Chapter 1384311

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Chapter NumberBOOK III X
Chapter Url
Full Date1875-11-13
Page Number3
Word Count4900
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Brisbane Courier (Qld. : 1864 - 1933)
Trove TitleHis Natural Life
article text

lils Natural Life*

By Marcus Clarke.


Chapter X.



At the bottom of the long luNumnt /arden . round was a rustic beat abutting upon the 1 m wall that topped the lane The bl inches of the English trees (planted long ago) hung ibivc it, and between their rustling b )ii0bs one could seo the reach of the silver river Si'tmg with her face to the bay and ha back to the house, Sjlm opened the manuscript she lud bmnu off from Aleekmg, and bigui to leid It wa- written m a firm, large hand, and he uled


Of the siifftrmjs and adventures of certain of the

ten convicts v-ho set ed the brig Osprey at Une

quaile I/arbor, in Van Diemen s Land, iel ¡tal by one of the said coiuicts while lyn j mulei sentence for this ttfencc in the gaol at JJobut


Sylvn,havmg read this grandiloquent sentence, paused for a moment T bo story of the mutiny, which had been the epoch of her childhood, lay before her, and it seemed to her that, were it related truly, she would comprehend a some thing strange and terrible which had been for many years but a shadow upon her memory Longing, and yet fealing to pioceed, sho held the paper, half unfolded, in her h md, as, in her chüdhood, she had held ajar the d >or of sumo dark room, into w Inch sho longed and yet feared to enter Her timidity lasted but an inBtant

" When orders arm ed from head quarters to break up the penal settlement of Macquarie Harbor, the Commandant (Major Vickers, -th Regiment) and most of the prisoners embarked on board a colonial vessel, and Bet sail for Hobart Town, leaving behind them a brig that had been built at Macquine Hirbor, to be brought round after them, and placing Captain Maunce Frere in command left aboard her Mr Bates, who had acted as pilot at the Bettloment, four soldiers, and ten prisoners, as a crow to work the vessel The Commandant s wife and child were also aboard '

"How strangely it reads, ' thought the girl

"On the 12th of January, 1834, we Bet sail, and in the afternoon auchorid safely outsido the Gates, but a breeze setting in from the north west caused a swell on the bar, and Mr Bites ran back to Wellington Bay AAe remained there all next d ly, ind in the afternoon Captain Frere took two soldiers and i boat, and went a fishing There were then but Mr Bates and the other tw o soldiers aboard, vnd it vv as proposed by Wilhm Cheshue to seize the vessel I was at first unwilling, thinking that loss of life might ensue but Cheshire and tho otheiw, knowing that I was acquainted with navlgation-having in happier days lived much on the sea threatened me if I refu'-el to join A Bong mis started in the folksle, and one of tho sildieis coming to hbten to it, was seized, and I yon and Riley then m ide a y risonei of the '.ciitiy I oiced thus into a project with which I li id it first but little sympithy, I my heirt kip at the prospect of fiecdom, and woul 1 hive tairiliced all to obtain it Aliddinid by the despinte hopes that lnspned me, I from th it moment assumed the command of my wietihid com pâmons, and houistl) think tint however culpable I mn\ Ii iv i bien m the i) es of the law, I prevented them f i oin the display of n nilouce to which then >nv ige life hud nilli ippil) mide

them but too aceust tiled

"Poor fellow," says S)lvm, beguiled by Master Rex s specious pangraphs, " 1 think he

was not to blame '

"Mr Bates was bolow in the cabin, and on being summoned by Cheshire to surrender, with great courage attempted a defence Baiker fired at lum through the skylight, but f caí ful of tho lives of the Commandants wife and child, I struck up his musket, and the ball passed through the mouldings of the stem windows At the same time the soldiers whom we had bound m the folksle forced up the hatch and carno on deck Cheshire Bhot tho first one, and struck the other with his clubbed musket The wounded man lost his footing, and the hng lurching with the i ising tide, he fell into the sea This was-by the blessing of God-tho only life lost in the whole affur

" Mr Bates, seeing now that wo had possession of the deck, surrendered, upon promiso that the Commandants wife and child should be put ashore lu safety I directed him to take 6iich matters as he needed, and prepared to lower the jolly boat As Bhe swung off the davits, Captain 1 rere came alongside ni the whalo boat, and gallantly endeavored to board us, but tho boat «lnfted past the v essel I was now determined to be free-indeed, the minds of all on board were made up to carry through the business and hailing the whale boat, swore to fire into her unless Bhe surrendered Captain Frere refused, and w is foi boarding us agun, but the two Boldicra joiued in with ub, and prev anted his intention Having now got the prisoners into the joli) boat, we transferred C iptam Frere into her, and being ourselves in the whale boat, lompelled Captain Frero and Mr Bates to row ashore We then took tho jolly boat in tow, and returned to the brig, a stnet watch boing kept for fear that they should rescue tho v essel

from us

' At break of day every man was upon deck, and i consultation took place concerning the shanng of the provisions Cheshire was for leiving them to starve, but Lesley, ShireB, and I held out for an equal division After a long and violent controversy, Humanity gamed the day, and the provisions wore put into the whale boat, and taken ashore Upon the receipt of the provisions, Mr Bates thus expressed himself

Men, I did not for one moment expect such kind treatment from you, regarding the pro visions you have now brought ashore foi us, out of so little which there was on board AVhen I consiler your present undertaking, without a competent navigator, and m a leaky vessel, your situation seems most perilous, therefore I hope (md will prove kind to you, and preserve you from the manifold dangers you ma) havo to encounter on the stormy ocean Mrs A7ickers il«o was pleased to say that I had behaved kindly to her, that she wished me well, and that when she returned to Hobart Town alie would "peak in my favor They then cheered us on our departure, wishing w e might be prosperous on account of our humanity in sharing the pro-

visions with them

Having had breakfast, we commenced throwing overboard the light cargo which was in the hold, which employed us until dinner time After dinner vv e ran out a small kedge anchor with about 100 fathoms of line, and having weighed anchor, and tho tide being slack, we hvuled on the kedge line, and succeeded in this manner by kedging along and we came to two '"lands called the Cap and Bonnet The whole u* us then commenced heaving the brig Bhort, ending the whale boat to take her m tow after we had tnpped the anchor By this means vv e got her safe across the bar Scarcely was this «one when a light breeze Bprang up from the southwest, and firing a musket to appnso the party we had left of our safety, we made sail

»ra put out to sea

Hiving read thus far, Sylvia paused in an

»Cony of recollection She remembered the

j'rmg of the musket, and that a female figure, that was her mother, had wept over her But beyond this all was uncertainty Memories 'lipped across her mind like Bhadows-Bhe caught at them, and they were gone Yet the reading "f this Btrange Btory made her nenes thnll tjespit« the hypocntical grandiloquence and aüected piety of the narrative, it was easy to see that save some warping of facts to make for ¡"tns»lf a better case, and to extol the courage of tie gaolers who had him at their mercy, the larratorhad not attempted to better his tile by the invention of perils The history of the d spente Project that had been planned and earned outfive «w re was related with that grim simplicity wnich (because it at once bears the stamp of jnita, and forces the imagination of the reader w supply the omitted detads of horror) is more p! k,1Te *° lnsPu"° sympathy than the most ( i tíT10 o£ de8cnPt'°R8 The very barrenness ' t the narration was hideously suggestive, and ]m if" felt ner teart teat quicker as her poetic S » L rushed t0 complete the terrible picture fetched by the convict She saw it all-the

TI e copyright of nu Nat mu]

Jli^^^J^I'ropnetor. of Tie tji«,

blue sea, the burning sun, the Blowly moting ship, the wretched company on the Bhoro , sho he ird-W is that a rustling in the bushes below her' A bird I How nervous sho waB growing !

"Being thus fairly rid-as we thought-of ourpnBon life, we cheerfully held consultation as to our future course It waa my intention to get among tho islands in the South Seas, and, scuttling the bug, ti pasa ourselves oil among the nain s as shipwrecked seamen, trusting to God s mercy th it Miine homeward bound vessel might at length rescue us YAith tins view, I m ide James Leahy first mato, ho being an expert

enced manner, and prepared myself, with what few instrumenta tt o had, to take qur departure from Bli ellis Roek Having hulled the whale boat alongside, t\ e stove her, together w ith the jolly boat, and cast her adrift lina done, I paited tho landsmen with the seimen, and, steering south east, at 8 p m w e set our first watch In little more than an hour after this, eame on a heavv galo from the south west I, and others of the landsmen, tv ero violently sea sick, mil Lesloy had some difficulty in hmdling the bug, as the boisterous weather called for two men at the helm In the morning, getting upon deck w ith difficulty, I found that the wind hld abated, but upon bounding the well discot ered much water m the hold Lesley ngged the pumps, but the starboard one only could be made to work From that time there were but two businesses aboard-from the pump to the helm The gale lusted two days and a night, the brig running under close reefed t ip sails, ive being afraid to shorten sail, lest we ini^ht be overtaken by Borne pursuing t esael, bo strong was the teni r of our pnson upon us

" On tho 16th, at noon, I again foreed myself on deck, and taking a meridian obsen atiou, altered the course of the brig to east and by south, wishing to run to tho southward of New Zealand, out of the usual track of shipping , and having a notion that, should our provisions hold out, wo might make the South A nerican coast, and fall luto Chnatian hands 'lins done, I was compeUed t > retire below, and for a w eek Hy in my berth as one at the lost gasp At times I repenteel of my resolution, F ur urging me to bestir myself, as the men were not satis ned with our course On the 21st a mutiny occurred, led by Lyons, who asserted we were heading into the Pacific, and must infallibly perish Tina disaffected man, though iguorint of n it igatioii, insisted upon steering to the south, believing that we had run to the north ward of the Friendly Islands, and was for runuiug the Bhip ashore and beseeching the pro ttction of the n itit es Lesley m vam protested that a southward course w ould bring us into ice fields Birker, who had served ou board a whaler, strove to e mvmee the mutineers that the temperature of such latitudes tv as too tt irm for such m error to escape us After much noise, Lyons rushed to the holm, and RusseL, eli aw nig one of tho pistols taken from Mi Bates, shot lum dead, upon which the others returned to their duty Phis dreadful deed was, I feir, necesa iry to the safety of tho brig , and had it occurred on board a vessel manned by free men, would hive been ipplauded as a stern but

needful uieasme

"loicod by these tumults upon deck, I mule a short speech to the crew, and conv inced them tint 1 ivis competent to perform what I had promised to do, though at tho time my he irt inwardly filled me, und I longed for Borne Bign of land Supported at each arm by Lesloy and Bukel, I took in observation, and altered our com e to north by cost, tho brig ruuning eleven knots an li mi mi lei single reefed topsails, an 1 the pum| s hird at work So tv o ran until the 31st of Jannali, when a tv bite squall took ub, and nearly prot ed f to all abo ird

" Lesley now committed a great error, for, upon the brig lighting (she was thrown upon her beam ends, and her spanker boom carried aw ly), he commanded to fur) the foretopsail, strike topgallant yards, full the main course, aud take a reef in the nmntopaail, leivmg her to scud under single reefed mamtopsail and fore sail

This caused the vessel to leak to that degreo that I despaired of reaching land m her, and priyed to tho Almighty to Bend us speedy assistance For nmo days aud nights the storm continued, the men being utterly exhausted One of the two soldiers whom tte had employed to fish the two pieces of tho spanker boom with some quartering that we had, was washed ot cr board and drowned Our protision was now nearly done, but the gale abating on the ninth day, wo hastened to put provisions on tho 1 umch Tho sea tv as heavy, and wo wero com pcllcd to put a purchase on tho fore and main y irds, with preventers tw windward, to case tho launch m going oter the Bido We got bel fairly afloat at last, tho others battening down tho hatches in tho brig Hat mg dressed ouraolvea in the clothes of Captain Frero and tho pilot, wo left the bug at suudow n, lying with her ch mnel plates nearly under water

" The wind freshening during the night, our launch, which might, indeed, be termed a long boat, hating been fitted with mast, bowsprit, and mam boom, began to bo very uneasy, shipping two seas ono after the other The only pi m wo could dei me was to sit, four of ub about, in the stern sheets, with our backs to the sea, to prevent the water pooping us This itself was enough to exhaust thu strongest men The day, however, made us some amends for the dreadful night Land was not more than ten miles from us, approaching is nearly as tte could with Bafcty, we hauled our wind, and nu aloug it, trusting to find some harbor At half past two wo sighted a bay of very curious appear ance, having two largo rockB at the entrance, resembling pyramids Shirts, Russen, and Fair land»d, in hopes of discovering fresh water, of which wo stood much in need Before long they returned, stating that they had found an Indian hut, inside of which were some rude earthenware vessels Fearful of Burprisc, we lay oil tho shore all that night, and putting into the hiy very early in the morning, killed i Beal This was the first fresh meat I had tasted for four years It seemed strange to eat it under such circum- stances We cooked the flippers, heart, and liver for breakfast, giving some to a cit which we had taken with us out of the brig, for I would not, willingly, allow even that animal to perish After breakfast, we got under weigh , and tte had scarcely been out half an hour wheu we had a fresh bieeze, which carried us along at the rate of seton knots an hour, running from bay to bay to find inhabitants Steering along the shore, as the sun wiut down, we suddenly heard the bellowing of a bullock, and Jamea Barker, whom, from his violent conduct, I thought in- capable of such sentiment, burst into tears

" In about two hours we perceived great fires cn the beach, and let go the anchor m nineteen fathoms of water YVe lay awake all that night In the morning, we rowed further inshore, and moored the boat to some seaweed As soon as the inhabitants caught Bight of us, they came down to the beach I distnbuted needles and thread among the Indians, and on saying ' \ aldivia,' a woman inBtantly pointed towards a tongue of land to the southward, holding up three fingers and crying ' leagkosl which I conjectured to be three leagues, tho

distance w e afterwardf found it to be

"About three o'clock in the afternoon, we weathered the point pointed out by the woman, and perceived a flagstaff and a twelv e gun battery under our lee I now divided among the men the sum of bix pounds ten shillings that I had found m Captain Frere s cabin, and made another and more equal distribution of the clothing There were also two watches, one of which I gav e to Lesley, and kept the other for myself It was resolved among us to Bay that we were part crew of the bng Julia, bound for China and wrecked in the South Seas Upon landing at the battery, we were received with the greatest civility by the Spaniards, and were heartily entertained, though we did not understand one word of what they said Next morning it was agreed that Lesley, Barker, Shires, and Russen should pay for a canoe to convey them to the town, which was nine miles up the nver, and on the morning of the 6th March they took their departure On the 9th March, a boat, commanded by a lieutenant, came down with ordere that the rest of us should be conveyed to town , and we accordingly launched the boat under convoy of the soldiers, and reached the town the same evening, in some trepidation I feared lest the Spaniards had obtained a clue as to our real character, and was not deceived-the surviving soldier having betrayed us This fellow was thus doubly a traitor, first, in deserting his officer, and then in betraying his comrades

"We were immediately escorted to prison, where we found our four companions Some of them were for brazening out the Btory of ship wreek, but knowing how confused must neces- sity U oin iceounts, weiewe examined sepa

rately, I persuaded them that open confession would bo our best chance of safety On the 14th we wero taken before tho Intendente or Governor, who informed us that we wera free, on condition thatwechoso to Ute within the limits of the town At this intelligence I felt my heart grow light, and only begged m the name of my companions that we might not be git en up to the Bntish Government, ' rather than which, Bald I, ' I would beg to be shot de id in the palace square The Got ernor regarded us with tears m his eyes, and spoke as follow s

' My poor men, do not think tint I would talco that advantage over you Do uot make an attempt to escape, and I will bo your fnend , and should a t esael come to morrow to demand you,youehallfind IwiHbe isgaodas my word All I have to impress upon you is, to beware of liitemperance, which ia very prevalent m this country, and when you find it convenient, to pay Government the money that w13 allowed you for subsistence while in pnson

" i he following day we all procured employ ment m launching a vessel of three hundred tons burden, and my men showed themselves so activ e that the owner saul hew ould rathci h iv e us than thirty of his own country men, which saying pleased the Governor, who waa there with almost the whole of the inhabitant« and a whole baud of music, thia vessel hating been nearly three years on the stocks After bIic was launched, the seamen imongst ub helped to fit her out, being paid fifteen doll us a mouth with provisions ou board Ab for myself, I speedily obtained employment m the Bhipbuildei s y ird, and subsisted by honest in duBtry, iltnost forgetting, m the unwonted pleasures of freedom, the sid reverse of fortune which had befallen me lo think that I, who had iniULled among gentlemen and scholars, should be thankful to libor m a shipwrights yard by dry, md sleep on a buudlo of hulea I y night 1 But this is ¡eisouil mitter, and need not bo obtrude 1 lu the same yard with me worked the aoldiei who had betiayed us, and I could not but re0aid it as a specul judgment of Heaven, when he one day fell fiona a great height mid was tiken up for dead, dying m much tormont in a few boura The days thiiB passed on ni eomparativo happiness until the 20th of Miy, 183l>, when tho old Governor took his departure, regretted by all tho nib. dînants of Valdivia, and the Achilles, a one aud twenty gun brig of war, arrived with tho new Got ernor One of the first acts of this gentlem in tt as to sell our boat, which was moored at the back of Government house This proceeding looked to my mind indieatit e of ill tv ill and, fe irf ni lest the Gov eruor Bhould dehv ei us again into bondage, I resolved to mike my escape from the pi ice Hiving communicated my pi ma to B11 ker, Lesley, Riley, Simes, and Russen, I offered the Governor to get built for lum a handsome whaleboat, making the iron work myself The Governoi couseuted, and in a little more than a fortnight we had completed a four oared w halcboat, capable of weathering either sea or storm \\ 0 fitted her with sails and provisions 111 the Got ernor a name, and on the 4th of July, being a Situiday night, we took our depirturo from Y'aldivn, dropping down the nvei shoitly aftei bunset YVhether the Got ernor, disgusted at the tnek w e lind play ed bim decided not to pin sue us, or whether-as I rather think-our absence was not discot cred until the Monday morning, when tve were beyond the reach of capture, I know not, but w 0 got out to sea w ithout hazard, and, taking accurate bein me,», 1 an for the I riendly Islands, as had been agreed upon amongst iib

"But now it Bccmcd that the good fortune which had hitherto ittendcd us had deserted us, for after crawling for four days m sultry tv eather, there fell a dead e lim, and tv e lay like a log upon the sei for forty ei^ht horns tor thieo days w e remained in the midst of the ocean, exposed to the burning rays of the sun, 111 a boat without water or provisions On the fourth day, just as wo had rcboltcd to draw lots to determine who should die foi tho sustenance of

the others, wo were picked up by au opium clipper 1 cturuing to C niton Tho captain, an American, was most kind to us, and on our arrivil at Cniton, a subscription was got up for us by tho British mcrchnnta of that city, and a free passage to 1 upland obtame 1 for us Russen, however, getting in dnuk, made statements which brought suspicion upon us I had imposed upon the Consul with a fictitious Btory of a wreck, but had stated that niynamowas YVilsou, forgetting that the Boxtant which had been presorted 111 the bo it had Captain BateB' name engraved upon it Ihcse ciicumstances together cauBed sufficient doubts 111 the Consul s mind to cause lum to give dnectious that, on our arm ii 111 London, tv e were to be brought before tho Thames Police Court There being 110 ctidcnce against \is, we should have escaped, bael not a Dr Pine, who had been Burgeon on board the Mai ibar transport, recognised me and swore to my identity Wo wore remanded, and, to completo the chain of evidence, Mr Capon, the Hobart lowu gaoler, was, strangely enough, in London at the time, and identified us all Our story was then made public, and Bnrker and Lesley turning king s evidence against Russen, he wis convicted of the murder of Lyons, and executed Wo were then placed on board the Leviathan hulk, and remained there until shipped m the Lady Jane, which wir chartered, with convicta, for Van Diemen b Land, 111 order to bo tned 111 the colony wheio the offence was committed.f or piratically Bcizmg the bl ig Osprey, and urn ved here on the 15th December, 1838


Is the very first set of irticles which appcired under the heading of " Specialities, w e com mented upon the difhcultics under which housekeepers laboreel 111 the matter of securing domestic servants fi oin tho ranks of the single w omen immigrant? We pointed out that these maidens invariably expectel stalwart male settlers to rush to the Immigiation depot, and insist upon marrying e ich bitch the day after arrival, and that, in many instances, the rcgu lation settler did turn up accordingly, con

siderably reducing the supply Tins is 1 trifle, however, when compared with a new dev elopment which haB been e\penenced at New Zealand To that colony, as in our own, hhipments of domestic servants are constantly despatched from England, and they have had experience in the peculiarities of the irticlc quite equal to our own Housekeepers theie have learnt to subdue their expectations as to the qu ihty of the new comers They have of necessity adopted broad and liberal views on the subject of f illowera and Sundays out They are 1 repared to show their new girls how to make a hie, to explain the difference between a fryingpan and a saucepin, and to submit patiently to such little mistakes is havine, the mabter b white canvass boot« care fully blacked To all this tiley are ready to submit, but they are mfatuatcdly desirouB of hating the honor of keeping the young women for three mouths or so till the refcul ition settler turns up The last shipment or two h is failed them altogether On resortiiiL, to the depot tho day of disembarkation, the anxious w oui 1 be employers have been stunned ta find every girl of any nue already engaged Disgusted with the official tnckery which has alljtved fatored persons access to the younf, women before the regular time for hiring, they have demanded an investigation with the result of ascertaining that every girl has got engaged dunng the voyage to sJine 0110 of the single young men for better for worse till death do them part ' This is a crushing blow, not only to housekeepers, but also to tho regulation settler It is not fair to either Why Bhould these homd young men appropriate the supplies of single women specially reserved for tho colonies 1 They might hav e taken their pick 111 England from a large assortment, and come out as marned couples, leaving our special reserves unpoached It is disgraceful . More stringent separation must m future be enforci d in immi

grant t essels The young men must bo penned on the forecastle, and the girls shepherded on the poop, so that no couple can be smitten with each other 8 charms, except with the assistance of bmocular fcl isses, and declarations be impos sible, except through the medium of speaking trumpets Wewnteinthe interctt of our fellow colonista YVo admit that tho young women must be courted sooner or later, and that the young men on board must be wived, but dont let any mean advantages be taken of our cehbato Bettlers, who depend largely on importations for then- chances of matnmony YVe appeal to the better feelings of the young men almost in the lan guage addressed by that fine old English matron Sarah Gamp, to her constant pardner, Betsy Prig, " Whatever you do, young men, start fair ' -' Spécialités m 7Vie Queenslander