Chapter 108500050

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Chapter NumberI
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article108500050
Full Date1878-01-18
Page Number3
Corrections0
Word Count1454
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Record and Emerald Hill and Sandridge Advertiser (Vic. : 1872 - 1881)
Trove TitleThe Law's Decree: An Original Story
article text

CiuriER I.

" To tlicm the deep recess of dusky groves, Or forest, .wliero the deer securely roves,. The fall of waters, uud'tlic soug.of birds, Aud hills tbnt echo to'tho distant herds, Arc luxuries excelling all the glare The world can boost."-CCMVL'KK.

TWILIGHT shod a mellifluous glamour of soft bewitching..shade over t'io peaceful and in duatrioua inliabitauta of tbo prosperous little town of Gawler, aud the tiny twinkling stars which shot timidly out in twos nud throes, from tho great bluo overarching canopy of Heaven, viod with the far-distant glowing orb of evening that crept stealthily through the almost impenetrable mass of dusky forest clothing which topped the distant mountain hpighjis,reariug their heads exaltingly to tho clouds, to pale the ineffectual light with which mail's^ handiwork eontrircs to. extinguish darkness and perpetuate tho day. As tho night approached the fitful and uncertain light which shod its ghastly huo throughout the principal thoroughfares of Crawler, and wrestled, fretfully with tho transitory puiFs and blasts of wind which coursed through tho sheets nud whistled among tho trees that shaded the footpath on oithor side, rattling at intervals upon tho window-panes and screeching goblin-like through vacant koy holes in sportive inuocouoo, clothed the plea sant inland homes of activity, and industry with an appoarauco,' tho rovers'o of pleasing to any 0110 unacquainted with tho place, but those who had resided ony length of timo tbero, enjoying its healthful seasons ancf culti vating its proliGo soil, preferred its quiet solitudo, and distant diadem of umbrageous mouutaius, .with its crystal spring meandering down its rugged boulder-strewn declivity to tho valley below, theuee to the far-distant ocean, to all tho glittering grandeur of London or, Parieiani-lifo. And no wondeV. It was homo, tho homo by adoption it is true, of the aged, but nevertheless, tho native homo aud birtliplaco of the young, who rerered the place with that same fervor aud affection that the wild unmunnereil savage, born in a burrpw and bred in a wilderness displays, on behold ing his nativo forest after a forced or iongtViy

a bsence.

'i'wentyrfivo years ago,' Gawler was in the height; of-its flourishing popularity,? it being the cliief centre of - populatiuu iu South

Australia, outside of Adelaide, and the soil being prolific and of tlio first quality, nil induBlrious papulation bad long takeu up every uci'o of available territory within a radius of thirty miles. Heneo tU-il defacement of its primeval beauty which so complotoly changed the aspect of the surrounding country as to give it the appearunco of some " flim

and distant Aiden " where horticultural and

agricultural pursuits had continued in a flourishing condition from time immemorial.

JTrom a very early period in its existence, industrious Teutons, dismayed at t.lio per petual uggressivo war fever at Home, and

ambitious to settle down ill some secluded

cornor of the globe, to roar their families aud bo of more than lighting service to tlio world, hnd emigrated there, in the hope of burying ail social distinctions and restrictions that wore not necessary for the peace and preser vation of the rights and privileges of mankind; and, with their increasing numbers and un ceasing industry, Gawler sprung rapidly into tlio richest and most populous agricultural district in the colony. Large and prosperous, it boasted of a ruilwny from tko capital, a heavy-drawling dreary thing at best, a mayor, u municipal council, a repre sentative in Parliament, aud all the other constituent parts of a prosperous, intelligent, industrious and cirilised community.

Tlio last traits of barbarism still existed, hovvover, in its means of communication with the #iUrior, whoro inexhaustible mines of cooper ;made rich those daring, indomitable sons of Cornwall, who had penetrated into tho fur north in search of tho precious ore. Mules, ten of which yoked and swathed together, and attached to a luuiboring Geraian cum-Auicricau waggon, of'very creaky and rieketl.y parts, composed a team, which, in chargo of a trusty driver, assisted by a youth ful aboriginal, whoso greatest' and in fact only delight existed in riding 'the slow-couch inules madcap aloug the road, whether harnessed or .oot, daring tho temporary absence of the driver, conveyed coals to tho distant, mines, returning in duo tiino ore ladeu.

Often in the russet twilight theso _relics of barbarism iniglit be scon winding their dreary course around the northern sido of tho moun

the waggons top, ensconced ill 'possum ru"'s, while the lusty aboriginal attendmite;''a<!am pered along tl:o road sometimes in advanco of tho teams, in pu'rsiiit'of thoir own diui shadows, and sometimes performing the unsolicited ollieo of outriders, a practice which invariably brought down an easily translated'? anathema upon their unruly, grease bedaubed, aud dust begrimcd'eurly little heads. Anon they'd outer tho quiet thoroughfare, one,, team, slowly fol lowing another till ten liad' pasacd/tluj. wag gons creaking and spluttering along, continu ing their shaky looking progress to the further end of the town whero amplo accomodation was always awaiting.their.looked for arrival.

Tlio interest manifest' by a large portion of the plebeian population, nevor flagged or dismished in any important' particular, on the recurrence of every such .occasion, and now, M formerly, tho appearance' of tho travelled stained mules encircling tho distant extremi ties of the mount'iins,; was the signal of 11 rudo but'nffectionate reception, .as indiacriba blu as "it was novel und amusing. In an incredible short apaco of time the quiet main atroet thronged with eager happy faces, anxi ous to catch a glimpse of some well remem . bofed forni, or hear some ne'er forgot ton voice utter kind words of recognition, while tlioso whom ties far dearer thau even tho Grmist friendship-could ever liopo to harmonise, bound indissulutely together hold aloft from the rnoisy, scene, awaiting a more solemn .opportunity to-welcpme home the weary way

farers. Men cheer'd lustily, women waived kankerchiefa and other unmoutiotiablo articloa of domoatio utility, above their heads affec tionately, and the demonstrative members of the-.youtiliful cpihmuiiifcy, never satisfied them eclvca till they had pcltorcd after the wag^ous and crawled into tho.vi pell mell, at immiueut peril of their lives, amidst vociferous yells of unheeded maternal remonstranco and aolici

?tude^1 .

:'j Presently, -amidst all this indescrible joyfulness and-' confusion, the- loud .alarm of a! woman in . tlio crowd draw attoution to another scene moro dramatic in its effect, than . tlio ono in wbich mulo teams and aboriginal imps occupied a central and all attractive figure. . '

In tlio flickering twilight, a picture met the oye as it rauged the rugged mouutains, lying a little to tlic cast of tlio roadway over which the mulo teams had. so recently pussed which immediately rivettod'the undivided at tention of every ono possessed of the blessed faculty of sight. Indistinct as was the light, t!:e figure of a stalwart equestrian mounted upou.S.ciirvclting fiery looking jet. black steed, could easily be discerned as they proceeded im petuously down the dangerous and uncertain track which ran up over the mouutains from the little village of Barossa lying at their base. From crag to crag, never heeding the dangers that thickencd around aud beset him, at every turn the river careered on his way to all appearances oblivious of his surroundings, while his horse whose slightest inaccuracy ┬░of Btop would undoubtedly have precipitated horse and ridor into eternity, proved himself worthy of tlio strango trust placed iu him by

his bold'rider;

So intenso was tlio intorest, and so engaging the daring exploit, that absolute quietude pro vailed during tho fow minutes it took tho horseman to pass over tho dangers of the path and disappear into a thick forest through which it passed lowor down.

"Tho boldest rider's thrown at last " ex claimed a prophetic iudividual just recovering tho power f f speech, "and it strikes me that if ho tries that trick again he'll come off sccond bcut."

" Your prophecy, liko your wit is composed of such hollow stuff, it variably miscarries," answered a . young gentleman at the first, speaker's elbow, " and you'vo come off second best in both lines before to-day."

"Indeed, sir, indeed?"

"Yes, both in expression and in deed!. The gentleman you saw. on tho horse couiing'down the rock-path, just now sets too great a value upon his neck to risk it's being cracked acci dentally."

" Do you know him ?"

"Do I not, who docs'nt?"

" I must for 0110 plead ignorance!"

"What!" exclaimed tho younger of the two geiiLlemon, " not know Dorset Severn, your own brother! coiuo now-that is good, and no, mistake," and tvrning rouud' to con front his friend and' have his laugh out, ho discovorod to his surpriso that ho was all

alone.

He liad disappeared arouud tlio street

corner.

(To be CotUititicd.J