|Chapter Title||A NIGHT OF HORRORS|
|Newspaper Title||The Newcastle Chronicle and Hunter River District News (NSW : 1859 - 1866)|
|Trove Title||Civilisation; or, Dark Scenes in Australia. A Tale Founded on Fact|
CIVILISATION ; OB. DARK SCENES IN AUSTRALIA.
A TALE FOUNDED ON FACT. Br BriBNNB— Author of 'Rough Yarns from the Bush,' ' Colonial Sketches,' ' Life at the South.'
Chapter XVI. A NIGHT OF HORRORS.
They rest in their graves, where trees charr'd nnd hoary, With the wind uiftli a requiem around their lone bier, And the bushmnu yet shudders to bear the sad story, And recalls their dear caines with a sigh and a tear. Old Mick was not satisfied ; his mind was ill at easo ever since the blacks had arrived, nnd he Bat in a chair by the fire Bide with his double barrel I'd piece near him, and
tnougut overtime proouoie, or rather im probable yarn which lie had heard — perhaps it wa3 true — the two brothers dead far away in the bush, killed hy aboriginals, who, by Tomrnv'g account, lmd chased him fur his life. It was nut feasible that such was ihe case, he being one of their own people; and so thought the old man. This is a spy come here with his yarn about Myals. Hud it not been for those foolish women I should have killed him long since ; but he shall not es cape now , to-aorrow ha shall die. While such thoughts were passing through his mind, he appeared earnestly gazing into the (ire, when he suddenly perceived the pre tended sleeper cautiously open his oyes and look at him. Ah, that was a look ! anger, revenue, and hatred appeared lliero gather ed to one point; then the eyes closed, and the prostrate being appeared once more to sleep — and so did Mick as he laid h:s hand on his open knife, and kept his gun near him. Presently he began to nod, and then snore ; first in a low, nnd afterwards in a louder breath, till none could imagine he was counterfeiting. The black cautiously raised his head to see if ha were watched, but as Mick did not move, he rose slowly, and in a few moments was standing ou his feet. The old band still appeared to sleep, in order to watch his further movements ; the aboriginal unrolled tho remnant of a shirt which had served font pillow, and took therefrom a bright tomahawk ; looked at it ; and with this weapon advanced towards the supposed sleeping white man. To start to his feet, raise and fire the gun, was the work of an instant. A loud report was heard; then there was a tremendous crash, us of tho: breaking of wood and the fall, of broken glass; tha room was filled with smoke, which, when it cleared away, discovered no trace of his black antagonist who had evi dently escaped by breaking tho shutter of thu window with his tomahawk. At tliie juncture, the. affrighted females, awakened by the report of firearms, rushed screaming into the apartment. The old hand used all endeavours to allay their fears as he hurried ly pointed out the position in which they
uow sioou. -? xitit lie said,' lonr not, ive got every thing ready if they come ; rqturn to your beds, and I will still keep watch du ring the rest of the night;' At this instant, loud cries were heard, and immediately afterwards Mick perceived a ?hoot of bark fall from the roof, and two spears were hurled through the aperture, neither of which struck any of the party. A gun being fired in that direction, appeared to hit the assailants, as with a loud shriek one huge body rolled from .the roof. It wus too dark to see the number of the attacking party, bat they could hear many voices, and see firesticks gleaming brightly through the mists of the night; the house was com pletely surrounded ; but, as the uulluh nullahs demolished the windows and shut ter--, the shots of the white man's gun told well on his assailants, more than twenty of whom fell before his unerring aim. Deter, mined, if possible, to disperse the fiendish assembly, Mick still kept up a steady fire,'; and they, seeing concealment' no longer necessary, were loudly talking, crying], yelling, and making other hideous noises -? then there seemed to be a lull in the strife, and silence took the place of all that cla mour. The old man. for a moment, left
his post, merely to enquire concerning the welfare of the females, who had both fainted, but, had regained composure on being in formed ' it would soon be all over.' Mich re entered thu room, and peered anxiously into the gloom, but conld discern nothing The crackling branches, however, still con vinced him the savages were still at hand', and he thought they were about to erect their camp. Reflection, however, told him they seldom or over made guuyahs of branches when bark is obtainable ; and he was at a loss to know what meant those dull heavy sounds heard near the Iiourb, occasioned by logs they were dragging. Mick was startled ; a light thin sinokeTilled the apartment; he had heard oftentimes of savages setting fire to the houses of their enemies when all other means of vongennoc had failed, and that this was now the oase ho felt certain. Wildly ho rushed to the other side of tho house ou which his foes had made attack, to ascertain the extent of their work. They hail kindled a fire, evi dently with a view to burn tho dwelling, and, from the quantity of leaves aud light wood heaped on nil sides, there appeared every likelihood of such being its eventual fate Dense volumes of blaok siuoko n:xr rolled through every crevioe, almost filliuj the building, whilst nt intervals the blaze shot up and oauglit the stringy bark slabs, of which it was composod ; one end had fairly caught, whilst tho fiendish savages still added more fuel to the heap. Just then the white man arrived at tho spot, Mid, taking sure aim, fired into their midst. Two huge fellows, who were carrying Iokb to assist the conflagration, uttered loud cries, and foil lifeless into tho burning mass. But what was the loss of ono or two persons, to that vast body of infuriate beings. The night wtis still dark, but the flames from tho burning habitation mado all objeota as perfectly distinguishable at though it had been daylight. The terrified females clung to Miok, imploring him, with tears, to save them from the awful fate to whioh they were hastening. Tho old iqnn ,wap much moved, but bade them yef
hope that rescue would arrive. He said this, although he clearly saw there was little hope; yet he thought it well they should bear up till the last. ' What shall we do ?'' ' VVhat shall we do ?' cried both, wringing their bunds, whilst tears of agony fell unchecked, or unheeded. 'There's only one way,'' replied Miuk, 'and that I (ion't like to propose, 'catise some would nay I was feared, so I'll say nothing about it ; if it comes to the worst, we can die here old woman.' ' Ah ! but this plant, Mick,' soid they eagerly ; '? What way of escape have you thought of?' ' Well,' said he, ' Its just this : let me get out of this place, and ride to the next station, and bring back
some of them lads, as will help us ; I think I could sneuk away in the darkness, and, ii I do, I could soon get back ; but ite no two, you can't Btop here.' ' Yes,' replied they, ' Go at once ; we can stuy, if you will only go and bring succour; the plan you propose is good ; Oh ! go ut once, de lay no longer, or wo shall all perish.' Pushing him towards the door, Mick gently remonstrated, and told them he would as cend by the chimney. A fit of coughing from the dense smoke prevented further iulking, as the old hand commenced the itscent, aud, in a few moments, had gained ibe top ; having successfully drawn up his double-barrelled gun, he could not refrain from taking aim at the treaoherous Tommy, who appeared to be one of the leaders of the motley assembly. ?' Ah, Ah !' laughed ,lhs savage, ' Bail you shoot im, me Massar JMick ; me roast im you now.' The old hnnd saw further f tratagem was useless, as, with tho agility of a goat, he slid down on ihe outsidu of the house. ' White feller, white feller !'' echo'd through the ussembly, 'who, observing him reach the ground, in stantly gave ohttse With his gun, he suc ceeded in keeping his assailants at buy, although at intervals a spear or boomerang would lull within a few yards of his course, yet he turned not, or stopped — it was on for life or death across the plains, deep gulleys, and mountains, till he reached the banks of a large river, chased for miles by his antagonists; then he paused, and, carefully seoreting his fqwling-pieoe among the bushes, plunged into the streura. A few moments ufterwards, his pursuers came up, but no trace of the fugitive was discemable ; he had completely eluded their snares (5!i), and they returned to gloat their fieudish ap petites on the two poor helpless beings left in the burning hut. What then happened is unknown ; but the morning. sun rose on a charred and blackened muss. This was now all- that remained of the station of Munglago, affdamid that heap wero human bones, aud the smoke, thereof curled up ward in the still morning air heavenward, as if to call for vengeance Note (62.)— Similar circumstances of an escape from bucks was related to me bv James Kelly, formerly -» ihtjilierd iii Hie . Burnett district, whn informed me that he once ran three miles from an outatation, chased by aboriginals, who.iiad killed his hut mote. I have Heard of many occurrences of the kind in various parts of Queensland. , -~. (To be continued.)