Chapter 111163246

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Chapter NumberXI
Chapter TitleHORROR AND SUSPENSE.THE FLIGHT
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article111163246
Full Date1863-11-04
Page Number3
Corrections0
Word Count2228
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Newcastle Chronicle and Hunter River District News (NSW : 1859 - 1866)
Trove TitleCivilisation; or, Dark Scenes in Australia. A Tale Founded on Fact
article text

CIVILISATION; OR, DARK SCENES IN AUSTRALIA.

A TAf.lt FOUVDHD ON FACT.

Br Etienne— Author of 'Rough Ya-n» from the Bush,' ' Colonial Sketches,' ' Lifa at the South.'

Chapter XI. HORROR AND SUSPENSE-THE FLIGHT.

'Twas a weary day, and a dreary day ; Dark mists o'erspread the sky, And the sun could scarcely struggle through The storm clouds rushing by. There was nought above to speak of Hope,— Nothing around but gloom ; And on earth the mighty bush was still, With the silence of the tomb.

Ob, what a long night that was ; and what suspense and horror agitated the breasts of tbe two fugitives, as with the first glim mer of day they set nut on their perilous journey, the pathless land before them, silent and solitary, save when the deep still ness of its jungles was broken by the harsh cry of the hawk, or loud crack of the couch mau ; that waste extending miles upon miles, — an almost interminable barrier bet ween them and tho civilized world — and behind them were savnges, seeking their lives, those who could track the emu and kangaroo, to whom the bush was a volume possessing sundry marks, unreadable by any save those who, during their whole lives, had made such their study. And, to regain all they had lost, went those fugitives, ap parently unfutigued, even when night closed, and found them many miles from the savage camp ; a sort of false strength upheld them, and they journied onwsrd, fearing to stay even for a moment's rest, lest their pursuers should overtake them ; thus they kept on teir journey, till completely exhausted they nk on the banks of a small stream. A draught of the cool clear liquid, added to some kangaroo flesh and bread, soon re vived their drooping spirits, and they might even have joined in mutual congratulation

had it not been for the thought that poor Mary's child yet remained in the hands of those from whom they had escaped ; yet a faint gleam of hope illumined the heart of that mother as she recalled the parting words of their white preserver, viz., 'That he would take care of her child ;' then of fering up a prayer that God would bless them, and safely preserve them all through the remainder of that perilous journey, the two unfortunates luy down on the sward to sleep. There was no longer the appearance of strangers between them, for misfortune often makes us friends with those who, in a brighter hour, we might care little for ; and sympathy in misfortune made these two like sisters, and they lay down' to sleep, the little infant between them, closely covered with a shawl, which accident (rather than any favourable feeling towards them) had lelt in their possession. And they slept in peace ; nothing but the ground,' with its soft grass for a bed, — nothing butjthe trees 'neatli which they lay to shield them from the dews of heaven. The night was clear and star-light ; not a sound broke tho still ness of its hours, save the wind as, at inter vals, it.moved the tall trees, or the endeneff of the waves as with gentle murmur they broke upon' the distant shore; thus they slept in peace till the coming day bade them renew their weary journey. After partaking of some refresh met) t they departed to their arduous task, «nd ere mid-day had accom plished a fcut almost incredible ; but now their courage and strength failed them not; there was too muoli at stake ; life, liberty, and happiness were things worth striving, for. Thus day succeeded day, and they had began to congratulate themselves on their escape arid certain nssurauce of eventually

rencinng tneir settlement, when un evaut happened which they could not forsee, and which threw them into the utmost conster nation. Up till that period their route had lain on an almost level surface of ground ; a few small hills had been orossed, aud they, had prooeeded within eight of the sea during the whole way ; now, however, the aspeot of the oountry changed ; high and lo(ty mountains were prsceptible; and before them in a direot line appeared an almost perpen dicular wall of rocks, affording no visible means whereby a person might nscend to its summit; yet, notwithstanding these and similar difficulties, our wanderers pursued their journey, climbing lofty mountains, from the peaks of which they obtained a sublime view of the country through which they were passing. On one side was the sea, a vast expanse of ocean spreading far and wide, with its leaping waters glowing brightly in the beams of the mid-day buii j before them yawned nn. almost fathomless gulf, the deep bed of some tortuous river, its sides lined with swamp-oaks or cabbage trees, or the more delicate calymus or climb ing plant (47) and here and there tho slug gish stream was itself discernable, half hidden beneath the over-hanging fern and tangled brushwood, beyond this rose the almost perpendicular line of preoipies before referred to, black beetling and craggy ; a spot little fit for habitation, even of the rude beings to whom it belonged. The sisters gazed thereon with feelinga of sorrow and mortification at the knowledge that they could not prooeed no further unless by turning their steps in a contrary direction to that marked out for their course. Acoord ingly, turning their back to the coast, they descended the mountains and soon readied level ground, on which they travelled with comparative ease. All things now appeared to go on as well as heretofore, till they shorly afterwards awoke to a new and dreadful re ality. They had now little food — two bis cuits were, all their store, and these were husbanded as if they were e;old ; they were eventually shared between thorn, and yet hunger was unappeased. Famine now took hold of them, nnd Glarn, whoso child yot suokled at her breast, oould scarce nfford it any nourishment, so weak was she from tho long and weary travel. Two days and nights had passed over, and thoy had neither eaten Note (17).— Calymus Australli, * climbing plant whioh literally weaves the scrub together | it bears a small hard nul, and ii covered with thorni, alternating with (lit leavei,

or drank, nnd they were yet far from civili sation, nnd the same unchanging wilderness around there, solitary and pathless; yet, under all these difficulties, and the priva tions and sufferings they endured, they lent willing ear to the flattering tales of hope. Oh, those terrible days of hunger and thirst ; they began to calculate how much longer they could exist without food ; they had heard of persons being lost for mo;fe tlvin a week without sustenance, and eventually rescued from the jaws of death; three days only had they borne with, aud they thought perhaps they might bear with three more ; they and the child, and then — and then.

Chapter XII. Showing how much it it ponible for Human Natmi to bear with. The tidings thrill through every heart, And sympathy performs its part In this dread scene of others woes, So let the fatal drama close. Of all the trinla which can be borne by the human frame, few, if any, nffeot it so much as intense hunger and thirst — the former, how ever, ia tbe lesser evil, for wo may bear up against it longer — tbo frame appears woak and almost powerless for tbe fi»st few days, but afterwards tbe boiiy, as if in sympathy with the stomach, seem to possets unnatural strength and fortitude. It is tbe littoral tasking nature to its uppermost, and, when this ia ovor, the sufferer is beyond human skill. Ia thirst, there is no suoh reaction ; but there ia a oon ttant burning— an inward fire — which appears to parch up tbe vitals, and destroy cousoious ness. MudnefS and death are tho attendants of this awful situation — tbe sufferer, in most cases, dying raving mad. Cases without num ber might be adduced here, of persons who were lust in tho bush in those colonies; and, though having no food or water for several days, were eventually rescued from impending death. The autbor himself remembers a case in which a young man, a companion of his, fell down on tho road, exhausted, from want of water, although be bad only boon a few hours without it. However, to return to our fugi tives, who were ia the awful situation 1 have endeavoured to describe. Water they had not obtained for two dayo, and it was also several days since fool bad passed their lips; still

they journeyed on, feeling certain they must, ere long, reach soma civilized spot. They had now been upwards of a fortnight travelling, and tbe full moon gave them ample light to see their path ; and as few blacks at the North care to move about after dark, and our travellers only journeyed at that time, there was little cbinoe of their moeting any enemies. With suoh feelings of security, did they go on, tormented only by iutense hunger and thirst, when, on a sudden, ia a deep gully, not far from wliiub they wore standing, they perceived a small stream ; the clear moeubeatns thereon appoartd like tuoltau silver, and the noise made by ita waters as they fell ovor the rugged declivities, sounded music to their ears ; so Clara rested with her babe, whilst Mary, taking a small pinnican they had brought, descended the gully to fetch the much-needed fluid. Aud pleasant enongh was poor Mary, as sho stooped on tbe banks of that little 6trearo, nnd drank of its soulrevi vitig waters. Oh 1 it was delightful to plunge tha bands and arms tbereio, and to bathe the burning fevorisli brow; and in such employ ment she heeded not bow fast tbe moments fell, nor the impatience of that poor fellow sufftirer who awaited her return; but Nature, being at length satisfied with its long drought, she tilled the panutoan, and was about to de part, when, raisiug her hoad, she perceived two fiery orbs fixed full upon her, and, before she onuld overcome the thrill of fear whioh filled ber mind, a tall savage sprang to her tide, and, opposing tho feeble baud out stretobed to pmh him aside, clasped ber in bis arms, and bore ber with tbo f peed of an arrow toliiscamp. Awoke to the terrible nature of her

position, me voioe ot tue poor temale retused its offioe, and it was not for sevornl moraonta ere she oould give vent to her feelings; then shriek after shriek rang out oo tbfl stillness of the tranquil uight ; though few heard those cries, or came to ber assistance. On went the savage with hia living burtbon over his shou'dors, her long dish c veiled hair waving in the breezo; on with his prizo for the jungle in which he abode. A wild yell startled and made him pause in his flight, when anothor savage, apparently of similar station and like nese, rushed forward and oheokod Vbe licen tious ruffian ; hot words riaaeed between tliem, and, ere they raited their quarrel, a number of others approached and joined tho fray. Wo need not particularise further — there was a short struggle between tbeso wild men for possession of the prize ; tho strongest savage was tbe victor, nud from him sbo received tho grossest indignity, an aot perpetrated by all prcsont; after which, sho fell before tbe tomahawks of tbeso fiendish murderers, who, chopping her body in pieces, distributed them to their tribe. Au hour afterward* not a vestige thoreof remained, tbo flesh having been eaten, and the bones rcduooti to ashes, llo turn wo now to Clara and ber child. Sbo bad waited long and patiently for Mary's ro turn with water ; had it not been tbe want of this-, the fugitive might have slept; as it was, (?he had dntppod into a sort of waking slumber or reverie, from whioh ebo awoko to bear her sister's shriek, to which alone a wild yoll answered. On ! it was horrible to contem plate. Sbo started from tbo ground, and gazed wildly around ; not a human buiug was in sight; and she turnod to fly, when another yell startlod and tmdo her tremble from bead to foot ; sho sank uooonsoious to tho earth — ehe knew do moro, (To be continued.)

Capturb of an Alleged Accomplice of tub Bushrangers'.— Yesterday, in formation was given to the polioe that sev eral of the £5 notea given by H. Hotton, Esqr., to Gilbert and his party, for the ran som of Mr. Commissioner Keightley, were being put in circulation in the town, nnd one of our speoial oonstnbles sucoeedsd in apprehending a young] man who had pas sed three of the said notes, and upon whom two other of the notes wero found ; he was of oourse snfoly lodged in oustody, -and will, no doubt, shortly bo brought up for examin ation. We refrain from publishing further particulars for the present. — B.tthnrst Fre Pram, October 8 i .