Chapter 166693680

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Chapter NumberVIII
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article166693680
Full Date1862-07-05
Page Number2
Corrections0
Word Count1808
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleSydney Mail (NSW : 1860 - 1871)
Trove TitleTales of Barranjuee. No. 1. Morouya, the Black Eagle of Colo
article text

TALES OF BARRANJUEB.

(By the Author tf the To- Yc, My Roliiau, te.)

MOROUYA, THE BL4CK EAQLIJ OF COLO. Ciiinnu VIIT ? n«r «.,.*, tv...

It need hardly be told to such of our readers as hive followed us through our tale, that tne shots which h»d done such Bervice in raising the siege of the Wyong farm, had proceeded from the guns of the Birdcaicher and his aboiiginal companion. The clacks, believing that a reinforcement had arrived to support the little garrison, bad taken a panic and nie -npiutely fled. No small portion of this dread had ?been owing not only to the fact we have stated, bat *l»o to the unaccountable absence of all their white

«''?«» ; uiu», irami irom witnin as well us from ?without the house, firearms were telling upon them, there was no answering shot on theit side to eive them confidence. It was only when they found themselves thus deserted that they had fairly fled The Birdcatchei and Morouya hung on their rear pursuing them amongst the ranges aa long as there was a chance of obtaining a shot at their scattered and retreating rank* ; but the swift-footed Mucks, in their precipitate flight, soon led them far from the home stead, and though eomewhat unwillingly they de fciated from further pursuit, and wended their way back to the now ruined farmhouse. On reaching Wrong, they found there only two of the servants who had been left in charge of the cap tured bushrangers. From these they learnt that Evetington and Ralph, and a number of the assigned servants who had volunteered to accompany them, hud started off in the hope of intercepting the marauders who had so cunningly succeeded in at least one portion of their enterprise ? the carrying off of Jane Arnold. The Uirdcatcher heard the par ticulars of the night attack and the meanB by which Sick had succeeded in effecting his share in the scheme of villainy, with unfeigned emotion. Anxious as he w»s to aid her, he yet knew that the utmost ?care and circumspection was necessary, in order to -succeed in his object. He listened then attentively to all the details of the capture, in so far as they were known to those left behind, and then communicated them carefully, and with his own comments, to Motouya, in whose judgment and advice he had the fullest confidence. Aware that with hii companion, mote than with himself, lay the hope of rescuing the unfortunate maiden from the dire fate that awaited her, he left no point untouched, in asking Morouys'a counsel that would, in his opinion, bear jipon 'the subject they had to consider. With the deepest attention Morouya, listened to all that the liirdcatcher had to say, never so much as interrupting him with a question. When he had finished, without bo much as making an answer, except the one word 'Good! ' he tore off an armful of strips from the bark that had served to roof the house, and twisting one or two of them into a torch, lighted it, and at once proceeded to examine the orifice by which the girl had been taken ofl. Close to the house the ground was much trodden by the footmarks of the natives, and the dead body of the black, Btruck down by Ralph, lay immediately outside. They had thus to take a wide circuit in order to meet with that they wanted, the mil of the white marauders. I'tom the judgment that Morouya had formed,' they were net long in arriving at a cer tainty in this respect, for at about fifty paces from the hut, Morouya halted, and calling the liirdcatcher over to him, pointed with grim satis faction to the deeply indented footmark of Lick firmly impressed upon the soil, by means of the burden he had borne in his armB, and clcne alongside was the broad track of his companion Beardy Charley. As do attempt had been made to conceal the trail, bat little labour was required to follow it. It led across the paddock to the fence, where, as if to assure them a fragment of Jane's dress, torn off by a Bplinter of the rough split wood, hung glittering in the moonbeams. . Crossing the fence, the trail became more difficult to follow, through the dry bush, but, as the footprints pointed directly to the creek, as though the marauders had headed directly to it, Morouya, following out the idea he had previously conceived, struck off at once to the water's edge, and then followed along the bank, with a watchful eye towards any indication of the passage of the robbers. With the most careful scrutiny, they scanned the soft earth on the margin of the stream, examined the adjoining banks, and searched the impending scrubs ; and soon their patient exertions were rewarded, for, at a spot where the bank ran shelving off into the water forming a com modiouB landing place, the tracks of feet were again 'distinctly visible in the muddy soil, all coming down to, and none going back from, the water. The thick bush of ti-tiee that overhung the water frem the Bteep bank alongside was broken down and parted, showing evident traces of having been the recent hiding place of a boat. ' Well,' exclaimed the Birdcatcher, as his eye took in all these particulars, ' that Dick is a cunninger scoundrel than I took him for. He mutt have made pietty sure of his game when he went and fetched the boat up here afore hand, all ready to carry her off ! I'm afeard we shall have a job with him, Morouva.' Morouya gazed upon the track, and then turned his eyes out upon the placid waters, as though he would seek upon tneir unruffled surface the broad furrow left by the bout's keel. 'Tie croppy is wise,' at length he said, ' the eye of Morouya is sharp, but it cannot find the track of a canoe upon the waters.' Then turning suddenly to the Birdcatcher, he asked, ' Will Billy follow the croppiesr' '?1 should like to,' answered the Birdcatcher, ' but to follow them by water we shall have to wait till morning to make a cinoe, and then it will be barelv fit to carry us by night time.' ' The morning will be too late. If Billy intends to go, it must be now,' responded Morouya. ' What do you mean ':' asked the liirdcatcher, not gathering the other's meaning. ' Morouya catches the fish in the waters of the Barranjuee,' replied his companion; 'theBarran- juees are blind; the canoe of Moruya float upon their waters, and they cannot see it.' ' You've got one then, have you i' exclaimed the Birdcatcher, in high glee ; ' Come, then, and lose no time. Let's get it.' 'Billy must wait,' responded Morouya; 'Mo- rouya must cross the water and fetch it. Billy will .mind the guns, and keep the powder from getting wet.' So saying, he laid his mueket carefully down by the side of his companion, on the top of the bank, handed fcim his powder and shot, and then, with 8 quiet motion that scarcely rippled the waters he parted, he sank into the stream, and swam noiselessly towards the opposite shore. The Birdcatcher occupied himself in ruminating over the adventures of the last few hours, but more «special'y turning his thoughts upon the capture of Jane, ana more especially balancing in his mind the probabilities of overtaking the ruffians who had carried off Jane Arnold, and the course they had most likely pursued. He had been thus engaged only a very short time, when his acute ear caught the almost in audible sound of the slight plash of Morouya's voomera, as by that means he propelled his light bark canoe sctoeb the waters). Swift as an arrow, the fragile vessel shot across the creek, and touched the bank near to where the Birdcatcher stood. 'The canoe of a Barrunjuee,' said Morouya, 41 would not have remained a day in the waters of the Colo. Even the children would have spied it out. But the Barrunjuees have ejes only for the houses of the whites. They watch only that they may have a chance to steal.' ' It don't look like proper caution on their parts,' replied the Birdcatcher, as he handed bis own and Morouya's weapons into the canoe. 'They must htve walked about asleep, not to bare seen it.' As he concluded, he stepped carefully into the little . vessel, sitting down on his heels, after the mmner adopted by the blacks. Then taking up a second itoomera that lay in the boat, he proceeded to assist in propelling the vessel. In this manner, he, on the one side, and Morouya ton the other, the little bark was shot along swiftly, but noiselessly down the stream towards its opening into the lake. Carefully keeping under the shadow of the high and thickly-wooded b»nke, no sound occurred to break the deep repose into wb ich all nature seemed to be plunged, eave when some family of wild ducks feeding amidst the sedges neu the bank were startled at their ap proach, or when some shoal of fish through which they passed shot in long phosphorescent streaks along the water, and leaped into the air to escape the enemy which they conceived to be pursuing them. Rapidly they proceeded until the banks of the creek receded more and more from each other, and before them opened out the noble and picturesaue sheet of water, still known by it* native name of Tuggerth. At the mouth of the creek were usually congregated .myriads of ducks, teal, divert, and other aquatic birds, 'blackening the surface of the waters by the vastaess of iheir numbers, These were now all crowded together on the western bank of the stream; and Morouya, without speaking, pointed this fact out to his com piniM, directing his attention to it simply by a nod of {be head towards that quarter. ' Yet,' said the Birdcatcher, in & whisper, in

answer to the information thus mutely conveyed ; ' the ducks, poor dumb things as they are, tell us as plainly as if they could speak that something has pasted here, near the eastern bank. And it hasn't been very long since either, for the poor skeered crea tures haven't barely begun to spread out to their fetding yet.' With this encouragement, and now convinced that they were not very far, being those whom they were pursuing, they renewed their exertions, and having patK d round a long, low, narrow neck of land, that ran out far into the waters, they found themselves flowing on the bosom of the lake. (To be continued.)