reliable judgment on the quality of my wine; so I
went for a bottle, drew the cork, and offered him a tumblerful,
telling him it was wine which I had made from my own grapes.  As
Taylor was a native of London, the greatest city in the world, he
must have had a wide experience in many things, was certain to know
the difference between good and bad liquor, and I was anxious to
obtain a favourable verdict on my Australian product.  He held up the
glass to the light, and eyed the contents critically; then he tasted
a small quantity, and paused awhile to feel the effect.  He then took
another taste, and remarked, "It's sourish."  He put the tumbler to
his mouth a third time, and emptied it quickly.  Then he placed one
hand on his stomach, said "Oh, my," and ran away to the water tap
outside to rinse his mouth and get rid of the unpleasant flavour.
His verdict was adverse, and very unflattering.

Next day, while I was inspecting his work, he gave me to understand
that he felt dry again.  I asked him what he would like, a drink of
water or a cup of tea?  He said, "Well, I think I'll just try another
glass of that wine of yours."  He seemed very irrational in the
matter of drink, but I fetched another bottle.  This time he emptied
the first tumbler without hesitation, regardless of consequences.  He
puckered his lips and curled his nose, and said it was rather
sourish; but in hot weather it was not so bad as cold water, and was
safer for the stomach.  He then drew the back of his hand across his
mouth, looked at the paper which he had been putting on the wall, and
said, "I don't like that pattern a bit; too many crosses on it."

"Indeed," I said, "I never observed the crosses before, but I don't
see any harm in them.  Why don't you like them?"

"Oh, it looks too like the Catholics, don't you see?  too popish.  I
hate them crosses."

"Really," I replied.  "I am sorry to hear that.  I am a Catholic myself."

"Oh, lor!  Are you, indeed?  I always thought you were a Scotchman."

Taylor finished that bottle of wine during the afternoon, and next
day he wanted another.  He wanted more every day, until he rose to be
a three-bottle man.  He became reconciled to the crosses on the
wall-paper, forgave me for not being a Scotchman, and I believe the
run of my cellar would have made him a sincere convert to popery--
as long as the wine lasted.

Soon after this memorable incident, the Minister and Secretary made
an official pleasure excursion through the Western District.  They
visited the court and inspected it, and me, and the books, and the
furniture.  They found everything correct, and were afterwards so
sociable that I expected they would, on returning to Melbourne,
speedily promote me, probably to the Bench.  But they forgot me, and
promoted themselves instead.  I have seen them since sitting nearly
as high as Haman in those expensive Law courts in Lonsdale Street,
while I was a despicable jury-man serving the Crown for ten shillings
a day.  That is the way of this world; the wicked are well-paid and
exalted, while the virtuous are ill-paid and trodden down.  At a
week's notice I was ordered to leave my Garden of Eden, and I let it
to a tenant, the very child of the Evil One.  He pruned the vines
with goats and fed his cattle on the fruit trees.  Then he wrote to
inquire why the vines bore no grapes and the fruit trees no fruit,
and wanted me to lower the rent, to repair the vineyard and the
house, and to move the front gate to the corner of the fence.  That
man deserved nothing but death, and he died.

In the summer of 1853, the last survivor of the Barrabool tribe came
to Colac, and joined the remnant of the Colac blacks, but one night
he was killed by them at their camp, near the site of the present
hospital.  A shallow hole was dug about forty or fifty yards from the
south-east corner of the allotment on which the Presbyterian manse
was built, and the Colac tribe buried his body there, and stuck
branches of trees around his grave.  About six months afterwards a
Government officer, the head of a department, arrived at Colac, and I
rode with him about the township and neighbouring country showing him
the antiquities and the monuments, among others the mausoleum of the
last of the Barrabools.  The leaves had by this time fallen from the
dead branches around the sepulchre, and the small twigs on them were
decaying.  The cattle and goats would soon tread them down and
scatter them, and the very site of the grave would soon be unknown.

The officer was a man of culture and of scientific tendencies, and he
asked me to dig up the skull of the murdered blackfellow, and sent it
to his address in Melbourne.  He was desirous of exercising his
culture on it, and wished to ascertain whether the skull was
bracchy-cephalous, dolichophalous, or polycephalous.  I think that
was the way he expressed it.  I said there was very likely a hole in
it, and it would be spoiled; but he said the hole would make no
difference.  I would do almost anything for science and money, but he
did not offer me any, and I did not think a six months' mummy was old
enough to steal; it was too fresh.  If that scientist would borrow a
spade and dig up the corpse himself, I would go away to a sufficient
distance and close my eyes and nose until he had deposited the relic
in his carpet bag.  But I was too conscientious to be accessory to
the crime of body-snatching, and he had not courage enough to do the
foul deed.  That land is now fenced in, and people dwell there.  The
bones of the last of the Barrabools still rest under somebody's
house, or fertilise a few feet of a garden plot.


ON THE NINETY-MILE.

A HOME BY A REMOTER SEA.

The Ninety-Mile, washed by the Pacific, is the sea shore of
Gippsland.  It has been formed by the mills of two oceans, which for
countless ages have been slowly grinding into meal the rocks on the
southern coast of Australia; and every swirling tide and howling gale
has helped to build up the beach.  The hot winds of summer scorch the
dry sand, and spin it into smooth, conical hills.  Amongst these, low
shrubs with grey-green leaves take root, and thrive and flourish
under the salt sea spray where other trees would die.  Strange
plants, with pulpy leaves and brilliant flowers, send forth long
green lines, having no visible beginning or end, which cling to the
sand and weave over it a network of vegetation, binding together the
billowy dunes.

The beach is broken in places by narrow channels, through which the
tide rushes, and wanders in many currents among low mudbanks studded
with shellfish--the feeding grounds of ducks, and gulls, and swans;
and around a thousand islands whose soil has been woven together by
the roots of the spiky mangrove, or stunted tea-tree.  Upon the muddy
flats, scarcely above the level of the water, the black swans build
their great circular nests, with long grass and roots compacted with
slime.  Salt marshes and swamps, dotted with bunches of rough grass,
stretch away behind the hummocks.  Here, towards the end of the
summer, the blacks used to reap their harvest of fat eels, which they
drew forth from the soft mud under the roots of the tussocks.

The country between the sea and the mountains was the
happy-hunting-ground of the natives before the arrival of the
ill-omened white-fellow.  The inlets teemed with flathead, mullet,
perch, schnapper, oysters, and sharks, and also with innumerable
water-fowl.  The rivers yielded eels and blackfish.  The sandy shores
of the islands were honey-combed with the holes in which millions of
mutton-birds deposited their eggs in the last days of November in
each year.  Along many tracks in the scrub the black wallabiesand
paddy-melons hopped low.  In the open glades among the great
gum-trees marched the stately emu, and tall kangaroos, seven feet
high, stood erect on their monstrous hind-legs, their little
fore-paws hanging in front, and their small faces looking as innocent
as sheep.

Every hollow gum-tree harboured two or more fat opossums, which, when
roasted, made a rich and savoury meal.  Parrots of the most brilliant
plumage, like winged flowers, flew in flocks from tree to tree, so
tame that you could kill them with a stick, and so beautiful that it
seemed a sin to destroy them.  Black cockatoos, screaming harshly the
while, tore long strips of bark from the messmate, searching for the
savoury grub.  Bronzed-winged pigeons, gleaming in the sun, rose from
the scrub, and flocks of white cockatoos, perched high on the bare
limbs of the dead trees, seemed to have made them burst into
miraculous bloom like Aaron's rod.

The great white pelican stood on one leg on a sand-bank, gazing along
its huge beak at the receding tide, hour after hour, solemn and
solitary, meditating on the mysteries of Nature.

But on the mountains both birds and beasts were scarce, as many a
famishing white man has found to his sorrow.  In the heat of summer
the sea-breeze grows faint, and dies before it reaches the ranges.
Long ropes of bark, curled with the hot sun, hang motionless from the
black-butts and blue gums; a few birds may be seen sitting on the
limbs of the trees, with their wings extended, their beaks open,
panting for breath, unable to utter a sound from their parched
throats.

"When all food fails then welcome haws" is a saying that does not
apply to Australia, which yields no haws or fruit of any kind that
can long sustain life.  A starving man may try to allay the pangs of
hunger with the wild raspberries, or with the cherries which wear
their seeds outside, but the longer he eats them, the more hungry he
grows.  One resource of the lost white man, if he has a gun and
ammunition, is the native bear, sometimes called monkey bear.  Its
flesh is strong and muscular, and its eucalyptic odour is stronger
still.  A dog will eat opossum with pleasure, but he must be very
hungry before he will eat bear; and how lost to all delicacy of
taste, and sense of refinement, must the epicure be who will make the
attempt!  The last quadruped on which a meal can be made is the
dingo, and the last winged creature is the owl, whose scanty flesh is
viler even than that of the hawk or carrion crow, and yet a white man
has partaken of all these and survived.  Some men have tried roasted
snake, but I never heard of anyone who could keep it on his stomach.
The blacks, with their keen scent, knew when a snake was near by the
odour it emitted, but they avoided the reptile whether alive or dead.

Before any white man had made his abode in Gippsland, a schooner
sailed from Sydney chartered by a new settler who had taken up a
station in the Port Phillip district.  His wife and family were on
board, and he had shipped a large quantity of stores, suitable for
commencing life in a new land.  It was afterwards remembered that the
deck of the vessel was encumbered with cargo of various kinds,
including a bullock dray, and that the deck hamper would unfit her to
encounter bad weather.  As she did not arrive at Port Phillip within
a reasonable time, a cutter was sent along the coast in search of
her; and her long boat was found ashore near the Lakes Entrance, but
nothing else belonging to her was ever seen.

When the report arose in 1843 that a white woman had been seen with
the blacks, it was supposed that she was one of the passengers of the
missing schooner, and parties of horsemen went out to search for her
among the natives, but the only white woman ever found was a wooden
one--the figure-head of a ship.

Some time afterwards, when Gippsland had been settled by white men, a
tree was discovered on Woodside station near the beach, in the bark
of which letters had been cut, and it was said they would correspond
with the initials of the names of some of the passengers and crew of
the lost schooner, and by their appearance they must have been carved
many years previously.  This tree was cut down, and the part of the
trunk containing the letters was sawn off and sent to Melbourne.
There is little doubt that the letters on the tree had been cut by
one of the survivors of that ill-fated schooner, who had landed in
the long boat near the Lakes, and had made their way along the
Ninety-Mile beach to Woodside.  They were far from the usual track of
coasting vessels, and had little chance of attracting attention by
signals or fires.  Even if they had plenty of food, it was impossible
for them to travel in safety through that unknown country to Port
Phillip, crossing the inlets, creeks, and swamps, in daily danger of
losing their lives by the spears of the wild natives.  They must have
wandered along the ninety-mile as far as they could go, and then,
weary and worn out for want of food, reluctant to die the death of
the unhonoured dead, one of them had carved the letters on the tree,
as a last despairing message to their friends, before they were
killed by the savages, or succumbed to starvation.

"For who, to dumb forgetfulness a prey,
This pleasing, anxious being e'er resigned,
Left the warm precincts of the cheerful day,
Nor cast one longing, lingering look behind?"


GIPPSLAND PIONEERS.

AT THE OLD PORT.

Most of them were Highlanders, and the news of the discovery of
Gippsland must often have been imparted in Gaelic, for many of the
children of the mist could speak no English when they landed.

Year after year settlers had advanced farther from Sydney along the
coastal ranges, until stations were occupied to the westward of
Twofold Bay.  In that rugged country, where no wheeled vehicle could
travel, bullocks were trained to carry produce to the bay, and to
bring back stores imported from Sydney.  Each train was in charge of
a white man, with several native drivers.  But rumours of better
lands towards the south were rife, and Captain Macalister, of the
border police, equipped a party of men under McMillan to go in search
of them.  Armed and provisioned, they journeyed over the mountains,
under the guidance of the faithful native Friday, and at length from
the top of a new Mount Pisgah beheld a fair land, watered throughout
as the Paradise of the Lord.  Descending into the plains, McMillan
selected a site for a station, left some of his men to build huts and
stockyards, and returned to report his discovery to Macalister.

Slabs were split with which walls were erected, but before a roof was
put on them the blacks suddenly appeared and began to throw their
spears at the intruders; one spear of seasoned hardwood actually
penetrated through a slab.  The men, all but one, who shall be
nameless, seized their guns and fired at the blacks, who soon
disappeared.  The white men also disappeared over the mountains; the
rout was mutual.

But the country was too good to be occupied solely by savages, and
when McMillan returned with reinforcements he made some arrangements,
the exact particulars of which he would never disclose.  He brought
cattle to his run, and they quickly grew fat; but civilised man does
not live by fat cattle alone, and a market had to be sought.  Twofold
Bay was too far away, and young Melbourne was somewhere beyond
impassable mountains.  McMillan built a small boat, which he launched
on the river, and pulled down to the lakes in search of an outlet.
He found it, but the current was so strong that it carried him out to
sea.  He had to land on the outer beach, and to drag his boat back
over the sands to the inner waters.

He next rode westward with his man Friday to look for a port at
Corner Inlet, and he blazed a track to the Albert River.  Friday was
an inland black.  He gazed at the river, which was flowing towards
the mountains, and said:

"What for stupid yallock* yan along a bulga**?"

[* Footnote: *Yallock, river. **Bulga, mountain.]

McMillan tried to explain the theory of the tides.

"One big yallock down there push him along, come back by-and-by."
And Friday saw the water come back by-and-by.

They reached the mouth of the river on February 1st, 1841, saw a
broad expense of salt water, and McMillan concluded that he had found
a port for Gippsland.

Ten months afterwards Jack Shay arrived at the port.  He had first
come to Twofold Bay from Van Diemen's Land, and nothing was known
about his former life.  "That's nothing to nobody," he said.  He was
a bushman, rough and weather-beaten, with only one peculiarity.  The
quart pot which he slung to his belt would hold half a gallon of tea,
while other pots only held a quart, and that was the reason why he
was known all the way from Monaroo to Adelaide as "Jack of the Quart
Pot."

He had arrived rather late on the previous evening, and this morning,
as he sat on a log contemplating the scenery, his first conclusion
was that the port was not flourishing.  There was  not a ship within
sight.  The mouth of the Albert River was visible on his right, and
the inlet was spread out before him shining in the morning sun.
About a mile away on the western shore was One Tree Hill.  Towards
the south were mud banks and mangrove islands, through which the
channel zigzagged like a figure of eight, and then the view was
closed by the scrub on Sunday Island.  There was a boat at anchor in
the channel about a mile distant, in which two men were fishing for
their breakfast, for there was famine in the settlement, and the few
pioneers left in it were kept alive on a diet of roast flathead.  On
the beach three boats were drawn up out of reach of the tide, and
looking behind him Jack counted twelve huts and one store of
wattle-and-dab.  The store had been built to hold the goods of the
Port Albert Company.  It was in charge of John Campbell, and
contained a quantity of axes, tomahawks, saddles and bridles, a
grindstone, some shot and powder, two double-barrelled guns, nails
and hammers, and a few other articles, but there was nothing eatable
to be seen in it.  If there was any flour, tea, or sugar left, it was
carefully concealed from any of the famishing settlers who might by
chance peep in at the door.  Outside the hut was a nine-pounder gun
on wheels, which had been landed by the company for use in time of
war; but until this day there had been no hostilities between the
natives and the settlers.  From time to time numbers of black faces
had been seen among the scrub, but so far no spear had been thrown
nor hostile gun fired.  The members of the company were Turnbull,
McLeod, Rankin, Brodribb, Hornden, and Orr.  Soon after they landed
they cleared a semi-circular piece of ground behind their tents, to
prevent the blacks from sneaking up to them unseen.  Near the beach
stood two she-oak trees, marked, one with the letters M. M., 1 Feb.,
1841, the other 2 Mar., 1841, and the initials of the members of the
Port Albert Company.  Behind the huts three hobbled horses were
feeding, two of which had been brought by Jack Shay.  A gaunt
deerhound, with a shaggy coat, lame and lean, was lying in the sun.
There was also an old cart in front of one of the huts, out of which
two boys came and began to gather wood and to kindle a fire.  They
were ragged and hungry, and looked shyly at Jack Shay.  One was Bill
Clancy, and the other had been printer's devil to Hardy, of the
'Gazette', and was therefore known as Dick the Devil.  They had been
picked up in Melbourne by Captain Davy, who had brought them to Port
Albert in his whaleboat.  Their ambition had been for "a life on the
ocean wave, and a home on the rolling deep," as  heroic young
pirates; but at present they lived on shore, and their home was
George Scutt's old cart.

A man emerged from one of the huts carrying a candle-box, which he
laid on the ground before the fire.  Jack observed that the box was
full of eggs, on the top of which lay two teaspoons.  The man was
Captain David, usually known as Davy.  He said:

"I am going to ask you to breakfast, Jack; but you have been a long
time coming, and provisions are scarce in these parts."

"Don't you make no trouble whatsomever about me," said Jack.  "Many's
the time I've hadshort rations, and I can take pot-luck with any man."

"You'll find pot-luck here is but poor luck," replied Davy.  "I've
got neither grub nor grog, no meat, no flour, no tea, no sugar--
nothing but eggs; but, thank God, I've got plenty of them.  There are
five more boxes full of them in my hut, so we may as well set to at
once."

Davy drew some hot ashes from the fire, and thrust the eggs into
them, one by one.  When they were sufficiently cooked, he handed one
and a teaspoon to Jack and took another himself, saying, "We shall
have to eat them just as they are; there is plenty of salt water, but
I haven't even a pinch of salt."

"Why, Davy, there's plenty of salt right before your face.  Did you
never try ashes?  Mix a spoonful with your egg this way, and you'll
find you don't want no better salt."

"Right you are, Jack; it goes down grand," said Davy, after seasoning
and eating one egg.  Then to the boys, "Here you kids, take some eggs
and roast 'em and salt 'em with ashes, and then take your sticks and
try if you can knock down a few parrots or wattle birds for dinner.
But don't you go far from the camp, and keep a sharp look-out for the
blacks; for you can never trust 'em, and they might poke their spears
through you."

"But, Davy," asked Jack, "where is the port and the shipping, and
where are all the settlers?  There don't seem to be many people
stirring about here this morning."

"Port and shipping be blessed," said Davy; "and as for the settlers,
there are only about half-a-dozen left, with these two boys and my
wife, and Hannah Scutt.  We don't keep no regular watch, and
meal-times is of little use unless there's something to eat. I landed
here from that whale-boat on the 30th of last May, and I have been
waiting for you ever since.  In a few weeks we had about a hundred
and fifty people camped here.  They came mostly in cutters from
Melbourne, looking for work or looking for runs.  They said men were
working for half-a-crown a day without rations on the road between
Liardet's beach and the town.  But there was no work for them here;
and, as their provisions soon ran short, they had to go away or
starve.  I stopped here, and have been starving most of the time.
Some went back in the cutters and some overland.

"Brodribb and Hobson came here over the mountains with four Port
Phillip blacks, and they decided to look for a better way by the
coast.  I landed them and their four blacks at the head of Corner
Inlet.  They were attacked by the Western Port blacks near the River
Tarwin, but they frightened them away by firing their guns.  The four
Port Phillip blacks who were carrying the ammunition and provisions
ran away too; and the two white men had nothing to eat for two or
three days until they made Massey and Anderson's station on the Bass,
where they found their runaway blacks.

"William Pearson and his party were the next who left the Port.  They
took the road over the mountains, and lived on monkey bears until
they reached Massey and Anderson's.

"McClure, Scott, Montgomery, and several other men started next.
They had very little of their provisions left when I landed them one
morning at One Tree Hill there over the water.  They were fourteen
days tramping over the mountains, and were so starved that they ate
their own dogs.  They came back in a schooner, but I think some of
them will never get over that journey.  I tell you, Jack, it's hard
to make a start in a new country with no money, no food, and no live
stock, except Scott's old horse and that lame deerhound.  Poor Ossian
was a good dog, and used to run down an old man kangaroo for us,
until one of them gave him a terrible rip with his claw, and he has
been lame ever since.  For eight weeks we were living on roast
flat-head, and I grew tired of it, so on the 17th of last month I
started down the inlet in my whaleboat, and went to Lady Bay to take
in some firewood.  I knew the mutton-birds would be coming to the
islands on the 23rd or 24th, but I landed on one of them on the 19th,
four or five days too soon, and began to look for something to eat.  There
were some pig-faces, but they were only in flower, no fruit on 'em.
I could find nothing but penguin's eggs and I put some of those in a
pot over the fire.  But they would never get hard if I boiled them
all day.  There is something oily inside of them, and how it gets
there I never could tell.  You might as well try to live on rancid
butter and nothing else. However, on November 23rd the mutton-birds
began to come in thousands, and then I was soon living in clover.  I
had any quantity of hard-boiled eggs and roast fowl, for I could
knock down the birds with a stick.

"But, Jack, what have you been doing since I met you the year before
last?  You had a train of pack bullocks and a mob of cattle, looking
for a run about Mount Buninyong.  Did you start a station there for
Imlay?"

"No, I didn't.  I found a piece of good country, but Pettit and the
Coghills hunted me out of it, so Imlay sold the cattle, and went back
to Twofold Bay.  Then Charles Lynot offered me a job.  He was taking
a mob of cattle to Adelaide, but he heard there was no price for them
there, so he took up a station at the Pyrenees, seventeen miles
beyond Parson Irvine's run at the Amphitheatre.  I was there about
twelve months.  My hut was not far from a deep waterhole, and the
milking yard was about two hundred yards from the hut.  The wild
blacks were very troublesome; they killed three white men at
Murdering Creek, and me and Francis, Clarke's manager, hunted them
off the station two or three times.  The blacks were more afraid of
Francis than of anybody else, as besides his gun he always carried
pistols, and they never could tell how many he had in his pockets.
Cockatoo Bill's tribe drove away a lot of Parson Irvine's sheep, and
broke a leg of each sheep to keep them from going back.  The Parson
and Francis went after them, and one of our stockmen named Walker,
and another, a big fellow whose name I forget.  They shot some of the
blacks, but the sheep were spoiled.

"There was a tame blackfellow we called Alick, and two gins, living
about our station, and he had a daughter we called picaninny
Charlotte, ten or eleven years old, who was very quick and smart, and
spoke English very well.  One morning, when I was in the milking
yard, she came to me and said, 'You look out.  Cockatoo Bill got your
axe under his rug--sitting among a lot of lubras.  Chop you down
when you bring up milk in buckets.'

"I had no gun with me, so I crept out of the yard, and sneaked
through the scrub to get into the hut through the back door, keeping
out of sight of Bill and the lubras, who were all sitting on the
ground in front of the hut.  We had plenty of arms, and I always kept
my double-barrelled gun loaded, and hanging over the fireplace.  I
crept inside the hut, reached down for the gun, and peeped out of the
front door, looking for Bill.  The lubras began yabbering, and in an
instant Bill dropped his rug and the axe, leaped over the heads of
the women, and was off like a deer.  I took a flying shot at him with
both barrels.  His lubra went about afterwards among the stations
complaining that Jack Quart Pot shot Cockatoo Bill, and Parker (the
Government Protector) made enquiries about him.  I saw him coming
towards my hut, and I said to piccaninny Charlotte, 'No talk, no
English, no nothing;' and when Parker asked her if she knew anything
about Cockatoo Bill she shammed stupid, and he couldn't get a word
out of her.  Who is that cove with the spyglass?"

"That's John Campbell, the company's storeman.  He is looking for a
schooner every day.  He would have gone long ago like the rest, but
he does not like to leave the stores behind.  Here, Mr. Campbell,
wouldn't you like to take a roast egg or two for breakfast?  There's
plenty for the whole camp."

"I will, Davy, and thank you.  Who are the men in the boat down the
channel?"

"They are George Scutt and Pately Jim fishing for their breakfast.
They were hungry, I reckon, and went away before I brought out the
eggs, or they might have had a feed."

While the men were roasting their eggs, their eyes wandered over
everything within view, far and near.  On land and sea their lives had
often depended on their watchfulness.  The sun was growing warm, and there
was a quivering haze over the waters.  While glancing down the
channel, Davy observed some dark objects appearing near a mangrove
island.  He pointed them out to Campbell, and said:

"What kind of birds are they?  Do you think they are swans?"

"I can't think what else they can be," said Campbell; "but they have
not got the shape of birds, and they don't swim smoothly like swans,
but go jerking along like big coots.  Take a look through the glass,
Davy, and see if you can make them out."

Davy took a long and steady look, and said:  "I am blowed if they
ain't blackfellows in their canoes.  They are poleing them along
towards the channel, one, two, three--there's a dozen of 'em or
more.  I can see their long spears sticking out, and they are after
some mischief.  The tide is on the ebb, and they are going to drop
down with it, and spear those two men in the boat; and they are both
landlubbers, and haven't even got a gun with them.  We must bear a
hand and help them.  Get your guns and we'll launch the whaleboat."

John Campbell steered, and Shay and Davy pulled as hard as they could
towards the canoes, which were already drifting down with the
current.  The two fishermen were busy with their lines, every now and
then pulling out a fish and baiting their hooks with a fresh piece of
shark.  They never looked up the channel, nor guessed the danger that
was every moment coming nearer, for the blacks as yet had not made
the least noise.  At last Campbell saw several of them seizing their
spears and making ready to throw them, so he fired one of his
barrels; and Davy stood up in the boat and gave a cooee that might
have been heard at Sunday Island, for when anything excited him on
the water he could be heard shouting and swearing at an incredible
distance.  He yelled at the fishermen, "Boat ahoy!  up anchor, you
lubbers, and scatter.  Don't you see the blacks after you?"

The natives began paddling away as fast as they could towards the
nearest land, and Davy and Shay pulled after them; but the blacks
soon reached the shore, and, taking their spears, ran into the
nearest scrub.  When the whaleboat grounded, there was not one of
them to be seen.  Davy said:

"They are watching us not far off.  You two keep a sharp look-out,
and if you see a black face fire at it.  I am going to cut out the
fleet."

He rolled up his trousers, took a fishing line, waded out to the
canoes, and tied them together, one behind another, leaving a little
slack line between each of them.  He then fastened one end of the
line to the whaleboat, shoved off, and sprang inside.  The blacks
came out of the scrub, yelling and brandishing their spears, a few of
which they threw at the boat, but it was soon out of their reach.
Thus a great naval victory had been gained, and the whole of the
enemy's fleet captured without the loss of a man.  Nothing like it
had been achieved since the days of the great Gulliver.

The two fishermen had taken no part in the naval operations, and when
the whaleboat returned with its train of canoes like the tail of a
kite, Davy administered a sharp reprimand.

"Why didn't you two lubbers keep your eyes skinned.  I suppose you
were asleep, eh?  You ought to have up anchor and pulled away, and
then the devils could never got near you.  Look here!" holding up a
piece of bark, "that's all they've got to paddle with in deep water,
and in the shallows they can only pole along with sticks."

Pately Jim had been a prize runner in Yorkshire, and trifles never
took away his breath.  He replied calmly:

"Yo're o'reet, Davy.  We wor a bit sleepy, but we're quite wakken
noo.  Keep yor shirt on, and we'll do better next time."

When the canoes, which were built entirely with sheets of bark, were
drawn up on the beach, nothing was found in them but a few sticks,
bark paddles, and a gown--a lilac cotton gown.

"That goon," said Campbell, "has belonged to some white woman thae
deevils have murdered.  There is no settler nearer than Jamieson, and
they maun ha brocht the goon a' the way frae the Bass."

But Campbell was mistaken.  There had been another white woman in
Gippsland.



THE ISLE OF BLASTED HOPES.

There is a large island where the Ninety-Mile Beach ends in a
wilderness of roaring breakers.  It is the Isle of Blasted Hopes.
Its enchanting landscape has allured many a landsman to his ruin, and
its beacon, seen through the haze of a south-east gale, has guided
many a watchful mariner to shipwreck and death.

After the discovery of Gippsland, Pearson and Black first occupied
the island under a grazing license, and they put eleven thousand
sheep on it, with some horses, bullocks, and pigs.  The sheep began
to die, so they sold them to Captain Cole at ten shillings a head,
giving in the other stock.  They were of the opinion that they had
made an excellent bargain, but when the muster was made nine thousand
six hundred of the sheep were missing.  The pigs ran wild, but
multiplied.  When the last sheep had perished, Cole sold his license
to a man named Thomas, who put on more sheep, and afterwards
exchanged as many as he could find with John King for cattle and
horses.  Morrison next occupied the island until he was starved out.
Then another man named Thomas took the fatal grazing license, but he
did not live on the land.  He placed his brother in charge of it, to
be out of the way of temptation, as he was too fond of liquor.  The
brother was not allowed the use of a boat; he, with his wife and
family, was virtually a prisoner, condemned to sobriety.  But by this
time a lighthouse had been erected, and Watts the keeper of it had a
boat, and was, moreover, fond of liquor.  The two men soon became
firm friends, and often found it necessary to make voyages to Port
Albert for flour, or tea, or sugar.  The last time they sailed
together the barometer was low, and a gale was brewing.  When they
left the wharf they had taken on board all the stores they required,
and more; they were happy and glorious.  Next day the masthead of
their boat was seen sticking out of the water near Sunday Island.
The pilot schooner went down and hauled the boat to the surface, but
nothing was found in her except the sand-ballast and a bottle of rum.
Her sheet was made fast, and when the squall struck her she had gone
down like a stone.  The Isle of Blasted Hopes was useless even as an
asylum for inebriates.

The 'Ecliptic' was carrying coals from Newcastle.  The time was
midnight, the sky was misty, and the gale was from the south-east,
when the watch reported a light ahead.  The cabin boy was standing on
deck near the captain, when he held a consultation with his mate, who
was also his son.  Father and son agreed; they said the light ahead
was the one on Kent's Group, and then the vessel grounded amongst the
breakers.  The seamen stripped off their heavy clothing, and went
overboard; the captain and his son plunged in together and swam out
of sight.  There were nine men in the water, while the cabin boy
stood shivering on deck.  He, too, had thrown away his clothes, all
but the wrist-bands of his shirt, which in his flurry he could not
unbutton.  He could not make up his mind to jump overboard.  He heard
the men in the water shouting to one another, "Make for the light."
That course led them away from the nearest land, which they could not
see.  At length a great sea swept the boy among the breakers, but his
good angel pushed a piece of timber within reach, and he held on to
it until he could feel the ground with his feet; he then let the
timber go, and scrambled out of reach of the angry surge; but when he
came to the dry sand he fainted and fell down.  When he recovered his
senses he began to look for shelter; there was a signal station not
far off, but he could not see it.  He went away from the pitiless sea
through an opening between low conical hills, covered with dark
scrub, over a pathway composed of drift sand and broken shells.  He
found an old hut without a door. There was no one in it; he went
inside, and lay down shivering.

At daybreak a boy, the son of Ratcliff, the signal man, started out
to look for his goats, and as they sometimes passed the  night in the
old fowlhouse, he looked in for them.  But instead of the goats, he
saw the naked cabin boy.  "Who are you?" he said, "and what are you
doing here, and where did you come from?"

"I have been shipwrecked," replied the cabin boy; and then he sat up
and began to cry.

Young Ratcliff ran off to tell his father what he had found; and the
boy was brought to the cottage, put to bed, and supplied with food
and drink.  The signal for a wreck was  hoisted at the flagstaff, but
when the signallman went to look for a wreck he could not find one.
He searched along the shore and found the dead body of the captain,
and a piece of splintered spar seven or eight feet long, on which the
cabin boy had come ashore.  The 'Ecliptic', with her cargo and crew,
had completely disappeared, while the signalman, near at hand, slept
peacefully, undisturbed by her crashing timbers, or the shouts of the
drowning seamen.  Ratcliff was not a seer, and had  no mystical lore.
He was a runaway sailor, who had, in the forties, travelled daily
over the Egerton run, unconscious of the tons of gold beneath his
feet.

There was a fair wind and a smooth sea when the 'Clonmel' went ashore
at three o'clock in the morning of the second day of January, 1841.
Eighteen hours before she had taken a fresh departure from Ram's Head
to Wilson's Promontory.  The anchors were let go, she swung to wind,
and at the fall of the tide she bedded herself securely in the sand,
her hull, machinery, and cargo uninjured.  The seventy-five
passengers and crew were safely landed; sails, lumber, and provisions
were taken ashore in the whaleboats and quarter-boats; tents were
erected; the food supplies were stowed away under a capsized boat,
and a guard set over them by Captain Tollervey.

Next morning seven volunteers launched one of the whaleboats, boarded
the steamer, took in provisions, made a lug out of a piece of canvas,
hoisted the Union Jack to the mainmast upside down, and pulled safely
away from the 'Clonmel' against a head wind.  They hoisted the lug
and ran for one of the Seal Islands, where they found a snug little
cove, ate a hearty meal, and rested for three hours.  They then
pulled for the mainland, and reached Sealer's Cove about midnight,
where they landed, cooked supper, and passed the rest of the night in
the boat for fear of the blacks.

Next morning three men went ashore for water and filled the breaker,
when they saw three blacks coming down towards them; so they hurried
on board, and the anchor was hauled up.

As the wind was coming from the east, they had to pull for four hours
before they weathered the southern point of the cove; they then
hoisted sail and ran for Wilson's Promentory, which they rounded at
ten o'clock a.m.  At eight o'clock in the evening they brought up in
a small bay at the eastern extremity of Western Port, glad to get
ashore and stretch their weary limbs.  After a night's refreshing
repose on the sandy beach, they started at break of day, sailing
along very fast with a strong and steady breeze from the east,
although they were in danger of being swamped, as the sea broke over
the boat repeatedly.  At two o'clock p.m. they were abreast of Port
Philip Heads; but they found a strong ebb tide, with such a ripple
and broken water that they did not consider it prudent to run over
it.  They therefore put the boat's head to windward and waited for
four hours, when they saw a cutter bearing down on them, which proved
to be 'The Sisters', Captain Mulholland, who took the boat in tow and
landed them at Williamstown at eleven o'clock p.m., sixty-three
hours from the time they left the 'Clonmel'.

Captain Lewis, the harbour master, went to rescue the crew and
passengers and brought them all to Melbourne, together with the
mails, which had been landed on the island since known by the name of
the 'Clonmel'.

For fifty-two years the black boilers of the 'Clonmel' have lain half
buried in the sandspit, and they may still be seen among the breakers
from the deck of every vessel sailing up the channel to Port Albert.

The 'Clonmel', with  her valuable cargo, was sold in Sydney, and the
purchaser, Mr. Grose, set about the business of making his fortune
out of her.  He sent a party of wreckers who pitched their camps on
Snake Island, where they had plenty of grass, scrub, and timber.  The
work of taking out the cargo was continued under various captains for
six years, and then Mr. Grose lost a schooner and was himself landed
in the Court of Insolvency.

While the pioneers at the Old Port were on the verge of starvation,
the 'Clonmel' men were living in luxury.  They had all the blessings
both of land and sea--corned beef, salt pork, potatoes, plum-duff,
tea, sugar, coffee, wine, beer, spirits, and tobacco from the cargo
of the 'Clonmel', and oysters without end from a neighbouring lagoon.
They constructed a large square punt, which they filled with cargo
daily, wind and weather permitting; at other times they rested from
their labours, or roamed about the island shooting birds or hunting
kangaroo.  They saw no other inhabitants, and believed that no black
lucifer had as yet entered their island garden; but, though unseen,
he was watching them and all their works.

One morning the wreckers had gone to the wreck; a man named Kennedy
was left in charge of the camp; Sambo, the black cook, was attending
to his duties at the fire; and Mrs. Kennedy, the only lady of the
party, was at the water hole washing clothes.  Her husband had left
the camp with his gun in the hope of shooting some wattle birds,
which were then fat with feeding on the sweet blossoms of the
honeysuckle.  He was sitting on a log near the water-hole talking to
his wife, who had just laid out to dry on the bushes three coloured
shirts and a lilac dress.  She stood with her hands on  her hips,
pensively contemplating the garments.  She had her troubles, and was
turning them over in her mind, while her husband was thinking of
something else quite different.  It is, I believe, a thing that often
happens.

"I am thinking, Flora," he said, "that this would be a grand island
to live on--far better than Skye, because it has no rocks on it.  I
would like to haf it for a station.  I could put sheep and cattle on
it, and they could not go away nor be lifted, because there is deep
water all round it; and we would haf plenty of beef, and mutton, and
wool, and game, and fish, and oysters.  We could make a garden and
haf plenty of kail, and potatoes, and apples."

"It's all ferry well, Donald," she replied, "for you to be talking
about sheep, and cattle, and apples; but I'd like to know wherefer we
would be getting the money to buy the sheep and cattle?  And who
would like to live here for efer a thousand miles from decent
neebors?  And that's my best goon, and it's getting fery shabby; and
wherefer I'm to get another goon in a country like this I'm thinking
I don't know."

Donald thought his wife was troubling herself about mere trifles, but
before he had time to say so, a blackfellow snatched his gun from
across his knees, another hit him on the head with a waddy, and a
third did the same to Flora and the unfortunate couple lay senseless
on the ground.  Their hopes and troubles had come to a sudden end.

This onslaught had been made by four blacks, who now made a bundle of
the clothes, and carried them and the gun away, going towards the
camp in search of more plunder.  The tents occupied by the wreckers
had been enclosed in a thick hedge of scrub to protect them from the
drifting sand.  There was only one opening in the hedge, through
which the blacks could see Sambo cooking the wreckers' dinner before
a fire.  His head was bare, and he was enjoying the genial heat of
early summer, singing snatches of the melodies of Old Virginny.

The hearing of the Australian aboriginal is acute, and his talent for
mimicry astonishing; he can imitate the notes of every bird and the
call of every animal with perfect accuracy.

Sambo's senseless song enchanted the four blacks.  It was first heard
with tremendous applause in New Orleans, it was received with enthusiasm
by every audience in the Great Republic, and it had been the delight
of every theatre in the British Empire.  It may be said that "jim
Crow" buried the legitimate drama and danced on its grave.  It really
seemed to justify the severe judgment passed on us by the sage of
Chelsea, that we were "sixteen millions, mostly fools."  No air was
ever at the same time so silly and so successful as "Jim Crow."  But
there was life in it, and it certainly prolonged that of Sambo, for
as the four savages crouched behind the hedge listening to the

"Turn about and wheel about, and do just so,
And ebery time I turn about I jump Jim Crow,"

they forgot their murderous errand.

At last there was an echo of the closing words which seemed to come
from a large gum tree beyond the tents, against which a ladder had
been reared to the forks, used for the purpose of a look-out by
Captain Leebrace.

Sambo paused, looked up to the gum tree, and said, "By golly, who's
dere?"  The echo was repeated, and then he wheeled about in real
earnest, transfixed with horror, unable to move a limb.  The blacks
were close to him now, but even their colour could not restore his
courage.  They were cannibals, and were preparing to kill and eat
him.  But first they examined their game critically, poking their
fingers about him, pinching him in various parts of the body,
stroking his broad nose and ample lips with evident admiration, and
trying to pull out the curls on his woolly head.

Sambo was usually proud of his personal appearance, but just now fear
prevented him from enjoying the applause of the strangers.

At length he recovered his presence of mind sufficiently to make an
effort to avert his impending doom.  If the blacks could be induced
to eat the dinner he was cooking their attention to  himself might be
diverted, and their appetites appeased, so he pointed towards the
pots, saying, "Plenty beef, pork, plum duff."

The blacks seemed to understand his meaning, and they began to
inspect the dinner; so instead of taking the food like sensible men,
they upset all the pots with their waddies, and scattered the beef,
pork, plum duff and potatoes, so that they were covered with sand and
completely spoiled.

Two of the blacks next peered into the nearest tent, and seeing some
knives and forks, took possession of them.  But there was a sound of
voices from the waterhole, and they quickly gathered together their
stolen goods and disappeared.  In a few minutes Captain Leebrace and
the wreckers arrived at the camp, bringing with them Kennedy and his
wife, who had recovered their senses, and were able to tell what had
happened.

"Black debbils been heah, cappen, done spoil all de dinner, and run
away wid de knives and forks," Sambo said.

Captain Leebrace soon resolved on a course of reprisals.  He went up
the ladder to the forks of the gum tree with his telescope, and soon
obtained a view of the retreating thieves, appearing occasionally and
disappearing among the long grass and timber; and after observing the
course they were taking he came down the ladder.  He selected two of
his most trustworthy men, and armed them and himself with
double-barrelled guns, one barrel being smooth bore and the other
rifled, weapons suitable for game both large and small.  During the
pursuit the captain every now and then, from behind a tree, searched
for the enemy with his telescope, until at last he could see that
they had halted, and had joined a number of their tribe.  He judged
that the blacks, if they suspected that the white men would follow
them, would direct their looks principally towards the tents, so he
made a wide circuit to the left.  Then he and his men crept slowly
along the ground until they arrived within short range of the natives.

Three of the blacks were wearing the stolen shirts, a fourth had put
on the lilac dress, and they were strutting around to display their
brave apparel just like white folks.  The savage man retains all
finery for his own personal adornment, and never wastes any of it on
his despicable wife, but still Captain Leebrace had some doubt in the
matter.  He whispered to his men, "I don't like to shoot at a gown;
there may be a lubra in it, but I'll take the middle fellow in the
shirt, and you take the other two, one to the right, the other to the
left; when I say one, two, three, fire."

The order was obeyed and when the smoke cleared away the print dress
was gone, but all the rest of the plunder was recovered on the spot.
The shirts were stripped off the bodies of the blacks; and after they
had been rinsed in a water-hole, they were found to have been not
much damaged, each shirt having only a small bullet hole in it.  It
was in this way that the lilac dress escaped, and was found in the
canoe at the Old Port; the blackfellow who wore it had taken it off
and put it under his knees in the bottom of his canoe, and when the
white men's boat came after  him, he was in so great a hurry to hide
himself in the scrub that he left the dress behind.

Next day there was a sudden alarm in the camp at the Old Port.
Clancy and Dick the Devil came running toward the beach, full of fear
and excitement, screaming, "The blacks, the blacks, they are coming,
hundreds of them, and they are all naked, and daubed over white, and
they have long spears."

The men who had guns--Campbell, Shay, and Davy--fetched them out
of their huts and stood ready to receive the enemy; even McClure,
although very weak, left his bed and came outside to assist in the
fight.  The fringe of the scrub was dotted with the piebald bodies of
the blacks, dancing about, brandishing their spears, and shouting
defiance at the white men.  They were not in hundreds, as the boys
imagined, their number apparently not exceeding forty; but it was
evident that they were threatening death and destruction to the
invaders of their territory.  None, however, but the very bravest
ventured far into the cleared space, and they showed no disposition
to make a rush or anything like a concerted attack.

Campbell, after watching the enemy's movements for some time, said,
"I think it will be better to give them a taste of the nine-pounder.
Keep a look-out while I load her."

He went into his store to get the charge ready.  He tied some powder
tightly in a piece of calico and rammed it home.  On this he put a
nine-pound shot; but, reflecting that the aim at the dancing savages
would be uncertain, he put in a double charge, consisting of some
broken glass and a handful of nails.

He then thrust a wooden skewer down the touch-hole into the powder
bag below, primed and directed the piece towards the scrub, giving
it, as he judged, sufficient elevation to send the charge among the
thickest of the foe.  As this was the first time the gun had been
brought into action, and there was no telling for certain which way
it would act, Campbell thought it best to be cautious; so he ordered
all his men to take shelter behind the store.  He then selected a
long piece of bark, which he lighted at the fire, and, standing
behind an angle of the building, he applied the light to the
touch-hole.  Every man was watching the scrub to see the effect of
the discharge.  There was a fearful explosion, succeeded by shrieks
of horror and fear from the blacks, as the ball and nails and broken
glass went whistling over their heads through the trees.  Then there
was a moment of complete silence.  Campbell, like a skilful general,
ordered his men to pursue at once the flying foe, in order to reap to
the full the fruits of victory, and they ran across the open ground
to deliver a volley; but on arriving at the scrub no foe was to be
seen, either dead or alive.  The elevation of the artillery had been
too great, and the missiles had passed overhead; but the result was
all that could be hoped for, for two months afterwards not a single
native was visible.

Two victories had been gained by the pioneers, and it was felt that
they deserved some commemoration.  At night there was a feast around
the camp fire; it was of necessity a frugal one, but each member of
the small community contributed to it as much as he was able.
Campbell produced flour enough for a large damper, a luxury unseen
for the last eight weeks; McClure gave tea and sugar; Davy brought
out a box full of eggs and a dozen mutton birds; Scutt and Pateley
furnished a course of roast flathead; Clancy and Dick the Devil, the
poor pirates, gave all the game they had that day killed, viz., two
parrots and a wattle bird.  The twelve canoes, the spoils of victory,
were of little value; they were placed on the camp fire one after
another, and reduced to ashes.

The warriors sat around on logs and boxes enjoying the good things
provided and talking cheerfully, but they made no set speeches.
Dinner oratory is full of emptiness and they had plenty of that every
day.  They dipped pannikins of tea out of the iron pot.

When Burke and Wills were starving at Cooper's Creek on a diet of
nardoo, the latter recorded in his diary that what the food wanted
was sugar; he believed that nardoo and sugar would keep him alive.
The pioneers at the Old Port were convinced that their great want was
fat; with that their supper would have been perfect.

McClure was dying of consumption as everybody knew but himself; he
could not believe that he had come so far from home only to die, and
he joined the revellers at the camp fire.  He said to kindly
enquirers that he felt quite well, and would soon regain his
strength.  Before that terrible journey over the mountains he had
been the life and soul of the Port.  He could play on the violin, on
the bagpipes--both Scotch and Irish--and he was always so
pleasant and cheerful, looking as innocent as a child, that no one
could be long dispirited in his company, and the most impatient
growler became ashamed of himself.

McClure was persuaded to bring out his violin once more--it had
been long silent--and he began playing the liveliest of tunes,
strathspeys, jigs, and reels, until some of the men could hardly keep
their heels still, but it is hard to dance on loose sand, and they
had to be contented with expressing their feelings in song.  Davy
sang "Ye Mariners of England," and other songs of the sea; and
Pateley Jim gave the "Angel's Whisper," followed by an old ballad of
the days of Robin Hood called "The Wedding of Aythur O'Braidley," the
violin accompanying the airs and putting the very soul of music into
every song.

But by degrees the musician grew weary, and began to play odds and
ends of old tunes, sacred and profane.  He dwelt some time on an
ancient "Kyrie Eleeson," and at last glided, unconsciously as it
were, into the "Land o' the Leal."

I'm wearin' away, Jean,
Like snaw wreaths in thaw, Jean,
I'm wearin' awa, Jean,
To the Land o' the Leal.

There's nae sorrow there, Jean,
There's nae caul or care, Jean,
The days aye fair, Jean,
I' the Land of the Leal.

At last McClure rose from his seat, and said, "I'll pit awa the
fiddle, and bid ye a good nicht.  I think I'll be going hame to my
mither the morn."

He went into his tent.  It was high tide, and there was a gentle
swish of long low waves lapping the sandy beach.  The night wind
sighed a soothing lullaby through the spines of the she-oak, and his
spirit passed peacefully away with the ebb.  He was the first man who
died at the Old Port, and he was buried on the bank of the river
where Friday first saw its waters flowing towards the mountain.

Thirty years afterwards I saw two old men, Campbell and Montgomery,
pulling up the long grass which had covered his neglected grave.


GLENGARRY IN GIPPSLAND.

Jack Shay was not sorry to leave the Old Port.  The nocturnal feast
made to celebrate the repulse of the blackfellows could not conceal
the state of famine which prevailed, and he was pleased to remember
that he had brought plenty of flour, tea, and sugar as far as the
Thomson river.  Davy had no saddle, but John Campbell lent him one
for the journey, and also sold him shot and powder on credit.  So
early in the morning the two men took a "tightener" of roast eggs,
and commenced their journey on McMillan's track, each man carrying
his double-barrelled gun, ready loaded, in his hand.  By this time
the sight of a gun was a sufficient warning to the blackfellows to
keep at a safe distance; the discharge of the nine-pounder had proved
to them that the white man possessed mysterious powers of mischief,
and it was a long time before they could recover courage enough to
approach within view of the camp at the Old Port.  On the second day
of their journey Davy and Shay arrived at the Thomson, and found the
mob of cattle and the men all safe.  They built a hut, erected a
stockyard, and roughly fixed the boundaries of the station by blazed
trees, the bank of the river, and other natural marks.

There were three brothers Imlay in the Twofold Bay district--John,
Alexander, and George--the latter residing at the Bay, where he
received stores from Sydney, and shipped return cargoes of station
produce and fat cattle for Hobarton.  Two stations on the mountains
were managed by the other two brothers, and their brand was III.,
usually called "the Bible brand."  When the station on the Thomson
was put in working order, the Imlays exchanged it for one owned by P.
P. King, which was situated between their two stations in the Monaro
district.  The Gippsland station was named Fulham, and was managed by
John King.  Jack Shay returned to the mountains, and Davy to the Old
Port.

Soon afterwards the steamer 'Corsair' arrived from Melbourne,
bringing many passengers, one of whom was John Reeve, who took up a
station at Snake Ridge, and purchased the block of land known as
Reeve's Survey.  The new settlers also brought a number of horses,
and Norman McLeod had twenty bullocks on board.  The steamer could
not reach the port, and brought-to abreast of the Midge Channel. The
cattle and horses were slung and put into the water, four at a time,
and swam to land, but all the bullocks disappeared soon afterwards
and fled to the mountains.

Next the brig 'Bruthen' arrived from Sydney, chartered by the
Highland chief Macdonnell, of Glengarry.  In the days of King William
III. a sum of 20,000 pounds was voted for the purpose of purchasing
the allegiance of the Glengarry of that day, and of that of several
other powerful chiefs.  On taking the oath of loyalty to the new
dynasty, they were to receive not more than 2,000 pounds
each; or, if they preferred dignity to cash, they could have any
title of nobility they pleased below that of earl.  Most of them took
the oath and the cash.  It is not recorded that any chief preferred a
title, but the Macdonnell of 1842 was Lord Glengarry to all the new
settlers in Gippsland.  His father, Colonel Alexander Ronaldson
Macdonnell, was the last genuine specimen of a Highland chief, and he
was the Fergus McIvor of Walter Scott's "Waverley."  He always wore
the dress of his ancestors, and kept sentinels posted at his doors.
He perished in the year 1828, while attempting to escape from a
steamer which had gone ashore.  His estate was heavily encumbered,
and his son was compelled to sell it to the Marquis of Huntly.  In
1840 it was sold to the Earl of Dudley for 91,000 pounds, and in 1860
to Edward Ellice for 120,000 pounds.

The landless young chief resolved to transfer his broken fortunes to
Australia.  He brought with him a number of men and women, chiefly
Highlanders, who were landed by Davy in his whaleboat.  For this
service Glengarry gave a cheque on a Sydney bank for five pounds,
which was entrusted to Captain Gaunson of the schooner 'Coquette' to
purchase groceries.  On arriving in Sydney the Gaunsons went on a
pleasure excursion about the harbour, the 'Coquette' was capsized in
a squall, one or two of the family perished, and Davy's cheque went
down with the vessel.  But when the schooner was raised and the water
pumped out, the cheque was found, and the groceries on the next
voyage arrived safely at the Old Port.

Glengarry's head man and manager of the enterprise was a poor
gentleman from Tipperary named Dancer, and his chief stockman was
Sandy Fraser.

By the regulations then in force in New South Wales, Glengarry was
entitled, for a fee of 10 pounds per annum, to hold under a
depasturing license an area of twenty square miles, on which he might
place 500 head of cattle or 4,000 sheep.  He selected a site for his
head station and residence on the banks of the Tarra.  The house was
built, huts and stockyards were erected, 500 dairy cows were bought
at 10 pounds each, and the business of dairy farming commenced.

But the young chief and his men were unused to the management of a
station in the new country; they had everything to learn, and at a
ruinous cost.

A number of young men bailed up the cows each morning, and put on the
leg ropes; then they sat on the top rails of the stockyard fence and
waited while the maids drew the milk.  Dancer superintended the
labours of the men and the milkmaids.  He sat in his office in a
corner of the stockyard, entering in his books the number of cattle
milked, and examining the state of their brands, which were daubed on
the hides with paint and brush. Some cheese was made, but it was not
of much account, and all the milk and butter were consumed on the
station.

At this time the blacks had quite recovered from the fright
occasioned by the discharge of the nine-pounder gun, and were again
often seen from the huts at the Old Port.  Donald Macalister was sent
by his uncle, Lachlan Macalister, of Nuntin, to make arrangements for
shipping some cattle and sheep.  The day before their arrival Donald
saw some blacks at a distance in the scrub, and without any
provocation fired at them with an old Tower musket, charged with
shot.  The next day the drovers and shepherds arrived with the stock,
and drove them over Glengarry's bridge to a place between the Tarra
and Albert rivers, called the Coal Hole, afterwards occupied by
Parson Bean.  there was no yard there, and the animals would require
watching at night; so Donald decided to send them back to Glengarry's
yards.  Then he and the drovers and shepherds would have a pleasant
time; there would be songs and whisky, the piper would play, and the
men and maids would dance.  The arrangement suited everybody.  The
drovers started back with the cattle, Donald helped the shepherds to
gather the sheep, and put them on the way, and then he rode after the
cattle.  The track led him past a grove of dense ti-tree, on the land
now known as the Brewery Paddock, and about a hundred yards ahead a
single blackfellow came out of the grove, and began capering about
and waving a waddy.  Donald pulled up his horse and looked at the
black.  He had a pair of pistols in the holsters of his saddle, but
he did not draw them:  there was no danger from a blackfellow a
hundred yards off.  But there was another behind him and much nearer,
who came silently out of the ti-tree and thrust a spear through
Donald's neck.  The horse galloped away towards Glengarry's bridge.

When the drovers saw the riderless horse, they supposed that
Macalister had been accidentally thrown, and they sent Friday to look
for him.  He found him dead.  The blacks had done their work quickly.
They had stripped Donald of everything but his trousers and boots,
had mutilated him in their usual fashion, and had disappeared.  A
messenger was sent to old Macalister, and the young man was buried on
the bank of the river near McClure's grave.  The new cemetery now
contained three graves, the second being that of Tinker Ned, who shot
himself accidentally when pulling out his gun from beneath a
tarpaulin.

Lachlan Macalister had had a long experience in dealing with
blackfellows and bushrangers; he had been a captain in the army, and
an officer of the border police.  The murder of his nephew gave him
both a professional and a family interest in chastising the
criminals, and he soon organised a party to look for them.  It was,
of course, impossible to identify any blackfellow concerned in the
outrage, and therefore atonement must be made by the tribe.  The
blacks were found encamped near a waterhole at Gammon Creek, and
those who were shot were thrown into it, to the number, it was said,
of about sixty, men, women, and children; but this was probably an
exaggeration.  At any rate, the black who capered about to attract
young Macalister's attention escaped, and he often afterwards
described and imitated the part he took in what he evidently
considered a glorious act of revenge.  The gun used by old Macalister
was a double-barrelled Purdy, a beautiful and reliable weapon, which
in its time had done great execution.

The dairy business at Greenmount was carried on at a continual loss,
and Glengarry resolved to return to Scotland.  He sold his cows and
their increase to Thacker and Mason, of Sydney, for twenty-seven
shillings and sixpence per head; his house was bought by John
Campbell.  On the eve of his departure for Sydney in the schooner
'Coquette' (Captain Gaunson), a farewell dinner was given by the
Highlanders at the Old Port, and Long Mason, who had come from Sydney
to take delivery of the cows on behalf of Thacker and Mason, was one
of the guests.  But there was more of gloom than of gaiety around the
festive board.  All wished well to the young chief, but the very best
of his friends could think of nothing cheerful to say to him.  His
enterprise had been a complete failure; the family tree of Clanranald
the Dauntless had refused to take root in a strange land the glory
had gone from it for ever, and there was nothing to celebrate in song
or story.

Other men from the Highlands failed to win the smiles of fortune in
Gippsland.  At home, notwithstanding their tribal feuds, they held
their own for two thousand years against the Roman and Saxon, the
Dane and the Norman.  Only one hundred and fifty years ago (it seems
now almost incredible) they nearly scared the Hanoverian dynasty from
the throne of England, and even yet, though scattered throughout the
British Empire, they are neither a fallen nor a falling race.

Glengarry returned to his tent early, and then the buying and selling
of the five hundred cows became the subject of conversation; the
whisky circulated, and Long Mason observed that unfriendly looks
began to be directed towards himself.  He was an Englishman, a
Southron, and it was a foul shame and dishonour that such as he
should pay a Highland chief only twenty-seven shillings and sixpence
for beasts that had cost ten pounds each.  That was not the way in
the good old days when the hardy men of the north descended from the
mountains with broadsword and shield, lifted the cattle of the Saxon,
and drove them to their homes in the glens.

The fervid temper of the Gael grew hotter at the thought of the rank
injustice which had been done, and it was decided that Long Mason
should be drowned in the inlet.  He protested against the decision
with vigour, and apparently with reason.  He said:

"I did not buy the cattle at all.  Glengarry sold them to Thacker and
my brother in Sydney, and I only came over to take delivery of them.
What wrong have I done?"

But the reasoning of the prosaic Englishman was thrown to the winds:

"Ye've done everything wrong.  Ye should hae gin ten pund sterling
apiece for the coos, and not twenty-sen and saxpence.  It's a pity
yer brither, and Thacker, and MacFarlane are no here the nicht, and
we'd droon them, too."

Four strong men, shouting in Gaelic the war-cry of Sheriffmuir,
"Revenge, revenge, revenge to-day, mourning to-morrow!" seized the
long limbs of the unfortunate Mason, and in spite of his struggles
bore him towards the beach.  The water near the margin was shallow,
so they waded in until it was deep enough for their purpose.  There
was a piercing cry, "Help! murder! murder!"  John Campbell heard it,
but it was not safe for a Campbell to stand between a Macdonnell and
his revenge.  However, Captain Davy and Pateley Jim came out of their
huts to see what was the matter, and they waded after the
Highlanders.  Each seized a man by the collar and downhauled.  There
was a sudden whirlpool, a splashing and a spluttering, as all the
five men went under and drank the brine.

"I think," said Pateley, "that will cool 'em a bit," and it did.

Long Mason was a university man, educated for the church, but before
his ordination to the priesthood he had many other adventures and
misfortunes.  After being nearly drowned by the Highlanders he was
placed in charge of Woodside station by his elder brother; he tried
to mitigate the miseries of solitude with drink, but he did so too
much and was turned adrift.  He then made his way to New Zealand, and
fought as a common soldier through the Heki war.  Captain Patterson,
of the schooner 'Eagle', met him at a New Zealand port.  He was
wearing a long, ragged old coat, such as soldiers wore, was out of
employment, and in a state of starvation.  The captain took pity on
him, brought him back to Port Albert, and he became a shepherd on a
station near Bairnsdale.  While he was fighting the Maoris his
brother had gone home, and had sent to Sydney money to pay his
passage to England.  But he could not be found, and the money was
returned to London.  At length Captain Bentley found out where he
was, took him to Sydney, gave him an outfit, and paid his passage to
England.  Long Mason, honest man that he was, sent back the passage
money, was ordained priest, obtained a living near London, and roamed
no more.

He had a younger brother named Leonard Mason, who lived with Coady
Buckley at Prospect, near the Ninety-Mile, and became a good bushman.
In 1844 Leonard took up a station in North Gippsland adjoining the
McLeod's run, but the Highlanders tried to drive him away by taking
his cattle a long distance to a pound which had been established at
Stratford.  The McLeods and their men were too many for Leonard.  He
went to Melbourne to try if the law or the Government would give him
any redress, but he could obtain no satisfaction.  The continued
impounding of his cattle meant ruin to him, and when he returned to
Gippsland he found his hut burned down and his cattle gone on the way
to the pound.  He took a double-barrelled gun and went after them.
He found them at Providence Ponds, which was a stopping place for
drovers.  Next morning he rose early, went to the stockyard with his
gun, and waited till McDougall, who was manager for the McLeods, came
out with his stockmen.  When they approached the yard he said:

"I shall shoot the first man who touches those rails to take my cattle
out."

McDougall laughed, and ordered one of his men to take down the
slip-rails, but the man hesitated; he did not like the looks of
Mason.  Then McDougall dismounted from his horse and went to the
slip-rails, but as soon as he touched them Mason shot him.

Coady Buckley spared neither trouble nor expense in obtaining the
best counsel for Mason's defence at the trial in Melbourne.  He was
found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to nine years'
imprisonment, but after a time was released on the condition of
leaving Victoria, and when last heard of was a drover beyond the
Murray.

After the departure of Glengarry, Dancer could find no profitable
employment in Gippsland, and lived in a state of indigence.  At last
he borrowed sufficient money on a promissory note to pay his passage
to Ireland.  In Tipperary he became a baronet and a sheriff, and
lived to a good old age.


WANTED, A CATTLE MARKET.

It seemed incredible to the first settlers in North Gippsland that
their new Punjaub, the land of the five rivers, which emptied their
waters into immense lakes, should communicate with the sea by no
channel suitable for ships, and an expedition was organised to
endeavour to find an outlet.  McMillan had two boats at his station
at Bushy Park, but he had no sails, so he engaged Davy as sailmaker
and chief navigator on the intended voyage.  The two men rode
together from the Old Port up the track over Tom's Cap, and shot two
pigeons by the way, which was fortunate, for when they arrived at
Kilmany Park William Pearson was absent, and his men were found to be
living under a discipline so strict that his stock-keeper, Jimmy
Rentoul, had no meat, and dared not kill any without orders; so
McMillan and Davy fried the pigeons, and ate one each for supper.
Next morning they shot some ducks for breakfast, and then proceeded
on their journey.  They called at Mewburn Park, arrived at Bushy Park
(McMillan's own station), and Davy began making the sails the same
evening.  Next morning he crossed the river in a canoe, made out of a
hollow log, to Boisdale, Lachlan Macalister's station, and went to
the milking yard.  The management was similar to that of Dancer at
Greenmount.  Eleven men and women were milking about one hundred and
fifty cows, superintended by nine Highlanders, who were sitting on
the toprails discoursing in Gaelic.  One of them was Jock Macdonald,
who was over eighteen stone in weight, too heavy for any ordinary
horse to carry; the rest were Macalisters, Gillies, and Thomsons.
The stockmen were convicts, and they lived with the Highlanders in a
big building like the barracks for soldiers.  Every man seemed to do
just what he liked, to kill what he liked, and to eat what he liked,
and it was astonishing to see so little discipline on a station owned
by a gentleman who had seen service both in the army and in the
border police.

The blacks were at this time very troublesome about the new stations.
They began to be fond of beef, and in order to get it they drove fat
cattle into the morasses and speared them.  This proceeding produced
strained relations between the two races, and the only effectual
remedy was the gun.  But many of the settlers had scruples about
shooting blackfellows except in self-defence, and it could hardly be
called self-defence to shoot one or more of the natives because a
beast had been speared by some person or persons unknown.  John
Campbell, at Glencoe, tried a dog, a savage deerhound, which he
trained to chase the human game.  This dog acquired great skill in
seizing a blackfellow by the heel, throwing him, and worrying him
until Campbell came up on his horse.  When the dog had thus expelled
the natives from Glencoe, Campbell agreed to lend him to little
Curlewis for three months in order to clear Holey Plains Station.
Curlewis paid ten heifers for the loan of the dog, and Campbell
himself went to give him a start in the hunt, as the animal would not
own any other man as master.  But the blacks soon learned that
Campbell and his dog had left Glencoe unprotected, and the second
night after his departure they boldly entered the potato patch near
his hut, and bandicooted the whole of his potatoes.

When the sails were made, the two boats were provisioned with tea,
sugar, flour, and a keg of whisky; the meat was carried in the shape
of two live sheep, to be killed when required.  The party consisted
of eight men, and each man was armed with a double-barrelled gun.
McMillan, McLennan, Loughnan, and Davy went in one boat, and in the
other boat were William Pearson, John Reeve, Captain Orr, and
Sheridan, who was manager for Raymond at Stratford.  Sheridan was a
musical man, and took his flute with him.  When everything was ready
they dropped down the river to Lake Wellington, and took note of the
soundings during the whole of the voyage as they went along.
Wherever they approached either shore, they saw natives or found
traces of them.  Every beach was strewn with the feathers of the
ducks, swans, and other birds they had killed, and it was difficult
to find sufficient dead wood near the water to make a fire, the
blacks having used so much of it at their numerous camping places.

The gins had an ingenious system of capturing the ducks.  They moved
along under water, leaving nothing but their nostrils visible above
the surface, and they were thus able to approach the unsuspecting
birds.  As opportunity offered they seized them by the legs, drew
them quickly under water, and held them until they were drowned.
When they had secured as many as they could hold in one hand they
returned to land.

One of the explorers always kept guard while the others slept, the
first watch of each night being assigned to Davy, who baked the
damper for the next day.  One of the sheep was killed soon after the
voyage commenced; and the duty of taking ashore, tethering, and
guarding the other sheep at each landing place was taken in turn by
Pearson and Loughnan.  At the lower end of the lakes the water was
found to be brackish, so they went ashore at several places to look
for fresh water.  They landed on a flat at Reeve's River, and Davy
found an old well of the natives, but it required cleaning out, so he
went back to the boat for a spade.  It was Loughnan's turn that day
to tether the sheep on some grassy spot, and to look after it; the
animal by this time had become quite a pet, and was called Jimmy.  On
coming near the boats Davy looked about for Jimmy,  but could not see
him and asked Loughnan where he was.

"Oh, he is all right," said Loughnan, "I did not tether  him, but he
is over there eating the reeds."

"Then he's gone," replied Davy.

Every man became seriously alarmed and ran down to the reeds, for
Jimmy carried their whole supply of meat.  They found his tracks at
the edge of the water, and followed them to the foot of a high bluff,
which they ascended, calling as they went repeatedly for Jimmy.  They
looked in every direction, scanning especially the tops of the reeds
to see if Jimmy was moving amongst them, but they could see no sign
of the sheep that was lost.  The view of land and river, mountain and
sea, was very beautiful, but they were too full of sorrow for Jimmy
to enjoy it.  On going away they agreed to call the bluff Jimmy's
point, but other voyagers came afterwards who knew nothing of Jimmy,
and they named it Kalimna, The Beautiful.  Near the shore a number of
sandpipers were shot, and stewed for dinner in the large iron pot
which was half full of mutton fat.  Then the party pulled down to the
entrance of the lakes at Reeve's River, went ashore, and camped for
the night.

Next day they found an outlet to the ocean, and sounded it as they
went along, finding six feet of water on the bar at low tide.  But
the channel proved afterwards to be a shifting one; the strong
current round Cape Howe, and the southerly gales, often filled it
with sand, and it was not until many years had passed, and much money
had been expended, that a permanent entrance was formed.  In the
meantime all the trade of Gippsland was carried on first through the
Old Port, and then through the new Port Albert.  For ten years all
vessels were piloted without buoy or beacon; in one year one hundred
and forty having been entered inwards and outwards.

The party now started on the return voyage.  In going up the lakes a
number of blacks were observed on the port beach, and the boats were
pulled towards the land until they grounded, and some of the men went
ashore.  The natives were standing behind a small sand hummock
calling out to the visitors.  One of them had lost an eye, and
another looked somewhat like a white man browned with the sun and
weather, but only the upper part of his body could be seen above the
sand.  One of the men on shore said, "Look at that white-fellow."
That was the origin of the rumour which was soon spread through the
country that the blacks had a white woman living with them, the
result being that for a long time the blackfellows were hunted and
harassed continually by parties of armed men.  When the natives
behind the sand hummock saw that the white men had no arms, they
began to approach them without their spears.  Sheridan took up his
flute, and they ran back to the scrub, but after he had played a
while they came nearer again and listened to the music.

After pulling two or three miles, another party of natives was seen
running along the sands, and the explorers went ashore again at a
point of land where seven or eight men had appeared, but not one was
now visible.  Davy climbed up a honeysuckle tree, and then he could
see them hiding in the scrub.  Several of them were seized and held
by the white men, who gave them some sugar and then let them go.

The boats then sailed away with a nice easterly breeze, and in
McLennan's Straits hundreds of blackfellows were seen up in the trees
shouting and shaking their spears; but the boats were kept away in
mid-stream, out of reach of the weapons.

That night the camp was made at Boney Point, near the mouth of the
River Avon; the name was given to it on account of the large quantity
of human bones found there.  No watch was kept, as it was believed
that all the blacks had been left behind in McLennan's Straits.
There was still some whisky left in the keg; and, before going to
sleep, Orr, Loughnan, and Sheridan sang and drank alternately until
the vessel was empty.  At daylight they pulled up the Avon and landed
at Clydebank, which was at that time one of Macalister's stations,
but afterwards belonged to Thomson and Cunningham.  After breakfast
they walked to Raymond's station at Stratford, and then to McMillan's
at Bushy Park.

The cattle brought over the mountains into Gippsland soon grew fat,
and the first settlers sold some of them to other men who came to
search for runs; but the local demand was soon supplied.  In two
years and a half all the best land was occupied.  An intending
settler, who had driven a herd of cattle seven hundred miles, had
some bitter complaints to make about the country in June, 1843.  He
said:  "The whole length of Gippsland, from the bore of the mountains
in which the road comes, is 110 miles, and the breadth about fifteen
miles, the whole area 1650 square miles, one-third of which is
useless through scrub and morass, which leaves only 1,100 square
miles come-at-able at all, and nearly a third of this is useless.  On
this 1,100 square miles of land there are 45,000 sheep, 1,500 cattle,
and 300 horses.  Other herds of cattle and about 2,000 sheep are
expected daily.  The blacks are continuing their outrages, robbing
huts and gardens and slaughtering cattle wholesale, Messrs. Pearson
and Cunningham being the latest sufferers by the cannibals.  Sheep
shearing is nearly completed, after paying a most exorbitant price to
the shearers.*  The wool is much lighter than in any other part of
the colony, and the skins much thicker than in hotter climates;" and
lastly, "A collection has been made for the support of a minister."
But the minister was not supported long, and he had to shake the dust
of Gippsland off his feet.  From Dan to Beersheba--from the bore in
the mountains to the shores of Corner Inlet, all was barren to this
disappointed drover.


[Footnote] *In the season of 1844 the average price per 100 for
sheep-shearing was 8s.; the highest price asked, 8s. 6d.


And the squatters, in order to keep a foothold in the country, had to
seek markets for their stock over the sea.  The first to export
cattle was James McFarlane of Heyfield.  He chartered the schooner
'Waterwitch' for 100 pounds a month for six months, and found her in
everything.  She arrived on March 2nd, 1842, but could not come up to
the Port being too sharp in the bottom, and drawing (when loaded with
cattle) thirteen feet six inches, so she lay down at the Oyster Beds.
McFarlane borrowed the square punt from the 'Clonmel' wreckers, a
weak stockyard of tea tree was erected, and the punt was moored
alongside.  A block was made fast to the bottom of the punt, and a
rope rove through it to a bullock's head, and the men hauled on the
rope.  Sometimes a beast would not jump, and had to be levered and
bundled into the punt neck and crop.  Then the men got into a boat,
and reached over to make the rope fast from the head of the bullock
to one of the eyebolts which were fixed round the punt, and even then
the bullock would sometimes go overboard.  It took a week to load
twenty fat bullocks and twenty cows with their calves.  The schooner
set sail for New Zealand on April 2nd, 1842, and at Port Nicholson
the bullocks were sold for fifteen and the cows for twelve pounds
each, cash.  The 'Waterwitch' returned to Port Albert on April 29th,
and took in another cargo of breeding cattle, which had to be sold on
bills, the cash at Port Nicholson being exhausted.  McFarlane next
sought for a market at Hobarton, which was then supplied with beef
from Twofold Bay.  Forty bullocks were put on board the 'Waterwitch'
in five days, and in forty-eight hours they were offered for sale in
Hobarton, and fetched fourteen pounds ten shillings a head--all but
one, a snail-horned brute, which was very wild.  When he landed, a
number of soldiers were at drill in the paddock, and he charged the
redcoats at once. They prepared to receive cavalry, but he broke
through the ranks, scattered the citizens the whole length of
Liverpool Street, and reached the open country.  Guisden, the
auctioneer, sold the chance of him for eleven pounds.

At this time, nobody in Hobarton had heard of such a place as
Gippsland; but the fat cattle, which were far superior to those
imported from Twofold Bay, soon made the new territory well known,
and many enterprising men of various characters found their way to it
from the island.

McFarlane sent over another cargo of forty bullocks, thirty-seven of
which averaged fourteen pounds; one was lost, and two belonging to
Macalister, heavy weights, were sold for forty pounds ten shillings.

McMillan took over the 'Waterwitch' for the next trip, and also
chartered the schooners 'Industry' and 'Scotia', which were the first
vessels brought up to the shipping place at Port Albert on August,
3rd, 1842.  Each of these vessels took two cargoes to Hobarton, which
sold well, and then Macalister chartered the brig 'Pateena', which
would hold sixty bullocks.  The 'Clonmel' punt was now dispensed
with; the cattle were roped, put in the water, and made to swim
between the vessel and a boat.  A piece of small ratline was fixed to
the slings, with the handlead made fast to it so that it would sink.
The mate had the slings, and a man in the boat held the other end of
the line, and with it he hauled the slings under the bullocks, which
were then made fast, and the animal was hoisted up.  In this way
forty bullocks were shipped in three hours.

Oysters were obtained in great abundance at Clonmel, Snake Island,
and in other parts of the inlets, and the cattle vessels, after
receiving their loading, took bags of oysters on board for sale at
Hobarton.  In June, 1843, the cutter 'Lucy' took 700 dozen to
Melbourne, and in July another 700 dozen.  In August the 'Mary Jane'
took 500 dozen, and the cutter 'Domain' 400 dozen.  The oyster beds
were soon destroyed, and when in course of a few years I was
appointed inspector of fisheries at Port Albert I could never find a
single dozen oysters to inspect, although I was informed that a
certain reverend poacher near the Caledonian Canal could obtain a
bucket full of them when so disposed.

Gippsland enjoyed one year of prosperity, followed by seven years of
adversity.  The price of stock declined so rapidly that in April,
1843, the very best beasts only realized 6 pounds per head, and soon
afterwards it was estimated that there were in New South Wales 50,000
fat bullocks which nobody would buy.  Moreover, the government was
grievously in want of money, and in addition to the fees for
depasturing licenses, exacted half-yearly assessments on the
unsaleable flocks and herds.  But the law exacted payment on live
cattle only, so the squatters in their dire distress resolved to kill
their stock and boil them, the hides and the resulting tallow being
of some value.  The Hentys, in the Portland district, commenced
boiling their sheep in January, 1844, and on every station in New
South Wales the paddocks still called the "boiling down" were devoted
to the destruction of sheep and cattle and to the production of
tallow.  It was found that one hundred average sheep would yield one
ton of tallow, and ten average bullocks also one ton, the price in
London ranging from 35 pounds to 42 pounds per ton.  By this device
of boiling-down some of the pioneers were enabled to retain their
runs until the discovery of gold.

The squatters were assisted in their endeavours to diminish the
numbers of their live stock by their neighbours, both black and
white.  It is absurd to blame the aborigines for killing sheep and
cattle.  You might as well say it is immoral for a cat to catch mice.
Hunting was their living; the land and every animal thereon was
theirs; and after we had conferred on them, as usual, the names of
savages and cannibals, they were still human beings; they were our
neighbours, to be treated with mercy; and to seize their lands by
force and to kill them was robbery and murder.  The State is a mere
abstraction, has neither body nor soul, and an abstraction cannot be
sent either to heaven or hell.  But each individual man will be
rewarded according to his works, which will follow him.  Because the
State erected a flag on a bluff overlooking the sea, Sandy McBean was
not justified in shooting every blackfellow or gin  he met with on
his run, as I know he did on the testimony of an eye-witness.  This
is the age of whitewash.  There is scarcely a villain of note on
whose character a new coat has not been laboriously daubed by
somebody, and then we are asked to take a new view of it.  It does
not matter very much now, but I should prefer to whitewash the
aboriginals.

J. P. Fawkner wrote:  "The military were not long here before the
Melbourne district was stained with the blood of the aborigines, yet
I can safely say that in the year in which there was neither
governor, magistrate, soldier, nor policemen, not one black was shot
or killed in the Melbourne district, except amongst or by the blacks
themselves.  Can as much be said of any year since?  I think not."

In the year 1844 Mr. Latrobe was required to send to the Council in
Sydney a return of all blacks and whites killed in the Port Phillip
district since its first settlement.  He said forty whites had been
killed by the blacks, and one hundred and thirteen blacks had been
reported as killed by the whites; but he added, "the return must not
be looked upon as correct with respect to the number of aborigines
killed."  The reason is plain.  When a white man murdered a few
blacks it was not likely that he would put his neck into the
hangman's noose by making a formal report of his exploit to Mr.
Latrobe.  All the surviving blackfellow could say was:  "Quamby dead
--long time--white-fellow--plenty--shoot 'em."

He related in eight words the decline and fall of his race more truly
than the white man could do it in eight volumes.

It is not so easy a task to justify the white men who assisted the
squatters to diminish the numbers of their stock.  They were
principally convicts who had served their sentences, or part of them,
in the island, and had come over to Gippsland in cattle vessels.
Some of them lived honestly, about one hundred of them disappeared
when the Commissioner of Crown Lands arrived with his black and white
police, and a few of the most enterprising spirits adopted the
calling of cattle stealers, for which business they found special
facilities in the two special surveys.



-------------------------------------


TWO SPECIAL SURVEYS.

A notice dated March 4th, 1841, was gazetted in Sydney to the following
effect:

"Any Holder of a Land Receipt to the extent of not less than five
thousand one hundred and twenty acres may, if he think fit, demand a
special survey of any land not hereinafter excepted, within the
district of Port Philip, whether such Land Receipt be obtained in the
manner pointed out in the 'Government Gazette' of the 21st January
last, or granted by the Land and Emigration Commissioners in London.

"Not more than one mile of frontage to any river, watercourse, or lake
to be allowed to every four square miles of area; the other
boundaries to be straight lines running north and south, east and
west.

"No land to be taken up within five miles of the towns of Melbourne,
Geelong, Williamstown, or Portland.

"The right of opening roads through any part of the land to be
reserved for the Crown, but no other reservation whatever to be
inserted in the Deeds of Grant."

The Port Albert Company took up land, under the above conditions,
between the Albert and Tarra rivers.  It was in Orr's name, and is
still known as Orr's Special Survey.  A surveyor was appointed to
mark and plan the boundaries; he delegated the work to another
surveyor.  Next a re-survey was made, then a sub-divisional survey,
and then other surveys went on for fifty years, with ever-varying
results.  It is now a well-established fact that Orr's Special Survey
is subject to an alternate expansion and contraction of area, which
from time to time vitiates the labour of every surveyor, and has
caused much professional animosity.  Old men with one foot in the
grave, in this year 1895, are still accusing each other of embezzling
acres of it; the devil of Discord, and Mercury the god of thieves,
encamped upon it; the Port Albert Company fell into its Slough of
Despond, which in the Court of Equity was known as "Kemmis v. Orr,"
and there all the members perished.

Mr. John Reeve had a land receipt, and wanted land.  After he had
taken up the station known as Snake Ridge he looked about for a good
Special Survey.  He engaged Davy and his whaleboat for a cruise in
Port Albert waters and McMillan, Sheridan, and Loughnan were of the
party.  They went up the narrow channel called the Caledonian Canal,
examined the bluffs, shores, and islands of Shallow Inlet, and at
night encamped on St. Margaret's Island.  When shelter was required,
Davy usually put up the mainsail of his boat for a tent; but that
night was so fine and warm that it was decided to avoid the trouble
of bringing the sail ashore and putting it up.  After supper the men
lay around the fire, and one by one fell asleep; but about midnight
heavy rain began to fall, the sail was brought ashore, and they all
crept under it to keep themselves as dry as possible.

The next morning was fair.  On leaving the port it had been the
intention of the party to return the same evening, and the boat was
victualled for one day only.  There was now nothing for breakfast but
a little tea and sugar and a piece of damper:  no flesh, fish, or
fowl.  Davy was anxious to entertain his passengers to the best of
his ability, especially Mr. Reeve, who, though not of delicate
health, was a gentleman of refined tastes, and liked to have his
meals prepared and served in the best style.  Fresh water was of the
first necessity, and, after so much rain, should have been plentiful,
but not a spoonful could anywhere be found:  the soil of the island
was sandy, and all the rain had soaked into it and disappeared.  The
damper having been exposed to the weather was saturated with water.
There was in the boat a large three-legged iron pot, half filled with
fat, a hard and compact dainty not liable to be spilled or wasted,
and in it had been stewed many a savoury meal of sandpipers, parrots,
rats, and quail.  This pot had been fortunately left upright and
uncoveredduring the night, and the abundant rain had filled it with
fresh water.  Davy, with the intuition of artistic genius, at once
saw the means of producing a repast fit for the gods.  He poured the
water which covered the fat from the iron pot into the kettle, which
he placed on the fire for the purpose of making tea.  He cut the
sodden damper into substantial slices, put them into the pot, and
cooked them in the fat over the fire.  When well done they tasted
like fried bread, and gave entire satisfaction; Mr. Reeve observing,
when the feast was finished, that he had never in all his life eaten
a better breakfast.

A start was made for the port, but the wind came dead ahead, and the
men had to pull the whole way across the inlet, through the
Caledonian Canal, and as far as Long Point.  There they went ashore
for a rest, and Mr. Reeve asked Davy if he could find the mouth of
the Tarra River.  Davy said he had never been there, but he had no
doubt that he could find it, as he had seen the river when he was
duck-shooting.  It was then high water, and the wind still blowing
strongly from the west, so a reef was taken in the lug, and the boat
ran right into the Tarra as far as the site of the present
court-house.  There the party landed, and after looking at the
country Mr. Reeve decided to take up his special survey there.  It
was partly open forest, but it contained, also, a considerable area
of rich flats covered with luxuriant tea tree and myrtle scrub, which
in course of time became mingled with imported blackberry bushes,
whins, sweetbriar, and thistles.  Any quantity of labour might be
spent on it with advantage to the owner, so the following
advertisement appeared in the public journals:

TO CAPITALISTS AND THE INDUSTRIOUS LABOURING CLASS.

GIPPSLAND--PORT ALBERT.

An accurate plan of Mr. Reeve's Special Survey of Tarra Vale having
been completed, notice is hereby given that farms of various sizes
are now open for sale or lease.  The proprietor chiefly desires the
establishment of a Respectable Tenantry, and will let these farms at
the moderate rent of one bushel of wheat per acre.  The estate
consists of 5,120 acres of rich alluvial flats; no part of the estate
is more than two miles from the freshwater stream of Tarra.  Many
families already occupy purchased allotments in the immediate
vicinity of the landing place and Tarra Ville.  There is a licensed
hotel, good stores and various tradesmen, likewise dray roads from
Maneroo and Port Philip. Apply to F. Taylor, Tarra Ville, or John
Brown, Melbourne.

There were several doubtful statements in this notice, but, as the
law says, "Buyer, beware."

Joshua Dayton was not a capitalist, but he belonged to the
Industrious Labouring Class, and he offered himself, and was accepted
as a Respectable Tenant, at the rental of a bushel of wheat to the
acre.  He was a thief on principle, but simple Mr. Taylor, of
Tarraville, put his trust in him, because it would be necessary to
fence and improve the land in order to produce the bushel of wheat.
The fee simple, at any rate, would be safe with Mr. Reeve; but we
live and learn--learn that there are men ingenious enough to steal
even the fee simple, and transmit it by will to their innocent
children.

The farm comprised a beautiful and rich bend of the Tarra, forming a
spacious peninsula.  Joshua erected a fence across the isthmus,
leaving the rest of his land open to the trespass of cattle, which
were, therefore, liable to be driven away.  But he did not drive them
away; he impounded them within his bend, and at his leisure selected
the fattest for slaughter, thus living literally on the fat of the
land.  He formed his boiling-down establishment in a retired glade,
surrounded with tea-tree, tall and dense, far from the prying eyes
and busy haunts of men.  His hut stood on a gentle rise above the
highest flood mark, and in close proximity to the slip rails, which
were jealously guarded by his Cerberus, Neddy, a needy immigrant of a
plastic nature, whose mind succumbed under the strong logic of his
employer.

Neddy had so far led an honest life, and did not fall into habits of
thievery without some feelings of compunction.  When Joshua first
drove cattle into the bend, he did not tell Neddy that he had stolen
them.  Oh, no!  He said:

"Here are a few beasts I have had running about for some time, and I
think I'll kill one or two of the fattest and make tallow of them.
Beef is worth next to nothing, and we must make a living somehow.
And I know you would like a little fresh beef, Neddy; a change of
diet is good for the health."

But Neddy was not so much of a fool as to be able to shut his eyes to
the nature of the boiling-down business.  The brands were too
various, and Joshua claimed them all.  Neddy said one night:

"Don't you think, Joshua, this game of yours is rather dangerous?
Why, it's nothing better than cattle stealing; and I've heern folks
say at one time it was a hanging matter.  You may be found out some
day by an unlucky chance, and then what will you do?"

"You mustn't call it cattle stealing, Neddy; that doesn't sound
well," said Joshua.  "I call it back pay for work and labour done.  I
have good reasons for it.  I was sent out for stealing a horse, which
I never did steal; I only bought it cheap for a couple of pounds.
They sent me to the island, and I worked seven years for a settler
for nothing.  Now I put it to you, Neddy, as an honest and sensible
man, Am I to get no pay for that seven years' work?  And how am I to
get it if I don't take it myself?  The Government will give me no
pay; they'd give me another seven years if they could.  But you see,
there are no peelers here, no beaks, and no blooming courts, so I
intend to make hay while the sun shines, which means tallow in these
times.  All these settlers gets as much work out of Government men as
they can get for nothing, and if you says two words to 'em they'll
have you flogged.  So while I does my seven years I says nothing, but
I thinks, and I makes up my mind to have it out of 'em when my time
comes.  And I say it's fair and honest to get your back wages the
best way you can.  These settlers are all tarred with the same brush;
they make poor coves like us work for 'em, and flog us like bullocks,
and then they pretend they are honest men.  I say be blowed to such
honesty."

"But if you are caught, Joshua, what then?"

"Well, we must be careful.  I don't think they'll catch me in a
hurry.  You see, I does my business quick:  cuts out the brand and
burns it first thing, and always turns out beasts I don't want
directly."

Other men followed the example of Joshua, so that between troubles
with the black men, troubles with the white men, and the want of a
market for his stock, the settler's days were full of anxiety and
misery.  And, in addition, the Government in Sydney was threatening
him with a roaming taxgatherer under the name of a Commissioner of
Crown Lands, to whom was entrusted the power of increasing or
diminishing assessments at his own will and pleasure.  The settler
therefore bowed down before the lordly tax-gatherer, and entertained
him in his hut with all available hospitality, with welcome on his
lips, smiles on his face, and hatred in his heart.

The fees and fines collected by the Commissioners all over New South
Wales had fallen off in one year to the extent of sixty-five per
cent; more revenue was therefore required, and was it not just that
those who occupied Crown lands should support the dignity of the
Crown?  Then the blacks had to be protected, or otherwise dealt with.
They could not pay taxes, as the Crown had already appropriated all
they were worth, viz., their country.  But they were made amenable to
British law; and in that celebrated case, "Regina v. Jacky Jacky," it
was solemnly decided by the judge that the aborigines were subjects
of the Queen, and that judge went to church on the Sabbath and said
his prayers in his robes of office, wig and all.

Jacky Jacky was charged with aiding and abetting Long Bill to murder
little Tommy.  He said:

"Another one blackfellow killed him, baal me shoot him."

The court received his statement as equivalent to a plea of "Not
guilty."

Witness Billy, an aboriginal, said:

"I was born about twenty miles from Sydney.  If I don't tell stories,
I shall go to Heaven; if I do, I shall go down below.  I don't say
any prayers.  It is the best place to go up to Heaven.  I learnt
about heaven and hell about three years ago at Yass plains when
driving a team there.  Can't say what's in that book; can't read.  If
I go below, I shall be burned with fire."

Billy was sworn, and said:

"I knew Jacky Jacky and Cosgrove, the bullock driver.  I know Fyans
Ford.  I know Manifolds.  I went from Fyans Ford with Cosgrove, a
drove of cattle, and a dray for Manifolds.  I knew Little Tommy at
Port Fairy.  He is dead.  I saw him dying.  When driving the team, I
fell in with a lot of blacks.  They asked me what black boy Tommy
was; told them my brother.  They kept following us two miles and a
half.  Jacky Jacky said; 'Billy, I must kill that black boy in spite
of you.'"

Jacky Jacky said sharply, "Borack."

"Jacky Jacky, who was the king, got on the dray, and Little Tommy got
down; a blackfellow threw a spear at him, and hit him in the side;
the king also threw a spear, and wounded him; a lot of blacks also
speared him.  Long Bill came up and shot him with a ball.  Jacky
Jacky said to Cosgrove:  'Plenty gammon; I must kill that black boy.'
Little Tommy belonged to the Port Fairy tribe, which had always been
fighting with Jacky Jacky's tribe."

"It's all gammon," said Jacky Jacky, "borack me, its another
blackfellow."

"Jacky Jacky, when with the dray, spoke his own language which I did
not understand.  I was not a friend of Little Tommy.  I was not
afraid of the Port Fairy tribe.  I am sometimes friend with Jacky
Jacky's tribe.  If I met him at Yass I can't say whether I should
spear him or not; they would kill him at the Goulburn River if he
went there.  Blackfellow not let man live who committed murder."

Are the aboriginals amenable to British law?  Question argued by
learned counsel, Messrs. Stawell and Barry.

His Honor the Resident Judge said:  "The aboriginals are amenable to
British law, and it is a mercy to them to be under that control,
instead of being left to seek vengeance in the death of each other;
it is a mercy to them to be under the protection of British law,
instead of slaughtering each other."

Jacky Jacky was found guilty of "aiding and abetting."  The
principals in the murder were not prosecuted, probably could not be
found.  Before leaving the court, he turned to the judge and said,
"You hang me this time?"

He only knew two maxims of British law applicable to his race, and
these he had learned by experience.  One maxim was "Shoot 'em" and
the other was "Hang him."

There is abundant evidence to prove that an aboriginal legal maxim
was, "The stranger is an enemy, kill him."  It was for that reason
Jacky Jacky killed Little Tommy, who was a stranger, belonging to the
hostile Port Fairy tribe.

Joshua and Neddy carried on the boiling down business successfully
for some time, regularly shipping tallow to Melbourne in casks, until
some busybody began to insinuate that their tallow was contraband.
Then Joshua took to carrying goods up the country, and Neddy took to
drink.  He died at the first party given by Mother Murden at her
celebrated hostelry.

There were at this time about two hundred men, women, and children
scattered about the neighbourhood of New Leith (afterwards called
Port Albert), the Old Port, the New Alberton and Tarra Vale.
Alberton, by the way, was gazetted as a township before the "village"
of St. Kilda was founded.  There were no licenses issued for the
various houses of entertainment, vulgarly called "sly grog shops."
There was no church, no school, no minister, and no music, until
Mother Murden imported some.  It was hidden in the recesses of a
barrel organ; and, in order to introduce the new instrument to the
notice of her patrons and friends, Mother Murden posted on her
premises a manuscript invitation to a grand ball.  She was anxious
that everything should be carried out in the best style, and that the
festive time should commence at least without intoxication.  She therefore
had one drunken man carried into the "dead room," another to an
outside shed.  Neddy, the third, had become one of her best
customers, and therefore she treated him kindly.  He was unsteady on
his legs, and she piloted him with her own hands to the front door,
expecting that he would find a place for himself somewhere or other.
She gave him a gentle shove, said "Good night, Neddy," and closed the
door.  She then cleared a space for the dancers in her largest room,
placed the barrel-organ on a small table in one corner, and made her
toilet.

The guests began to arrive, and Mother Murden received them in her
best gown at the front door.  Neddy was lying across the threshold.

"It's only Neddy," she said apologetically; "he has been taking a
little nobbler, and it always runs to his head.  He'll be all right
by-and-by.  Come in my dears, and take your things off.  You'll find
a looking-glass in the room behind the bar."

The gentlemen stepped over Neddy, politely gave their hands to the
ladies, and helped them over the human obstacle.

When everything was ready, Mother Murden sat down by the
barrel-organ, took hold of the handle, and addressed her guests:

"Now boys, choose your girls."

[ILLUSTRATION 4]

The biggest bully, a "conditional pardon" man of the year 1839, acted
as master of the ceremonies, and called out the figures.  He also
appropriated the belle of the ball as his partner.

The dancing began with great spirit, but as the night wore on the
music grew monotonous.  There were only six tunes in the organ, and
not all the skill and energy of Mother Murden could grind one more
out of it.

Neddy lay across the doorway, and was never disturbed.  He did not
wake in time to take any part in the festive scene, being dead.  Now
and then a few of the dancers stepped over him, and remarked, "Neddy
is having a good rest."  In the cool night air they walked to and
fro, then, returning to the ball-room, they took a little
refreshment, and danced to the same old tunes, until they were tired.

Mother Murden's first ball was a grand success for all but Neddy.

"No sleep till morn when youth and pleasure meet,
To chase the glowing hours with flying feet."

But morn reveals unsuspected truths, and wrinkled invisible in the
light of tallow candles.  The first rays of the rising sun fell on
Neddy's ghastly face, and the "conditional pardon" man said, "Why,
he's dead and cold."

Mother Murden came to the door with a tumbler in her hand, containing
a morning nip for Neddy, "to kill the worm," as the Latins say; but
the worm was dead already.  The merry-makers stood around; the men
looked serious and the ladies shivered.  They said the air felt
chilly, so they bade one another good morning and hurried home.

It is hard to say why one sinner is taken and the other left.
Joshua's time did not arrive until many years afterwards, when we had
acquitted him at the General Sessions; but that is another story.



HOW GOVERNMENT CAME TO GIPPSLAND.

At this time there was no visible government in Gippsland.  The
authorities in Sydney and Melbourne must have heard of the existence
of the country and of its settlement, but they were content for a
time with the receipt of the money paid into the Treasury for
depasturing licenses and for assessments on stock.

In 1840 the Land Fund received in New South Wales amounted to 316,000
pounds; in 1841 it was only 90,000 pounds; and in 1842 Sir George
Gipps, in his address to the Council severely reprimanded the
colonists for the reckless spirit of speculation and overtrading in
which they had indulged during the two preceding years.  This general
reprimand had a more particular application to Mr. Benjamin Boyd, the
champion boomer of those days.

Labourers out of employment were numerous, and contractors were
informed by 'Gazette' notice that the services of one hundred
prisoners were available for purposes of public utility, such as
making roads, dams, breakwaters, harbours, bridges, watchhouses, and
police buildings.  Assignees of convicts were warned that if they
wished to return them to the custody of the Government, they must pay
the expense of their conveyance to Sydney, otherwise all their
servants would be withdrawn, and they would become ineligible as
assignees of prisoners in future.

Between the first of July, 1840, and the first of November, 1841,
26,556 bounty immigrants had been received in Sydney.  The bounty
orders were suspended in the autumn of the latter year, but in 1842
Lord Stanley was of opinion that the colony could beneficially
receive ten thousand more immigrants during the current year.

Many married labourers could find no work in Sydney, and in November,
1843, the Government requested persons sending wool-drays to the city
to take families to inland districts gratis.

A regular stream of half-pay officers also poured into the colony,
and made Sir George's life a burden.  They all wanted billets, and if
he made the mistake of appointing a civilian to some office, Captain
Smith, with war in his eye and fury in his heart, demanded an
interview at once.  He said:

"I see by this morning's 'Gazette' that some fellow of the name of
Jones has been made a police superintendent, and here am I, an
imperial officer, used to command and discipline, left out in the
cold, while that counter-jumper steps over my head.  I can't
understand your policy, Sir George.  What will my friends of the club
in London say, when they hear of it, but that the service is going to
the dogs?"

So Captain Smith obtained his appointment as superintendent of
police, and with a free sergeant and six convict constables, taken,
as it were, out of bond, was turned loose in the bush.  He had been
for twenty years in the preventive service, but had never captured a
prize more valuable than a bottle of whisky.  He knew nothing
whatever about horses, and rode like a beer barrel, but he
nevertheless lectured his troopers about their horses and
accoutrements.  The sergeant was an old stockrider, and he one day so
far forgot the rules of discipline as to indulge in a mutinous smile,
and say:

"Well, captain, you may know something about a ship, but I'll be
blowed if you know anything about a horse."

That observation was not entered in any report, but the sergeant was
fined 2 pounds for "insolence and insubordination."  The sum of
60,899 pounds was voted for police services in 1844, and Captain
Smith was paid out of it.  All the revenue went to Sydney, and very
little of it found its way to Melbourne, so that Mr. Latrobe's
Government was sometimes deprived of the necessaries of life.

Alberton was gazetted as a place for holding Courts of Petty
Sessions, and Messrs. John Reeve and John King were appointed
Justices of the Peace for the new district.

Then Michael Shannon met James Reading on the Port Albert Road,
robbed him of two orders for money and a certificate of freedom, and
made his way to Melbourne.  There he was arrested, and remanded by
the bench to the new court at Alberton.  But there was no court
there, no lock-up, and no police; and Mr. Latrobe, with tears in his
eyes, said he had no cash whatever to spend on Michael Shannon.

The public journals denounced Gippsland, and said it was full of
irregularities.  Therefore, on September 13th, 1843, Charles J. Tyers
was appointed Commissioner of Crown Lands for the district.  He
endeavoured to make his way overland to the scene of his future
labours, but the mountains were discharging the accumulated waters of
the winter and spring rainfall, every watercourse was full, and the
marshes were impassable.

The commissioner waited, and then made a fresh start with six men and
four baggage horses.  Midway between Dandenong and the Bunyip he
passed the hut of Big Mat, a new settler from Melbourne, and obtained
from him some information about the best route to follow.  It began
to rain heavily, and it was difficult to ford the swollen creeks
before arriving at the Big Hill.  At Shady Creek there was nothing
for the horses to eat, and beyond it the ground became treacherous
and full of crabholes.  At the Moe the backwater was found to be
fully a quarter of a mile wide, encumbered with dead logs and scrub,
and no safe place for crossing the creek could be found.  During the
night the famishing horses tore open with their teeth the packages
containing the provisions, and before morning all that was left of
the flour, tea, and sugar was trodden into the muddy soil and
hopelessly lost; not an ounce of food could be collected.  There was
no game to be seen; every bird and beast seemed to have fled from the
desolate ranges.  Mr. Tyers had been for many years a naval
instructor on board a man-of-war, understood navigation and
surveying, and, it is to be presumed, knew the distance he had
travelled and the course to be followed in returning to Port Philip;
but there were valleys filled with impenetrable scrub, creeks often
too deep to ford, and boundless morasses, so that the journey was
made crooked with continual deviations.  If a black boy like
McMillan's Friday had accompanied the expedition, his native instinct
would, at such a time, have been worth all the science in the world.

The seven men, breakfastless, turned their backs to Gippsland.  The
horses were already weak and nearly useless, so they and all the
tents and camp equipage were abandoned.  Each man carried nothing but
his gun and ammunition.  All day long they plodded wearily through
the bush--wading the streams, climbing over the logs, and pushing
their way through the scrub.  Only two or three small birds were
shot, which did not give, when roasted, a mouthful to each man.

At night a large fire was made, and the hungry travellers lay around
it.  Next morning they renewed their journey, Mr. Tyers keeping the
men from straggling as much as he could, and cheering them with the
hope of soon arriving at some station.  No game was shot all that
day; no man had a morsel of food; the guns and ammunition seemed
heavy and useless, and one by one they were dropped.  It rained at
intervals, the clothing became soaked and heavy, and some of the men
threw away their coats.  A large fire was again made at night, but no
one could sleep, shivering with cold and hunger.

Next morning one man refused to go any further, saying he might as
well die where he was.  He was a convict accustomed to life in the
bush, and Mr. Tyers was surprised that he should be the first man to
give way to despair, and partly by force and partly by persuasion he
was induced to proceed.  About midday smoke was seen in the distance,
and the hope of soon obtaining food put new life into the wayfarers.
But they soon made a long straggling line of march; the strongest in
the front, the weakest in the rear.

The smoke issued from the chimney of the hut occupied by Big Mat.  He
was away looking after his cattle, but his wife Norah was inside,
busy with her household duties, while the baby was asleep in the
corner.  There was a small garden planted with vegetables in front of
the hut, and Norah, happening to look out of the window during the
afternoon, saw a strange man pulling off the pea pods and devouring
them.  The strange man was Mr. Tyers.  Some other men were also
coming near.

"They are bushrangers," she said running to the door and bolting it,
"and they'll rob the hut and maybe they'll murder me and the baby."

That last thought made her fierce.  She seized an old Tower musket,
which was always kept loaded ready for use, and watched the men
through the window.  They came into the garden one after another, and
at once began snatching the peas and eating them.  There was
something fearfully wild and strange in the demeanour of the men, but
Norah observed that they appeared to have no firearms and very little
clothing.  They never spoke, and seemed to take no notice of anything
but the peas.

"The Lord preserve us," said Norah, "I wish Mat would come."

Her prayer was heard, for Mat came riding up to the garden fence with
two cattle dogs, which began barking at the strangers.  Mat said:

"Hello, you coves, is it robbing my garden ye are?"

Mr. Tyers looked towards Mat and spoke, but his voice was weak, his
mouth full of peas, and Mat could not tell what he was saying.  He
dismounted, hung the bridle on to a post, and came into the garden.
He looked at the men, and soon guessed what was the matter with them;
he had often seen their complaint in Ireland.

"Poor craythurs," he said, "it's hungry ye are, and hunger's a
killing disorder.  Stop ating they pays to wonst, or they'll kill ye,
and come into the house, and we'll give ye something better."

The men muttered, but kept snatching off the peas.  Norah had
unbolted the door, and was standing with the musket in her hand.

"Take away the gun, Norah, and put the big billy on the fire, and
we'll give 'em something warm.  The craythurs are starving.  I
suppose they are runaway prisoners, and small blame to 'em for that
same, but we can't let 'em die of hunger."

The strangers had become quite idiotic, and wou'd not leave the peas,
until Mat lost all patience, bundled them one by one by main force
into his hut, and shut the door.

He had taken the pledge from Father Mathew before he left Ireland,
and had kept it faithfully; but he was not strait-laced.  He had a
gallon of rum in the hut, to be used in case of snake-bite and in
other emergencies, and he now gave each man a little rum and water,
and a small piece of damper.

Rum was a curse to the convicts, immigrants, and natives.  Its
average price was then about 4s. 3d. per gallon.  The daily ration of
a soldier consisted of one pound of bread, one pound of fresh meat,
and one-seventh of a quart of rum.  But on this day, to Mr. Tyers and
his men, the liquor was a perfect blessing.  He was sitting on the
floor with his back to the slabs.

"You don't know me, Mat?"

"Know ye, is it?  Sure I never clapped eyes on ye before, that I know
of.  Are ye runaway Government men?  Tell the truth, now, for I am
not the man to turn informer agin misfortunate craythurs like
yourselves."

"My name is Tyers.  I passed this way, you may remember, not very long
ago."

"What!  Mr. Tyers, the commissioner?  Sure I didn't know you from
Adam.  So ye never went to Gippsland at all?"

"Our horses got at the provisions and spoiled them; so we had to come
back, and we have had nothing to eat for three days.  There is one
man somewhere behind yet; I am afraid he will lie down and die.  Do
you think you could find him?"

"For the love of mercy, I'll try, anyway.  Norah, dear, take care of
the poor fellows while I go and look for the other man; and mind,
only to give 'em a little food and drink at a time, or they'll kill
their wake stomachs with greediness; and see you all do just as Norah
tells you while I'm away, for you are no better than childer."

Mat galloped away to look for the last man, while his wife watched
over the welfare of her guests.  She said:

"The Lord save us, and be betune us and harm, but when I seen you in
the garden I thought ye were bushrangers, and I took up the ould gun
to shoot ye."

Mat soon found the last man, put him on his horse, and brought him to
the hut.  Next morning he yoked his bullocks, put all his guests into
the dray, and started for Dandenong.  On December 23rd, 1843, Mr.
Tyers and his men arrived in Melbourne, and he reported to Mr.
Latrobe the failure of his second attempt to reach Gippsland.

While the commissioner and his men were vainly endeavouring to reach
the new country, seven other men were suffering famine and extreme
hardships to get away from it.  They had arrived at the Old Port by
sea, having been engaged to strip bark by Mr. P. W. Walsh, usually
known in Melbourne as Paddy Walsh.  He had been chief constable in
Launceston.  Many years before Batman or Fawkner landed in Port
Philip, parties of whalers were sent each year to strip wattle bark
at Western Port.  Griffiths and Co. had found the business
profitable, and Paddy Walsh came to the conclusion that there was
money to be made out of bark in Gippsland.  He therefore engaged
seven men and shipped them by schooner, writing to a storekeeper at
the Old Port to receive the bark, ship it to Melbourne, and supply
the strippers with the requisite stores.

The seven men landed at the Old Port and talked to the pioneers.
They listened to their dismal accounts of starvation on roast
flathead and mutton-birds' eggs, of the ferocity of the blacks, of
the murder of Macalister, of the misfortunes of Glengarry.  The
nine-pounder gun still stood at the corner of the company's store,
pointed towards the scrub, a silent warning to the new men of the
dangers in store for them.  They took their guns and went about the
bush looking for wattle trees, but they could not find in any place a
sufficient quantity to make the business profitable.  There was no
regular employment to be had, but fortunately the schooner 'Scotia',
chartered by John King, went ashore in a gale, and four of the
barkers, all Irishmen obtained a few days' work in taking out her mud
ballast.  But no permanent livelihood could be expected from
shipwrecks, and the seven strippers resolved, if possible, to return
to Melbourne.  They wanted to see Paddy Walsh once more, but they had
no money, and the storekeeper refused to pay their fare by sea.
After much negotiation, they obtained a week's rations, and gave all
the tools they had brought with them to Captain Davy in payment for
his trouble in landing them at One Tree Hill.  They were informed
that Brodribb and Hobson had made Western Port in four days on foot,
and of course they could do the same.  Four of the men were named
Crow, Sparrow, Fox, and Macnamara; of the other three two were
Englishmen, Smith and Brown; the third, a native of London, named
Spiller, installed himself in the office of captain on account of his
superior knowledge.  He guaranteed to lead the party in a straight
line to Western Port.  He said he could box the compass; he had not
one about him, but that made no difference.  He would lay out their
course every morning; they had to travel westward; the sun rose in
the east, everybody knew as much as that; so all he had to do was to
turn his back to the rising sun, and march straight on to Western
Port which was situated in the west.  The men agreed that Spiller's
theory was a very good one; they could not think of any objection to
it.

Each man carried his blanket and rations, his gun and ammunition.
Every morning Spiller pointed out the course to be taken and led the
way.  From time to time, with a look of extreme wisdom, he took
observations of the position of the sun, and studied the direction of
his own shadow on the ground.  For five days the men followed him
with great confidence, and then they found that their rations were
all consumed, and there was no sign of Western Port or any
settlement.  They began to grumble, and to mistrust their captain;
they said he must have been leading them astray, otherwise they would
have seen some sign of the country being inhabited, and they formed a
plan for putting Spiller's knowledge of inland navigation to the test.

A start was made next morning, the cockney as usual, taking the lead.
One man followed him, but kept losing ground purposely, merely
keeping the leader in sight; the others did the same.  Before the
last man had lost sight of the camp, he could see Spiller in the
distance walking towards it.  He then uttered a long coo-ee, which
was answered by every man of the party.  They thought some valuable
discovery had been made.  One by one they followed the call and were
soon assembled at the still burning embers they had lately left.

"A nice navigator you are, ain't you, Spiller?  Do you know where you
are now?" asked Brown.

"Well, I must say there seems to be some mistake," said Spiller.  "I
came along when I heard the coo-ee, and found myself here.  It is
most unaccountable.  Here is where we camped last night, sure enough.
It is most surprising."

"Yes, it is surprising," said Smith.  "You know the compass, don't
you, you conceited little beggar.  You can box it and make a bee-line
for Western Port, can't you?  Here you have been circussing us round
the country, nobody knows where, until we have not a morsel of food
left; but if I am to be starved to death through you, you miserable
little hound, I am not going to leave you alive.  What do you say,
mates?  Let us kill him and eat him.  I'll do the job myself if
nobody else likes it.  I say nothing could be fairer."

Sparrow, one of the Irishmen, spoke.  He was a spare man, six feet
high, had a long thin face, a prominent nose, sloping shoulders, mild
blue eyes, and a most gentle voice.  I knew him after he returned to
Gippsland and settled there.  He was averse to quarrelling and
fighting; and, to enable him to lead a peaceable life, he carried a
short riding whip with a hammer handle, and kept the lash twisted
round his hand.  He was a conscientious man too, and had a strong
moral objection to the proposal of killing and eating Spiller; but he
did not want to offend the company, and he made his refusal as mild
as possible.

"It's a think I wouldn't like to quarrel about with no man," he said,
"and the Lord knows I am as hungry as any of you; and if we die
through this misleading little chap I couldn't say but he would be
guilty of murdering us, and we might be justified in making use of
what little there is of him.  But for my part I couldn't take my
share of the meat--not to-day at any rate, because you may
disremember it's Friday, and it's agen the laws of the Church to ate
meat this day.  So I'd propose that we wait till to-morrow, and if we
grow very wake with the hunger, we can make use of the dog to stay
our stomachs a little while longer, and something better may turn up
in the meantime."

"Is it to cook my dog Watch you mean?" asked Crow.  (Here Watch went
to his master, and lay down at his feet, looking up in his face and
patting the ground with his tail.)  "I tell you what it is, Sparrow,
you are not going to ate my dog.  What has the poor fellow done to
you, I'd like to know?  You may cook Spiller if you like, to-day or
to-morrow, it's all the same to me--and I grant he well deserves it
--but if you meddle with Watch you'll have to deal with me."

"It's no use going on this way, mates," said Brown.  "We might as
well be moving while we have strength enough to do so.  Come along."

The men began to rise to their feet.  Macnamara suddenly snatched
Spiller's gun, and fired off both barrels; he then said, "Now hand
over your shot and powder."  Spiller, half scared to death, handed
them over.

"Now," said Macnamara, "you are my prisoner.  I am going to take care
of you until you are wanted; and if I see you so much as wink the
wrong way I'll blow your brains out, if you have any.  Here's your
empty gun.  Now march."

All the men followed.  The country was full of scrub, and they walked
through it in Indian file.  Not a bird or beast was killed that day
or the next.  A consultation was held at night, and it was agreed to
kill Watch in the morning if nothing else turned up, Crow by this
time being too hungry to say another word in favour of his dog.  But
at daylight an eaglehawk was watching them from a tree, and Brown
shot it.  It was soon put in the ashes, and when cooked was divided
among the seven.

On the eighth day Macnamara said, "I can smell the ocean."  His name
means "sons of the sea," and he was born and reared on the shore of
the Atlantic.  Sand hummocks were soon seen, and the roar of the
breakers beyond could be heard.  Two redbills were shot and eaten,
and Spiller and Watch were kept for future use.  On the ninth day
they shot a native bear, which afforded a sumptuous repast, and gave
them strength to travel two days longer.  When they camped at night a
tribe of blacks made a huge fire within a short distance, howling
their war songs, and brandishing their weapons.  It was impossible to
sleep or to pass a peaceful night with such neighbours, so they
crawled nearer to the savages and fired a volley at them.  Then there
was silence, which lasted all night.  Next morning they found a
number of spears and other weapons which the blacks had left on the
ground; these they threw into the fire, and then resumed their
miserable journey.  On this day cattle tracks were visible, and at
last, completely worn out, they arrived at Chisholm's station, eleven
days after leaving One Tree Hill.  They still carried their guns, and
had no trouble in obtaining food during the rest of their journey to
Melbourne.

At the same time that Mr. Tyers reported his failure to reach
Gippsland, the seven men reported to Walsh their return from it.  The
particulars of these interviews may be imagined, but they were never
printed, Mr. John Fawkner, with unusual brevity, remarking that
"Gippsland appears to be sinking into obscurity."

Some time afterwards it was stated that "a warrant had been issued
for Mr P. Walsh, formerly one of our leading merchants, on a charge
of fraud committed in 1843.  Warrant returned 'non est inventus'; but
whether he has left the colony, or is merely rusticating, does not
appear.  Being an uncertificated bankrupt, it would be a rather
dangerous experiment, punishable by law with transportation for
fifteen years."

But Mr. Tyers could not afford to allow Gippsland to sink into
obscurity; his official life and salary depended on his finding it.
A detachment of border and native police had arrived from Sydney by
the 'Shamrock', and some of them were intended as a reinforcement for
Gippsland, "to strengthen the hands of the commissioner in putting
down irregularities that at present exist there."

Dr. Holmes was sending a mob of cattle over the mountains, and Mr.
Tyers ordered his troopers to travel with them, arranging to meet
them at the head of the Glengarry river.  He avoided this time all
the obstacles he had formerly encountered by making a sea voyage, and
he landed at Port Albert on the 13th day of January, 1844.



GIPPSLAND UNDER THE LAW.

As soon as it was known at the Old Port that a Commissioner of Crown
Lands had arrived, Davy, the pilot, hoisted a flag on his signal
staff, and welcomed the representative of law and order with one
discharge from the nine-pounder.  He wanted to be patriotic, as
became a free-born Briton.  But he was very sorry afterwards; he said
he had made a mistake.  The proper course would have been to hoist
the flag at half-mast, and to fire minute guns, in token of the grief
of the pioneers for the death of freedom.

Mr. Tyers rode away with a guide, found his troopers at the head of
the Glengarry, and returned with them over Tom's Cap.  He camped on
the Tarra, near the present Brewery Bridge, and his black men at
night caught a number of blackfish, which were found to be most
excellent.

Next day the commissioner entered on his official duties, and began
to put down irregularities.  He rode to the Old Port, and halted his
men in front of the company's store.  All the inhabitants soon
gathered around him.  He said to the storekeeper:

"My name is Tyers.  I am the Commissioner of Crown Lands.  I want to
see your license for this store."

"This store belongs to the Port Albert Company," replied John
Campbell.  "We have no license, and never knew one was required in
such a place as this."

"You are, then, in illegal occupation of Crown lands, and unless you
pay me twenty pounds for a license I am sorry to say it will be my
duty to destroy your store," said Mr. Tyers.

There were two other stores, and a similar demand was made at each of
them for the 20 pounds license fee, which was paid after some demur,
and the licenses were signed and handed to the storekeepers.

Davy's hut was the next visited.

"Who owns this building?" asked Mr. Tyers.

"I do," said Davy.  "I put it up myself."

"Have you a license?"

"No, I have not.  Never was asked for one since I came here, and I
don't see why I should be asked for one now."

"Well, I ask you now.  You are in illegal occupation of Crown lands,
and you must pay me twenty pounds, or I shall have to destroy your
hut."

"I hav'nt got the twenty pounds," Davy said:  "never had as much
money in my life; and I wouldn't pay it to you if I had it.  I would
like to know what right the Government, or anybody else, has to ask
me for twenty pounds for putting up a hut on this sandbank?  I have
been here with my family pretty nigh on to three years; sometimes
nearly starved to death, living a good deal of the time on birds, and
'possums, and roast flathead; and what right, in the name of common
sense, has the Government to send you here to make me pay twenty
pounds?  What has the Government done for me or anybody else in
Gippsland?  They have already taken every penny they could get out of
the settlers, and, as far as I know, have not spent one farthing on
this side of the mountains.  They did not even know there was such a
country till McMillan found it.  It belonged to the blacks.  There
was nobody else here when we came, and if we pay anybody it should be
the blackfellows.  Besides, if I had had stock, and money enough to
take up a run, I could have had the pick of Gippsland, twenty square
miles, for ten pounds; and because I am a poor man you want me to pay
twenty pounds for occupying a few yards of sand.  Where is the sense
of that, I'd like to know?  If you are an honest Englishman, you
ought to be ashamed of yourself for coming here with your troopers
and carbines and pistols on such a business, sticking up a poor man
for twenty pounds in the name of the Government.  Why, no bushrangers
could do worse than that."

"You are insolent, my man.  If you don't pay the money at once I'll
give you just ten minutes to clear out, and then I shall order my men
to burn down your hut.  You will find that you can't defy the
Government with impunity."

"Burn away, if you like, and much good may it do you."  Pointing to
his whaleboat on the beach, "There's the ship I came here in from
Melbourne, and that's the ship I shall go back in, and you daren't
hinder me."

Mr. Reeve was present, watching the proceedings and listening.  He
had influential friends in Sydney, had a station at Snake Ridge, a
special survey on the Tarra, and he felt that it would be advisable
to pour oil on the troubled waters.  He said:

"I must beg of you, Mr. Tyers, to excuse Davy.  He is our pilot, and
there is no man in Gippsland better qualified for that post, nor one
whose services have been so useful to the settlers both here and at
the lakes.  We have already requested the Government to appoint him
pilot at the port; we are expecting a reply shortly, and it will be
only reasonable that he should be allowed a site for his hut."

"You see, Mr. Reeve, I must do my duty," said Mr. Tyers, "and treat
all alike.  I cannot allow one man to remain in illegal occupation,
while I expel the others."

"The settlers cannot afford to lose their pilot, and I will give you
my cheque for the twenty pounds," said Mr. Reeve.

"Twelve months afterwards the cheque was sent back from Sydney, and
Mr. Reeve made a present of it to Davy.

"At this time the public journals used very strong language in their
comments on the action of Governors and Government officials, and
complaint was made in the House of Commons that the colonial press
was accustomed to use "a coarseness of vituperation and harshness of
expression towards all who were placed in authority."  But gentlemen
were still civil to one another, except on rare occasions, and then
their language was a strong as that of the journals, e.g.:

"I, Arthur Huffington, surgeon, residing at the station of Mr. W.
Bowman, on the Ovens River, do hereby publicly proclaim George
Faithful, settler on the King River, to be a malicious liar and a
coward.

"Ovens River, March 6th, 1844.

"You will find a copy of the above posted at every public-house
between the Ovens and Melbourne, and at the corner of every street in
the town."

This defiance could not escape the notice of the lawyers, and they
soon got the matter into their own hands.

Huffington brought an action of trespass on the case for libel
against Faithful, damages 2,000 pounds.

It was all about branding a female calf; "duffing it" was the vulgar
term, and to call a settler "duffer" was more offensive than if you
called him a murderer.

Mr. Stawell opened the pleadings, brushing up the fur of the two
tiger cats thus:

"Here you have Mr. Faithful--the son of his father--the pink of
superintendents--the champion of Crown Lands Commissioners--the
fighting man of the plains of Goulburn--the fastidious Beau Brummel
of the Ovens River,"--and so on.  Arthur and George were soon sorry
they had not taken a shot at each other in a paddock.

The calf was a very valuable animal--to the learned counsel.  On
January 30th, 1844, Davy became himself an officer of the Government
he had denounced so fiercely, being appointed pilot at Port Albert by
Sir George Gipps, who graciously allowed him to continue the receipt
of the fee already charged, viz., three pounds for each vessel
inwards and outwards.

There were eight other huts on the sandbank, but as not one of the
occupants was able to pay twenty pounds, their names are not worth
mentioning.  After making a formal demand for the money, and giving
the trespassers ten minutes to take their goods away, Mr. Tyers
ordered his men to set the buildings on fire, and in a short time
they were reduced to ashes.  The commissioner then rode back to his
camp with the eighty pounds, and wrote a report to the Government of
the successful inauguration of law and order within his jurisdiction,
and of the energetic manner in which he had commenced to put down the
irregularities prevalent in Gippsland.

The next duty undertaken by the commissioner was to settle disputes
about the boundaries of runs, and he commenced with those of Captain
Macalister, who complained of encroachments.  To survey each run with
precision would take up much time and labour, so a new mode of
settlement was adopted.  By the regulations in force no single
station was to consist of more than twenty square miles of area,
unless the commissioner certified that more was required for stock
possessed by applicant.  This regulation virtually left everything to
the goodwill and pleasure of the commissioner, who first decided what
number of square miles he would allot to a settler, then mounted his
horse, to whose paces he was accustomed, and taking his compass with
him, he was able to calculate distances by the rate of speed of his
horse almost as accurately as if he had measured them with a chain.
These distances he committed to paper, and he gave to every squatter
whose run he thus surveyed a description of his boundaries, together
with a tracing from a chart of the district, which he began to make.
He allotted to Captain Macalister all the country which he claimed,
and a dispute between Mr. William Pearson and Mr. John King was
decided in favour of the latter.

It was reported in Sydney that Mr. Tyers was rather difficult of
access, but it was believed he had given satisfaction to all and
everyone with whom he had come in contact, except those expelled from
the Old Port, and a few squatters who did not get as much land as
they wanted.  There were also about a hundred escaped prisoners in
the country, but these never complained that the commissioner was
difficult of access.

The blacks were still troublesome, and I heard Mr. Tyers relate the
measures taken by himself and his native police to suppress their
irregularities.  He was informed that some cattle had been speared,
and he rode away with his force to investigate the complaint.  He
inspected the cattle killed or wounded, and then directed his black
troopers to search for tracks, and this they did willingly and well.
Traces of natives were soon discovered, and their probable
hiding-place in the scrub was pointed out to Mr. Tyers.  He therefore
dismounted, and directing two of his black troopers armed with
carbines to accompany him, he held a pistol in each hand and walked
cautiously into the scrub.  The two black troopers discharged their
carbines.  The commissioner had seen nothing to shoot at, but his
blacks soon showed him two of the natives a few yards in front, both
mortally wounded.  Mr. Tyers sent a report of the affair to the
Government, and that was the end of it.

This manner of dealing with the native difficulty was adopted in the
early days, and is still used under the name of "punitive
expeditions."  That judge who prayed to heaven in his wig and robes
of office, said that the aborigines were subjects of the Queen, and
that it was a mercy to them to be under her protection.  The mercy
accorded to them was less than Jedburgh justice:  they were shot
first, and not even tried afterwards.

The settlers expelled from the sandbank at the Old Port required some
spot on which they could put up their huts without giving offence to
the superior powers.  The Port Albert Company excised a township from
their special survey, and called it Victoria; Mr. Robert Turnbull
bought 160 acres, the present Port Albert, at 1 pound per acre, and
offered sites for huts to the homeless at the rate of 1 pound per
annum, on the condition that they carried on no business.  The stores
were removed from the Old Port to the new one, and the first
settlement in Gippsland was soon again overgrown with scrub and ferns.
Mr. Reeve offered farms to the industrious at the rental of one bushel
of wheat to the acre.  For some time the township of Tarraville was a
favourite place of residence, because the swamps which surrounded
Port Albert were impassable for drays during the winter months; the
roads to Maneroo and Melbourne mentioned in Mr. Reeve's advertisement
were as yet in the clouds.  Captain Moore came from Sydney in the
revenue cutter 'Prince George' to look for smugglers, but he did not
find any.  He was afterwards appointed collector for Gippsland, and
he came down again from Sydney with a boat's crew of six prisoners, a
free coxswain, and a portable house, in which he sate for the receipt
of Customs.

For a time the commissioner resided at Tarraville, and then he went
to the lakes and surveyed a township at Flooding Creek, now called
Sale.  His black troopers were in some cases useful, in others they
were troublesome; they indulged in irregularities; there was no doubt
that they drank rum procured in some inexplicable manner.  They could
not be confined in barracks, or remain continually under the eye of
their chief, and it was not always possible to discover in what
manner they spent their leisure hours.  But occasionally some
evidence of their exploits came to light, and Mr. Tyers became aware
that his black police considered themselves as living among hostile
tribes, in respect of whom they had a double duty to perform, viz.,
to track cattle spearers at the order of their chief, and on their
own account to shoot as many of their enemies as they could
conveniently approach.

There were now ladies as well as gentlemen in Gippsland, and one day
the commissioner sailed away in his boat with a select party.  After
enjoying the scenery and the summer breezes for a few hours, he cast
his eyes along the shore in search of some romantic spot on which to
land.  Dead wood and dry sticks were extremely scarce, as the blacks
used all they could find at their numerous camps.  He was at length
so fortunate as to observe a brown pile of decayed branches, and he
said, "I think we had better land over there; that deadwood will make
a good fire"; and the boat was steered towards it.  But when it
neared the land the air was filled with a stench so horrible that Mr.
Tyers at once put the boat about, and went away in another direction.
Next day he visited the spot with his police, and he found that the
dead wood covered a large pile of corpses of the natives shot by his
own black troopers, and he directed them to make it a holocaust.

The white men brought with them three blessings for the natives--
rum, bullets, and blankets.  The blankets were a free gift by the
Government, and proved to the eyes of all men that our rule was kind
and charitable.  The country was rightfully ours; that was decided by
the Supreme Court; we were not obliged to pay anything for it, but
out of pure benignity we gave the lubras old gowns, and the black men
old coats and trousers; the Government added an annual blanket, and
thus we had good reason to feel virtuous.

We also appointed a protector of the aborigines, Mr. G. A. Robinson,
at a salary of 500 pounds per annum.  He took up his residence on the
then sweet banks of the Yarra, and made excursions in various
directions, compiling a dictionary.  He started on a tour in the
month of April, 1844, making Alberton his first halting-place, and
intending to reach Twofold Bay by way of Omeo.  But he found the
country very difficult to travel; he had to swim his horse over many
rivers, and finally he returned to Melbourne by way of Yass, having
added no less than 8,000 words to his vocabulary of the native
languages.  But the public journals spoke of his labours and his
dictionary with contempt and derision.  They said, "Pshaw! a few
mounted police, well armed, would effect more good among the
aborigines in one month than the whole preaching mob of protectors in
ten years."

When a race of men is exterminated somebody ought to bear the blame,
and the easiest way is to lay the fault at the door of the dead; they
never reply.

When every blackfellow in South Gippsland, except old Darriman, was
dead, Mr. Tyers explained his experience with the Government
blankets.  They were now no longer required, as Darriman could obtain
plenty of old clothes from charitable white men.  It had been the
commissioner's duty to give one blanket annually to each live native,
and thus that garment became to him the Queen's livery, and an emblem
of civilisation; it raised the savage in the scale of humanity and
encouraged him to take the first step in the march of progress.  His
second step was into the grave.  The result of the gift of blankets
was that the natives who received them ceased to clothe themselves
with the skins of the kangaroo, the bear or opossum.  The rugs which
they had been used to make for themselves would keep out the rain,
and in them they could pass the wettest night or day in their
mia-mias, warm and dry.  But the blankets we kindly gave them by way
of saving our souls were manufactured for the colonial market, and
would no more resist the rain than an old clothes-basket.  The
consequence was that when the weather was cold and wet, the
blackfellow and his blanket were also cold and wet, and he began
to shiver; inflammation attacked his lungs, and rheumatism his limbs,
and he soon went to that land where neither blankets nor rugs are
required.  Mr. Tyers was of opinion that more blacks were killed by
the blankets than by rum and bullets.

Government in Gippsland was advancing.  There were two justices of
the peace, the commissioner, black and white police, a collector of
customs, a pilot, and last of all, a parson--parson Bean--who
quarrelled with his flock on the question of education.  The sheep
refused to feed the shepherd; he had to shake the dust off his feet,
and the salvation of souls was, as usual, postponed to a more
convenient season. At length Mr. Latrobe himself undertook to pay a
visit to Gippsland.  He was a splendid horseman, had long limbs like
King Edward Longshanks, and was in the habit of making dashing
excursions with a couple of troopers to take cursory views of the
country.  He set out in the month of May, 1844, and was introduced to
the settlers in the following letter by "a brother squatter":

"Gentlemen, look out.  The jackal of your oppressor has started on a
tour.  For what purpose?  To see the isolated and miserable domiciles
you occupy and the hard fare on which you subsist?  No!  but to see
if the oppressor can further apply the screw with success and
impunity.  You have located yourselves upon lands at the risk of life
and property, paying to the Government in license and assessment fees
for protection which you have never received, and your quiesence
under such a system of robbery has stimulated your oppressor to levy
on you a still greater amount of taxation, not to advance your
interests, but to replenish his exhausted treasury.  Should you
strain your impoverished exchequer to entertain your (in a family
sense) worthy superintendent, depend upon it he will recommend a
more severe application of the screw.  Give him, therefore, your
ordinary fare, salt junk and damper, or scabby mutton, with a pot of
Jack the Painter's tea, in a black pot stirred with a greasy knife."

Mr. Latrobe and Sir George bore all the weight of public abuse, and
it was heavy.  Now it is divided among many Ministers, each of whom
carries his share with much patience, while our Governor's days in
the "Sunny South" are "days of pleasantness, and all his paths are
peace."

No gentleman could accept hospitality like that suggested by "a
brother squatter," and Mr. Latrobe sought refuge at the Port Albert
Hotel, Glengarry's imported house.  Messrs. Tyers, Raymond, McMillan,
Macalister, and Reeve were pitching quoits at the rear of the
building under the lee of the ti-tree scrub.  Davy, the pilot, was
standing near on duty, looking for shipping with one eye and at the
game with the other.  The gentlemen paused to watch the approaching
horsemen.  Mr. Latrobe had the royal gift of remembering faces once
seen; and he soon recognised all those present, even the pilot whom
he had seen when he first arrived in Melbourne.  He shook hands with
everyone, and enquired of Davy how he was getting on with the
piloting.  He said:  "Now gentlemen, go on with your game.  I like
quoits myself and I should be sorry to interrupt you."  Then he went
into the hotel and stayed there until morning.  He no doubt obtained
some information from Mr. Tyers and his friends, but he went no
further into the country.  Next morning he started with his two
troopers on his return to Melbourne, and the other gentlemen mounted
their horses to accompany him; but the "worthy superintendent" rode
so fast that he left everyone behind and was soon out of sight, so
his intended escort returned to port.  Mr. Latrobe's view of
Gippsland was very cursory.

Rabbit Island was stocked with rabbits in 1839 by Captain Wishart,
the whaler.  In 1840 he anchored his barque, the 'Wallaby', in Lady's
Bay, and lanced his last whale off Horn Point.  A great, grey shark
happened to be cruising about the whaling ground, the taste of blood
was on the sea, and he followed the wounded whale; until, going round
in her flurry, she ran her nose against Wishart's boat and upset it.
Then the shark saw strange animals in the water which he had never
seen before.  He swam under them and sniffed at their tarry trousers,
until they landed on the rocks:  all but one, Olav Pedersen, a strong
man but a slow swimmer.  A fin arose above the water between Olav and
the shore.  He knew what that meant, and his heart failed him.  Three
times he called for help and Wishart threw off his wet clothes and
plunged into the sea.  The shark was attracted to the naked captain,
and he bit a piece out of one leg.  Both bodies were recovered; that
of Wishart was taken to Hobarton, and Olav was buried on the shore at
the foot of a gum tree.  His epitaph was painted on a board nailed to
the tree, and was seen by one of the pioneers on his first voyage to
the Old Port in 1841.

Before Gippsland was brought under the law, Rabbit Island was
colonised by two whalers named Page and Yankee Jim, and Page's wife
and baby.  They built a bark hut, fenced in a garden with a
rabbit-proof fence, and planted it with potatoes.  Their base of
supplies for groceries was at the Old Port.

They were monarchs of all they surveyed,
From the centre all round to the sea.

They paid no rent and no taxes.  Sometimes they fished, or went to
the seal islands and brought back seal skins.  In the time of the
potato harvest, and when that of the mutton birds drew near, there
were signs of trouble coming from the mainland.  Fires were visible
on the shore at night, and smoke by day; and Page suspected that the
natives were preparing to invade the island.  At length canoes
appeared bobbing up and down on the waves, but a shot from the rifle
sent them back to the shore.  For three days and nights no fire or
smoke was seen, and the two whalers ceased to keep watch.  But early
next morning voices were heard from the beach below the hut; the
blacks were trying to launch the boat.  Page and Jim shouted at them
and went down the cliff; then the blacks ran away up the rocks, and
were quickly out of sight.  Presently Mrs. page came running out of
the hut half dressed, and carrying her baby; she said she heard the
blacks jabbering in the garden.  In a short time the hut was in a
blaze, and was soon burned to the ground.  The two men then launched
their boat and went to the Port.  Davy shipped a crew of six men, and
started in his whaleboat for the island; but the wind was blowing
hard from the west, and they did not arrive at the island until next
day.  The blacks had then all disappeared; and, as the men wanted
something to eat, Davy told them to dig up some potatoes, while he
went and shot six rabbits.  When he returned with his game, the men
said they could not find any potatoes.  He said, "That's all
nonsense," and went himself to the garden; but he could not find one
potato.  The blackfellows had shipped the whole crop in their canoes,
so that there was nothing but rabbit for breakfast.

In this manner the reign of the Page dynasty came to an abrupt
termination.  The baby heir-apparent grew up to man's estate as a
private citizen, and became a fisherman at Williamstown.



UNTIL THE GOLDEN DAWN.

After Mr. Latrobe's short visit to Port Albert, Gippsland was for
many years ruled by Mr. Tyers with an authority almost royal.  Davy,
after his first rebellious outburst at the burning of the huts, and
his subsequent appointment as pilot, retired to the new Port Albert
and avoided as much as possible the haunts of the commissioner.  On
the salt water he was almost as powerful and imperious as was his
rival by land.  He ruled over all ships and shipwrecks, and allowed
no man to say him nay.

Long Mason, the first overseer of Woodside Station, took over a cargo
of fat cattle to Hobarton for his brother.  After receiving the cash
for the cattle he proceeded to enjoy himself after the fashion of the
day.  The shepherd knocked down his cheque at the nearest groggery
and then returned to his sheep full of misery.  Long Mason had nearly
300 pounds, and he acted the part of the prodigal brother.  He soon
made troops of friends, dear brethren and sisters, on whom he
lavished his coin; he hired a band of wandering minstrels to play his
favourite music, and invited the beauty an chivalry of the convict
capital to join him in his revels.  When his money was expended he
was put on board a schooner bound for Port Albert, on which Davis (of
Yarram) and his family were passengers.  For two days he lay in his
bunk sick and suffering.  As the vessel approached the shore his
misery was intense.  He demanded drink, but no one would give him
any.  He began to search his pockets for coin, but of the 300 pounds
only one solitary sixpence was left.  With this he tried to bribe the
cabin boy to find for him one last taste of rum; but the boy said,
"All the grog is locked up, and the captain would welt me if I gave
you a single drop."

So Long Mason landed at the Port with his sixpence, was dismissed by
his brother from Woodside Station, and became a wandering swagman.

The next overseer for Woodside voyaged to Port Albert in the brig
'Isabella' in the month of June, 1844.  This vessel had been employed
in taking prisoners to Macquarie Harbour and Port Arthur until  the
government built a barque called the 'Lady Franklin'; then Captain
Taylor bought the brig for the cattle trade.  On this voyage he was
anxious to cross the bar for shelter from a south-east gale, and he
did not wait for the pilot, although the vessel was deeply laden;
there was not water enough for her on the old bar; she struck on it,
and the heavy easterly sea threw her on the west bank.  It was some
time before the pilot and his two men could get aboard, as they had
to fight their way through the breakers to leeward.  There was too
much sea for the boat to remain in safety near the ship, and Davy
asked the captain to lend him a hand to steer the boat back to Sunday
Island.  The second mate went in her, but she was capsized directly.
The ship's boat was hanging on the weather davits, and it was no use
letting her down to windward on account of the heavy sea.  Davy ran
out to the end of the jibboom with a lead line.  He could see the
second mate hanging on to the keel of the capsized boat, and his two
men in the water.  The ebb sea kept washing them out, and the heavy
sea threw them back again, and whenever they could get their heads
above water they shouted for help.  Davy threw the lead towards them
from the end of the jibboom, but they were too far away for the line
to reach them.  At length the ship's boat was launched to leeward,
four men and the mate got into her, but by this time the two boatmen
were drowned.  While the ship's boat was running through the breakers
past the pilot boat, the first mate grabbed the second mate by the
collar, held on to him until they were in smooth water, and then
hauled him in.  It was too dangerous for the seamen to face the
breakers again, so the pilot sang out to them to go to Snake Island.

About two o'clock in the afternoon the vessel lay pretty quiet on the
ebb tide; a fire was lighted in the galley, and all hands had
something to eat.  There was not much water in the cabin; but, as
darkness set in, and the flood tide made, the seas began to come
aboard.  There was a heavy general cargo in the hold, six steerage
passengers, four men and two women (one of whom had a baby), and one
cabin passenger, who was going to manage Woodside Station in place of
Long Mason, dismissed.

The sea began to roll over the bulwarks, and the brig was fast
filling with water.  For some time the pumps were kept going, but the
water gained on them, and all hands had to take to the rigging.  The
two women and the baby were first helped up to the foretop; then the
pilot, counting the men, found one missing.

"Captain," he said, "what has become of the new manager?"

"Oh, he is lying in his bunk half-drunk."

"Then," replied Davy, "he'll be drowned!"

He descended into the cabin and found the man asleep, with the water
already on a level with his berth.

"Why the blazes don't you get up and come out of this rat-hole?" he
said.  "Don't you see you are going to be drowned?"

The manager looked up and smiled.

"Please, don't be so unkind, my dear man," he replied.  "Let me sleep
a little longer, and then I'll go on deck."

Davy standing with the water up to his belt, grew mad.

"Come out of that, you confounded fool," he said.

He dragged him out of his bunk into the water, and hauled him up the
companion ladder, and with the help of the men took him up the
rigging, and lashed him there out of reach of the breakers.

All the rest of the men went aloft, and remained there during the
night.  Their clothing was soaked with water, and the weather was
frosty and bitterly cold.  Just before daylight, when the tide had
ebbed, and the sea had gone down, the two women and the baby were
brought below from the foretop, and all hands descended to the deck.
They wanted to make a fire, but everything was wet, and they had to
cut up some of the standing rigging which had been out of reach of
the surf before they could find anything that would burn.  With that
a fire was made in the galley, and the women and baby were put
inside.  At sunrise it was found that the sea had washed up a ridge
of sand near the ship, and, not wishing to pass another tide on
board, all the crew and passengers went over the side, and waded
through the shallow water until they came to a dry sand-pit.  They
were eleven in number, including the women and baby, and they waited
until the boat came over from Snake Island and took them to the port.
A little of the cargo was taken out of the 'Isabella', but in a few
days she went to pieces.

Captain Taylor went to Hobarton, and bought from the insurers the
schooner 'Sylvanus' which had belonged to him, and having been
wrecked was then lying ashore on the coast.  He succeeded in floating
her off without much damage, and he ran her in the cattle trade for
some time.  He then sold her to Boys & Hall, of Hobarton, went to
Sydney, bought the schooner 'Alert', and sailed her in the same trade
until the discovery of gold.  All the white seamen went off to the
diggings, and he hired four Kanakas to man his craft.

On his last trip to Port Albert the pilot was on board, waiting for
the tide.  The pilot boat had been sent back to Sunday Island, the
ship's boat was in the water, and was supposed to have been made fast
astern by the crew.  At break of day the pilot came on deck, and on taking
a look round, he saw that the longboat had got away and was drifting
towards Rabbit Island.  He roared down the companion to Captain
Taylor, "Your longboat's got adrift, and is off to Rabbit Island."

In another minute Captain Taylor was on deck.  He gazed at his
distant longboat and swore terribly.  Then he took a rope and went
for his four Kanakas; but they did not wait for him; they all plunged
into the sea and deserted.  The captain and pilot stood on deck
watching them as they swam away, hand over hand, leaving foaming
wakes behind like vessels in full sail.  They were making straight
for the longboat, and Davy said, "They will go away in her and leave
us here in the lurch."  But the captain said, "I think not."  He was
right.  The Kanakas brought back the boat within hail of the
schooner, and after being assured by the captain that he would not
ropes-end them, they climbed aboard.

On returning to Hobarton Captain Taylor was seized with the gold
fever.  He laid up the 'Alert', went with his four men to Bendigo,
and was a lucky digger.  Then he went to New Zealand, bought a farm,
and ploughed the waves no more.

In January, 1851, some buoys were sent to Port Albert and laid down
in the channel.  The account for the work was duly sent to the chief
harbour master at Williamstown, but he took no notice of it, nor made
any reply to several letters requesting payment.  There was something
wrong at headquarters, and Davy resolved to see for himself what it
was.  Moreover, he had not seen Melbourne for ten years, and he
yearned for a change.  So, without asking leave of anyone, he left
Port Albert and its shipping "to the sweet little cherub that sits up
aloft, and takes care of the life of Poor Jack," and went in his boat
to Yanakie Landing.  Mrs. Bennison lent him a pony, and told him to
steer for two bald hills on the Hoddle Ranges; he could not see the
hills for the fog, and kept too much to port, but at last he found a
track.  He camped out that night, and next morning had breakfast at
Hobson's Station.  He stayed one night at Kilcunda, and another at
Lyle's station, near the bay.  He then followed a track which
Septimus Martin had cut through the tea-tree, and his pony became
lame by treading on the sharp stumps, so that he had to push it or
drag it along until he arrived at Dandenong, where he left it at an
inn kept by a man named Hooks.  He hired a horse from Hooks at five
shillings a day.  The only house between Dandenong and Melbourne was
once called the South Yarra Pound, kept by Mrs. Atkinson.  It was
near Caulfield, on the Melbourne side of "No-good-damper swamp."
Some blackfellows had been poisoned there by a settler who wanted to
get rid of them. He gave them a damper with arsenic in it, and when
dying they said, "No good, damper."

Davy landed in Melbourne on June 17th, 1851, put his horse in Kirk's
bazaar, and stayed at the Queen's Head in Queen Street, where Sir
William Clarke's office is now.  The landlady was Mrs. Coulson, a
widow.  Next morning he was at the wharf before daylight, and went
down the Yarra in the first steamer for Williamstown.  He found that
Captain Bunbury, the chief harbour-master, had gone away in the
buoy-boat, a small schooner called the 'Apollo', so he hired a
whale-boat, and overtook the schooner off the Red Bluff.  When he
went on board he spoke to Ruffles, master of the schooner, and said:

"Is the harbour-master aboard?  I want to see him."

"Yes, but don't speak so loud, or you'll wake him up," replied
Ruffles.  "He is asleep down below."

Davy roared out, "I want to wake him up.  I have come two hundred
miles on purpose to do it.  I want to get a settlement about those
buoys at Port Albert.  I am tired of writing about them."

This woke up Bunbury, who sang out:

"What's the matter, Ruffles?  What's all that noise about?"

"It's the pilot from Port Albert.  He wants to see you, sir, about the
buoys."

"Tell him to come down below."  Davy went.

Bunbury was a one-armed naval lieutenant, the head of the harbour
department, and drew the salary.  He had subordinate officers.  A
clerk at Williamstown did his clerical work, and old Ruffles
navigated the 'Apollo' for him through the roaring waters of Port
Philip Bay, while he lay in his bunk meditating on something.  He
said:

"Oh, is that you, Pilot?  Well, about those buoys, eh?  That's all
right.  All you have to do is go to my office in Williamstown, tell
my clerk to fill in a form for you, take it to the Treasury, and you
will get your money."

Davy went back to the office at Williamstown, had the form made out
by the clerk, and took it to Melbourne in the steamer, the last trip
she made that day.  By this time the Treasury was closed. It was
situated in William Street, where the vast Law Courts are now; and
Davy was at the door when it was opened next morning, the first
claimant for money.  A clerk took his paper, looked over it, smiled,
and said it was of no use whatever without Bunbury's signature.  Davy
started for Williamstown again in the second boat, found that Bunbury
had gone away again in the 'Apollo', followed him in a whale boat,
overtook him off St. Kilda, obtained his signature, and returned to
the Treasury.  Captain Lonsdale was there, but he said it was too
late to pay money that day, and also that the form should be signed
by someone at the Public Works office.

Then Davy's patience was gone, and he spoke the loud language of the
sea.  The frail building shook as with an earthquake.  Mr. Latrobe
was in a back room writing one of those gubernatorial despatches
which are so painful to read.  He had to suspend the pangs of
composition, and he came into the front room to see what was the
matter.  Davy told him what was the matter in very unofficial words.
Mr. Latrobe listened patiently and then directed Captain Lonsdale to
keep the Treasury open until the account was paid.  He also said the
schooner 'Agenoria' had been wrecked on the day that Davy left Port
Albert, and requested him to return to duty as soon as possible, lest
other vessels might be wrecked for want of a pilot.  "The sweet
little cherub that sits up aloft" could not be depended on to pilot
vessels over the bar.

Davy took his paper to the Public Works office in Queen Street.  Here
he found another officer bursting with dignity, who said:  "There is
already one signature too many on this account."

"Can't you scratch it out, then?" said Davy.

"We don't keep hens to scratch in this office," replied the dignified
one, who took a ruler, and having drawn a line through the
superfluous name, signed his own.  When Davy went again to the
Treasury with his account, Captain Lonsdale said he had not cash on
hand to pay it, and deducted twenty pounds, which he sent to Port
Albert afterwards, when the Government had recovered its solvency.
His Honour the Superintendent might have assumed the classical motto,
"Custos sum pauperis horti."

Davy put the money in his pocket, went to the Queen's Head, and, as
it was already dark, he hired a man for ten shillings to show him the
road through the wet wilderness of Caulfield and round No-good-damper
Swamp.  It was half-past eleven when he arrived at Hook's Hotel, and,
as his pony was still too lame to travel, he bought the horse he had
hired, and set out with the Sale mailman.  At the Moe he found Angus
McMillan, William Montgomery, and their stockmen, afraid to cross the
creek on account of the flood, and they had eaten all their
provisions.  Before dark a black gin came over in a canoe from the
accommodation hut on the other side of the creek, having heard the
travellers cooeying.  They told her they wanted something to eat, but
it was too dangerous for her to cross the water again that night.  A
good fire was kept burning but it was a wretched time.  It rained
heavily, a gale of wind was blowing, and trees kept falling down in
all directions.  Scott, the hut-keeper, sent the gin over in the
canoe next morning with a big damper, tea, sugar, and meat, which
made a very welcome breakfast for the hungry travellers.

They stayed there two days and two nights, and as the flood was still
rising, they resolved to try to cross the creek at all risks,
preferring to face the danger of death by drowning rather than to die
slowly of starvation.  Each man took off his clothes, all but his
flannel shirt and drawers, strapped them to the pommel of his saddle,
threw the stirrup irons over the saddle, and stopped them with a
string under the horse's belly to keep them from getting foul in the
trees and scrub.  In some places the horses had to climb over logs
under water, sometimes they had to swim, but in the end they all
arrived safely at the hut.  They were very cold, and ravenously
hungry; and while their clothes were drying before a blazing fire,
they drank hot tea and ate up every scrap of food, so that Scott was
obliged to accompany them to the next station for rations.  He left
the gin behind, having no anxiety about her.  While he was away she
could feed sumptuously on grubs, crabs, and opossums.

In March, 1852, when everybody was seized with the gold fever, Davy
took it in the natural way.  He again left Port Albert without a
pilot and went to Melbourne to resign his office.  But Mr. Latrobe
promised to give him a salary of 500 pounds a year and a boat's crew
of five men and a coxswain.  The men were to have twelve-and-six a
day and the coxswain fifteen shillings.

By this time the gold fever had penetrated to the remotest parts of
Gippsland, and from every squatting station and every lonely hut on
the plains and mountains men gathered in troops.  They were leaving
plenty of gold behind them at Walhalla and other places.  The first
party Davy met had a dray and bullocks.  They were slowly cutting a
road through the scrub, and their team was the first that made its
way over the mountains from Gippsland to Melbourne.  Their captain
was a lady of unbounded bravery and great strength--a model
pioneeress, with a talent for governing the opposite sex.*  When at
home on her station she did the work of a man and a woman too.  She
was the one in a thousand so seldom found.  She not only did the
cooking and housework, but she also rode after stock, drove a team,
killed fat beasts, chopped wood, stripped bark, and fenced.  She did
not hanker after woman's rights, nor rail against the male sex.  She
was not cultured, nor scientific, nor artistic, nor aesthetic.  She
despised all the ologies.  All great men respected her, and if the
little ones were insolent she boxed their ears and twisted their
necks.  She conquered all the blackfellows around her land with her
own right arm.  At first she had been kind to them, but they soon
became troublesome, wanted too much flour, sugar, and beef, and
refused to go away when she ordered them to do so.  Without another
word she took down her stockwhip, went to the stable, and saddled her
horse.  Then she rounded up the blackfellows like a mob of cattle and
started them.  If they tried to break away, or to hide themselves
among the scrub, or behind tussocks, she cut pieces out of their
hides with her whip.  Then she headed them for the Ninety-mile Beach,
and landed them in the Pacific without the loss of a man.  In that
way she settled the native difficulty.  The Neills, with a bullock
team, the Buckleys and Moores, with horse teams, followed the track
of the leading lady.  The station-owners stayed at home and watched
their fat stock, which soon became valuable, and was no longer boiled.

[Footnote]  *Mrs. Buntine; died 1896.

On December 31st, 1851, there were in Tasmania twenty thousand and
sixty-nine convicts.  Six months afterwards more than ten thousand
had left the island, and in three years forty-five thousand eight
hundred and eighty-four persons, principally men, had left for the
diggings.  It was evident that Sir Wm. Denison would soon have nobody
to govern but old women and children, a circumstance derogatory to
his dignity, so he wrote to England for more convicts and immigrants,
and he pathetically exclaimed, "To whom but convicts could
colonists look to cultivate their lands, to tend their flocks, to
reap their harvests?"  In the month of May, 1853, Sir William wrote
that "the discovery of gold had turned him topsy-turvy altogether,"
and he rejoiced that no gold had been discovered in his island.  Then
the Legislature perversely offered a reward of five thousand pounds
to any man who would discover a gold field in Tasmania, but, as a
high-toned historian observes, "for many years they were so fortunate
as not to find it."

The convicts stole boats at Launceston, and landed at various places
about Corner Inlet.  Some were arrested by the police and sent back
to Tasmania.  Many called at Yanakie Station for free rations.  Mr.
Bennison applied for police protection, and Old Joe, armed with a
carbine, was sent from Alberton as a garrison.  Soon afterwards a
cutter of about fifteen tons burden arrived at Corner Inlet manned by
four convicts, who took the mainsail ashore and used it as a tent.
They then allowed the cutter to drift on the rocks under Mount
Singapore, and she went to pieces directly.  While trying to find a
road to Melbourne, they came to Yanakie Station, and they found
nobody at the house except Joe, Mrs. Bennison, and an old hand.  It
was now Joe's duty to overawe and arrest the men, but they, although
unarmed, overawed and arrested Joe.  He became exceedingly civil, and
after Mrs. Bennison had supplied them with provisions he showed them
the road to Melbourne.  They were arrested a few days afterwards at
Dandenong and sent back to the island prison.



A NEW RUSH.

----

"And there was gathering in hot haste."

When gold was first discovered at Stockyard Creek, Griffiths, one of
the prospectors, came to me with the intention of registering the
claim, under the impression that I was Mining Registrar. He showed me
a very good sample of gold.  As I had not then been appointed
registrar, he had to travel sixty miles further before he could
comply with the necessary legal formalities.  Then the rush began.
Old diggers came from all parts of Victoria, New South Wales,
Queensland, and New Zealand; also men who had never dug before, and
many who did not intend to dig--pickpockets, horse thieves, and
jumpers.  The prospectors' claim proved the richest, and the jumpers
and the lawyers paid particular attention to it.  The trail of the
old serpent is over everything.  The desire of the jumpers was to
obtain possession of the rich claim, or of some part of it; and the
lawyers longed for costs, and they got them.  The prospectors paid,
and it was a long time before they could extricate their claim from
the clutches of the law.  They found the goldfield, and they also
soon found an unprofitable crop of lawsuits growing on it.  They were
called upon to show cause before the warden and the Court of Mines
why they should not be deprived of the fruit of their labours.  The
fact of their having discovered gold, and of having pegged out and
registered their claim, could not be denied; but then it was argued
by counsel most learned in mining law that they had done something
which they should have omitted to do, or had omitted to do something
else which they should have done, frail human beings as they were,
and therefore their claim should be declared to belong to some
Ballarat jumper.  I had to sit and listen to such like legal logic
until it made me sick, and ashamed of my species.  Of course, justice
was never mentioned, that was out of the question; if law and justice
don't agree, so much the worse for justice.

Gold was next found at Turton's Creek, which proved one of the
richest little gullies ever worked by diggers.  It was discovered by
some prospectors who followed the tracks which Mr. Turton had cut
over the scrubby mountains, and so they gratefully gave his name to
the gully, but I never heard that they gave him any of the gold which
they found in it.  A narrow track from Foster was cut between high
walls of impenetrable scrub, and it soon became like a ditch full of
mud, deep and dangerous.  If the diggers had been assured that they
would find heaven at the other end of it, they would never have tried
to go, the prospect of eternal happiness having a much less attraction
for them than the prospect of gold; but the sacred thirst made them
tramp bravely through the slough.  The sun and wind never dried the
mud, because it was shut in and overshadowed by the dense growth of
the bush.  All tools and provisions were carried through it on the
backs of horses, whose legs soon became caked with mud, and the hair
was taken off them as clean as if they had been shaved with a razor.
Most of them had a short life and a hard one.

The digging was quite shallow, and the gully was soon rifled of the
gold.  At this time there was a mining registrar at Foster, as the
new diggings at Stockyard Creek were named, and some men, after
pegging out their claim at Turton's Creek, went back down the ditch
to register them at Foster.  It was a great mistake.  It was neither
the time nor the place for legal forms or ceremony.  Time was of the
essence of the contract, and they wasted the essence.  Other and
wiser men stepped on to their ground while they were absent,
commenced at once to work vigorously, and the original peggers, when
they returned, were unable to dislodge them.  Peter Wilson pegged out
a claim, and then rode away to register it.  He returned next day and
found two men on it who had already nearly worked it out.

"This claim is mine, mates," said Peter; "I pegged it out yesterday,
and I have registered it.  You will have to come out."

One of the men looked up at Peter and said, "Oh! your name is Peter,
isn't it?  I hear you are a fighting man.  Well, you just come down
off that bare-legged horse, and I'll kill you in a couple of minutes,
while I take a spell."

"It's no use your talking that way; you'll see I'll have the law on
you, and you'll have to pay for it," replied Peter.

"You can go, Peter, and fetch the law as soon as you like.  I don't
care a tinker's curse for you or the law; all I want is the profits,
and I'm going to have them."

This profane outlaw and his mate got the profits, cleared all the
gold out of Peter's claim, and took it away with them.

It was reported in Melbourne that there was no law or order at
Turton's Creek; that the diggers were treating the mining statutes
and regulations with contempt; that the gold went to the strong, and
the weakest went to the wall.  Therefore, six of the biggest
policemen in  Melbourne were selected, stretched out, and measured in
Russell Street barracks, and were then ordered to proceed to Turton's
Creek and vindicate the majesty of the law.  They landed from the
steamer on the wharf at Port Albert, and, being armed with carbines
and revolvers, looked very formidable.  They proceeded on their
journey in the direction of Foster, and it was afterwards reported
that they arrived at Turton's Creek, and finding everybody quiet and
peaceable, they came back again, bringing with them neither jumpers
nor criminals.  It was said, however, that they never went any
further than the commencement of the ditch.  They would naturally, on
viewing it, turn aside and camp, to recruit their energies and
discuss the situation.  Although they were big constables, it did not
follow they were big fools.  They said the Government ought to have
asphalted the ditch for them.  It was unreasonable to expect men,
each six foot four inches in height, carrying arms and accoutrements,
which they were bound by the regulations to keep clean and in good
order, to plunge into that river of mud, and to spoil all their
clothes.

Turton's Creek was soon worked out, and before any professional
jumpers or lawyers could put their fingers in the pie, the plums were
all gone.  The gully was prospected from top to bottom, and the hills
on both sides were tunnelled, but no more gold, and no reefs were
found.  There was much speculation by geologists, mining experts, and
old duffers as to the manner in which the gold had contrived to get
into the creek, and where it came from; where it went to, the diggers
who carried it away in their pockets knew well enough.

The diggers dispersed; some went to Melbourne to enjoy their wealth;
some stayed at Foster to try to get more; some died from the extreme
enjoyment of riches suddenly acquired, and a few went mad.  One of
the latter was brought to Palmerston, and remained there a day or two
on his way to the Yarra Bend Lunatic Asylum.  Having an inborn thirst
for facts, I conversed with him from the wooden platform which
overlooks the gaol yard.  He was walking to and fro, and talking very
cheerfully to himself, and to the world in general.  He spoke well,
and had evidently been well educated, but his ideas were all in
pieces as it were, and lacked connection.  He spoke very
disrespectfully of men in high places, both in England and the
Colonies; and remarked that Members of Parliament were the greatest
rascals on the face of the earth.  No man of sound mind would ever
use such language as that.

Some years afterwards, while I was Collector of Customs at Port
Albert, I received a letter from Melbourne to the following purport:

"Yarra Bend Asylum,
----------188--

"Strictly private and confidential

"Sir,--You are hereby ordered to take possession of and detain
every vessel arriving at Port Albert.  You will immediately proceed
on board each of them, and place the broad arrow abaft the foremast
six feet above the deck.  You will thus cut off all communication
with the British Empire.  I may state that I am the lawful heir to
the title and estates of a Scottish dukedom, and am deprived of the
possession and enjoyment of my rightful station and wealth by the
machinations of a band of conspirators, who have found means to
detain me in this prison in order to enjoy my patrimony.  You will
particularly observe that you are to hold no communication whatever
with the Governor of this colony, as he is the paid agent of the
conspirators, and will endeavour to frustrate all efforts to obtain
my rights.  You will also be most careful to withhold all information
from the Duke of Dunsinane, who is a member of the junior branch of
my family, and at the head of the conspiracy.  You will proceed as
soon as possible to enrol a body of men for the purpose of effecting
my deliverance by force of arms.  As these men will require payment
for their services, you will enter the Bank of Victoria at Port
Albert, and seize all the money you will find there, the amount of
which I estimate at ten thousand pounds, which will be sufficient for
preliminary expenses.  You will give, in my name, to the manager of
the bank, a guarantee in writing for repayment of the money, with
current rate of interest added, when I recover the dukedom and
estates.  Be careful to explain to him that you take the money only
as a loan, and that will prevent the bank from laying any criminal
charge against you.  Should anything of the kind be in contemplation,
you will be good enough to report progress to me as soon as possible,
and I will give you all necessary instructions as to your future
proceedings.

"I may mention that in seeking to obtain my title and estates, I am
influenced by no mean or mercenary considerations; my sole desire is
to benefit the human race.  I have been employing all my leisure
hours during the last nine years in perfecting a system of philosophy
entirely new, and applicable to all times, to all nations, and to all
individuals.  I have discovered the true foundation for it, which,
like all great inventions, is so simple that it will surprise the
world it was never thought of before.  It is this:  "Posito
impossibili sequitur quidlibet."  My philosophy is founded on the
firm basis of the Impossible; on that you can build anything and
everything.  My great work is methodical, divided into sections and
chapters, perfect in style, and so lucid in argument that he who runs
may read and be enlightened.  I have counted the words, and they
number so far seven hundred and two thousand five hundred and
seventy-eight (702,578).  Five years more will be required to
complete the work; I shall then cause it to be translated into every
language of the world, and shipped at the lowest rate of tonnage for
universal distribution gratis.  This will ensure its acceptance and
its own beauty and intrinsic merits will secure its adoption by all
nations, and the result will be human happiness.  It will supersede
all the baseless theories of science, religion, and morality which
have hitherto confounded the human intellect.

"Extract from my Magnum Opus.

"We may reasonably suppose that matter is primordially self-existent,
and that it imbued itself with the potentiality of life.  It
therefore produced germs.  A pair of germs coalesced, and formed a
somewhat discordant combination, the movements in which tended
towards divergence.  They attracted and enclosed other atoms, and,
progressing through sleep and wakefulness, at last arrived at
complete satisfaction, or perfect harmonic combination.  This
harmonic combination is death.  We may say then, in brief, that
growth is simply discordant currents progressing towards harmony.
One question may be briefly noticed.  It has been asked, when did
life first appear on the earth?  We shall understand now that the
question is unnecessary.  Life first appeared on the earth when the
earth first appeared as an unsatisfied atom seeking combination.  The
question is rather, when did the inanimate first appear?  It appeared
when the first harmonic combination was effected.  The earth is
indeed to be considered as having grown up through the life that is
inherent in it.  Man is the most concentrated and differentiated
outgrowth of that life.  Mankind is, so to speak, the brain of the
earth, and is progressing towards the conscious guidance of all its
processes."

"Dunsinane."

It was not clear on what ground this noble duke based his authority
over me; but I had been so long accustomed to fulfil the behests of
lunatics of low degree that I was able to receive those of an
afflicted lord with perfect equanimity. But as I could not see that
my obedience would be rewarded with anything except death or
Pentridge, I refrained from action.  I did not place the broad arrow
abaft of anything or anybody, nor did I make a levy on the cash in
the Bank of Victoria.


GIPPSLAND AFTER THIRTY YEARS.

"A pleasing land of drowsihed it was,
And dreams that wave before the half-shut eye."

For twelve years I did the Government stroke in Her Majesty's Court
at Colac, then I was ordered to make my way to Gippsland.

The sun of wisdom shone on a new ministry.  They observed that many
of their officers were destitute of energy, and they resolved to
infuse new life into the service, by moving its members continually
from place to place.  But officials live long, and the most robust
ministry dies early, and the wisdom of one cabinet is foolishness to
the next.

I took root so deeply in the soil of Gippsland that I became
immoveable.  Twice the Government tried to uproot me, but I remained
there to the end of my official days.

Little reliable information about the country or its inhabitants was
to be had, so I fondly imagined that in such a land, secured from
contamination by the wicked world outside, I should find a people of
primeval innocence and simplicity, and the long-forgotten lines
returned to my memory:

"Beatus ille qui procul negotils,
Ut prisca gens mortalium."

It was summer time, and the weather was serene and beautiful, when in
the grey dusk of the evening we sailed through the Rip at Port Philip
Heads.  Then began the troubles of the heaving ocean, and the log of
the voyage was cut short.  It ran thus:

"The ship went up, and the ship went down; and then we fell down, and
then we was sick; and then we fell asleep; and then we was at Port
Albert; and that's all I knows about it."

I walked along the one street past the custom house, the post-office,
and the bank, about three hundred yards and saw nothing beyond but
tea-tree and swamps, through which ran a roughly-metalled road,
leading apparently to the distant mountains.  There was nothing but
stagnation; it was the deadest seaport ever seen or heard of.  There
were some old stores, empty and falling to pieces, which the owners
had not been enterprising enough to burn for the insurance money; the
ribs of a wrecked schooner were sticking out of the mud near the
channel; a stockyard, once used for shipping cattle, was rotting
slowly away, and a fisherman's net was hanging from the top rails to
dry.  Three or four drays filled with pigs were drawn up near the
wharf; these animals were to form part of the steamer's return cargo,
one half of her deck space being allotted to pigs, and the other half
to passengers.  In case of foul weather, the deck hamper, pigs and
passengers, was impartially washed overboard.

An old man in a dirty buggy was coming along the road, and all the
inhabitants and dogs turned out to look and bark at him, just as they
do in a small village in England, when the man with the donkey-cart
comes in sight.  To allay my astonishment on observing so much
agitation and excitement, the Principal Inhabitant introduced
himself, and informed me that it was a busy day at the Port, a kind
of market day, on account of the arrival of the steamer.

I began sorrowfully to examine my official conscience to discover for
which of my unatoned-for sins I had been exiled to this dreary land.

Many a time in after years did I see a stranger leave the steamer,
walk, as I had done, to the utmost extremity of the seaport, and
stand at the corner of the butcher's shop, gazing on the swamps, the
tea-tree, and the far-away wooded hills, the Strelezcki ranges.  The
dismal look of hopeless misery thatstole over his countenance was
pitiful to behold.  After recovering the power of speech, his first
question was, "How is it possible that any man could ever consent to
live in a hole like this?"  Here the Principal Inhabitant intervened,
and poured balm on the wounded spirit of the stranger.  He gently
reminded him that first impressions are not always to be relied on;
and assured him that if he would condescend to take up his abode with
us for two or three years, he would never want to live anywhere else.
The climate was delicious, the best in the world; it induced a
feeling of repose, and bliss, and sweet contentment.  We had no ice
or snow, or piercing blasts in winter; and the heat of summer was
tempered by the cool breezes of the Pacific Ocean, which gently
lapped our lovely shores.  The land, when cleared, was as rich and
fertile as the farmer's heart could wish, yielding abundant pasturage
both in summer and winter.  The mountains sent down to us unfailing
supplies of the purest water; we wanted no schemes of irrigation, for

"Green are our fields and fair our flowers,
Our fountains never drumlie."

We had no plagues of locust, no animal or insect pests to destroy our
crops or herbage.  Rabbits had been introduced and turned loose at
various times, but, instead of multiplying until they had become as
numerous as the sand on the seashore, as had been the case in other
parts of Australia, in Gippsland they invariably died; and it had
been abundantly proved that rabbits had no more chance of living
there than snakes in Ireland.  And with regard to the salubrity of
the climate, the first settlers lived so long that they were
absolutely tired of life.  Let him look at the cemetery, if he could
find it.  After thirty years of settlement it was almost uninhabited
--neglected and overgrown with tussocks and scrub for want of use.

It will be gathered from this statement of the Principal Inhabitant
that Gippsland had really been discovered and settled about thirty
years before; but mountains and sea divided it from the outside
world, and, on account of the intense drowsiness and inactivity which
the delicious air and even temperature of the climate produced, the
land and its inhabitants had been forgotten and unnoticed until it
had been rediscovered, and its praises sung by the enterprising
Minister of the Crown before mentioned.

Following the example of the cautious cat when introduced into a
strange house, I investigated every corner of the district as far as
the nature of the country would permit; and I found that it contained
three principal corners or villages about three miles apart, at each
of which the police magistrate and clerk had to attend on certain
days, business or no business, generally the latter.  It was, of
course, beneath the dignity of a court to walk officially so far
through the scrub; so the police magistrate was allowed sixty pounds
per annum in addition to his salary, and the clerk whom I relieved
fifty pounds, to defray the expense of keeping their horses.

"Away went Gilpin, and away
Went Gilpin's hat and wig."

I bought a waggonette, and then began to look for a horse to draw it.
As soon as my want became known it was pleasing to find so many of my
neighbours willing to supply it.  Cox, the gaoler, said he knew of a
horse that would just suit me.  It belonged to Binns, an
ex-constable, who was spending a month in gaol on account of a little
trouble that had come upon him.  Cox invited me into his office, and
brought Binns out of his cell.

"Yes," said Binns "I have a horse, and there's not another like him
on the island," (these men always meant Van Diemen's Land when they
said "the island," forgetting occasionally that they had crossed the
straits, and were in a land of freedom) "as good a goer as ever
carried a saddle, or wore a collar.  I wouldn't sell him on no
account, only you see I'm hard up just now."

"What is his age?" I enquired.

"Well, he's just rising ten.  He has been used a bit hard, but you
won't overwork him, and he'll do all the law business you want as
easy as winking. He's the best trotter on the island, and has won
many a stake for me.  When I took Johnny-come-lately to gaol in
Melbourne for stealing him, he brought me back in less time than any
horse ever did the distance before or since.  And you can have him
dirt cheap.  I'll take ten pounds for him, and he's worth twenty
pounds of any man's money."

Lovers' vows and horsedealers' oaths are never literally true; it is
safer to receive them as lies.  I thought it would be prudent to try
this trotter before buying him, so Binns signed an order, in a very
shaky hand, to the man in charge of his farm, to let me have the
horse on trial.  When I harnessed and put him in between the shafts
he was very quiet indeed.  I took a whip, not for the purpose of
using it, but merely for show; a horse that had won so many races
would, of course, go without the lash.

When I was seated and requested him to start, he began walking very
slowly, as if he had a load of two tons weight behind him, and I
never weighed so much as that.  I had to use the whip, and at last
after a good deal of reflection he began to trot, but not with any
speed; he did not want to win anything that day.  I remarked that his
ears looked dead; no sound or sight of any kind disturbed the peace
of his mind.  He evidently knew this world well and despised it;
nothing in it could excite his feelings any more.

Halfway up the Water Road I met Bill Mills, a carrier.  He stopped
his team and looked at mine.

"Have you bought that horse, Mister?" he said.

"Not yet; I am only trying him," I replied.  "Do you know him?"

"Know him?  I should think I did.  That's old Punch.  I broke him
into harness when he was three off.  He nearly killed me; ran away
with me and my dog-cart among the scrub at the racecourse swamp, and
smashed it against a honeysuckle."

"Is that long ago?" I enquired.

"Long ago?  Let me see.  That horse is twenty year old if he's a day.
He'll not run away with you now; no fear; he's quite safe.  Good-day,
Mister.  Come on, Star;" and Bill touched his leader with his whip.

When I arrived at the court-house, I made a search in the cause list
book, and found that Johnny-come-lately had been sent to gaol just
sixteen years before for stealing Old Punch, so I restored that
venerable trotter to its owner.

I had soon more horses offered to me for trial, every old screw
within twenty miles being brought to me for inspection.  The next
animal I harnessed belonged to Andrew Jackson, and was brought by
Andrew Jackson, junior, who said his father could let me have it for
a month on trial.  Jackson, junior, was anxious to go away without
the horse, but I told him to wait a bit while I put on the harness.
The animal was of a mouse colour, very tall, something like a
giraffe; and by the time I got him between the shafts, I could see
that he was possessed by a devil of some kind.  It might be a winged
one who would fly away with me; so, in order to have a clear course,
I led him through the gateway into the middle of the road, and while
Jackson, junior, held his head, I mounted carefully into the trap.  I
held the lines ready for a start, and after some hesitation the
giraffe did start, but he went tail foremost.  I tried to reverse the
engine, but it would only work in one direction.  He backed me into
the ditch, and then across it on to the side path, then against the
fence, bucking at it, and trying to go through and put me in the
Tarra.  I told Andrew, junior, to take the giraffe home to his
parent, and relate what he had seen.

My next horse was a black one from Sale, and he also was possessed of
a devil, but one of a different species.  He was named Gilpin, and
the very name ought to have been a warning to me if I had had sense
enough to profit by it.  Just as I sat down, and took the reins, and
was going to observe what he would do, he suddenly went away at full
gallop.  I tried to pull him in, but he put his chin against his
chest, and the harder I pulled the faster he flew.  The road was full
of ruts, and I was bumped up and down very badly.  My hat went away,
but, for the present, my head kept its place.  I managed to steer
safely as far as the bridge across the Tarra but, in going over it,
the horse's hoofs and whirling wheels sounded like thunder, and
brought out the whole population of Tarraville to look at me.  It was
on a Sunday afternoon; some good people were singing hymns in the
local chapel, and as I passed the turn of the road, they left the
anxious benches, came outside in a body, and gazed at me, a
bare-headed and miserable Sabbath-breaker going swiftly to perdition.
I also was on a very anxious bench.  But now there was a long stretch
of good road before me, and I made good use of it.  Instead of
pulling the horse in, I let him go, and encouraged him with the whip
to go faster, being determined to let him gallop until either he or
the sun went down.  Then the despicable wretch slackened his pace,
and wanted to come to terms.  So I wheeled him round and whipped him
without mercy, making him gallop all the way home again.  I did not
buy him.

But the next horse I tried was comparatively blameless, so I bought
him, and at the end of the first month sent in a claim to the Law
Department for the usual allowance.  I was curtly informed that the
amount had been reduced from fifty pounds to ten pounds for my horse,
although sixty pounds was still allowed to the other horse for
travelling the same distance, the calculation evidently being based
on the supposition that the police magistrate's horse would eat six
times as much as mine.  Remonstrance was vain, and I found I had
burdened myself with an animal, possessing no social or political
influence whatever.  I knew already that the world was governed
without wisdom, and I now felt that it was also ruled with extreme
meanness.

And even after my horse was condemned to starve on ten pounds per
annum, the cost of justice was still extravagant.  Without reckoning
the expense incurred in erecting and maintaining three court houses,
and three police stations, and paying three policemen for doing next
to nothing, I ascertained from the cause lists that it cost the
Government fourteen pounds sterling every time we fined Terry, the
cobbler, five shillings for being drunk; and Terry did not always pay
the fines.  What ails British law is dignity, and the insufferable
expense attending it.  The disease will never be cured until a
strong-minded Chief Justice shall be found, who has sense enough to
sit on the bench in his native hair, and to take off his coat when
the thermometer rises to eighty degrees.  It was in that manner Judge
Winstanley kept court at Waterloo in Illinois, and we had there
quicker justice, cheaper laws, and better manners than those which
this southern hemisphere yet exhibits.  As to the lawyers, if we did
not like them, we could lynch them, so they were sociable and civil.
Moreover, Prairie de Long was discovered and settled nearly twenty
years before Australia Felix was heard of.

The three villages had a life-long feud with, and a consuming
jealousy of, each other.  Until my arrival I was not aware that there
were three such places as Palmerston, Alberton, and Tarraville,
claiming separate and rival existences.  I had a notion that they
were merely straggling suburbs of the great city and seaport, Port
Albert.  But it was a grievous mistake.  I asked a tall young lady at
the hotel, who brought in some very salt fish that took the skin off
the roof of my mouth, if she could recommend the society of these
villages, and if she would favour me with her opinion as to which
would be the best place to select as a residence, and she said, "The
people there are an 'orrid lot."  This was very discouraging; but, on
making further enquiries, I found she only expressed the opinion
which the inhabitants of these centres of population held of each
other; and it was evident that I should have to demean myself with
prudence, and show no particular affection for one place more than
for another, or trouble would ensue.  Therefore, as soon as occasion
offered, I took a house and paddock within easy distance of all the
three corners, so that when the Government allowance had reduced my
horse to a skeleton, I might give him a spell on grass, and travel to
the courts on foot.  The house was on a gentle rise, overlooking a
rich river flat.  It had been built by a retainer of Lord Glengarry,
who had declined to follow any further the fortunes of his chief when
he had closed his dairying operations at Greenmount.  A tragedy had
been enacted in it some years before, and a ghost had often since
been seen flitting about the house and grounds on moonlight nights.
This gave an aristocratic distinction to the property, which was very
pleasing, as it is well known that ghosts never haunted any mansions
or castles except such as have belonged to ancient families of noble
race.  I bought the estate on very reasonable terms, no special
charge being made for the ghost.

The paddock had been without a tenant for some time, but I found it
was not unoccupied.  A friendly neighbour had introduced his flock of
sheep into it, and he was fattening them cheaply.  I said, "Tityre,
tu patulae recubans sub tegmine fayi, be good enough to round up your
sheep and travel."  Tityrus said that would be all right; he would
take them away as soon as they were ready for the butcher.  It would
be no inconvenience to me, as my horse would not be able to eat all
the grass.  The idea of paying anything did not occur to him; he was
doing me a favour.  He was one of the simple natives.  As I did not
like to take favours from an entire stranger, the sheep and the
shepherd sought other pastures beyond the winding Tarra.

The dense tea-tree which bordered the banks of the river was the home
of wild hogs, which spent the nights in rooting up the soil and
destroying the grass.  I therefore armed myself with a gun charged
with buckshot, and went to meet the animals by moonlight.  I lay in
ambush among the tussocks.  One shot was enough for each hog; after
receiving it he retired hastily into the tea-tree and never came out
again.

After I had cleared my land from sheep and pigs, the grass began to
grow in abundance; and passing travellers, looking pensively over the
fence, were full of pity for me because I had not stock enough to
eat the grass.  One man had a team of bullocks which he was willing
to put in; another had six calves ready to be weaned; and a third
friend had a horse which he could spare for a spell.  All these were
willing to put in their stock, and they would not charge me anything.
They were three more of the simple natives.

I would rather buy forty cows than one horse, because, even allowing
for the cow's horns, the horse has so many more points.  I wanted a
good cow, a quiet milker, and a farmer named Ruffy offered to sell me
one.  He was very rough indeed, both in words and work.  He showed me
the cow, and put her in the bail with a big stick; said she was as
quiet as a lamb, and would stand to be milked anywhere without a
leg-rope.  "Here Tom," he roared to his son, "bring a bucket, and
come and milk Daisy without the rope, and show the gentleman what a
quiet beast she is."  Tom brought a bucket, placed the stool near the
cow, sat down, and grasped one of the teats.  Daisy did not give any
milk, but she gave instead three rapid kicks, which scattered Tom,
the bucket, and the stool all over the stockyard.  I could not think
of anything that it would be safe to say under the circumstances, so
I went away while the farmer was picking up the fragments.


GOVERNMENT OFFICERS IN THE BUSH.

"Satan finds some mischief still
For idle hands to do."

Although I had to attend at three courts on three days of each week,
my duties were very light, and quite insufficient to keep me out of
mischief; it was therefore a matter of very great importance for me
to find something else to do.  In bush townships the art of killing
time was attained in various ways.  Mr. A. went on the street with a
handball, and coaxed some stray idler to join him in a game.  He was
a young man of exceptional innocence, and died early, beloved of the
gods.  Mr. B. kept a pair of sticks under his desk in the court
house, and made a fencing school of the space allotted to the public.
Some of the police had been soldiers, and were quite pleased to prove
their skill in arms, and show how fields were won.  As a result there
were more breaches of the peace inside the court than outside.  Mr.
C. tried to while away his lonely hours by learning to play on a
violin, which he kept concealed in a corner between a press and the
wall of his office.  He executed music, and doubled the terrors of
the law.  Intending litigants stood transfixed with horror when they
approached the open door of his office, and listened to the wails and
long-drawn screeches which filled the interior of the building; and
every passing dog sat down on its tail, and howled in sympathetic
agony with the maddening sounds.

But the majority of the officials condemned to live in the dreary
townships tried to alleviate their misery by drinking and gambling.
The Police Magistrate, the Surveyor, the Solicitor, the Receiver of
Revenue, the Police Inspector, and the Clerk of Courts, together with
one or two settlers, formed a little society for the promotion of
poker, euchre, and other little games, interspersed with whiskies.
It is sad to recall to mind the untimely end at which most of them
arrived.  Mr. D. was found dead on the main road; Mr. E. shot himself
through the head; Mr. F. fell asleep in the bush and never woke; and
Mr. G. was drowned in a waterhole.  One officer was not quite so
unfortunate as some of his friends.  His score at the Crook and Plaid
became so long that he began to pass that hotel without calling.
Polly, the venerable landlady, took offence at such conduct, and was
daily on the watch for him.  When she saw him passing, which he
always did at a rapid pace, she hobbled to the door, and called after
him, "Hey, hey!"  Then the gentleman twirled his cane, whistled a
lively tune, looked up, first to the sky, and then to the right and
left, but never stopped, or looked back to Polly behind him.  At last
his creditors became so troublesome, and his accounts so
inexplicable, that he deserted the public service, and took refuge
across the Murray.

Mr. H. fell into the habit of borrowing his collections to pay his
gambling debts.  He was allowed a certain number of days at the
beginning of each month to complete his returns, and send in his
cash.  So he made use of the money collected during the days of grace
to repay any sums he had borrowed from the public cash during the
preceding month.  But the cards were against him.  One morning an
Inspector of Accounts from Melbourne appeared unexpectedly in his
office.

In those days there were no railways and no telegraphs.  Their
introduction was an offensive nuisance to us.  The good old times
will never come again, when we could regulate our own hours of
attendance, take unlimited leave of absence, and relieve distress by
having recourse to the Government cash.  When Grimes was
Auditor-General every officer was a gentleman and a man of honour.
In the bush no bank account was kept, as there was no bank within
fifty or a hundred miles; and it was an implied insult to expect a
gentleman to produce his cash balance out of his pocket.  As a matter
of courtesy he expected to be informed by letter two or three weeks
beforehand when it was intended to make an official inspection of his
books, in order that he might not be absent, nor taken unawares.

When the Inspector appeared, Mr. H. did not lose his presence of
mind, or show any signs of embarrassment.  He said he was glad to see
him (which was a lie), hoped he had had a pleasant journey through
the bush; asked how things were going on in Melbourne, and made
enquiries about old friends there.  But all the while he was
calculating chances.  He had acquired the valuable habit of the
gambler and speculator, of talking about one thing while he was
thinking about another.  His thoughts ran on in this style:  "This
fellow (he could not think of him as a gentleman) wants to see my
cash; haven't got any; must be near five hundred pounds short by this
time; can't borrow it' no time to go round' couldn't get it if I did'
deuced awkward; shall be given in charge; charged with larceny or
embezzlement or something; can't help it' better quit till I think
about it."  So apologising for his absence for a few minutes on
urgent business, he went out, mounted his horse, and rode away to the
mountains.

The inspector waited five minutes, ten minutes, twenty minutes.  He
made enquiries, and finding that Mr. H. had gone away, he examined
the books and vouchers, and concluded that there should be a cash
balance of more than four hundred pounds payable to revenue.  He
looked about the office for the cash, but did not find any.  Then the
police began to look for Mr. H., but week after week passed by, and
Mr. H. was neither seen nor heard of.

There were only two ways of leaving South Gippsland that could be
considered safe; one was by sea from Port Albert, the other by the
road over the mountains.  If anyone ventured to desert the beaten
track, and tried to escape unseen through the forest, he was likely
to be lost, and to be starved to death.  The only man ever known to
escape was an eccentric farmer, a "wandering outlaw of his own dark
mind," as Byron so darkly expressed it.  He deserted his wife one
morning in a most systematic manner, taking with him his horse and
cart, a supply of provisions, and all the money he was worth.  A
warrant for his arrest was issued, and the police were on the
look-out for him at all the stations from Port Albert to Melbourne,
but they never found him.  Many weeks passed by without any tidings
of the man or his team, when one day he drove up to his own gate,
unhitched his horse, and went to work as usual.  On enquiry it was
found that he had gone all the way to Sydney overland, on a visit to
an old friend living not far from that city.  It was supposed that he
had some reason for his visit when he started, but if so, he lost it
by the way, for when he arrived he had nothing particular to say.
After a few days' rest he commenced his return journey to South
Gippsland, and travelled the whole distance without being observed by
the watchful police.  When asked about his travels, his only remark
was, "Splendid horse; there he is between the shafts; walked twelve
hundred miles; never turned a hair; splendid horse; there he is."

But Mr. H. lacked the intellect or the courage to perform a similar
fool's errand successfully.  He rode up to the police station at
Alberton, and finding from the officer in charge that he was wanted
on a warrant, he supplied that want.  He stated that he had been on a
visit, for the benefit of his health, to a friend in the mountains, a
rail-splitter, who had given him accommodation in his hut on
reasonable terms.  He had lived in strict retirement.  For a time he
was in daily and nightly fear of the appearance of the police coming
to arrest him; every sound disturbed him.  In about ten days he began
to feel lonely and disappointed because the police did not come;
neither they or anybody else seemed to be looking for him, or to care
anything about him.  Heroic self-denial was not his virtue, and he
felt no call to live the life of a hermit.  He was treated with
undeserved neglect, and at the end of four weeks he resolved that, as
the police would not come to him, he would go to the police.

He unburdened his mind, and made a confession to the officer who had
him in charge.  He explained how he had taken the money, how he had
lost it, and who had won it.  It relieved his mind, and the policeman
kept the secret of confession until after the trial.  Then he broke
the seal, and related to me confidentially the story of his penitent,
showing that he was quite as unfit for the sacerdotal office as
myself.

Mr. H. on his trial was found not guilty, but the department did not
feel inclined to entrust him with the collection or custody of any
more cash.  In succeeding years he again served the Government as
State school teacher, having received his appointment from a minister
of merciful principles.  A reclaimed poacher makes an excellent
gamekeeper, and a repentant thief may be a better teacher of youth
than a sanctimonious hypocrite.


SEAL ISLANDS AND SEALERS.

"Am I my brother's keeper?"

The islands in Bass' Straits, Hogan's Group, Kent's Group, the
Answers, the Judgment Rocks, and others, are visited at certain
seasons of the year by seals of three different kinds--viz., the
hair seals, which are not of much value except for their oil; the
grey seals, whose skins are valuable; and the black seals, whose furs
always command the highest price.  When these animals have not been
disturbed in their resorts for some years they are comparatively
tame, and it is not difficult to approach them.  Great numbers of the
young ones are sometimes found on the rocks, and if pushed into the
water they will presently come out again, scramble back on to the
rocks, and begin crying for their dams.  But the old seals, when
frequently disturbed, become shy, and, on the first alarm, take to
the water.  The flesh of the young seals is good to eat, and seamen
who have been cast away on the islands have been sometimes saved from
starvation by eating it.

I once made the acquaintance of an old sealer.  He had formerly been
very sensitive on the point of honour; would resent an insult as
promptly as any knight-errant; but by making an idol of his honour
his life had been a grievous burden to him.  And he was not even a
gentleman, and never had been one.  He was known only as "Jack."

It was in the year 1854, when I had been cast ashore in Corio Bay by
a gale of hostile fortune, and had taken refuge for a while at the
Buck's Head Hotel, then kept by a man named McKenzie.  One evening
after tea I was talking to a carpenter at the back door, who was
lamenting his want of timber.  He had not brought a sufficient supply
from Geelong to complete his contract, which was to construct some
benches for a Presbyterian Church.  Jack was standing near listening
to the conversation.

"What kind of timber do you want?" he said.  "There is a lot of
planks down there in the yard, and if you'll be outside about eleven
o'clock, I'll chuck over as many as you want."

The contractor hesitated.  "Whose planks are they?"  he asked.

"I don't know whose they are, and I don't care," replied Jack.  "Say
the word, and you can have them, if you like."

The contractor made no reply, at least in words, to this generous
offer.  It is not every man that has a friend like Jack; many men
will steal from you, but very few will steal for you, and when such a
one is found he deserves his reward.

We adjourned to the bar parlour, and Jack had a glass of brandy, for
which he did not pay.  There was among the company a man from Adelaide,
a learned mineralogist, who commenced a dissertation on the origin of
gold.  He was most insufferable; would talk about nothing but
science.  Darwin wrote a book about "The Origin of Species," and it
has been observed that the origin of species is precisely what is not
in the book.  So we argued about the origin of gold, but we could get
nowhere near it.

When the rest of the company had retired, Jack observed to me:  "You
put down that Adelaide chap gradely; he had not a leg to stand on."

I was pleased to find that Jack knew a good argument when he heard
it, so I rewarded his intelligence with another glass of brandy, and
asked him if he had been long in the colonies.  He said:

"My name's not Jack; that's what they call me, but it doesn't matter
what my name is.  I was brought up in Liverpool, but I wasn't born
there; that doesn't matter either.  I used to work at the docks, was
living quite respectable, was married and had a little son about five
years old.  One night after I had had supper and washed myself, I
said to th' missus, 'There's a peep-show i' Tithebarn Street, and if
you'll wash Bobby's face I'll tek him there; its nobbut a penny.'
You know it was one o' them shows where they hev pictures behind a
piece o' calico, Paul Pry with his umbrella, Daniel i' th' lions'
den, ducks swimming across a river, a giantess who was a man shaved
and dressed in women's clothes, a dog wi' five legs, and a stuffed
mermaid--just what little lads would like.  There was a man,
besides, who played on a flute, and another singing funny songs. When
I went outside into the street there was little Billy Yates, as used
to play with Bobby, so I says, 'Come along, Billy, and I'll tek thee
to the show.'  When we got there we set down on a bench, and, just as
they began to show th' pictures, three black-fellows came in and set
down on th' bench before us. They thowt they were big swells, and had
on black coats, white shirts, stiff collars up to their ears, red and
green neck-handkerchers, and bell-topper hats; so I just touched one
of em on th' showder and said:  'Would you please tek your hats off
to let th' lads see th' pictures?'  Well, the nigger just turned his
head half-round, and looked at me impudent like, but he kept his hat
on.  So I asked him again quite civil, and he called me a low fellow,
towld me to mind my own business, and the other two niggers grinned.
Well, you know, I could not stand that.  I knew well enough what they
were.  They were stewards on the liners running between New York and
Liverpool, and they were going round trying to pass for swells in a
penny peep-show.  I didn't want to make a row just then and spoil the
show, so I said to th' lads, we mun go hooum, and I took 'em hooum,
and then come back to th' show and waited at th' door.  When the
niggers come out I pitched into th' one as had given me cheek; but we
couldn't have it out for th' crowd, and we were all shoved into th'
street.  I went away a bit, thinking no more about it, and met a man
I knew and we went into a public house and had a quart o' fourpenny.
We were in a room by ourselves, when the varra same three niggers
come in and stood a bit inside the door.  So I took my tumbler and
threw it at th' head of th' man I wanted, and then went at him.  But
I couldn't lick him gradely because th' landlord come in and stopped
us; so after a while I went hooum.  Next morning I was going along
Dale Street towards the docks to work, when who should I see but that
varra same blackfellow:  it looked as if th' devil was in it.  He was
by hisself this time, coming along at th' other side of th' street.
So I crossed over and met him, and went close up to him and said,
'Well, what have you to say for yoursel' now?' and I gav him a lick
under th' ear.  He fell down on th' kerbstone and wouldn't get up--
turned sulky like.  There was soon a crowd about, and they tried to
wakken him up; but he wouldn't help hisself a bit--just sulked and
wouldn't stir.  I don't believe he'd ha' died but for that, because I
nobbut give him but one hit.  I thowt I'd better make mysel' scarce
for a while, so I left Liverpool and went to Preston.  Were you ever
in Preston?"  I said I was.  "Well then, you'll remember Melling, the
fish-monger, a varra big, fat man.  I worked for him for about six
months, and then come back to Liverpool, thinking there'd be no more
bother about the blackfellow.  But they took me up, and gev me
fourteen year for it; and if it had been a white man I wouldn't ha'
got more than twelve months, and I was sent out to Van Diemen's Land
and ruined for ever, just for nowt else but giving a chance lick to a
blackfellow.  And now I hear they're going to war wi' Russia, and--
England, Scotland, Ireland, and Wales--I hope they'll all get
blooming well licked.  It don't mend a man much to transport him, nor
a woman either for that matter:  they all grow worse than ever.  When
I got my ticket I sometimes went working in th' bush, sometimes
whaling and sealing, and sometimes stripping bark at Western Port and
Portland Bay, before there was such a place as Melbourne.  I was in a
whaler for two years about Wilson's Promontory, until the whales were
all killed or driven away.  I never saved any money until nine years
back; we always went on th' spree and spent every penny directly we
were paid off.  At that time I went with a man from Port Albert to
the Seal Islands in a boat.  I knew of a place where there was a
cave, a big hollow under the rocks, where th' seals used to go to
sleep, and a blow hole coming out of it to th' top of the island.  We
hired a boat and went there, and made a kind of a door which we could
drop down with a rope to shut up the mouth of th' cave and catch the
seals inside.  We killed so many that we couldn't take th' skins away
all at once in the boat to Port Albert; we had to come back again.  I
thowt to myself I'd be richer than ever I was in my life; th' skins
were worth hundreds of pounds.  I had agreed to go halves with th'
Port Albert man, but, you see, he'd ha' never gotten a penny but for
me, because he knew nothing whatever about sealing.  It didn't look
quite fair to give him half; and then I thowt what a lucky thing it
would be for me if he were drowned; and he was drowned, but mind you,
I didn't do it.  It was this way.  When we got back to th' blow-hole
th' weather was bad. One o' them sou'east gales set in, and th' big
waves dashed agen the rocks, roaring and sending spray right across
th' island.  We had packed away all th' seal-skins snug in th' boat
and pulled th' door up from th' bottom of th' chimney before th' gale
started.  When we were taking down the rope and tackle and th'
shears, th' water began to come boiling up th' blow hole and sinking
down again.  There was a big rush of wind, first up and then down
sucking you in like.  It was a ticklish time, and just as we were
going to lower th' shears, th' Port Albert man made a kind of slip,
and was sucked in with the wind, and went head first into the boiling
water and out of sight.  I took hold of the slack of a rope, thinking
I'd throw it to him; he might get hold of it, and then I could pull
him out.  In about half a minute he was thrown up again by th' next
wave right to the top of th' chimney.  I could see his face within
four feet of me.  He threw up his hands for something to catch at and
looked at me, and then gave a fearful scream.  I didn't throw him the
rope; something stopped me.  He might not have got hold of it, you
know, anyhow.  He went down again among th' white water, and I never
saw him no more--only when I am dreaming.  I always dream about
him.  I can see his face come up above the boiling water, and when he
screams I wake up.  I can never get clear of him out of my head; and
yet, mind you, I didn't drown him; he fell in of his self, and I just
missed throwing him th' rope, that's all; and I wasn't bound to do
it, was I?

"As for the money I got for the seal skins, I could have lived
comfortably on it all my life, but it never did me no good.  I
started drinking, trying to forget that Port Albert man, but it was
no use.  Every shilling was soon gone, and eversince I've been doing
odd jobs and loafing about the publics.  I've never done no good and
never shall.  Let's have just another nobbler afore we turn in."



A HAPPY CONVICT.

"Thrice did I receive forty stripes, save one."

It was court day at Palmerston, and there was an unusual amount of
business that morning.  A constable brought in a prisoner, and
charged him with being a vagrant--having no lawful visible means of
support.  I entered the charge in the cause list, "Police v. John
Smithers, vagrancy," and then looked at the vagrant.  He was growing
aged, was dressed in old clothes, faded, dirty, and ill-fitting; he
had not been measured for them.  His face was very dark, and his hair
and beard were long and rough, showing that he had not been in gaol
lately.  His eyes wandered about the court in a helpless and vacant
manner.  Two boys about eight or nine years old entered the court,
and, with colonial presumption, sat in the jury box.  There were no
other spectators, so I left them there to represent the public.  They
stared at the prisoner, whispered to each other, and smiled.  The
prisoner could not see anything to laugh at, and frowned at them.
Then the magistrate came in, rubbing one of his hands over the other,
glanced at the prisoner as he passed, and withered him with a look of
virtuous severity.  He was our Black Wednesday magistrate, and was
death on criminals.  When he had taken his seat on the bench, I
opened the court, and called the first and only case.  It was not
often we had a man to sit on, and we sat heavily on this one.  I put
on my sternest look, and said "John Smithers"--here the prisoner
instantly put one hand to his forehead and stood at "attention"--
"you are charged by the police with vagrancy, having no lawful
visible means of support.  What have you to say to that charge?"

"I am a blacksmith looking for work," said the prisoner; "I ain't
done nothing, your worship, and I don't want nothing."

"But you should do something," replied the magistrate; "we don't want
idle vagabonds like you wandering about the country.  You will be
sent to gaol for three months."

I stood up and reminded the justice respectfully that there was as
yet no evidence against the prisoner, so, as a matter of form, he
condescended to hear the constable, who went into the witness-box and
proved his case to the hilt.  He had found the man at nightfall
sitting under the shelter of some tea-tree sticks before a fire;
asked him what he was doing there; said he was camping out; had come
from Melbourne looking for work; was a blacksmith; took him in charge
as a vagrant, and locked him up; all his property was the clothes he
wore, an old blanket, a tin billy, a clasp knife, a few crusts of
bread, and old pipe, and half a fig of tobacco; could find no money
about him.

That last fact settled the matter.  A man travelling about the bush
without money is a deep-dyed criminal.  I had done it myself, and so
was able to measure the extent of such wickedness.  I never felt
really virtuous unless I had some money in my pocket.

"You are sentenced to imprisonment for three months in Melbourne
gaol," said the magistrate; "and mind you don't come here again."

"I ain't done nothing, your worship," replied the prisoner; "and I
don't want nothing."

"Take him away, constable."

Seven years afterwards, as I was riding home about sundown through
Tarraville, I observed a solitary swagman sitting before a fire,
among the ruins of an old public house, like Marius meditating among
the ruins of Carthage.  There was a crumbling chimney built of bricks
not worth carting away--the early bricks in South Gippsland were
very bad, and the mortar had no visible lime in it--the ground was
strewn with brick-bats, bottles, sardine tins, hoop iron, and other
articles, the usual refuse of a bush shanty.  It had been, in the
early times, a place reeking with crime and debauchery.  Men had gone
out of it mad with drinking the poisonous liquor, had stumbled down
the steep bank, and had ended their lives and crimes in the black
Tarra river below.  Here the rising generation had taken their first
lessons in vice from the old hands who made the house their favourite
resort.  Here was planned the murder of Jimmy the Snob by Prettyboy
and his mates, whose hut was near the end of the bridge across the
river, and for which murder Prettyboy was hanged in Melbourne.

In the dusk I mistook the swagman for a stray aboriginal who had
survived the destruction of his tribe, but on approaching nearer, I
found that he was, or at least once had been, a white man.  He had
gathered a few sticks, which he was breaking and putting on the fire.
I did not recognise him, did not think I had ever seen him before,
and I rode away.

During the next twenty-four hours he had advanced about half-a-mile
on his journey, and in the evening was making his fire in the Church
paddock, near a small water-hole opposite my house.  I could see him
from the verandah, and I sent Jim to offer him shelter in an
outbuilding.  Jim was one of the two boys who had represented the
public in the jury box at the Palmerston court seven years before.
He came back, and said the man declined the offer of shelter; never
slept under a roof winter or summer, if he could help it; had lived
in the open air for twelve years, and never stayed a night in any
building, except for three months, when he was in Melbourne gaol.  He
had been arrested by a constable near Palmerston seven years before,
although he had done nothing, and a fool of a beak, with a long grey
beard, had given him three months, while two puppies of boys were
sitting in the jury box laughing at him.

He also gave some paternal advice to the youth, which, like a great
deal of other paternal advice, was rejected as of no value.

"Never you go to Melbourne, young man," he said, "and if you do,
never stop in any boarding-house, or public.  They are full of
vermin, brought in by bad characters, mostly Government officers and
bank clerks, who have been in Pentridge.  Don't you never go near
'em."

This advice did not sound very respectful; however, I overlooked it
for the present, as it was not unlikely I might have the advantage of
seeing him again in custody, and I sent to him across the road some
hot tea, bread, butter, and beef.  This softened the heart and loosed
the tongue of the old swagman.  It appeared from his account of
himself that he was not much of a blacksmith.  He was ostensibly
going about the colony looking for work, but as long as he could get
food for nothing he did not want any work, and he always avoided a
blacksmith's shop; as soon as he found himself near one he ceased to
be a blacksmith.

When asked about his former life, he said a gentleman had once
advised him to write the particulars of it, and had promised him
half-a-crown if he would do so.  He had written some of them, but had
never seen the gentleman again, so he did not get the half-crown; and
now he would take sixpence for the copyright of his work.  I gave him
sixpence, and he drew out a manuscript from an inside pocket of his
coat, and handed it to me.  It was composed of small sheets of
whitey-brown wrapping paper sewn together.  He had ruled lines on it,
and had written his biography with lead pencil. On looking over it I
observed that, although he was deficient in some of the inferior
qualifications of a great historian, such as spelling, grammar, and a
command of words of seven syllables, yet he had the true instincts of
a faithful chronicler.  He had carefully recorded the names of all
the eminent bad men he had met, of the constable who had first
arrested him, of the magistrate who had committed him for trial, of
the judge who had sentenced him, of the gaolers and warders who had
kept him in prison, of the captain, doctor, and officers of the ship
which conveyed him to Sydney, of the squatters who had forced him to
work for them, and of the scourgers who had scourged him for not
working enough.  The names of all these celebrated men, together with
the wicked deeds for which they were admired, were given in detail,
after the true historic method.  We all take a great interestin
reading every particular relating to the lives of notorious tyrants
and great sinners; we like to know what clothes they wore, and how
they swore.  But the lives of great and good men and women are very
uninteresting; some young ladies even, when travelling by train,
prefer, as I observe, French novels inspired by Cloacina to the
"Lives of the Saints."

Some people in the colonies are said to have had no grandfathers; but
John Smithers was even more deficient in pedigree, for he had neither
father nor mother, as far as he could recollect.  He commenced life
as a stable boy and general drudge in England, at a village inn owned
and conducted by a widow named Cobbledick.   This widow had a
daughter named Jemima.  The mischief wrought in this world by women,
from Eve to Jemima downwards, is incalculable, and Smithers averred
that it was this female, Jemima, who brought on his sorrow, grief,
and woe.  She was very advanced in wordly science, as young ladies
are apt to be when they are educated in the retail liquor trade. When
Smithers had been several years at the inn, and Jemima was already in
her teens, she thought the world went slowly; she had no lover, there
was nobody coming to marry her, nobody coming to woo.  But at length
she was determined to find a remedy for this state of things.  She
had never read the history of the loves of the great Catherine of
Russia, nor of those of our own virgin Queen Elizabeth, but by an
inborn royal instinct she was impelled to follow their high example.
If lovers did not offer their adoration to her charms spontaneously,
there was at any rate one whose homage she could command.  One Sunday
afternoon, while her mother was absent, she went to the stable and
ordered Smithers to come and take a walk with her, directing him
first to polish his shoes and put on his best clothes.  She brought
out a bottle of scented oil to sweeten him, and told him to rub it
well into his hair, and stroke his head with his hands until it was
sleek and shiny.  She had put on her Sunday dress and best bonnet;
she had four ringlets at each side of her face; and to crown her
charms, had ventured to borrow her mother's gold watch and chain.
Being now a perfect princess in stateliness and beauty, she took Jack
by the arm--she called him Jack--and made him march away with
her.  He was rather abashed at the new duty imposed upon him, but he
had been so well kicked and cuffed all his life that he never thought
of disobeying orders.  Love fooled the gods, and it gave him little
trouble to fool so sorry a pair as Jack and his Jemima.  They walked
along Perkins' Lane where many of the neighbours were likely to see
them, for Jemima was anxious that all the other girls, her dearest
friends, should be filled with spite and envy at her good fortune in
having secured a lover.

When the happy youth and maid were returning with wandering steps and
slow, Jemima saw her mother pass the end of the lane on her way
homewards, much sooner than she had expected.  The golden hours on
angel wings had flown away too quickly for the lovers.  Miss
Cobbledick was filled with sudden alarm, and her brief day of glory
was clouded.  It was now impossible to reach home in time to avoid
trouble.  Her mother would be certain to miss the watch, and what was
she to do with it?  What with Jack, and what with herself?
Self-preservation being the first law of nature, Jemima resolved to
sacrifice Jack in order to shield herself from her mother's rage.  He
was not of much account in any respect; so she gave him the watch and
chain, telling him to keep them safely till she asked for them, and
to hurry round by the yard gate into the stable.  This gave great
relief to her conscience, and enabled her to meet her mother with a
face of untroubled innocence.

Jack had not a lively imagination; but during the night he had a
clear and blissful vision of his future destiny, the only dream of
fortune his life was ever blessed with.  He was to be the landlord of
the hotel, when Mrs. Cobbledick had gone to bliss, and Jemima was to
be his bride, and the landlady.

But early next morning there was trouble in the house.  The watch was
missing, and nobody knew anything about it.  Jemima helped her mother
to look for it, and could not find it.  A constable was sent for, and
he questioned everyone in and about the house, and searched
everywhere without result.  Last of all Jack was asked if he knew
anything of the missing watch.  He was faithful and true.  How could
he betray Jemima, his future partner in life?  He said he "had never
seen no watch, and didn't know nothing whatsomever about no watch,"
and the next instant the constable pulled the watch out of Jack's
pocket.

At his trial he was asked what he had to say in his defence, and then
he told the truth, and said Jemima gave him the watch to keep until
she should ask for it.  But there is a time for all things; and Jack
could never learn the proper time for telling the truth, or for
telling a lie; he was always in the wrong.  The judge, in passing
sentence, said he had aggravated his crime by endeavouring to
implicate an innocent young lady in his villany, and gave him seven
years.

He was taken on board a hulk, where he found two or three hundred
other boys imprisoned.  On the evening of his arrival a report was
circulated among them that they were all to be sent to another ship,
which was bound for Botany Bay, and that they would never see England
again.  They would have to work and sleep in chains; they would be
yoked together, and whipped like bullocks; and if they escaped into
the bush the blacks would kill and eat them.  As this dismal tale
went round, some of the boys, who were quite young and small, began
to cry, and to call for their mothers to come and help them; and then
the others began to scream and should and yell.  The warders came
below and tried to silence them, but the more they tried the louder
grew the uproar, and it continued for many hours during the night.

"Britons rarely swerve
 From law, however stern, which tends their strength to serve."

Discipline must be maintained; so next morning the poor little
beggars were brought up on deck in batches, stripped, triced up, and
severely flogged.  Jack, and a number of other boys, said they had
not cried at all, but the officer in charge thought it was better
that a few of the innocent should suffer rather than that one of the
guilty should escape, so they were all flogged alike, and soon after
they were shipped for New South Wales.

On his arrival n Sydney, Jack was assigned as a servant to a
squatter, and taken into the bush a long way to the west.  The
weather had been very hot for a long time, all the grass had withered
to dust, and the cattle were starving.  The first work which he was
ordered to do was to climb trees and cut off the branches, in order
that the cattle might keep themselves alive by eating the leaves and
twigs.  Jack had never been used to handle an axe or tomahawk, so he
found the labour of chopping very hard.  He did his best, but that
was not good enough for the squatter, who took him to a magistrate,
and had him flogged by the official scourger.

While serving his sentence of seven years he was flogged four times;
three of the times he said he had "done nothing," and for the fourth
flogging he confessed to me that he had "done something," but he did
not say what the "something" was.  In those days it seems that "doing
nothing" and "doing something" were crimes equally meriting the lash.

And now after a long life of labour the old convict had achieved
independence at last.  I don't think I ever met a richer man; he was
richer than the whole family of the Rothschilds; he wanted scarcely
anything.  Food and clothing he obtained for the asking for them, and
he was not particular as to their quality of the quantity was
sufficient.  Property to him was something despicable; he did not
want any, and would not live inside of a house if he had one; he
preferred the outside.  He was free from family cares--never had
father or mother, sister or brother, wife or children.  No poor relatives
ever claimed his hospitality; no intimate friends wanted to borrow
half-a-crown; no one ever asked him to buy suburban lots, or to take
shares in a limited liability company.  He was perfectly indifferent
to all danger from bush-rangers, burglars, pickpockets, or cattle
stealers; he did not even own a dog, so the dogman never asked him
for the dog tax.  He never enquired about the state of the money
market, nor bothered himself about the prices of land or cattle, wood,
wine, or wheat.  Every bank, and brewery, and building society in the
world might go into liquidation at once for aught he cared.  He had
retired from the Government service, had superannuated himself on a
pension of nothing per annum, and to draw it he required no voucher.

And yet, notwithstanding all these advantages, I don't think there
are many men who would voluntarily choose his lot.  I watched him
from the end of the verandah, and began speculating about him.  What
was he thinking about during his solitary watches in the night or
while he tramped alone through the bush year after year in heat and
cold, wind and rain?  Did he ever think of anything--of his past
life, or of his future lot?  Did he believe in or hope for a heaven?
or had he any fear of hell and eternal punishment?  Surely he had
been punished enough; in this life he had endured evil things in
plenty, and might at least hope for eternal rest in the next.

He was sitting with his back against a gum tree, and his feet towards
the fire. From time to time he threw a few more sticks on the embers,
and a fitful blaze lit up his dark weatherbeaten face.

Then to my surprise he began to sing, and to sing well.  His voice
was strong, clear, and mellow, and its tones rose and fell in the
silent night air with a pathetic and wonderful sweetness.  The burden
of his song was "We may be happy yet."

"Oh, smile as thou wert wont to smile,
Before a weight of care
Had crushed thine heart, and yet awhile
Left only sorrow there;
We may be happy yet."

He sang three stanzas, and was silent.  Then someone said:  "Poor old
fellow; I hope he may be happy yet."

Next morning he was sitting with his back against the gum tree.  His
fire had gone out, and he seemed to be late in awaking, and in no
hurry to resume his journey.  But his travels were finished; he never
awoke.  His body was quite cold, and he must have died soon after he
had sung the last note of his song.  He had only sixpence in his
pocket--the sixpence I had given him for his biography.  The police
took him in charge once more and put him in his last prison, where he
will remain until we shall all be called together by the dread blast
of the Archangel's trumpet on the Judgment Day.





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