|Chapter Title||SHADOWS COMING NEARER.|
|Newspaper Title||The Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933)|
|Trove Title||The Hermit Convict|
THE HERMIT CONVICT.
By the Rev. William Draper.
SHADOWS COMING NEARER.
Before Hermit had reached the slip panel he was summoned back by a cooey. Mr. Baines spoke to him: "Hermit, my man, you told me this morning that you would not take the sheop up to Mr. Sinclair's station. This gentleman, Colonel Tomlinson, wants you to ride over to his station with a note. He will not be able to go on for a day or two at least, and they are ex- pected; the people will be alarmed and trouble may arise. Now my plan is, let Tommy go for Jack Reeve—that is the doctor, colonel," said Mr Baines addressing Colonel Tomlinson, "a strange name, but he is very useful at times. Well, Hermit, I was saying, let Tommy go on for the doctor and Dick to Burnham, he knows the place which you don't, and you drive the sheep up the range, and Dick can meet you on the road as he returns, and then you can go on
together. You can't refuse."
"No, master, I do it. I not intend to go out this district until I left colony for good, and I leave soon as my time up." Hermit said these words in a low muttering tone of voice, looking
on the ground.
"That will serve us then admirably," said Colonel Tomlinson "Many thanks to you, Mr. Baines, and you, my good fellow, when you want a good turn, recollect that I shall be
in your debt."
The note was soon written, and again the shepherd started on his journey. The moon was lighting up the eastern sky, and soon rose bright and clear, she was on the wane, and Hermit was thereby enabled to push along faster, and in about an hour he reached the hut, where the two stockmen were wrapped in profound slumber. Not so profound, however, were the dogs, for Hermit heard their furious barking a full mile before he reached the station. Ever watchful they heralded his approach even at that distance and had he been on foot as a stranger it would have gone hard with him. But dog-like they soon recognised the horse, then the rider seemed to be an acquaintance, and then they were sure of it, and finally, as Hermit knocked at tho door of the hut, all the dogs were upon terms of the greatest friendship with the shepherd. Perhaps his own dog was the mediator or the censor, it matters not which, it is certain that he walked composedly through the whole company of dogs.
The stockmen were soon aroused, the tale was told, the fire lit, and a cup of tea preparing, while the men chatted over the night's work and made their preparations.
"Who could it have been, Harry?" said Tommy, addressing the shepherd.
"Well, I have notion 'twas some of the blacks,"
"I never know any of that sort do sich a thing," said Dick, "'tisn't like 'em at all."
"Where could they get a revolver either? tell me that, Harry," said Tommy.
"I think some them New South Wales blacks got them things," replied Hermit. " I hear so."
"Well it is a rum start," said Dick. "I only wish we had been down there, Tommy. Only to think that we should have been away the only night when there was any fun."
"Not much fun," said Hermit, "if you seed the fellow who shot gentleman would have made
blood run cold."
"What was he like, Hermit?" inquired
"Like? What he like? Why like—I don't
know what he like."
"Ha! ha!" shouted both the stockmen, "why he did it himself, that's what he did. Why, man, there's blood upon you. Look!—
on your coat."
It was all said in jest, but the momentary pallid countenance and vacant manner betrayed a guilty conscience. This soon passed away, and perhaps it was to put an end to the conversa- tion that Hermit said he would go and fetch the horses while the men snatched a hasty meal. This did not occupy long, and fully equipped, both of them rode away.
Hermit listened to their shouts as they gal- loped along the bush track which led to the main road, but soon these were hushed in a silence which might be felt. Literally there was not a sound. Hermit had the universe of his circling thoughts all to himself. He lighted his pipe and sat down in a half reclining posturo at the door of the hut. No sleep was there for him to- night, he felt sure of that, and this was enough to loosen the reins of his thoughts. Scenes long vanished, almost forgotten, rose up before him, were portrayed upon the living canvass of his brain, and then dissolved into others coming like shadows, and so departing. Never to return? Far from this, they could not be forgotten.
Hermit was soon in the vortex, and his thoughts were carrying him into its most pro- found depths. Round and round he was whirled, mentally looking at the one great centre of his life. He tried to get outside this charmed circle, but found it impossible. Think he must, he could not help it. Why was there such an unaccountable impression on his mind when he refused to go with his employer's sheep? He could not tell. All he knew was, something
said "don't go."
Thus he began a lengthened soliloquy, which, after a while, broke out into audible thoughts. "She was staunch for all that—Poor creature, how she blamed me, and raved out 'God's curse was on me.'—The child slept sweetly through it all.—How I was foiled.—Fool, ah! ten thousand fools I was to venture.—And all for what?—I tell you you'll not find it.—You awful imp, you evil tempter of my life, you false deceiver, what I got by listening to ye!—And still ye plague me.—Night after night I tried to drive ye away. I cried out go.—But all ye did was to put the word into your devilish mouth.—Every hill, every tree, I have seen swarming with eyes, and every eye seemed to be your's mocking me.—Oh! let me alone—why will ye persecute me thus? You tell me you want me, do ye?—There is one who still prays for me.—Do ye see her? ye do, I know ye do, for you are going, going, now you're gone.—Thank heaven all is not lost yet!
The old man knelt, but there was no sound; he bent and bowed as if in prayer but his lips moved not, but he realised for the moment more than can be described. Until the power of young Jacob's vision at Bethel is understood, and multitudes can and do feel its power; until the meaning of the ladder which was set on earth, whose top reached to heaven, becomes a sublime reality in the portfolio of a life's under- stood pictures; until the set of angels ascending and descending upon the ladder is a daily, hourly creed in the spiritual life, and we can see our- selves in the sleeeping wanderer, we shall never understand the subdued and solemn serenity, which the power and presence of holy prayer
personified in the act of another, and realised by this man as something undescribably peaceful stealing over his mind—produced on him who was now prostrate on the ground. It was a fit prelude to an eventful day.
A SIESTA AND ITS RESULTS.
Hermit was half way up the range, driving the two thousand sheep before him, before he encountered anything human. Anything! Yes; it is a curious phrase is it not? It is strictly colonial, for, in the estimation of many people, blacks are not persons but things.
Blacks they were which the shepherd met and many of them and in this manner: It was noon time, the day was very hot, the road very dusty; Hermit was weary, so were the sheep; he was hungry, so were they. A little patch of scrub presented an inviting spot for a resting place, and as the man naturally took advantage of it the sheep followed so excellent an example. It was feeding time for the biped, and this was a strong inducement to halt; and as he finished his very simple meal he was tempted to lie down, then he closed his eyes, and then came the in- evitable forty winks, and on to the forty a few more of the same soothing quality. How long he slept he know not, but it is certain that he awoke with a sense of terror, started up in haste, rubbed his eyes, then shouted "hallo," and fin- ally ran very fast towards his sheep, which were flying along the road at a very rapid rate in the direction they had come. "What could be the matter with them?" He soon saw more than he wished to see. At least a dozen blacks, so he calculated, but in fact there were but six, had seized as many as half a dozen sheep, and were in the very act of slaughtering them. They were hungry, as human beings generally man- age to be aftor an interval of five or six hours abstinence from food. There wore nearly a hun- dred of their tribe as hungry as they, and they saw no more harm in the act than the owner of the sheep would have felt if he had successfully hunted down a kangaroo.
Hermit rushed towards the blacks, armed with an old pistol, his sole defence; but as he reached a part of the road from which a broad and very deep gully led off into the romantic fastnesses of the great range, there was an object which, for the moment, transformed him into the rigid-
ness of a statue.
It was a woman, and this is the best descrip- tion that can be given of her. She was too handsome for a Meg Merrilies, too well dressed for an aboriginal. Not that tho material of the dress was particularly good, but the neatness and taste with which it was adapted to her figure compensated for the absence of quality and texture in the garment.
"You here?" said the startled man, "you here? I no thought of meeting you again,
"Why not," said the woman, "did zoo get anything but kindness from us? White men zoot my people. We zelter many in trouble." She spoke with a very strong accent, and very similar to a Frenchman who attempts to make his wants known in the English tongue.
"True, Mogara, true, you have, I know. You did me kindness I never forget; but not all," continued Judd, for it is necessary now to cut off the assumed name, "not all, Mogara,
"Why zoo zay zo. Look here," said the woman, and she cooeyed as she spoke; it was a sharp cry repeated three separate times, and in a minute the whole tribe of more than a hun- dred blacks, fully armed, closed around her, en- circling the shepherd also in the ring whioh they fell into, in as regular an order as a regiment of soldiers. Judd looked round him with consider- able anxiety, but he knew his only course was to remain perfectly quiet. It was the color of their skin which produced the sense of fear, the same number of white men would not hnvo given him the slightest uneasiness. But they also knew him, and testified their pleasure in meet- ing him again by signs of childish delight. They laughed, and jumped, and pointed to him, speaking with the utmost rapidity one to an- other. Judd understood them well enough, and he knew that the only thing he had to fear was that of compulsory detention, though this would, he also knew, be of a friendly character.
Here it is necessary to retrace our steps. Judd, as the convict, was in reality stunned helpless, and frightfully wounded, all but dead, when the blacks surprised the boat's crew at Breakfast Creek. The blacks glanced at him, felt his skin, found he was warm, raised him on a temporary litter of boughs, and he was quickly borne away to the camp. He there soon re- covered the use of his mental faculties, and under the careful nursing of Mogara his wounds healed, and he became quite strong again. Mogara watched over him with the utmost care, supplied his necessities with the best that thoy could obtain, and so great a favorite did he be- come with Eagle Hawk and others, that they were ready to hunt, fish, or do anything that Mogara suggested as requisito for his comfort.
In return for this, Judd had nothing but thanks to give, but the blacks asked no more. He had been in distress, a captive; they found him helpless, afflicted, bereft of his senses, and
they treated him with rough sympathy and
But with this there was planted in the heart of the half-caste woman who reigned over the tribe, a liking which very soon ripened into the strongest affection for the captive. For various reasons, some of which will appear presently, this affection, though in a measure reciprocated, yet brought with it corresponding difficulties, and after a residence of nearly a year with the tribe, Judd contrived to escape. Search was made for him; he was tracked as far as the Pine River, but there the traces were lost. It was impossible for the tribe to forget him, for nearly every one of them owned something which he had made for them. He also taught them various little arts of cookery; he made gar- ments of kangaroo and oppossum skins, shoes or sandals of leather which he taught them to tan, bows and arrows, rough stools and seats, and when ill he watched over them, set several cases of broken bones, and bound up and treated successfully severe wounds. Why did he run away? A morbid dread of being retaken was the first reason; love, intense love of liberty, the second; and a third, and this had grown stronger than ever, the revenge of his nature, which was not yet satisfied. At times he watched round the Government depot, but there was no chance there of the fulfilment of his de- sire. At length he wandered away toward the spot where he fixed his hermit home. Here, for nearly ten years, he dwelt alone. All through that weary time insatiable revenge held posses- sion of his soul. The word seemed one night to echo from the rocky roof and floor of his out- cast abode, as he sat in the moonlight at the
entrance musing over the past. Nor could he assign a reason. Till that moment he had not given himself one moment's anxiety about the righteousness of the spirit that lurked within him. But ere he laid himself down on the rocky floor of his glen home that night, and it was midnight before he did so, he knelt down to pray. From that hour, Judd resolved that as soon as an opportunity occurred, ho would
forsake his hermit life.
In the shepherd's hut to which that resolution led he found a Bible, and in the Bible a simple tract. To what great results a little incident leads. This tract was entitled "I Don't Care." The title startled, interested him. He read the first paragraph, folded the little work, put it in the Bible, and instinctively turned to the chap- ter in Matthew which gives us the beautiful and comprehensive prayer, called, in its severe sim- plicity, "Our Lord's." That prayer passed his lips ere he laid his head on the pillow, and with it there went up another earnest petition, "help me to make restitution for the past." From that hour, this was the chief of all his thoughts. Step by step the stern man was made humble as a little child; but a painful experience had to be endured ere the great object of his desire
As he met Mogara therefore so unexpectedly, and to him, so unwillingly, all tho past with its horrors flashed upon him. So hard nnd corny does this sort of fetter make the heart, that immediately the book of the past opened before him, and as he road in an instant of time his disastrous life, that life, Dagon like, fell down before his renewed and holier desires, but the man feared as entered into the cloud. Was he never to hear the last of this, "Ah! Judd, this cloud has a silver lining?" But though the old life fell down as tributary to the new principle, which was now operative within him to a very limited extent as yet, still the recollection of his iniquity appalled and troubled his spirit, oponed all his old wounds, raked up his bitterness of soul, and threatened to overwhelm him in the vortex of evil which had resulted from one false
"Look here," said Mogara, pointing to the circle which surrounded Judd, "all these are your friends, come and live again with us."
"But the sheep? They not mine, they be- long to my employer," replied Judd. "I de- liver them to place far away, every one lost I pay for. Is it kind to take those you kill?"
A low murmur of displeasure arose as Judd spoke. They knew that he alluded to the sheep, for he pointed in the direction where they were lying, and spoke with vehemence, still tightly grasping his pistol in his hand. But Mogara, speaking in the native tongue, soon quieted them, and Judd now addressed them in the same language.
"I white man—you black,—I love my tribe— you yours. Right, good [Loud expressions of approval]. I want to find white man who do me wrong—I go seek him—I leave you—Go on foot many day—I no find him."
Here he paused to see the effect which his speech had made. But they said, "Go on, we hear," and the most reticent statesman never concealed his feelings better than theso poor
"Well," said Judd, "I no find him. I hear that he shepherd, I try find him, I find no track, I never see him, not one moment, so I turn shepherd too—I wait my time—so I leave you.
They did understand, very literally. They would go and find out his enemy. They would track him out. Only let them know who he was, where he was, and they would kill him. Many a nulla nulla was dashed upon the ground in the imaginary slaughter of so many imaginary foes, and spears were brandished, the war cry yelled. At this moment, Mogura, with feelings of disappointment and rage upon her counten- ance, mingled with indications of marked intel- ligence, which so distinguished her from the natives, advanced towards Judd, and, seizing him by the arm, cried out to the blacks, "Hold; let me speak to thiz one. Stay, all of zoo, I command zoo, where zoo are."
Instantly the hubbub of native rage and fury, which is easily raised and almost as easily quelled, ceased, and every man and woman (for there were many gins amongst them) sat down on the ground, awaiting in perfect silence the result of the interview. Mogara beckoned Judd a little way apart from the blacks, but within sight of them, and thus she spoke: "Henry, I vowed many years ago that every white man who crozzed my path zood die. I have stood to zee my tribe zhot, and have not been able to prevent it. My moder and I were deceived, cast out by white man; my tribe hunted from one place to anoder; driven like dogs before thoze who boazt of whito skin, and claim a right to perzecute zee black man. There are laws to protect white men, none for ze black; laws to punish black men, none to protect. If we are zhot, there iz no one to charge the man- killer and bring him to justice. Henry, the blood of my tribe iz on the heads of white men; we have zworn to avenge it. I zaw zoo when the Great 'Pirit, he took away zour zoul. I watched over zoo many days. Ah, how I watch! Rest quiet nursing, give zoo health again, and then zour zoul came back. Zoo looked on mo one morning, and zoo zaid, 'Mogara.' How zoo know my name?" She paused for a reply.
"I not know," said Judd, after a momentary thought. "I suppose I heard it."
"Heard it!" resumed Mogara. "No, only once; zoo were raving when I stooped and whispered in your ear, ''Tiz Mogara,' just as I used to zay it to—No; I won't name the
For a moment the woman was changed into a fury; but this passed away, and she con- tinued her harangue.
"No, Henry, zoo only heard it once, and never after, but zoo zaid 'Mogara.' How did zoo know my name? The Great 'Pirit taught zoo to call me 'Mogara.' I had zaid with my tribe that zoo zhould fight for life when zoo got well; but from that moment I zay I will zave him—Henry, I that had zaid I never look upon white man without horror. Yes; Mogara
heard zoo zay, 'Mogara,' and Mogara loved
A tear stood in her eye as she confessed her attachment to the man who stood before her, with astonishment written upon his counten- ance. For what a position was he in! He did not reply, and Mogara, resuming her natural demeanor, continued in rapid and exciting
words her declaration of attachment.
"Yes, Henry, Mogara loved zoo. Zoo zay why? Why am I, who am so different from those creatures yonder—why am I with them? I can only zay I love them, rough, wild, outcast as they are. Yes, Henry, Mogara, who was nursed in a cradle; who trod upon a carpet; who zat at table, and can say she iz ze daughter
of a white man; she leave all this and become a wanderer. For what? One word gives the reason—rovenge! Zoo feel as I do; zoo breathe
zame 'pirit; zoo have wrongs, so zoo told me, as I have; zoo are an outcast, just as I am; zoo, a white man, are homeless—a wanderer.
I knew it, and yet I loved zoo. Again I say why? Listen. In your ravings zoo called moder many times. That name I had not heard for years. Oh, how sacred it was to me! 'Here,' zaid I, 'iz one like myself, who can love;' never had I zeen one amongst white people before. They were all cold, haughty, proud like myself. But zoo, when zoo knew nothing about those who were around zoo, zoo called moder. 'He has a moder, perhaps,' zaid I,' and he loves her,' and I loved zoo from that hour. I listened for hours to catch the word again, and then zoo zaid, 'Mogara.' When zoo
left me I felt zo unhappy. I zeek zoo; every
where we watch; but we have not met zince that day."
"Well," said Judd, as the woman paused, "well, I had an object which I could not accom- plish with you. I was in danger, and if I had been taken I might have been dead ere this."
"I know, I know," hurriedly replied Mogara, "but zee, zey are getting impatient." She waved her hand toward the natives, who were assuming indications of anger because of the
lengthened interview. "I know, Henry, but come back; join uz and zoo zhall be revenged. That done, I will leave my tribe, follow zoo where zoo go; live for zoo, love zoo, care for zoo until death. Decide, Henry, zour veiy life may depend upon it."
At this moment a shrill cry similar to the beautiful call note of the butcher bird startled the shepherd and roused the attention of the woman. Judd knew it well; he had often
heard it, and as he turned towards the glen from whence it came, he saw his old friend Eaglehawk coming towards the place where he stood. At first he did not know the shepherd,
but it was very touching to witness the delight with which he greeted him when he discovered
that Judd was his long lost comrade. He took him by the hand and kissed him; slapped him on the shoulder, laughed and danced, then said "How you do; glad you come 'gen;" shook hands again, and finally seating himself on the grass, invited Judd and Mogara to do so also. The latter, however, excused herself, and walk- ing towards the rest of the tribe she spoke to them, and waving her hands in a hurried man- ner appeared to be giving her commands to some and to be scolding others, and finally dis- missed them. In about two minutes they had all disappeared from the scone, carrying with them the slaughtered sheep to prepare for the corroboree, which was held that same evening.
STRANGERS IN HERMIT GLEN.
We left the sturdy owners of Leyton station on their way to Helidon. For some time no- thing very material occurred, except an agree- able halt for the equally agreeable occupation of lunch and rest. It was but an hour that they spent in this duty, for although it was very hot, and an additional hour or so would have been very acceptable to all, yet there were some ominous clouds lurking around the hori- zon, and ere the travellers remounted their horses distant thunder was heard. So far as they knew there was no shelter from a storm nearer than a dozen miles or so. Not that they were particularly anxious; they were too ex- perienced bushmen for this to trouble them, but no one likes a soaking, especially if this proceeds from, or is accompanied with, such
heavy thunderstorms as are very common in
"On ye go, then," said Stewart, as he vaulted into the saddle. "Now, Argyle, for a race."
"All right, James, as fast as you like," re- plied Argyle. "Lead the way, if you know it;
I'm bless'd if I do."
"And I'm blessed, Master Stewart," said one of the four stockmen, "if we get down this cursed range before the water comes down. I know it well, master, and something of the water that flows down these here water courses.
Bless'd if we shan't have to run for it, my
"Don't ye know of any place we can get to nearer than Baines'," said Stewart, for it was very evident by this time that the storm, which was rapidly drawing nearer, would be one of those which not only travel with great rapidity,
but are hurricane-like in their effect.
Black Bill, who had charge of the pack horse, heard his master's inquiry, and famous for his inventive powers, he was at this time as ready with a suggestion as he was generally with a
"Please, massa," said he, "please, 'tis me knows place hold all we."
"On to it, then,boy," shouted Stewart. "On to it; go ahead. Where is it?"
"Hi, massa, hi; not 'bove half-mile."
"Drive ahead then, Bill, let the horsse go, or we are in for it." Tho roaring sound in the
air was now distinctly heard which so often
appals an observer around whom a similar storm is gathering. In the bush it sounds most ter- rible, as if the trees were being swept away, and, in fact, so awful are some of these sudden gusts of wind and storm, that whole tracts of forest have been blown down, as if a roadway had been cut by human hands. The storm signals had thoroughly excited the horses, who needed no stimulating spur to urge them on. Onwards they dashed, as if thoy were running for a life. As the reader may surmise, Black Bill led the way to Hermit glen.
The darkey was the stockman who had stumbled upon the shepherd's cultivation pad- dock, to which allusion has already been made. Under the influence of a fit of curiosity, when he found this had been destroyed, he began to track, and soon alighted upon the faint sign of a man's foot, which, with immense ingonuity and perseverance, be tracked until he found one impression in clay very plainly delineated. Still continuing his tracking, he made another discovery—viz., Judd's abode in Hermit Glen. "Who lived here?" mentally cried Black Bill, with an audible "hi!" and this was followed by a very rude architectural criticism upon the
extraordinary character of the work.
"Tis child sartainly never did set eyes on a humpy hko tis here; and not a single crittur— no child, no noting, nor nobody near it. Tis child has a smoke over tis."
So, lighting his pipe, as some more able and subtle philosophers do when a sturdy question has to be unravelled, Black Bill smoked long enough to leave behind him a fragrant perfume,
which the very cautious proprietor of this most original divan rightly interpreted to be the in- cense of tobacco. As we have seen in a pre- vious chapter, Judd, soon after this, for other reasons, but mainly on account of this event in
his history, left Hermit Glen and became a
But to return to our travellers. Black Bill, able and experienced as he was as a tracker, once or twice missed the way, and it was not until some half hour or so that he was able to pilot his master to the place. By this time the storm had burst upon the whole range, and they got a little of the expected wetting before they entered Mr. Henry Judd's house.
The place was roomy enough, with its veran- dah-like projection in front, which was built of strong saplings firmly imbedded in the earth,
which were covered with a thick mat of scrub- running plants. Here they tied up the horses
under the shelter of the scrub.
"By the Lord Harry!" exclaimed Jack Williams, one of the stockmen, "I never see'd a hotel like this. What's the sign, Billy?"
"No sign, sar, tat I knows on, but very good house, tat's clear to tis child. Jeroosalem!
"Well, it is all that," said his master, "but who in the world could have lived here. He
was a clever fellow to have designed a place like
"No one seems to have been here lately,"
"But some one was here, Massa David," said Black Bill, "and he very clever—he uncommon
clever, I tink. Jeroosalem!"
"Why do you think so?" inquired Stewart.
"Why? Why, you say, massa? Now, I vill tell you," and forthwith he related his ad- venture which led to the discovery of the place. It was interspersed with opinions which gar- nished the narrative with a few exaggerations; but then Black Bill, like all his race, had a strong inclination towards the wonderful, and
romance of any kind presented an elysium in
which he revelled.
A little piece of his humor may not be out of place. "You see, massa, I knowed tat where tere was garden tero must be stomach to eat, and so says I, 'Here goes to find te stomach.' It was not long before I find te foot belonging to te stomach. Te foot was only a toe; but where tere was toe tere must be foot, so down I sits and argues: If tis toe come here, it's clear te foot come here too,' and so I began to laugh. I always laugh, massa, when difficulty stares me in te face, and te difficulty he no stand laugh; he grow angry and run away. So tere was very clear road. Well, on tis clear road I travels; not a very easy road, till I comes to scrub 'bove here. 'Hi!' says I, 'here's some hole or other 'bout here. Why shouldn't I sniff, like dogs; tey sniff, you know, massa, so I began to sniff, and say's I, 'Where te cow's tail disappeared te cow's head went, tat's clear too.' Jeroosalem! Just as I was a considering tis here deep probo- lom, a sharp whistle come up to me. 'Ah!' say's I, 'you don't catch me so. 'Lossophers,' says I, 'always pause and tink before tey leap.' When, lo! before I had time to say 'Who comes here?' tere come along a mighty rushing noise, wit a awful roar like—like a bullock, tat's clear too, and out rushes a kangaroo. Jenny had been barking, and now she make dash at brute, but I call her off, and where te kangaroo come
out, tere I go in; and, as I heard you tell Massa David, Massa Stewart, te utter day, vinny, viddi, wincy. You said tat was, 'I come, and I saw,
and I conquer.' Jeroosalem! tat's clear too."
All this was uttered in broken English, of which only a few words in this character havo been inserted, but it is impossible to put into words the pantomimic gesture and chuckling laugh with which the merry fellow let his tongue run out into the most voluminous narra-
tion of his opinions. Yet there was no cun- ning about it, he was as honest a follow as he was really shrewd and funny.
"And now, massa," said he, as he finished his tale, "me make fire in old man's stove; here he cook I see his kettle when I call, but no find him at home. Werry bad manners, Mr. Je- roosalem, not be home to receive such nobility visitors—werry bad indeed. No wood neiter. Well, I do declare, wuss and wuss, and all de wood is wet I be sure, and de wet wood no burn. Jeroosalem! how it tunder! Little of dat fire indoors now rater inconvanient, tis child tinks.
Jeroosalem! Hi! Ah!"
How many more periodical items he would have put to his speech cannot be stated with any degree of certainty, for at this moment Jack Williams came in with a small bundle of sticks, which Black Bill seized with a very loud "Je- roosalem!" and in a few minutes a blazing fire made the place look a little cheerful. A sound roof over one's head in a storm is by no means a small treasure. This they had; and as they sat around the fire, where the tea was soon brewing, everyone felt that they were indebted to Black Bill for his foresight in providing such
Who that has passed a night amongst bush- men camping out will fail to bear testimony to the free and easy manner in which the company settle down for the night? There is a kind of freemasonry about the thing—a charmed circle in which good humor and hospitable society prevail; pipes and tobacco—the essential com- panion of each; something stronger than water at times, but everlastingly tea in the billy; damper, hot, dusty, but excellent, then the carefully spread blanket; the bright fire, the tale, cut and dried, ever new, always acceptable, —all these and many other accompaniments of the road make a camping out a vory pleasant and sociable sort of thing. To be sure, camp- ing by oneself is rather monotonous—rather so; and, besides this, there are inconveni-
ences attached to the lodging on the cheap; but "bless your heart," the bushman will say to you, "what are they? I would rather have my soft turf couch than any feather bed in tho world." As may be expected, the circle around the fire in Mr. Henry Judd's glen home was particularly jolly; and, as the storm continued until dusk, and then, after a temporary lull, re- turned again in the evening, a roof over thoir heads was acceptable to all. Stewart related the beautiful story of Joseph and his brethren, and it was interesting to see the eagerness with which Black Bill drank in the inimitable narra- tive. Then Mr. Argyle told all he knew about Whittington and his cat. The four stockmen each had their tale of thrilling adventure in bush life, and lastly came the darkey's turn.
"Well, sar," began Black Bill, after a few coughings and curious noises, supposed to be the regular way of getting up the powers of eloquence; "well, sars, I wish to observe tat once I and anoder was going long way. It was in India we was going. We had to carry some letters, parcels, and utter tings about twenty miles up country, and come back same night. We got up all safe, and did to business, and ten says I to my mate, 'Now to go back.' Says he, I vote we stay here.' 'No,' says I, 'we go back.' 'No,' says he. 'Yes,' says I. Whereupon he says,
'Upon your head let te blame rest.' Says I,
'te moon he soon rise, and we can make a start and get down to bungalow by tat time, so off we go. Well, sars, all went well for a time; but
presently I found my mate coming up close to me, quite close. I bore against him, and over he went toder way; but very soon I found him press hard against me, 'What are ye
a-doing of,' said I. 'Don't ye see,' said he, 'tis te devil.' 'Where?' says I. 'Tere,' says he. 'I don't see him,' says I. 'Look behind ye,' says he. So I cast my eye over my shoulder, and lo! what should I see but two great staring lights glaring upon us like fire. 'Tis a tiger,' says I. 'No,' says he, 'is it now?' 'Tis very true,' says I, 'and he's arter one of us.' Where- upon he set up such a yell as I never heard afore, nor do I tink te tiger had ever 'perienced such impolite company afore, for sartain it is, he turned tail upon us, and, with a roar, he galloped off, to my 'mazing satisfaction. Now comes te fun, massa. My mate had no sooner roared tan down he falls on his face, flat on to te ground, where he kept up his terrible row. I can tell you, sar, he did make a noise. Well, I went up to him, and put my hand on his shoulder. I suppose he tought it was te tiger, for he screamed as if he was being eaten up alive. Says I, 'Mate, come on;' and tereupon I seized him by his breeches, which were very tin, you know—just as they wear tem in India. I wanted to lift him up, but te breeches gave way, and down he went, roaring again wit all his might. Tis time he sung out lustily, 'Te tiger! Bill, Bill, te tiger!' Says I, 'You old fool; I'm no more tiger tan you' Whereupon —sars it is a fact—he jumps up, and says he, 'Didn't we do it well, Bill?' Says I, 'You're a fool, mate.' 'You're another,' says he. I rater liked the title, so we didn't quarrel, and,
after all, got home safe. Jeroosalem!"
Now, the tale is nothing; most common- place, some extra-wise individual may say—no doubt will say. "Aw! haw! I can asaure you —haw!—most unwikely; wevy unwikely in- deed!" But it was the action of the darkey that made the tale so interesting. Had there been a listener outside, he would have under- stood the whole thing by the mere change of voice for which Black Bill was so celebrated in describing a thing or event. Then the langunge which he used was so musically descriptive, so quaint, so broad, so negro like; and yet there was a polish about it which he was fond of de- scribing as "the nat'ral consequence of good breeding and excellent society."
There was a listener outside soon after night- fall—a listener who had so very intimate a connection with the place that he could not tear himself away from it. Albeit he had no desire to intrude upon the society who had made so free as to take up their abode in his house with-
out so much as a question whether they were
welcome or not.
The interview between Judd and Eagle Hawk was not very long or interesting. It chiefly re- lated to old times; but the latter was really angry when he reproved the shepherd for his unworthy act in forsaking them. "Very bad; yes, very bad. Bad—no word about it; you go away. Very bad." And the raging storm within was scarcely restrained with these words.
Mogara appeared as if she did not hear what was passing between the two men. She walked to and fro, pensively looking upon the ground, and occasionally glancing up at the clouds, as peal after peal of thunder attracted her atten- tion. At length Eagle Hawk arose, and so did Judd, and then Mogara came near. As she did
so, she spoke:
"Henry, on the day zoo came to us, great thunder in the sky. There will be great thunder again very zoon. We go to camp , where do
zoo go? Speak!"
"Mogara," replied the shepherd, "you speak true, there is great thunder coming. If you tell me do anything, what you think if I not do
it? Speak; tell me."
"I think zoo not good," she replied.
"Very well, then. White man—nay, don't be angry because I say white man—my master, then, tell me go drive those sheep long way. Suppose I leave them, and not go, what he say to me? Will he call me good? Speak."
"No, no; not good. Zoo must go," was the reply. "But when zoo come back?"
"In one, two, three, ten days—when moon come up there. Then, Mogara, I come back."
"Good, good; go then. Stay; where zoo go? Never mind, never mind," she continued,
speaking with some forced composure, "never
So saying, she turned away in the direction which the blacks had taken, and, accompanied by Eagle Hawk, she was soon lost amidst the
Only for a minute did the shepherd remain where he had parted from these two strange creatures. He gathered up his sheep quickly, and proceeded to drive them towards a spot which he knew would afford shelter. Very soon after the storm began, and Judd, knowing that his sheep would be safe—for it was into what is called a blind gully that he had driven them—determined to visit once more his old home. But before he could reach the place the storm was at its height. Under such circum- stances, he was driven for shelter to an over- hanging rock, beneath which he laid until the deluging rain was over, and, when this was the case, he no longer felt a desire to go to Hermit Glen, so he resolved to camp for the night where he was. Very weary, wet, and hungry, and much disturbed by the unexpected events of the day, he saw the sun go down in a mass of angry clouds, and very soon after the blackness of darkness came on. He had no fire, it was too wet to make one, and he saw and heard the storm returning, to beat around him perhaps with increased fury. At all hazards, now, he resolved that he would seek the shelter of his rocky house. To traverse the space between the spot where he then stood and Hermit Glen would have appalled the stoutest heart in such a storm as was now gathering itself up into a central cyclone and very soon burst over the devoted man's head. The deluging rain of the afternoon had created mighty raging torrents of rushing water, but now these were increased ad infinitum, and the roar of the several streams, as they rushed onwards through the many chan- nels which intersect this wild region every where,
was something fearful to listen to.
"What would become of the sheep?" There was no help for it, to attempt to watch them was out of the question, and he had no dog. "I'll trust them to Providence," said he, "and now for the old place, a fire, and some tea. Not
a very faithful shepherd, some will say. Don't judge the man. If you and I had been so near to a sound shelter, as Judd was, we might have been tempted to follow his example. The storm which burst over the whole country that night was the most awful tempest which had been known for years. In one place nearly three miles of tall trees were levelled to the ground,
something like a terrific whirlwind passing
through the rest, and singling out these, wreaked its vengeance upon them. On through this terrible tempest Judd pressed. Progress was,
even to him, who knew every foot of the country so well, frequently exceedingly difficult. But in such circumstances he paused until a flash of lightning came; thus he saw where to step, and onwards he sped his way. One would have taken him for the weird monarch of those wild and romantic regions, or for a spirit with his wand summoning his attendants, or direct- ing them amidst the awful storm. His head was bare of any covering, for his cap had blown off, and he could not recover it, and his whitened locks, scattered with the wind, though they were saturated with the rain, gave him almost a super- natural appearance. He had around him his bush sack or blanket—as good a specimen of a coat without seam as can be imagined, and most useful for the purpose. His fur garments he had discarded when he became a shepherd. His long staff he used as a pioneer, feeling his way with it. Without this he had not dared to venture upon so perilous an undertaking as that of endeavoring to reach his old home. But every step gained was a new inspiration to his spirit, and, as he reached the top of the tre- mendous ravine his old habit of cheering him- self with a song produced its wonted result. Within two hundred yards of where he then stood was the place to which he was bound. The storm now was indescribably grand; the lightning was incessant, columns of fire de- scended to earth every moment, chain light- ning, exploding into millions upon millions of brilliant sparks, and these again apparently gather- ing together to form splendid spears of forked electricity;—the scene, to one who was coura- geous enough to gaze upon it was unrivalled by anything that can be imagined. Awful, too, were the constant peals of tremendous thunder. There was no interval between them, whilst the roaring wind, and the raging waste of waters which poured down every declivity and dashed headlong into the dark recesses of Hermit Glen, all united to make even this stout hearted man tremble. Judd stood and gazed upon it, not unmoved—this was impossible—but still the wildness of the scene had its charm to him. An inspiration had taken possession of his soul during his solitary sojourn in this mountainous region. The idea may be termed romantic, but it is by no means remarkable. Poetry is the language of retirement, but it is gendered in wondrous stanzas amidst mountain scenery. Some may call this expression fanciful, and it may lay a claim to such a nomenclature; but it is real imagery—a phrase hardly demonstrative enough—yes, imagery in which the soul under- goes a semi-new creation, catches the flame of heaven's own altar fire, and, awe-struck some- times, is thrown back upon its own reflections, with the terrible and unanswerable question, What doest thou here? sounding like a tempest, and then anon sinking into the still small voice. Peering into the vault above, and into the abyss below, the natural surface of real life, the un- seen world is thus realised, and some of its wonders are felt, and understood more and better
because the soul has risen in her soarings nearer
Is it because the atmosphere is clearer, purer, brighter up there? Or does the soul become or assume more of the etherial than as the tenant of its mortal abode, like its prototype, gazing upon the eternal hills? Something of both is the only answer to this question. At all events, the most unpoetical mind that was ever launched forth into the stream of actual life, in the person of Henry Judd, became an imagina- tive artist of no mean calibre. Mountain life and solitude, dedp thought, and an existence which was unique, though utterly undemonstra- tive to the outer world, had given to this man the sometimes inconvenient habit of spoaking his thoughts. In his case, however, the habit frequently resolved itself into communion with imaginative personages and, under exciting and excitable circumstances, he exorcised his spirit so as to give utterance to his thoughts in wild, piercing, declamatory songs. The words, beyond a doubt, were original and incoherent —this was only natural to a mind which was fre- quently unsettled and unstrung; but there was savage beauty in the delivery of these songs. Judd had a magnificent bass voice of great com- pass, and a self-taught but very artistic method of using it. His agitato, diminuendo, and cres- cendo, ripening into solemn swells, echoed back in this mountain glen from a dozen points, and increased the power of his extempore songs; and though the only accompaniment was a couple of pieces of hardwood technically called "bones," the execution of the whole was worthy of an appreciative audience.
Standing on the brink of the chasm, which was now the bed of a raging torrent, fearless of interruption, he gave utterance, in the height of the storm to one of these incantation songs, which is here recorded us a specimen of many which, impromptu, had gone forth from those
Blow away away, ye fearful whirlwinds, blow!
Crack, crack! 'tis here, 'tis there, 'tis everywhere around! See, see! the fiery spirit leaves the ground!
Where? There; 'tis down again! 'Tis He, 'tis He! He calls, He speaks; I cannot, dare not flee,
Round, round this gloomy dell, His spirits dance—
Ah! ah! You laugh, but mortals dare not glance. The Hand that gave you birth has sent you forth
From the far West, and from the ice-bound South; Ye mingle here your sports, and wildly drown All care, all sorrow, in this awful storm.
Blow, spirits, blow! with higher fury rage, And, in your fiery gambols, fiercely blaze
Round—Ah! ah! the torrents, ah! ah! And round again. "Again," the echo cries.
Crack, crack! 'tis here, 'tis there, 'tis everywhere around!
See, spirits, see! again He leaves the ground! Spirit, I call: come hither, Spirit come;
Obey my will; come quickly, quickly come;
Ye will not leave your throne? 'Tis well, I go—Ah! What, louder still?
Blow, spirits, blow! Crack, crack! round, round, A thousand times yet louder raise the sound.
Again! Ah! ah! again, and yet again!
See, now the rock is struck! Hark! There, 'tis down!
Cease, cease, ye spirits now, nor gambol thus;
The voice that spoke, yea, even cried, "Come forth!" Has sent His summons; dare ye trifle now? Avaunt, avaunt! 'tis time, 'tis time, its time ye'd done. Speak ye to me of wrath, or is it thus ye tell
Vain, proud, but dying mortals of your power; Your glory!—need it thus be sounded forth, To make proud man adore ye?
Ah me! my heart, it sinks beneath the stroke.
Judgment sounds loud from yon vast blackened mass;
It speaks, it says, "The murderer must——" No, spare! See, see, again! In mercy, mercy spare!
I dare not stay, and yet that awful voice Can reach me where I dare to flee;
Where'er the vital air can give me life,
There is Thy voice. I bow, I kiss the rod;
And, as the gentle still small voice sounds sweet, I bow, I worship low beneath Thy feet.
Strange admixture! The old man—for he was so in appearance, and nearly so in age—in the commencement of his wild song, waved his staff as a magician uses his wand, his body keeping time with the music, but starting every moment into a new attitude, as alarm, awe, dread, admiration, or veneration directed tho tenor of his thoughts. Now he danced, leaped, stretched out his hands as if imploring or com- manding; then he covered his face with his hands, as if he deprecated the solemn and awful visitation which struck home to his very soul, till the song at last burst forth into tho charac- ter of a fearful maniacal lough.
At this instant a terrible flash of lightning struck a part of the cliff on the opposite side of the glen, and, in the blinding blaze of electric fire, he saw that a great mass of rock, with several immense boulders and a large tree, were torn away from the bank, and, with a heavy, deafening crash, rolled into the raging flood. This incident seemed to appall the man; it altered the character of his song into a plaintive, melancholy strain, during which ho bowed his head, then knelt, then lower down he bowed, till, as he uttered the last note, nothing of his figure was visible, for he lay, covered with his mantle, prostrate on tho rocky ledge.
It was a scene which would have made the boldest heart tremble, and, to the poor agitated creature who lay prostrate on the ground, it proclaimed a period of retributive justico to come. He had witnessed many storms in this region, but not like this, and he shuddered under the deep impression of his terrible guilt. He felt it to be a black, foul blot, constantly re- membered, deeply lamented, but not forgiven. For two weary hours he lay on that bleak, wild, desolate spot, crushed, paralysed. Only as the storm abated did he raise his head—gradually at first, but as he regained his firm footing on the rocky floor which had constituted his or- chestral throne, his wonted courage returned, and only pausing to throw off his blanket, which was saturated with the rain, he turned towards his old dwelling.
[To be Continued.]