|Newspaper Title||Adelaide Observer (SA : 1843 - 1904)|
George at one time had been one of the boys who attended the native school, and was noted as the cleverest boy who attended it. He wbb quick witted, and easily acquired the rudiments oi the grammar of the English
language. A general favourite with his s .hoolieliovr's and teachers, his future was looked on as a bright one, and the wliiteB, who were interested in the education of him and the other native boys aud_ girls, looked on him as a proof that the natives might be induced to leave their free and independent life and adopt the artificial one of the whites, which centuries of gradual development had
enabled them to endure.
George was one day playing at marbles before the school All the little native boys and girls were playing at different games. The boys were dressed in white duck pants and red shirts, and the girls wore grey
" George," said his teacher, " you go over to the Governor's, and help to draw the
W" Me no like draw water, best like play,"
A flush of displeasure crossed the face of the teacher. George was then only about ten years old, but the blood rushed to his face also. , , , ,
He would not draw the water; he loved play better than work.
A lecture on the sin of laziness, and pro bably some crude ideas thrown out regarding the dignity of labour, were attempted to be instilled into his young mind; but, alas! they fell on stony ground. The mind of that young native was not prepared for the reception of such ideas. A very child of nature, he understood the life of the butterfly, the bird, and the kangaroo: and he had watched the flowers; from his infancy he had played^with them, aye, and spoken to them in the simplicity of his heart. They did not work, but they were lovely. The birds chirped and flew among the branches, none the less happy that they were lazy and indolent and did no
This was a new doctrine, a new idea, of work; and from whence aid it originate ? From the white man—the black mans dead brother come to life from other worlds.
The white men were living examples of their doctrine. Truly, their precept was fol lowed by example. With anxious minds and bent frames they worked from sunrise to Bunset; they lived by the sweat of their brow, and from its amount must have grown fat. From the cradle to the grave, work— work—work. and then they died—the last of a life of toil and anxiety. .
The black men said " Live and enjoy life.
They, too, were living examples of their doe trine. Truly their precept was followed_ by example. With happy faces and easy minds they basked in the favour of the sun's wel come rays. From the day of their birth to the day of their death they followed the chase, smelt the gums, and were happy; and then they too died—tne last of a life of ease
These two modes of living are as opposite
as the poles are asunder. It is not likely that either would easily impress the other with a favourable opinion of their idea of the mode of spending life. The white man had grown up surrounded by examples of his working life. Work, work, were words he had beard from his childhood. Great men of ancient times applauded the earnest worker; and attached to its practice was a promise, given by moBt of the religions of the white men that it would give happiness. From time immemorial men had worked, and when they died in harness they were_ thought to die nobly. " Oh, white man," said the black, "what folly." , ,
The black man, on the other hand, re quired no precepts, and had none. Nature was bis guide, and he followed submissively. The chatter of the magpie, the shrill cry of the native companion, the quack of the wild duck—these he had heard and loved, and the iretty flowers and all the beautiful birds ana leasts of the country were possessed by this child of nature, and were combined in one harmonious whole for his happiness. From time immemorial men had so lived, and the highest wisdom was to find pleasure. " Oh, hlackman," said the white, what folly 1
George was imbued with the spirit of his ancestors. Work as in the white man was an indignity to be recoiled from. Man waB not mode for degrading work. Look at the hard working white man with his money bags—the glorious result of toil and anxiety. Bent in body, and crippled in his limbs by rheumatism, or racked with gout, and even shattered in mind. The black man on the other hand had no money-bags to trouble him; he lived as Nature intended him, and spear in hand he stood erect before his people, unimpeded by civilized appendages or aching
George loved the chase, and all the customs of his people. Whiio at school, though fond of his books, he yet Btill more loved the open country, ana unconsciously ho would stand leaning against the old eumtrce near the entrance to the school and look towards the hills. When a native went past in his free dom with his companion dogs at his heels, the boy's heart leapt after him and he would fain have followed. ....
Several times he had been asked to draw water at the Governor's house, but refused. At length he was told if he did not go he would be beaten. Before the sun rose next morning he was running over the plain to wards tne hills, leaving the school behind. As he passed a clump of wattle-trees .he recognised a well-known voice calling to him.
"Stop, boy 1 Why do you run?;1
"The King!" said George to himself, "I could not have met a better man." Walking up to the King he said, " I am running from school and not going back."
" You don't mean to say you nave deserted tbe whites and come back to your father. That is unnatural and ungrateful after all the whites have done for you." , t .
" They have doaenothiDg for me; but they
have threatened to beat me." _ I
" Beat you, my boy, that is nothing. Don t
complain till you are killed. You may get J justice then, not now." ,
" Do you advise me to go back to school? " Would you like to go back ?"
"Why not!" , T
" i Want to live as you do. I won t draw water for the Governor."
" Right, my boy!" ^ . ...
"Then you don t want me to be Uke a white man with lots of horses and cattle and work as they do."
"I do not."
"Then I wont.
"And yon won't go back to school after all they have done for you."
" What have they done for me!"
"A great deal, boy, more than you can ever repay. They have come upon our land unasked and unwelcomed. They have taken up their abode here, and are starving us all off the land. The kangaroos and the wallabies are getting rarer and rarer, and now that we cannot live as we used to do they say, work, do as we do.' Let the vile whites degrade themselves, wo will not. Their backs may get bent, and their limbs my stiffen—all for the sake of this gold; we will not follow
''"You once liked a white man and followed
iim in the hunt."
"Brother Tom, you mean. Ah, he was a man and a friend. It was he who first
taught me the language of the white matt.. While he lived, all was well, but when he died every thing died. In hie place sprang up many white men. I thought they would be " blackfellow and even thief." Thief! Prom those who have broken our customs, stolen our land, killed our men and women, and yet, boy," broke in the King fiercely, " you tell me they have done nothing for you. And then, with a voice of subdued earnestness, he added, " I tell you, boy, repay them these, and you will do more than any countryman of yours ever did or ever can do."
They left the little clump of wattle-trees and walked slowly and in silence towards the camp. Having ascended the first ridge of hiUs they were abont to descend into the gorge when the King, clutching George by the arm, told bim to look at the scene behind him. Before them was the plain which, from their position, seemed thickly wooded with gums ; beyond, like a field of burnished silver, lay the ocean, or one of its mighty arms; while a little to the right and on the*plain lay the embryo city of the new
comers. Behind them lav the hills with their deep gullies and well-wooded recesses that seemed to offer shelter and a resting place to the unfortunate natives. There, m the everlasting giandeur of the hills, he might end his days, and hear only the moaning of the wind through the sheoaks, but even that would remind him of the breakers by the shore, and of the ships ladened with thousands who would come into his country like the water from the hills in floodtima. He turned and looked towards the plain.
" Boy," he said, " when I was your age no white man trode that plain. Our fellows alone lived on it, free and happy. There was plenty game. How all is altered. They are even upturning the ground which for ages lay undisturbed. Look, the smoke from the town rises as calmly as from our own wurleys; and the whites themselves act and speak as if no dark deed lay at their door, no tribeB have been starved, no lives sacrificed by their cupidity and greed."
(2o be continued.)