|Newspaper Title||Adelaide Observer (SA : 1843 - 1904)|
[Br Mabous Barak.]
(Concluded from last week.)
Neatly two months had passed since Mary had promised to leave the school. During that time the erass bad not grown beneath the scholars' feet. A reaction was gradually taking place that would . once ana for all sever their connection with the old brick building. .. , , ,,
Several families ol white people, no doubt v with the best intentions, had taken some of
the native boys and girls to their houses in order to wean them from_ what was called barbarism, and implant into their young minds true ideas of what life should be, ana to teach them the UBe of tools of trade for their support among civilized men. These young people grew in time to be men and women. Their position was not enviable. Much that they saw and heard was as a sealed book, ana the profligaoy and vices of theirwhite benefactors looked Btrange to their simple and innocent minds When contrasted - with the precepts of these same people. That might have been borne, but they were awk wardly situated. Among the whites, and no doubt kindly treated, they were not of them. Their sympathies and tastes were different.
Centuries of a different teaching had to be I • overcome before this new kind of life—which I
was mainly a straggle for gold—could be thoroughly understood and practised. Be sides, the strongest cords that can bind human beings pulled in another direction. Father and mother, brothers and sisters—who but a monster could turn his back on them, forget
the life they led. the wurley where they , ? lived, and the creek that rippled past it ? The I
natives could not. Civilization nad donned them in garments, but it could not put a - coat of Paris plastei round their hearts.
A seething volumeof thnughtwas simmering in the native mind, and Love, a messenger from heaven, stood anxiously by and fanned - every breath of air that might cause it to overflow. Many attachments sprang up
. amongst the natives living among the whites,
and between the natives living m their own - camp and those living with the whites.
On this day, in the schoolroom, the scholars were anxious and impatient. Their teacher noticed it, but he did not dream of a whole sale desertion.
" What makes you so fidgety and excited
this afternoon ?" said the teacher to one of the biggest girls.
"Nothing, Bir. I am worried; I cannot get ' thiB sum."
"Let me see your difficulty."
The master sat down beside the girl. The old clock on the wall—the legacy of a dead colonist—ticked loudly. The school was quieter than usual. The time for play arrived, and as the clock struck the hour with its usual unruffled composure the scholars rushed into the balmy air, but not quite with their usual noise.
" What is wrong with these lads to-day
' They are unusually quiet," muttered the master to himself as he leaned on the win
dow-sill, and watched the small knot of boys here and there in eager confab while a few others played at marbles and argued loudly j
over the game.
The boys were soon forgot, and the old
dominie was a wool-gathering. His thoughts I were on the once familiar playground in the old country at home, and the boys before him were white boys and he was one of them.
The snn went down. The boys and girls
went to rest at the accustomed time, and all the lights were put out. But the scholars - did not sleep. The moon rose—midnight had
long passed. In another hour it would be
Creeping cautiously and stealthily among the young gumtrees that dotted the ground around the school, a native, spear in hand, approached the well-known building. He uttered a low call, and still nearer approached. V\ hen he reached the boye' dormitory a win dow was slowly raised.
"Is it you, George?" asked a voice from |
" It iB," answered the native.
" We've been waiting all night."
"Come out now. No time to lose, and - don't make a noise in there."
Subdued laughter, as if bursting from some boys who found it difficult to bottle the noise with their hands, was heard from the room. Boy after boy got up on the window-sill and cautiously dropped to the ground. All were standing in the shadow of the school.
" You must leave these clothes here, boys." " We willrequire them in the cold weather." " The King says you must not come with ' these clothes. They don't -belong to you. • Cast them off as you would a live snake.
Every boy instantly took off his clothes, and threw them by the side of the water barrel.
Keening under the shadow of the building, they all went to the other side of the school, w here they found the girls waiting for them.
Noiselessly they left the old building, and running across the plain they soon left
the schoolhouse behind them, and as the sun | rose they were climbing the hill to the south ward of the town.
At noon the native camp was in great glee at the return of their children.
That morning the clothes of the scholars were found piled around the old water-barrel. No merry laughter was heard or wrangling of boyish and girlish voiceB around the Bchoob These were gone, never to return.
The lives of the native boys had been turned into an artificial channel, the banks gave way, and to the end they followed the old course.
No other effort was ever made at that place to educate the natives; but many travellers - have been surprised at meeting native men
and women by the Murray and elsewhere who spoke the English language fluently..
George and Mary got married according to the usual custom of their tribe. They lived again among their own people, and were hap
pier than they had been among the strangers and aliens.
Mary carried with her to her own home many of the tastes and elegancies of civiliza tion, and the little wurley where they lived was noted for its neatness.
One of the old natives went past their wurley, and, ob he stood and looked at its neat and trim appearance, said—" My word, -no gammon, this one white feller's wurley."