|Chapter Title||ABDUCTED BY BUSHRANGERS.|
|Newspaper Title||The Shoalhaven Telegraph (NSW : 1879 - 1937)|
|Trove Title||Ettie's Error. An Australian Story|
-ETTIE'S | ERROR; AN AUSTRALIAN STOBY.
; BY HAROLD W. H. STEPHEN,
Continued, CHAPTER XVII. ' ? AHDUCTI2D NY llUBlIItANGliRH. '
James S(iuIroa left Mrs. Battloy'tron tho following morning, without making 'any ^ further attempt to ace Ettio or Tilly. Ho . had learned from Miss Sprod that both tho ?young ladies were violontly prejudiced against him, and ho hold it hotter, therefore, to bido his timo. 'Thoy actually have tho effrontery to
uujuuuu uiiib you campereu witn tne aiary,' . said Miss Sprod, aa he was taking farewell of that lady, prior to his departure. j ' IIw can thoy beliovo' subh a monstrous thing f ' exclaimed James, with a line assump tion of yirtuous indignation. 'They don't beliovo itl ' retorted Miss Sprod, firmly. ' That is, I will not go so far ; as to say that my niece does not, because, in her present state of infatuation, she is utterly iuoapablo of reasoning. But tho other young woman knows woll enough that you could not have written the entries, oven if you had ? so wished. My impression ia that she rum maged over your cousin's despatch-box, and iinding the piece of blotting-paper, saw immediately how it could bo used in his defence, if she pretended that sho had found it in any room which you had recently occupied.' ? ' No doubt you are right,' replied James. h Ono would never have expected to find such depravity in so young a girl.' ' You might not ; but women of experience know that, tho ease is not uncommon. I distrusted tho girl thominutol set eyes upon ? '? her.' . ? 'It is a satisfaction to mo to know that % , you, at least, recognise my innocence,' said James, fervently, and emphasisiug tho lemark by a tender squeeze of the spinster's withered paw. 'Clood bye, my dear Miss .. Spiod — I shall never forgot your goodness 1 ' ... V Now that is something like a young . man,' mused tho lady, as he rode away. ' And they would try to make me believe ? that ho is a forger ! Monstrous 1 The man is as transparently freo from guile as anyone I ever know 1 ' . Miss Sprod afterwards promulgated this - opinion at tho breakfast- table, but did not . succeed in convincing her companions, both of whom declared that they were as satisfiod ?'* of . James' guilt, as if they had seen him at ? work. Later in the day, Mr. Davidson arrived fiom Melbourne, and was rapturously wel comed by his daughter, who presented him to tlio other ladies, in a manner whioh showed ?that sho thought hor papa was something to bo proud of. As indeed he was, if appearance had any thing to do with the judgment. Ilobort ? Davidson^vas a halo hearty man of fifty years, with whom . time had dealt very loniently. His looks were slightly grizzled, it is true, and scarcely as exuberant as when ho was thirty years j'ounger ; but his sunburni: faco bore none of tho lines and furrows which mark the struggles of a troubled spirit, and lio was as upright as u dart, whilst his ovory movomcnt . betrayed that tho elasticity of youth had not yot departed from his musolcs. A gonial true soul shone out through his dear groy oyo, and his shapely mouth, un hidden by moustacho, smiled as mouths only can smilo when tho heart goes with them. After lioliad been putin full possession of all tho facts of the case, Mr. Davidson declared that he would at once proceed on to Buckinburra, as ho had brought with him a detective, who wished to begin his perquis itions at the station. ' Oh but you must not leave us to-night, papa 1 ' cried Tilly. 44 1 must indeed ; but I promise you to return to-morrow. See, my ohild, it would, bo cruel to. your cousin to detain me, when timo is of so much importance to us.' - There was no gainsaying this argument, so Mr. Davidson was suffered to depart in a buggy which lie had hired in Albury, having rocoived full instructions as to tho road. Ho had seen John at tho gaol, and had obtained from him an authority to act on his behalf in all mattors concerning the management of tho station. _ Lato in tho afternoon, Mrs. Batfcloy, stand ing in tlw verandah, was startled by the noiso of galloping horses ; and presently, four men, enveloped in a cloud of dust, dashed up to tho door, and shouted the ominous words, 'Bail-up.1' . °ld lady shrieked, and would havo run inside, but was arrested by ono of tho bush rangers, who had dismounted, and seized her by tho arm. w* ' hoM,' lio said, not unkindly, and lio pushed her into a seat, whero sho romaincd, trembling, and sobbing, whilst two of tho mon proceeded to search tho house. They were all disguised by thick craps , masks, and each man held a revolver in his / , - hand, whilst another was stuck in his belt. . v - . In_ au incrcdibly short Bpaws of timo, all ; tho inmates of tho hotel woro assembled in tho verandah, whoro they woro guarded by two of the bushrangers, whilst tho others went inside. Ettio and Miss Sprod woro frightened al most put of thoir wits, but Tilly (who had had . oxporienco of bushrangers) took tho matter moro coolly, whispering to her companions that, in all probability, tlio mon would be oil, as soon as they had obtained tne plunder and provisions thoy probably wanted. But a sad surprise was in store for this young lady. After a short interval, tho two . ? ^bushrangers camo round from tho back of tho house, dragging with them a spring-cart. To this vohiclo thoy proceeded to attach ono of thoir horses, and thon thoy again rotired into tho hotel, but returned a minuto later with a portmanteau and travelling-bag, which Tilly at onco recognised as her property. ' What aro you going to do with thoso things ? ' sho oried, dauntlosslj*, ' You can take out tho littlo jowellry there is in thom — I suppose you don't want my clothes 1 ' 'Shut upj' said tlio man wHo stood nearest to hor. 'Wo know what we aro about, well onough.' 'And you call yourself mon 1 ' oried tho \ ,
young lady, stung to madnoas at tho thought of losing her property. ' I novor hoard bo foro that bualnangora atolo ladioa' olothing I ' 'Hush, huali, Tilly I ' whispered Ettio, nervously. 'Pray do not exasperate thom — I can -loud you all you want, till you got moro.' But tho bushrangers paid no hoed, lifting tlio things into tho cart, without even con donccnding to delay for ono moment. ' Now then, mother Ilattloy,' cried ono of thom; ' trot us out something to drink, and we'll inalio trucks.' Mrs. Battley, only too eagor to got rid of lier troubloaomo customors on such oasy terms, hurried into tho house, aud presently returnod with a tray of glassua and a botllo of brandy. , . ' '.v Aftor each of tho men had swallowed a ?tumblerful,, tlio . ono who had hitherto takon the lead, disappeared inta tho house, and re turned in a ininuto with a bloaft land hat. Thoso ho Hung to Tilly, much to. ^4' amaze ment. 'Put 'em on at oneo,' lio said; and, un thinkingly, she complied with tlio order. 'That's all right,' ho tlionfsafel. ' Now jump into tlio cart, 'coa wo ain tTgot no timo to' lose.' ' Jump into tho cart ? Ma jump into tho enrt I ' exclaimed tho girl, with, a look, of wonder, for sho had not yet reklisefl tho man's moaning. - ' Yes, you,' was the reply. 'So liurry up I ' But why ? Why should I got into Iho cart ?,'. ???? 'Becos I toll you to, and bcco3 you're a-goin' along of us.' ? = 'Oh, no, no I ' cried Ettio, flinging her arma about tlio girl; ' V- '? ' - : , But.Tilly stood defiantly boforo him, with blazing eyes and onmson cheeks. 'lam not going with you I ' alio said. 'I would sooner die lir.it I ' ' You cannot bo so cruel— so wicked I sobbed Ettio. ? 'Got no timo for blubbering,' said tlio bushranger, grullly. ' Bear a hand liero ' — and, at his signal, another man stopped for ward, and between tliom thoy seized Tilly and' dragged lier towards the eart. The girl did not scream, but struggled vigorously, whilst Ettio foil fainting in tlie verandah. 'Look here, miss,' aaid tho loader, stop ping for a moment ; 'wo mean you ho harm, but you must come with us, and, if you 'don't' como quiet, wo shall liavo to tio you down.' ' Tic me, then I' oried Tilly, renewing lier struggle. ' Cowards I Oil, you mean, despic able cowards I ' But the bushrangers were determined, and ono of 'them brought a clothes-line, with whioh they bound the poor girl's lianda be hind lior back ; and then ? wound it tight around her dress. They 'thon proceeded to gag hor, and finally dopositod her in tlio bot tom of the cart, covering her carofully with a rug, and somo sacking. ! That done, they called for a parting-glass, and finally departed, just as tho sun was sinking behind tho ranges. . CHAPTER XVIII. IN THE POLICE C0UI1T. Tho Albury Police Court, largo aait ia, was orowded to suffocation when Jofm Squires and Charlie Dawson were arraigned on the chargo of murder. Both yojmg men.*\vero natives of tho district, and ovorybody^knew and liked them ; so that their appcaranco in the dock was the signal for a murmur of sympathy, which all tho authority of iho Police Magistrate failed to quell for' a tow. moments. Very fairly and briefly the Superintendent of Polico stated the oase, admitting that tho prisoners had surrendered of their own free will, and had, furthor, themselves made him acquainted with tho chargo brought against them. Nothing would, lie aaid, givo him greater pleasure than to find lliem innocent, but, much as lie might sympathise with them, it was his duty to placo clearly beforo tho court the evidence which tended to crimi nate them ; whioli evidence, ho was bound to say, appeared, at present, to be overwhelming. The arrest having been proved, tho deposi tions, taken at tlio inquest on tho body of tli9 supposed Georgo Boardman, woro put in ovidonce, and Mr. Grant was thon called. That gentleman proved the finding of the diary, and swore that, to tho best of his belief, tho entries it contained wore mado by John Davidson Squires. Mr. Staines, a barrister who had been re tained for tho accused, asked, in crossexami nation, whether Mr. Grant was suro that tho criminating entries woro in tho writing; of John Squires. ' ' I cannot bo sure,' was tho roply. . ' Mr. Squiros'a handwriting is vory commonplace, and similar to that of many men to whom the uso of the pen is comparatively unfamiliar. I daresay I know half-a-dozen gentlemen in this district whoao writing might easily bo mistaken for that of tho accusod.' ' Who advised you to mako a search in tlie despatch-box ? ' asked Mr. Staines. ' James Squires.' ' Have you any reason to believe that this James Squires, who is, I believe, a cousin of tho accused, boro any ill-will to liis cousin ? ' 'No— thoy always appeared to bo living to gether on good torms.' ' In tho event of John Squires being, con victod, would James benefit thereby ?'???'? ' I am afraid,' interrupted tho Superin tendent of Polioo, ' that it is my duty to interfere. I havo no deairo to throw any obstacle in tho way of tho defence, but I muat say that these questions appear to bo entirely irrelevant, and inadmivsable.' 'I will not cohto3t tho point,' said Mr. Staines. ' I have no more questions so ask.' Mrs. Boardman then entered tho witness box. Sho deposed that hor namo was Martha Boardman. Had boon married to Georgo Boardman, and lived with him for somo years on tho Indigo Creek Diggings. About a year provioualy, hor husband loft hor, telling her ho was going to freo-select on tho Albury side of tho Murray Bivor, and that, as soon as hohad ran up a hut on the selection, ho would send for her. -Hud neither seen, nor heard from him sinco then. ' How oame you hero to-day, Mrs. Board man ? ' asked Mr. Staines. . ; Whioh I come in a Bpring-oart along o' a neighbour which was so kind as drivo me over.' Did yor think I was a-goin' to tramp it ?'' This anawer rai8od a laugh, whioh was promptly chocked. 'I did not mean by what convoyarico you camo,' said tho barrister, ' but how it hap pened that you learned ot this oaao being on ? ' ' I jest lieerd talk of it liko,' replied tlio witness, sullenly. ' And yot you hoard no talk about tho in quest on your husband's body— or what was aupposod to bo his body ? ' ' No, I didn't, or I'd a-como ovor then, for sartin. Boardman, ho wero not always what a husband ought tor bo, but ho wero my hus band, and Lord forbid I'd say anythin' agin liim, now he's gono I' ' Vory woll. Now, ia it not a fact that, shortly after your husband's departure from Indigo, you received a letter from him, datod from Mclbourno ? ' ' No, I didn't.' ' What I Will you swear that you havo not shown such a letter to many persons in your neighbourhood ? ' ' Yea, I will swear it.' ' Mra. Boardman,' Baid Mr. Staines, gravoly — ' aro you awaro what you are say- 1
ing ? Do you know that you aro committing perjury?' ' I novor showed no letter from Boardman' — 'cos why? he can't road nor wnto,' said tho witness, triumphantly. 'I sco — a moro quibblo. You received a letter, any. way, , purporting to liavo been written for your liuaband ?''.?? - 'Yes.'' ? _ ' In which ho told you that ho intonded to livo soparalo from you in future, and promisod to allow you .112 por week, as long as you did not attempt to find him out ?'' : . Yos.' . ? ?? , \ ????? ? ? ' And .you havo boon paid two pounds wookly ovor sinco ?' , ' Maybo- 1 have— but that was oonscionce monoy.' ' ' ' What ?' ' Coniscionco-inonoy, ; paid by thorn mur derers to tho widow and orphans ot tho man, thoy killed.' As alio aaid this, Mra. Boardman pointed vindictively at tho prisonora in tho dock. , r 'You must not speak of tho accused- in; .such fashion,' said tho Polico Magistrate.' 'Tho law estimates every man aa innocent until ho has boon proved guilty.' 1 '!? . ButMr. Staines had no moro questions to! ask, and tho Superintendent of , Polioo re-: trained from re-examining the witness; her last answer sufficing to afford reasonable ex-; cuso for tlio weokly payments. '? . ' This concluded the caso for tho crown, nnd; Mr. Staines at oneo asked for the disehargo of; Charlio Dawson, on tho ground tliat tlio entry' did not in any way compromise him. ? ' Isubmit,' 'ho said, ' that, even if your worships aro of opinion that there is sullicient' ovidenco boforo you to warrant yon in com mitting Mr. Squires for trial, nothing has been adduced which tends to criminato Mr. Dawson. It is true that, according to tho entry in the diary upon which the chargo ia founded, Mr. Dawson was at Buckinburra on the morning of tho day upon which tho mur der is said to liavo been committed ; but it does not appear that ho romaincd there, or that he was a companion of Mr. Squires in tho afternoon excursion with tho dogs. The entry reads ' aftor dinner wont out with the dogs— killed an old man.' How does this in volvo Mr. Dawson ? ' ' Inforcntially it does,' remarked tho Super intendent of Polico, ' as it appears that Mr. Dawson was thoro in the morning, and that he and Mr. Squires camo to some agresment as to tho treatment of freo-acleetors, who were oneroaohing upon thoir runs.' ? 'Would any jury send a man to tho gal lows on such an inference?' asked Mr. Staines. 'Snpiio.se, for example; two. men; had a grudge against another, and wero over hoard expressing that grudge in the morning. Then later oil, circumstantial evidonco proved that ono of these mon had murdered their enemy — would the simplo factof tho morning's conversation be sullicient to implicate tlio othor man ? — Yet here we havo evon less to go' upon. I confidently ask your worships to discliargo Mr. Charles Dawson.' The magistrates consulted apart for a few minutes, and then tho chairman announced that they had unanimously como to tho con clusion that thoro was not sufficient ovidonce: before tlio Court to warrant thom in detain ing Mr. Dawson in custody. Charlie, accordingly, loft the dock, and took his seat in tho body of tho court, amidst a loud murmur of applause. Mr. Staines resumed — 'I shall now show your Worahips that one principal clement in the case' for the prosecution is wanting — I allude to the ? motive for tho crimo. I admit that it is by' no means necossury to prove 'motive' in sheeting homo a charge against a prisoner ; but, whero evidence is entirely circumatantial, sucli a question is of paramount importance. Mr. Squires is accuscd of having murdered ono, Georgo Boardman, in order to prevent tho said Boardman from settling on his run ; which, according to the ovideneo of Mrs. Boardman, there was some probability of his intending to do. What will you say whon I tell you that Georgo Boardman is alive and well at this present moment? ' This announcement created intense excite ment in court, amidst which Mrs. Boardman elbowed her way up to the barrister's table, and, in shrill tones, which completely over topped all other noiso, cried out : 'My husband alivo I Goorgo Boardman alive and woll? Show me tlio murderin' villin, and I'll scratch his eyes' out 1 ' BoarF of laughter greeted this ebullition, and, for Homo minutes, tho court , was moro like a bear-garden than a tomplo of justice; at last,. Mr. _ Stainbs was enabled to resume, which lie did by calling on Deteotivo Sum mers. . This witness deposed that, acting undor in structions from tho solicitor, for tho defence, ho had instituted enquiries, whioh had re sulted in his unearthing George Boardman, who was kooping a small public-houso in Collingwood. Boardman objected very strongly to going to Albury, and, undor the circumstanccs, he (tho doteotive) thought the ends _o£ justice would bo sufficiently served by obtaining a photograph of the man, and his statutory declaration, both of which witness produced. The statutory declaration set forth that George Boardman, desiring to livo apart from his wife, had left lier, leaving her to b'oliove ' that he was about to free-select iu New South Wales, wlioroas instead he had mado his way to Melbourne, and purchased the good-will of a public-house in Collingwood. Ho had caused tho lettor (reforred to by Mra. Board man) to bo written to his wife, and had regu larly sent her £2 por week, whioh was as much as he could afford, hia business being very far from good. j Mrs. Boardman, being recalled, was ? asked it sho recognised tlio photograph of her hus band. ' ' : 'Yes, your Wasliup, that's him,' suro onoughl ' she oried.. ' Oh, the deceitful, vil linous vagabono I Oh, won't I warm liim I ' 'That will do,' said tho Superintendent of Polico, -who; of oourao, had no questions to asl: tho witness. ??. ' ? : L '? '..???? But tho lady had not yet finished. 'Yo'ur Worship,' she oried, -J! couldn't I git an ordor for that onnateral wretoh to bo brought back to liis , wife and pore little ohil drbn?' . . v ' All in good time,' said tho chairman. 'You must leave the box now, if you please —you can make : your application another time.' A long consultation now took place between tho magistrates, which rosultod at last in tho announcement that thoy had come to the conclusion that it was thoir duty to commit John Davidson Squires for trial, for the murder of some man unknown. ' No othor result could bavo beon ex pectod,' said Mr. Grant, ' and I think we should havo done better to apply for a remand.' This was addressed to Mr. Staines, and tlio Dawsons, father and, son, who loft tho court as soon aa tho decision waa given. ' I don't soo what difference it will mako,' roplicd Mr. Staines. ' Tho Bench would not liava remanded for moro than a weok, aud the Circuit Court comes on iu a fortnight.' ' Perhaps you aro right. We can still got tho caso put off till next Circuit, if it is found to bo desirable.' They were still talking, when the Super intendent of Polioo camo up, wearing a very grave face, and informed thom that intelli gence had just reachod him of tho outrage at Mrs. Battloy's, which had taken placo on tho foregoing evening. 'Great Hoavonsl ' cried' Oharlio. 'Do
you mean to say tho infernal ruffians carricd off Miaa Davidson ? ' 'Yes — bound and gagged, in a spring cart,' waa tha roply.' Charlio used somo langungo which may not bo_ recorded, and then announced his deter mination to go in pursuit himself. 'I liavo givon orders for six troopers to start at onco,' aaid tho Superintendent, 'and you can accompany thom if you like.' Ton minutes later, tha party started, ac companied by the Suporintondont, who, at tlio last moment, determined to tako com mand of tho expedition himself. CIIAPTElt XIX. ON TIIE Tltill. Budding love needs but a trifle to cause it to bloom into effervescence. Charlie Dawson had known Tilly. Davidson only a few hours, wn may say; and, although ho was fully awaro that ho admired tho young lady im mensely, lio was by 110 means prepared to admit, ovon to .himself, that ho loved her. Now, however— now when ho camo to learn of the cruel outrage to which sho had beon subjected— now, lio was quite sure that lie loved her as no man had over loved before. His soul was up in arms and eagerfor tho fray, and never hero of ancient chivalry burned with a fiercer desire to fly at the throat of tho enemy of his. ladye-lovo, than did this young ?man to meet' tho bushrangers in deadly combat. Ho Itiade no pretence of indifference, but lot liis companion clearly understand the slato of the ease, unwittingly insinuating that the young lady shared hia aentiincnt3 ; and thereby leading tho Superintendent of Police to tho inevitable conclusion that thoy we're engaged. But there was not mueii opportunity for conversation, as most of tho journey was ac complished at a hand-gallop. ? On arriving at Mrs. Battloy's tlioy found that Mr. Davidson had preceded them by about lialf-an-hour, accorapanicd by King Billy, wlioso services aa a tracker, that gontloman wisoly thought would bo useful. The old gentleman took mattors muoh more coolly than did tho young one. Hohad lived in- tlio far north, in a district remote from polico prolectton, whero every settlor had to hold himself prepared to meet attack at any timo, cither from wandering desperadoos who had escaped from convict settlements, or from tribes of ficrco, untamable, aborigi nals, who naturally resented tho intrusion of white men upon their domains. As has beon before remarked, Mr. Davidson's homestead ;had, on more than ono occasion, been subject to such raids, whero bloodliad boon shed, and thero was little hope of quarterfrom the aggressors. To him, therefore, tho visit of tlio bushrangers to Mrs Battley's appeared to be a comparatively tamo episode, .which scarcely would have deserved serious con sideration, if it had not'been for tho obduc tion of his daughter. And oven as rogarda this last-named out rage, ho felt but slight anxiety. . ' You see,' he said to Charlie Dawson, : aftor that young gentleman liaddolivoredhim-.' himself of an extremely melodramatic tirade — ' You see, theso bushrangers can never mean to do tho girl aiiy injury. You must not think mo cold-blooded, or unfeeling, if I do not share your graver apprehensions.' What audi more ovont ia money : and, -what! they do not want is to attract too much at tention to them or their actions. As long as; tliey commit no special act of violence, thoy can rcckon on the sympathy of many of tho lower class of settlers, whilst thoir oapturo would be regarded merely aa a matter for the polico. On the othor hand, tho abduction of an innocent young girl, were that abduction followed by any after violence, or exception ally cruel treatmont, would alienate many of their frionds and well- wishers, and raiso up a hue and cry in pursuit in which every decent man would feel bound to take part. No,— bolieve me, my daughter is safe in their hands ; and not many lioura will oxpiro before wo 8hall hear a demand for hor ransom.' 'Thoro ia much truth in what you say,' remarked tho Superintendent of Police ; ' but if ransom were their sole object, why did thoy not posseaa themaelves of tho person of Mrs. Squires, whoso husband' is well known to be comparatively wealthy ; whilst of your means to pay liberally for the restoration of your daughter, thoy could know absolutely notli ing ? ' _ 'It is by no riieana certain that tliey may not have mistaken one lady foi- tho other,' replied Mr. Davidson, quietly.; ' 'Pardon mo- everything points to the conclusion that they knew perfectly well what they wore about. There was no hesitation in their ? movoments, and ono of tho men made his way, without guidance, into Miss David son's room.' 1 'What; is; your theory about it, then'?' asked Mr. Davidson. 'I incline to think that there is a lover in tha ease,' replied the Superintendent, shortly., ? ? ? ? ' . ' Impossible. My daughter lias only boon in tho neighbourhood for a few days, and lias made hardly any acquaintances.' ' Perhaps some rejected lover has followed her here,' persisted tho officer. ' I cannot bolievo it. She lias novor. boon in society, having only just loft school. Be sides, I feel- suro that, if any man had ad dressed himself to lier, she would have in formed me of tlio fact. Sho is as outspoken as tlio day; and lias no mother to mako her confidante.' '? ; : ;::i; ' Well; sir,' aaid Charlio Dawaon, who was burning with impatience to commence the purauit — 'I do not see tlio uso of wasting timo in spcoulations as to the scoundrels' motives ; tho fact remains ? that thoy havo abduotod tho young lady, and our businosa is to follow them, ai)d got her back.' ' ?' ' Of course ; still, in tlio ueuroli for a motive, we might alight upon some oluo to their retreat. Whore do you think thoy liavo betaken themselves ? ' This question, addressed to tlio Suporin tondont of Police, caused that gontloman to hesitate beforo replying. : At last : — 'I think,'' said ho, -'that; if your theory is correct, and tho bushrangers merely intend to extort a' ransom, thoy will havo hidden themselves in tho ranges, at no vory groat distanoo from liero. If, on tho oontrary, my viow is tlio correct one, thoy will ; be hurrying away to placo tlio young lady in tlio hands of their employer ; and in such case, wo may have a very long distanco to travel beforo wo ovcrtako thom ; ovon if wo havo tho luok to got upon tho right track. However, lot ua sot off at onco — tho homes aro rested, and at least wo know in which direc tion they first betook themselves.' . King Billy, highly elated at tho responsi bility which devolved upon him, had been despatched somo timo previously, with in structions to cxamino the road on cither aide, and to wait for tho troop aa soon aa ho dis covered any aign of wheel-tracks diverging off into tho bush; so that there was no such great need for hurry as Charlio Dawson imagined. But tho afternoon was far ad vanced, thoreforo, without further parloy, tho party sot out, having previously provided themselves with ample store of provisions and water ; as it waa certain thoy would bo compelled to camp out for that night, at least, and tho morrow might find them in a part of tlie country in which no settlement had as yet taken place. Ettio saw them depart with sinking heart. The experiences of the last few days had been terrible to her, a gently-natured English i lady ; and, though she held up bravely in the prosonco of the utrangers, she broke down
completely as thoy disappeared from viow, and indulged in a fit of hysterical sobbing, which made even tho strong-minded Miaa Sprod fearful and sympathetic. As thoy rode along, Charlio Dawson took advantage of _ tho temporary absonco of tho officer of polico to open hia heart to Mr. Davidson, and formally request that gentle man's consent to hia suit for Tilly's hand. , ' You must not think it strange of me to apoalc ao aoon, Mr. Davidson,' he added. 'I'horo aro times when it becomes im possible for a man to conceal his feelings, and I know that I could not fail to betray myself, before wo had been many houra together.' ' You havo takon mo by surprise, Mr. Dawaon. Mind, I do not deny tho possibility of lovo at first sight, but you must permit mo to doubt tho frcquoncy of such an occurrence. You know nothing of my daughter, beyond tho_ facts that she has a pretty face, and a sprightly manner — but it is impossible to regard such attractions as sufficient basis for tho foundation of a firm affection, and I could not give her to you Unless I were well assured that you would nevor repent tho bargain.' Charlio began the uaual protcatations, but waa summarily cut short by tho older gentle man. ' I know — I know I ' ho said impatiently. ' I've heard, that sort of thing on the stage, by tho yard ; and I haven't tho slightest doubt but that you believe every word you are saying. Timo, however, is the only test to apply in these oases. If, after a reasonable interval, I find you in tho same mind, I shall not opposo tho match — alwaya provided that our future acquaintance provoa you to bo worthy of my confidence — and, of course, anbjeot to my daughter's sharing your Ben timonts. ' Oh, thank you, sir,' exclaimed Charlie, joyfully. ' I don't aak any more, I assure you.' !' I do not givo you credit for tho folly of thinking that you would be likely to receive any more,' said Mr. Davidson, cynically. ' Havo you said anything to Tilly about your pretensions.' 'How could I, sir?' aBkcd Charlie. 'I did'nt know tho state of my own feelings till to-day,' lie added ingeniously. Hero they wero interrupted by the Super intendent, who shouted to them to come on, as King Billy was in viow. Thoy found tho aboriginalseatedon a fallen tree by the wayaide, and amoking a Bliort black pipe, with a ludicrous air of dignity, and self-gratulation. ' Well, Billy,' said tho Superintendent, a3 they checked their horses. ' Have you found their tracks ? ' King Billy pointed majestically with tho atom of his pipe. 'Them dam rascal bin drive along here,' ho said. 'Billy make no bloomin' error. ' Spose you gib it glass rum — mine berry siok look about all day.' Charlio nuscrewed the bottom of his flask, and filled it to tho brim with brandy, which Billy tossed off with thu air of a man who knew that he woll deserved tho reward ; and the march was then resumed, Billy leading the van at a sling trot, which covered tho ground with marvellous rapidity. Their course lay up a thinly-timbered gully, between two ateep hills, and, from the forma tion of tho land,- the officer judged that the cart could not havo proceeded much farther. Nevertheless, at nightfall tho wheel-tracks were still visible, and it was determined to camp, as,- in the event of the bushrangers boing anywhere iu tho neighborhood, a pur suit by the light of lanterns would inevitably result in placing them upon thoir guard, and enabling them to escape beforo the polico could got within reach of them. They lighted no fire, but thia was no dis comfort, as tho night was warm, and they woro well provided with cooked provisions, and spirits and water. Tho horses woro hobbled and turned adrift, having previously beon watered at a holo which Billy discovered at tho bottom of the gully. Thon, after a smoke and a chat one of 'tho men was_ placed, on guard, and tho rest lay down, with their heads in thoir saddles, in truo bush fashion. At groy dawn tho trooper on duty was just thinking about awakening his companions, whon ho percoivcd, flitting from tree to tree, down the side of tho hill, a figure, apparently clothed in long wliito garments. 'Who goes thero?' ho oried, raising his carbine. ' Stand, or I fire I' Immediately tho camp waa in commotion. Every man waa on his feet in a twinkling, and nothing was hoard for a few moments but the rattle of arms, and the hurried questioning of. the awakened sleepers. ' Silence 1' cried the Superintendent, in atom tones. ' Now, what is it? Speak man I' Thia to the sontry. The trooper pointed to a diatant tree, be hind which a figure might bo aeon crouching, as if for shelter. A hasty order was given; the men stood ready; and thon the Superintendent cried out to tho intruder to come down to tho camp at once. Thoro advanced, fearlessly laughing, and shaking her tawny loclta in tho morning breezo, a young girU . (To be Continued.)