|Newspaper Title||The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933)|
|Trove Title||The Hermit Convict|
THE HERMIT CONVICT.
By the Rev. William Draper.
There is nothing which casts such a shadow of desolation over a house as the death of its leader. Very tender must be the words which describe such a session of family sadness.
Julia Tomlinson was dumbstruck with amaze- ment. Her father's death was a subject she had never thought about. United to him so joy- ously, loving him so tenderly, and delighted to the fullest of enjoyment in her unclouded happy life, the thought of this coming to an end was all but impossible to her. Certainly she had never anticipated it. The funeral was over; the solemn service on the succeeding Sunday was passed; and still the daughter sat brooding over vacancy. Not even the presence of her lover could rouse her. She ate her food me- chanically; retired to rest as a machine obeys the dictate of its manipulator; but not a word could anyone extort from her.
More than a fortnight had passed away thus, and a consultation of the whole house took place. Only Mrs. Judd was absent; she had re- mained with Julia at the house. It was a touch-
ing sight to see old Judd, bareheaded, with his white locks, just standing inside the door. Mo- gara was there also, with her father. All had been explained, forgiven, and ratified with con- fessions and declarations of future love. Eagle Hawk was not there; nor was there a single native. They were holding a devil's service elsewhere. There was another in the church, who stood with sullen countenance and sunken eyes, which gleamed fiercely and then vacantly on old Judd, and there was one who was watch- ing him; taking every glance, and treasuring up in his memory their meaning. Yes, Black Bill watched his master's partner, David Argyle, and read his thoughts. They were murder, without the physical power to carry out the
Mrs. Judd was with Julia; but what a change! She cried: "See nurse, 'tis quite dark; light the candles. He will soon be home, he tells me he is coming. Light the candles, I'll get the
There was no restraint. Julia went out staggering, and brought the tea-things into the room, Mrs. Judd looking on with horror; she got the bread and the butter, in fact laid every- thing for tea, and then took her place at the head of the table. Then she exclaimed, "Hark! he is coming, hush!"
She had heard something, but it was not him; and yet, who can say that it was not? Would he not have whispered to the poor girl, "peace,
"There is nothing, dearest," said Mrs. Judd. "Ah! no, he has not come yet. I am tired, I will go to sleep." And, gentle as a lamb, she suffered Mrs. Judd to lead her to her room, where she was soon dozing in a restless slumber.
Poor James Stewart! He was nearly beside himself. It was thought that Julia might listen to him. So when she awoke he approached her bedside; but she arose, and with clenched fist, she raved out the words: "You have killed my father! villain! dog! cut-throat! Give me back my father! You have buried him! I saw you put on the mourning—hypocrite that you are 'to slay and then to take possession!' Go, bring him back! He can't—no, he can't! He is far away; coming home to-night—coming home to-night." The latter words were uttered in a song-like voice.
Let us draw tho veil over this terrible calamity. Julia was removed to Brisbane; but it was long before she awoke from her enchanted state; for enchantment is not altogether a delusion. Reason hurled from her throne is a problem difficult to solve. It may be partially a bodily ailing, but the distinction between the body and spirit sickness in this terrible visitation is too nearly balanced to decide this question with any degree of accuracy. Very frequently, in this dread sorrow, the beloved one is hated most, while the greatest enemy is counted as a bosom friend. During the whole of her derange- ment the sight of James Stewart sent Julia into a paroxysm of passion; but, as the end drew on, one morning she inquired for him. For- tunately he was in Brisbane. He saw her; she knew him as her lover. She was calm, and in her right mind. From that moment she gradu- ally recovered her health and strength.
But very stirring were the events which took place at Burnham during the next four months.
Mr. Wright was tired of station life, and
anxious to return to New South Wales. His
father was a merchant and shipowner in Sydney; and, being a straightforward man of principle, when he heard of the engagement between his son and Julia Gumby, wrote as follows:—"No man comes to good who breaks a girl's heart. No doubt you have acted foolishly in committing yourself so soon; but if she is a good girl, bring her home. Of course you will say sho is a first rater. But God bless you, my lad; it will be all right, no doubt." So Julia Gumby became Mrs. George Wright, and the happy couple, after spending a week of the honeymoon at the station, departed from Burnham to see it no more. In due time they reached Sydney, and Mrs. George was wedded again—at least in spirit —to the father-in-law, who saw at a glance, he said, "that George was no fool." Mrs. Wright turned out all that was anticipated by those who knew her. She gave good evidence that it was profitable for all things to live a godly life. Her husband fully agreed with her. The cala- mities which had fallen upon the Tomlinson family had made a deep impression on his mind. He became first a member, and then an active worker in the church, and many respect and honor him, and his happy, cheerful wife also.
One trouble seldom comes alono. The death of Colonel Tomlinson demonstrated this very
fully. The speculation into which he had en- tered is a profitable one, all things being equal but Colonel Tomlinson found that squatting in theory and practice were two different things. He bought the station from Mr. Sinclair for a large sum of money, and probably it was worth it. Half the amount was to remain on mort- gage. He had property enough to havo paid all the money down; but, having a lurking sus- picion that it might be necessary to fall back upon something else, he would not sell this property when he left England. Fortunately the impression upon his mind was not hastily dismissed, as too many of these thoughts are, and the property remained intact at his death. There was a sum of five thousand pounds to pay to Mr. Sinclair—the amount of the mort- gage to which reference has been made. The brief period of Colonel Tomlinson's possession
of the station had been unfavorable. Instead of gaining, he lost considerable sums. His ex- penditure also was large, and his previous habits altogether unfitted him for the life of a squatter. In short, to explain that which every one acquainted with station life knows full well, buying and selling under such circumstances are widely different. The daughter was left execu- tor of the father's will, in conjunction with Captain Oliver and Mr. Stewart. The captain was obliged to go to Sydney upon his own busi- ness, expecting that he would bo able to close up all his affairs in Australia, so us to return to England by the end of the year. He was loath to leave Julia in the state in which she then was; but after a long consultation with Mr. Coles and his co-executor, it was decided that as the principal business which required at- tention was the disposal of the station and the payment of the mortgage, this might be left in the hands of Stewart; so Captain Oliver de-
clined to act.
Then there was the very weighty question, what should be done with Mogara? From the hour that the truth became evident to her, she seemed to lose all, or nearly all her fondness for her wild savage life. It was distressing to Judd to hear her moaning out the words, "My father," for only before him did she confess the relationship. In secret she was dejected and melancholy; before the blacks she assumed an authority which it was hard to act. In fact, she gradually loathed the life she was leading, and in a conversation which took place about the time that Judd appeared to his wife at Burn- ham, she pointedly hinted her desire to be re- united if possible, to him whom now she posi- tively adored. The poor creature knew not how to love in duplicate; when love to her father assumed the place of hatred, Judd became a secondary person in her thoughts—her father
was all to her.
It may be objected that it was impossible for her to forget this relationship. But unless it is possible to understand what it is to smart for twenty years and more under a sense of one wrong and to be, like Mogara, a creature of one impulse only, it will not be easy to estimate the limited extent of her reasoning. There have been men of one book only, they read others, but only mechanically. Mogara looked along the path of life, and saw revenge at the termination of it. The events which led to it were as transi- tory in her ideas as the vapor in the morning
Hence, when she heard Stewart speaking to Judd about the probability of a reunion with his wife, her eyes opened wide as she saw his evident pleasure. Till this moment sho had not even thought of the possibility that he could have a wife, and the simple creature had suffi- cient judgment to shudder at the position into which her singular love to him might have led her. She was a strange compound of good and evil, but the filial had now risen above the natu- ral, and when Stewart took Judd up to the house she followed him. The hour was come when the twenty-two years' banishment was to end, and Mogara released from the thraldom of savage life. She crept softly into the house without interruption; everyone was in the dying man's room, and in the moment of the colonel's departure she rushed into her father's arms.
"Then it is so!" he said, as he raised her from the kneeling position into which she had fallen.
Everyone's attention was concentrated for the time upon the death scene, and immediately afterwards upon the bereaved daughter, so Cap- tain Oliver was allowed ample opportunity for the expression of love which went forth from him for his restored daughter. The interview which followed was long, and the explanations full and interesting.
"Ah! my father, zoo not know."
"I know enough, Isabel," [for this was her name] "to tell me that you must have suffered much. May God forgive me for all the past. I need it!"
"God fordiv zoo! Who do zoo speak of?"
The captain saw her ignorance and groaned within himself. "She knows no God!" he said mentally.
"It is the Great God, Isabel, the Great Spirit who made all. He dwells up there—all over the
"Ah! I know, I hear of Him long time ago; but no Great God among black people. They worship ugly, black thing."
So Isabel was restored to her father, and Burnham Beeches contained a bereaved daugh- ter who had lost her father, and a father who had found a long lost daughter. Of course Isabel became the very centre of attraction. Julia was not removed to Brisbane for several weeks after her father's death, and during the whole of that period she was kept in the obscu- rity of restraint—necessarily so. Isabel would have willingly become her nurse, but in the only interview which she had with her, she accused her so vehemently of a design to rob the house, that the poor woman was terrified, and nothing could induce her to go near Julia again.
"Is she not a singular creature, Mary?" said Lottie Gumby.
"Pretty, but very ignorant, Lottio."
"Yes, indeed she is, but what else could you expect? But, Mary, do you know there is a talk of breaking up the station?"
"Breaking up the station, dear?"
"Yes, Mary, they say there is ever so much owing upon it, and Captain Oliver has advised Mr. Stewart to pay no more, so your father will lose his money, I suppose. It will be very bad for all of us. Father says he does not know what ho is to do."
Now if Lottie had held her peace a few hours longer, she would have saved a great deal of trouble. Miss Sinclair heard all, but treasured up one sentence only, "your father will lose his money." This she carried safely home, and in due course dealt out to the astonished ear of her money-loving father. He knew that his money was safe, but if there was anything which he took umbrage at more than another, it was what he called beating about the bush. "I shall lose a lot of money, shall I? Not if I know it, Mr. Stewart." Accordingly his horse was saddled, and over to Leyton he went. Mr. Stewart was at home, and, without "beating about the bush," Mr. Sinclair charged him with double dealing.
It is probable that if he had deferred his visit to the next day, or in other words, had Mr.
Sinclair only followed his own nose, it would have led him straight into the best of conclu- sions. First, that Mr. Stewart waa not the man for double dealing. Secondly, that if he was he (Mr. Sinclair) had all the power on his side; and third, that his own advice would be strongly in favor of the very course which was contem- plated. But as it turned out, the honesty of Stewart resented the unrighteousness of the charge, and a fierce quarrel ensued. Mr. Sin- clair returned home full of threatenings and
slaughter at least in a pecuniary sense, and a new episode in the history of Burnham Beeches was the consequence thereof.
The issue of this to Isabel was the complete severance of her newly formed acquaintance with Mrs. Sinclair and her daughter.
PLANS AND PLOTS.
Captain Oliver was one day thinking about
his former life, and how much of it had been spent in evil doing. The death of Colonel
Tomlinson had made a deep impression on his mind also; the subsequent calamity which fell upon Julia increased the power of his resolu-
tion to live for some noble purpose; but the restoration of his daughter created paternal feelings, or rather revived them so strongly that he resolved upon a course which would make the future life of both father and daughter happy.
While musing thus, Mrs. Judd entered the
room, followed by her husband, and Captain Oliver spoke to her before she addressed him upon the all-painful subject of Julia's lament- able insanity.
"I am glad you are come, Mrs. Judd. May
I ask the favor of your advice?"
"Certainly, sir," she replied. "I was com- ing to consult you."
"Indeed. Let us have your business first,
"It is a long affair, captain. I fear it cannot b easily settled."
"Whit is it?" "Our removal."
"I do not think you have any reason to trouble yourself about that, Mrs. Judd. Mr. and Mrs. Gumby are going next week, and in a day or two Mr. Stewart will be here to wind-up all that can be settled, and he will be able to give you every satisfaction; at least, I hope so. I wish my troubles could be us easily settled."
"Your trouble, sir?"
"Yes, Mrs. Judd; I am sorely perplexed about my daughter. Where did you meet with her, Judd?"
Judd replied that it was a long story, but as Captain Oliver wished to know it, he related all the particulars, which are well known to the reader.
"I thank God, Captain Oliver, that I wns moved to tell her that it was you, her father,
that she had shot."
He paused, for he saw the pale face, the trembling nerve, and the consternation which followed this revelation. Captain Oliver did not know whose hand had fired the pistol till
"I am well punished," he said. "Mrs. Judd, I drove that girl into her savage life. Yes; I had no impulse to do it, but an unseen hand has overruled it all for good."
"Indeed He has, Captain Oliver, for all of us. He has been very merciful. I know that I feel it so; it seems to me like a resurrection
from tho dead."
"And yet, Mrs. Judd, there is an impression on my mind that troubles are not over. Do you know anything of such feelings?"
"Indeed I do, sir. I recollect many a time when it seemed to me as if voices were sounding in my ear, speaking wondrous thoughts. I do not think, sir, that they were the result of my imagination. I had strong desires; and when troubles came strong and thick those are an in- dispensable forerunner of comfort."
"You have gone deep into this, Mrs. Judd," "I have, sir; and I have found that some of my heaviest trials have been preceded by strong help and comfort from above. Then the trouble came; but like a house which has been prepared for strong tempests it did mo no
Judd heard all this with a bowed head and closed eyes. He had become strangely taciturn, as if he scarcely comprehended his altered posi- tion, Nor had he lost the sense of uneasiness which caused him to start and gaze about him with suspicion at every object and person he saw, as if he feared the moment of detection or captivity would come again. There was silence for a while, as Mrs. Judd concluded, which was at length broken by the inquiry, "Where is my daughter?" Captain Oliver asked the question more mechanically than otherwise; but ere the question could be answered, Isabel opened the door, and with a smile, not unmixed with a glance of inquiry as to what they were discus- sing, she went directly to her father, kissed his forehead, and putting her arm round his nock, inquired if he was "going out zoon."
"Why, dear?" was the reply.
"Because I go with zoo, please." "Certainly, if you like, Isabel."
"Then I much liko."
"You shall go. But, Isabel, Mrs. Judd has been talking to me and Mr. Judd——"
"Well, Henry then—you know that name best. We have been talking about leaving."
"Leaving zick, poor lady?"
"We have no such meaning, Isabel. Miss Tomlinson will go away soon to another home; I go also with her; Mrs. Judd go too, and Henry, and you must go."
"Where? Not away from zoo? Never again away from zoo."
Her eyes shot glances of fire as she spoke these words, and she clung to her father as if greatly alarmed. She looked exceedingly hand- some, and Mrs. Judd must have thought so, for she said, in trying to comfort her, "Poor, dear, beautiful Isabel, no one is going to send her
away." Captain Oliver looked at her with ad- miration, and as it frequently happens that there only requires some little episode to settle the most weighty questions, Isabel's unexpected union to the consulting trio, and the alarm which she felt at the thought of being again compelled to leave her father, decided the whole matter. Isabel was to go to England under any
So her father told her, and she caressingly assented. Then he laughingly said he hoped she "would not shoot him again;" and the dark eyes read from Judd's face, the fact that he had revealed this. She looked at her father, then at Mrs. Judd, and again at her old com- panion, and finally fell on her kneos, crying out, "Forgive me; I did not know what I do then. I poor zavage girl; no friend—all forzake. I
zay me zhoot man who leave mother. No other thought in my mind. Father! I had forgot the name. I think I was mad."
"Poor child," said Captain Oliver, at he raised her. "Poor child, you were not to blame. I was the bad one."
"No, no; me bad, I know that; but I pray the great God to forgive me, and Mrs. Coles she read me out of great book. I had one
book the long time I was in bush, but I not read. No; but Mrs, Coles she read me good
things, and tell me the great God He forgive me. Zoo zee, father, how I can read now."
"I do not think, dear," said Captain Oliver,
that you will make much way by yourself at this sort of thing. The English language is very awkward to understand, and to you, Isabel, it will present muny difficulties at first. We must try and help you, and you will soon get hold of much more than you at present know."
In spite of all these disadvantages, the high
spirited Isabel was very happy; and with the prospect of going to England with her father
she seemed to lose all her fear, and as Mrs. Judd remarked every day made some improve-
ment in her.
It has been stated that Eaglehawk and his
tribe were holding a devil's service at the time when the people were assembled in Burnham Church to pray to Almighty God for His inter-
position on behalf of the demented Julia. It was a corroboree under extraordinary circum-
Eaglehawk, burning with rago and jealously because Mogara—we call Isabel so in connec- tion with the natives—had forsaken the tribe to live with the white people, returned to the camp after the death of Colonel Tomlinson, and made a great speech. Mogara had sent for him, and in a long and earnest conversation she told him that her resolution was fixed "to go with
the white gentleman." As it turned out, she could not have made a more unfortunate re- mark than "go with the white gentleman," for tho old black construed it to mean a desertion
under aggravated circumstances. He told her so, but she pleaded the sacred name of father. "Father" has a place amongst the aboriginal words, but its significance is sadly marred, and to Eaglehawk's hard stony heart it meant little more than any other word. The parting was therefore a declaration of war by fiery glances, meaning diabolical revenge on the one side, and haughty defiance on the other. Mogara knew little about patience; she had reigned supreme amongst the natives, and even under altered circumstances she insisted on her command
being respected. This time, however, the re- sult was not what she expected. Eaglehawk was full of horrible resolves, and if Mogara could have heard his speech to the natives she would have known that mischief was brewing
which it would be hard to counteract.
The old black commenced his address, which was spoken in the quick and excited manner which has obtained for the speech of the abo- riginals the epithet of "jabber," by relating his interview with Mogara and its result. He was
listened to with silence until he told them that she
was gone with the white gentleman. "Gone," said he in the native tongue, "all the days; never see again." Then the scene was worthy of Pandemonium. Eaglehawk resumed his speech, after allowing the poison to spread a little by saying, "Shall we let our Queen go like this?" Shouts of disapprobation followed his several questions. "Shall we let her live with white man? Shall we not force her to come back? Shall we not burn house; kill man; bind Mogara; carry her away, far away; and
she no more see white man?"
The sun was just setting as he finished his speech, and by this time he had succeeded in raising high the rage and fury of the blacks. "Corrobboree," "corrobboree," "corrobboree," was shouted from every lip. Eagle Hawk as- sented, and in an instant a hundred hands were engaged in collecting the materials for the orgie. In about forty minutes three great fires were lighted, and at a given signal twelve painted natives ran into the midst of the camp from the dark background of a scrubby lot of trees, and commenced a dance which was in- tended to be highly melo-dramic. There was music and singing, but the performers were in- visible, and this was intended to heighten the effect of the ceremony, for though everyone knew that the performance was by some of their own number, yet so constituted are we all that mystery of any kind never fails to exert its influence upon the mind. Somehow the voices were so arranged as to appear to come from the ground, and ever and anon the dancers shouted out native words which signified "spirit." Then the singing would sink into the most faint sound, presently rising into a perfect Babel of fury, during which the twelve dancers rushed round the circle, their heads being turned round, and their eyes glaring with savage ferocity; their arms raised; and their hands grasping boome- rangs, which at last each one in turn, rushing to- wards the centre between the three fires, threw down on the ground with a terrific yell, and then ran off into the darkness from whence they had come. Then another set of performers on the other side of the charmed circle began their wild savage music and singing. At first it was a faint cry, as of distress, during which two natives, hand in hand, appeared suddenly, as if they had sprang from the earth. These began to jump from side to side. In a minute or two, two more appeared in like manner, and then another couple, until at last thirty painted warriors were on the scene, divided off into
three separate tens, each ten hovering round one of the three fires. Then began a series of movements of an extraordinary character. Five out of each ten jumped to the right and five to the left. So they continued, with almost in- credible exertion, for more than fifteen minutes, each movement increasing in velocity, until at the last the excitement was so great, the music so loud, the shouts so terrific, and the scene so picturesque, in spite of its horrible accompani- ments, that to have been an indifferent specta- tor would have been impossible. The third act commenced by both acts of performers ad- vancing with fortissimo shouts, and the whole tribe ran round the three fires with vehement frenzy, shouting "Death! corrobboree! corrob- boree! death!" until at last they all rushed off into the darkness of the forest, having first scattered the fires, throwing upon the burning embers water which had been previously pro- vided for the purpose. This demonstrated the extinction of life, and the silence which followed was that of the grave. Not a sound was heard, not a trace could be seen of a human being; all the tribe had vanished as if by magic.
It was the prelude to active warfare, but there was diplomacy in this campaign. Next morning Eagle Hawk, while on a tour of observation, en- countered David Argyle, who was returning home from a visit to the public-house, which visits had become a matter of course now. Fre- quent relapses into illness had produced an effect upon Argyle's mind, which might be termed the stunting of the feelings. He had firmly set his face against any interference on the part of
James Stewart. An arrangement had conse- quently been made by which the partnership was to be dissolved, and this for the time raised
the temper of the drunkard into recklessness.
He broke out into horrible invectives, but
heaped most of his bitterness on the head of Judd, until his hatred of the man became most
"So this is it, is it?" he said to James Ste- wart, when the proposition to dissolve partner- ship was made. "You throw me over, whose money made you what you are, for that villian over yonder. Curse him, I'll have my eye on
Stewart was inexpressibly grieved, but meekly replied, "David, what harm have I ever done to you? what am I doing now?"
"What harm? Did you not help that rascal to try and cheat me, and if you had not done it, would he have got me, do ye think, into his cursed clutches? I say you did it all. It was you that were the means of me being trans-
"Oh, David, this is grevious indeed, you know that I never could have done you wrong, had I known it. Poor soul, you are blind to look at things in this light."
"Blind, am I? Not so blind as you think, as I will soon show you. I am not going to be thwarted and lectured because you are trying to get the upper hand, I can tell you."
"Let me ask you one thing, David Argyle: what bad motive can I have in wishing to see you do what is right? Would your mother——"
"Hold your tongue, Stewart, hold your tongue,
"No, David, I will not hold my tongue when the very life of my friend is at stake. I will speak."
"Will you? Then, by God, you must take the consequence" He struck at Stewart as he spoke, but he might as well have levelled his hand against a tree, for his power had melted into nothingness; the broad-shouldered, strong- chested man, had become a poor weak emaciated creature, against whom Stewart's hand merely raised to ward off the blow, was as a rock, and he fell heavily to the ground.
Stewart advanced to raise him when he saw that he still remained where he fell, but he scowled upon him with a wild look of fury say- ing, "Go your way, James Stewart, get your deed drawn up soon—soon, mind, you cannot be too soon. I shall be at the sea-board sooner than you. I wish ye joy, my lad, with your charming bride. What a prize, a horrible luna-
tic. Ah! ah!"
Stewart could not leave the place immediately, he was struck with mingled grief and awe. His heart was full of resolves that ho would still try to reclaim, but judgment whispered, "now, it is best to leave him." Argyle got up to go to
the public-house, and remained there for the rest of the day; and on the morning of the next, he was returning home, as we have seen, with two bottles of brandy tied up in his handkerchief, when he met Eagle Hawk sauntering along the road. He knew him in- stantly, having seen him at the station on the day of Colonel Tomlinson's death; and, accosting the old man, he offered him a drink. Eagle Hawk had heard about the fire drink of the white man, but had never tasted it; and at first he was extremely suspicious about the bottle. Alas! it is no novelty to these poor creatures now. Eagle Hawk tasted, made a wry face, coughed and spluttered a little, then tasted again, and finally laughed, patted the bottle, and said, "Him good."
"Ah, my boy, it is good!" said Argyle, alight- ing from his horse. "Sit down, and you shall have some with me." So saying, he led the way to a shady place a little way off the road, tied up his horse, and, pouring out a glass of brandy into a metal vessel which he carried with him, he drank it off, giving Eagle Hawk one also. Of course their tongues soon begun to talk, and Argyle discovered that in his com- rade he had found a ready comrade for the ac- complishment of his great desire. More brandy and more talk, partly by pantomime and partly by actual words; but about as hellish a plot was concocted in that interview as ever human thought devised. Another chapter is necessary
to unfold this.
They did not know that another pair of ears was listening to them, but Black Bill, who had been sent by James Stewart to procure tidings of David Argyle, had tracked him so closely as to become a witness to all that passed. Black Bill now had very frequently this duty to per- form; it was a necessary precaution, as Argyle often fell from his horse, and was found by the messenger dead drunk, sometimes in very dangerous circumstances. Once he had fallen into a ditch, and his head was actually in the water; a few more inches on, and there was enough to drown him. Another time, he was found close to a bed of ants, who resented the intrusion by innumerable attacks, and so thoroughly senseless was he that they had actually eaten away pieces of his skin, and when Bill discovered him, he was covered with these little but formidable creatures, so that ho ap- peared as a living mass of insect life. This time the black servant had to be more careful, for he saw that Argyle was sober; but he knew well how to skirmish around the post of observation, so as to lie in ambush and hear all without being seen.
"More brandy," said he to himself, "you no talk much more: Massa Argyle, you take care of yourself to-day; if you fall on ants to-day, I pray you stop tere; better you tan your betters, tat's what I say. Here's off to Massa
So saying he withdrew from his hiding place very cautiously, but there was little need of any particular care, for the two men were noisy enough to have drowned any sound, and as quick as he could run, he hastened home. Here he sought "Massa Stewart," as he always called him, but found that he was gone to Burnham Beeches. Off to that station he sped, and arrived there just as Mr. Coles, and his master, with Captain Oliver, were going to Mr. Sinclair's, for the purpose of arranging some business connected with them all, more or
less; for the reverend gentleman's position was much altered since the change of circumstances attendant on the station passing again into other hands. A purchaser was in treaty for it,
who had plainly said, "he wanted to see no parson on the place, if he bought it."
Black Bill, without a moment's hesitation, asked his master to hear him, and as there was such evident alarm upon his countenance, James Stewart with a sign to his companions to follow him, led the way into the keeping room.
"Oh, Massa Stewart, sich bad job: Massa Argyle down long road with great big black fellow, him up here at station, when good massa,
"Yes, I know, said Stewart,—what about
"Him! Massa Argyle, give blackfellow brandy; tey drink one, two, tree, many lots of brandy; ten tey talk; I walk round quite care- ful, make no noise; Jeroosalem! how tey talk,
"Don't say, Jerusalem, Bill."
"Tat word help me, Massa Stewart; it makes
me wonder; ten gives me moment to tink; ten idea he come, many white man, massa he say, deuce; what to devil, and——"
"Quite enough, Bill, quite enough, white
men who does so acts very wicked; deuce is devil, and we have quite enough of his doing without talking about him needlessly."
"So you would tink, Massa Stewart, if you heard tem two. Massa Argyle, he say, 'what te devil your name?' 'Eaglehawk,' says the black- fellow. 'Ah,' says Massa Argyle, 'ten you know lady up at station, lady who live many years wit you?' 'Know she,' said Eaglehawk— at least I tink he say so, only he talk so very funny, edicated persons not able to hear plain;
The edicated person paused, as he saw a smile on the countenances of the listeners, but soon resumed his statement: "Well, Massa Stewart, ten he ask if he know Massa Judd, and him nod him head. Says Massa Argyle, 'I cut him troat;' and he drew him finger cross him troat, just like tis." Here Black Bill, by pantomimic action, illustrated what he meant.
"Well, go on, Bill."
"Yes, massa, I come to it presently. Well, he say, 'I want him kill, you no like him.' 'No,' says big blackfellow, 'I no like him;' and he dash his great big stick ting on to te ground. Whereupon Massa Argyle, he say, 'I go to station with letter; Massa Judd, he go out wid me; I lead up long road; you come knock him on head; I give you plenty brandy —fire drink; you go to station, take back fine lady; burn house; white man, he run; kill tem all; fine fun.' Massa," said Black Bill, solemnly, 'I no tink Massa Argyle sober when he say tis; he mad, and blackfellow he too drunk to mind what he say; but tey got so very fighty tat, tinks I, here goes tell Massa Stewart."
"A very pretty plot indeed," said Captain Oliver. "Now, what is to be done? Your partner, Stewart, is fast filling up his cup, I
"Alas! what this cursed drink will do," said
"Ah! indeed," replied Stewart, "there never was a kinder, better young man than he was; God only knows what it willcome to."
"But what can be done?" said Captain Oliver. "We are not ready to go yet, and this scheme may end in—I was going to use a nasty word, Mr. Coles, but it is bettor kept back. Let us have Isabel in, she can tell us about this
"And Judd also," said Mr. Coles; "or let the lady be left out of tho question."
"I don't know "replied Captain Oliver; "Isabel has strong nerve, and knows more about this
fellow than we do."
So Isabel was summoned, and Judd came with her, and the plot was unfolded. The former heard it with the strongest signs of impatience, anger, and fiery impetuosity. But Judd was no longer the man of the woods; the hermit; the monarch of the storm; or the active schemer; or even able to suggest any thing for his own safety. The revelation seemed to level
him to the dust. "
Isabel, on the contrary, was like a tigress bereft of her cubs. She spoke with effort, but
with a most determined will.
"Father, dear father, I will go to the blacks; I zee Eaglehawk, I command them: I will live with them three, four, ten days; then I will come, when zoo ready to go, and we all go away together."
"No, no, my child," replied Captain Oliver, with much emotion, "I will never consent to
"My father, there is many blacks, zoo know,
and zo strong: they come here, fight, kill me; me go there, all zafe; no harm will come to zoo, none of zoo."
"I think she is right, captain," said Stewart, "but it is a terrible thing to be exposed to. What say you: I will go too."
"That never do, Massa Stewart; they very sharp, know great deal: now I zay, I come back, and they like me much. I know them
"But how can we tell you are right, Isabel; no, this is too great a thing to do; let us fight it out, surely we are a match for them."
"Zoo lose life then, father," exclaimed Isabel, "I know them well, there are zome very strong men with that people. Now I go, I zend black gin every day for zome tobacco; then I zend one paper with cross upon it: zoo zend back nothing but tobacco, till zoo ready to go, then zoo zend no tobacco, but zay come again to- morrow. Then I keep Eaglehawk; he no go to zee Massa Argyle: all come right."
"Noble-hearted Isabel," exclaimed Mr. Coles, "you do indeed deserve the title."
"But I cannot let you go, my dearest," said Captain Oliver.
"No good, father, no good, I have my own way; always come right."
"I have no doubt that Isabel, Captain Oliver, has influence enough to do all she says, but I cannot bear that she should run any risk for me." Judd spoke these words very slowly, regarding the face of the proud half-caste wo- man with intense eagerness.
But nothing could move her, except Captain Oliver absolutely said "No;" and that, said Isabel, with a most engaging and artless smile,
"I know he will not."
So she again put on her old dress, for in that alone could she go to the tribe. She knelt and kissed her father's hand, then put her arm around his neck, kissed his forehead, then wav- ing her hand she rushed out of the room, bounded off the verandah, and with a rapid walk was soon lost to sight.
For a minute or two not a word was spoken. Mrs. Gumby looked at her as she bounded away as if she never intended to close her eyes
They would have continued to look but for the entrance of Mr. Sinclair, who, of course, heard the particulars about Isabel's departure. He shook his head; told them he had passed the old black lying on the side of the road, with a bottle by his side. He had broken the bottle, and, said he, "he will sleep where he is till he gets sober. Now, gentlemen, I am at your
While they are discussing some very knotty
points, for which neither of them were fitted just then, their thoughts being with the absent
Isabel, we will follow the courageous woman as she speeds on to her destination. The camp was fully four miles away from Burnham, but onward she went, until she caught sight of the smoke of the fires: then she paused and recon- noitered. Her aim was to come upon the blacks suddenly, so as to produce an instant impression, but she found that this was impossible. There was no high ground to conceal her approach; no trees to form an ambush; so she resolved to march on, trusting to circumstances to show her how to act. She was soon seen, and twenty blacks shouting and yelling, ran to meet her. She asked for Eaglehawk, but there was no reply. "Tell me," she cried, in the native tongue, speaking in her usual commanding
voice, "tell me, where he is."
Still there was no reply, but an angry scowl upon the faces of the men which betokened mis- chief. She was equal to the occasion, and stamping fiercely on the ground, planting her staff before her as she always did, she cried, "who will answer me, have you no mouths to
"Mouths to speak to Mogara; Mogara dead
"You lie," she shrieked; "you lie; Mogara is here; Mogara is come back to be your queen."
"No," was the angry response, "Mogara
killed at corrobboree."
"What say you, killed at corroboree; who dare to do so? tell me." She laid her hand on a young native who stood close to her as she spoke.
"Eaglehawk," was the reply.
"Eaglehawk kill Mogara at corrobboree; tell me where I find him. I make him cry for
this. Bulla, on to camp, Mogara com-
She was right, her influence was all power- ful; to a man they turned round, and marched to the camp. Not many besides themselves, and half-a-dozen gins and some children were in the camp, all the rest had gone out in vari- ous directions. Mogara acknowledged the greeting of all she met, with an authoritative wave of her hand; then she ordered the men to erect her umpie; this was done in less than
an hour, and then Mogara quietly awaited
the return of Eaglehawk, who alone of all the rest she now feared. She well knew what the killing at corroboree meant, and that Eagle- hawk never swerved from the universal cus-
"He has the start of me," said Mogara, as she sat down at the entrance to her umpie, but the great God lives.
THE DEATH STRUGGLE.
The day and the night passed away, and still Mogara sat at the entrance to her umpie, watching. All the natives had returned to camp, but she spoke not to them, and they were as taciturn as she. Morning dawned, but still Eaglehawk came not, and now Mogara began to show signs of impatience and anxiety. Even the short period of civilised life which she had enjoyed at the station had produced its physical effect upon her. She shivered in the keen morning air, and felt that her accustomed vitality was sensibly lower. More than this, she was hungry, and the horrible food which was available disgusted her. How she longed for a little milk or a cup of tea, but it was no use. Several times the temptation was very strong to return to the station at all hazards, but this she courageously resisted. The sun arose, but still there was no sign of the chief. At last Mogara resolved to send a gin to the station as she had arranged, and calling a young girl, she gave her instructions what to do. To her surprise, she refused to obey her. Then Mogara arose, and seizing the gin, dragged her, into the midst of the camp. There soon gathered an excited, chattering, and startled group of both men and women, many of whom were far from satisfied with Mo- gara's action. There was a division in the camp; the greater part had not been present when Mogara returned, and until Eaglehawk came back they were unwilling to act on either
Mogara saw what was passing in their minds, but was far too much excited to care about it. In the turmoil which such thoughts created, she began a very famous harangue: some of the natives remembered it long afterwards. It pro- duced a certain effect, but a most unsatisfactory result. Mogara had learnt to speak with greater refinement, which though of no great value or extent in civilized life, yet was startlingly evi- dent to the senses of the native. They ad- mired her fluency of speech; applauded her many new modes of address; assented to the reasonableness of her demands, but in her tem- porary exaltation to white men's society there had been an action of thought which presented an insurmountable barrier to the renewal of loyalty on the one side, or power to rule on the
As she concluded, Eaglehawk arrived. The old man strode up to the place where Mogara stood, his eyes flashing with deadly hatred. There was a strong impulse within him to hate, for he was feeling the effects of his drunken freak; his head ached with the fumes of the spirit, and his brain reeled with strong excite- ment. In awakening from his insensibility, his hatred to white men was most intense. Like many a poor creature who knows better, he de- spised the man who had given him the drink. He accosted Mogara—"Intangau: what is your
"Why do you ask, Eaglehawk? you know it." "Gurwalko," replied the black man, "long while ago I know Mogara; Mogara, dautou—
"Yawoi—yes—waiaroo koola—hungry and displeased."
"Eaglrhawk corroboree, Mogara, meniente?" It will be tedious to continue the conversation in the native tongue, but words here and there may indicate a meaning when the allusion is purely Australian.
"Eaglehawk corroboree Mogara, Mogara go away; live with white man! Eaglehawk angry; blackfellow, they corroboree too."
"Tell me," replied Mogara: "when I go away long time ago, go away, one, two, three, many day, zoo no corroboree, Mogara, then."
"White man Henry no with us then. He come; no good; all go wrong. Blackfellow he nothing."
"Ah! I zee, replied Mogara; and zo you no want yarun (hunting ground). You make white man angry; he drive blackfellow to dabileban (salt water); then come yungyarba (flood tide), drown, destroy all blackfellow, they all corroboree by white man."
Mogara reckoned wrong again by this mode of address. The tribe had smarted sorely in their conflict with Captain Oliver; several of the natives were severely wounded, and it re- quired all the power which Mogara could use at that time to prevent a rush upon the white men, which would have soon terminated the struggle. But the blacks, though stayed in their attack by the impetuous command of tho woman, had sense enough to feel that they might have gained the victory. For a brief peried, that is during the journey to Burnham, they were tractable; but when the wounded managed to crawl into the camp, at the end of three days, they had enough to say to excite the revengeful feelings of the whole tribe. In the height of the discussion which ensued, Eagle Hawk also returned to camp, rage and fury tearing his judgment to pieces, and the corro- boree took place. From that moment, Mogara was regarded as an outcast whose death it would be a virtue to accomplish. Still the in- domitable spirit of the fine woman overawed the children of the bush. They dared to kill, and yet they dared not strike the blow. But when Mogara hinted the possibility of the tribe being hunted away to the sea board, there arose a ter- rible cry, "goyam, mogara, goyam!" (fire, thun- der, fire); Eagle Hawk then lifted his club, and struck Mogara down. She roso instantly staggering and reeling, and with her long staff she parried the blows with which the old man now attempted to complete her destruction. The contest was left to Eagle Hawk according to the usual custom, and continued for some minutes. Mogara was sorely wounded, and the blood was flowing from each gash; Eaglehawk had been struck about the head, and his blood, inflamed by the drink, rushed to his brain, mak- ing him reel and stagger like a drunken man. During the turmoil, the shouts and yells of the blacks were frightful: imagine a hundred mad- men let loose, this would be far below the reality. But the combat soon came to a crisis; the poor woman was again struck down with a fearful blow which stunned her, and Eagle Hawk was pressing on to complete the sacrifice, when a bullet from an unseen hand entered his forehead, and he fell lifeless over the body of his victim. A cry of dismay arose from every blackfellow, which, combined with shrieks from the gins, was horrible. Their courage was all gone; their chiefs and leaders were slain; they all arose
It was a perfect rout, for the shots were now rapidly repeated, and the blacks, believing that they were surrounded, escaped as they could, in fact they ran for precious life. Never as a tribe did they assemble again. Thirty men armed with muskets, revolvers, and pistols, routed them again from the hiding place where they camped some few hours after Eagle Hawk's death, and they were shot, massacred, in a word, all but exterminated. An old man or two, who be- longed to the tribe, yet remain; the white hairs proclaim their venerable age, but the recollec- tion of that day makes them shudder. Eagle Hawk, they still remember; but Mogara—they turn away when they hear the word.
[to be continued.]