Chapter 166694216

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Chapter NumberIX
Chapter TitleTHE CAPTIVE
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article166694216
Full Date1862-07-12
Page Number2
Corrections0
Word Count1954
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 0F BARRANJUEE.

{By the Author of «' To-Fe,' ' My Holiday,' &c.)

No. I, MOROUYA, THE BLACK EAGLE OF COLO. Cuai-ter'1X. — The Captive.

at is ume now ih&t we accounted to our readers for i the disappearance of Jane Arnold, and explained the meant by which she had been so successfully carried It need hardly be said that the operations against Vyohg farm-house had been directed by Beardy Charley ; in fact, the Tery circumstance of the attack heingmade at night showed that some influence more powerful than ordinary, and some energy beyond the common, had been at work amongst the natives, since their dislike to move about or going beyond the pre cincts of their camp after nightfall is proverbial.

Aney were toua, or tnemeeives, out little liltely to make an open and deliberate attack at an hour when, according to their traditions, all manner of evil influences have power on the earth. They have a kind of vague impression that the presence of a white man tends very materially to neutralise those influences, and that so long as the bushrangers remained in their company, they had no dread of the demons whom they believe to haunt the buah. It was by Beardy Charley's counsel then that the Various methods of assault had been directed. He it was who suggested the attempt to fire the readily ignitable bark, which then formed the roof of moat bush houses . and he it was who had planned the general assault, which, with more energetic comba tants on hia side, oeuld not, from the overwhelming number of the attacking force, have failed of being successful. This grand assault had been regarded by Dick as a good opportunity for carrying out the only object that had induced him to originate the expedition. Hiving already provided this means of entrance, he imagined that the defenders of the house would be ao fiercely engaged with the assailants, as to pay but little attention to any slight commotion that might arise in a room regarded as secure. The bushranger, too, burning with rage at the trap which had been laid for him, and from which he had eo narrowly escaped, and anxious to avenge the capture of hia comrades if he could not rescue them, came readily into Dick's pro posal to make the attempt. Two of the slabs in the room now occupied by J ane, but which had hith*to served as a spare sleeping- room, had been formerly loosened by Dick, in order to give him free ingress and egress from the houBe, whenever he might deem it necessary to conceal his nightly wanderings from the eye of his master. It had no doubt been Dick's intention had he not been previously secured, to have inlroduct d the bushrangers and their allies into the house by this opening. The decisive course taken with him had, however, prevented this. Stealing up to the house in company with Beardy Charley, and unnoticed in the general din and con fusion, he removed the Blight fastenings that held the slabs erect, and enuring the room, seized upon his victim almost before she was aware of his presence. The poor girl, half stunned by the hideous and unaccustomed noises that rose around her, had buried her face in her hands, and was silently offering up a prayer to Heaven for the safety of her father, and of him in whose preservation Bhe took eo deep an interest. Her thoughts, for the mo ment turned from earth, were rudely brought back to it by a rough grasp upon her arm end a powerful hand clasping her round the waist. Raising her head in affright she met the wild triumphant gaze \hat glared fiom Dick's eyes, and had only time to utter that one shriek of horror and fear, that had been heard by her father above all the wild cries that were yelled forth on every side, when a blanket was thrown over her head, she was raised by a psweiful arm from the ground, and in another instant had been borne through the opening. The sudden shock upon her nerves, added to the suffocating effect of the blanket in which she was enveloped, deprived her almost immediately of consciousness, and in a few seconds she was lying motionless and insensible, a passive captive in the arms of the ruffian tvhn wiuk ht*r /iff.

In order to understand more fully the locality into which our tale is now about to lead tbe reader, we must here pause in our narration whilst we give a brief description of the lake. Tuggerah Beach is an irregularly shaped lake, divided into three unequal portions by long bold ridgea, terminating in bluff rocky headlands, that run out in each case to within about a mile and a half of the opposite shore. The southernmost of these por tions, or Csrbon Tuggerah, is, as the name implies, the largest of the three sheets of water ; and at its south-eastern extremity was the entrance to the lake from the sea. This entrance is sometimes blocked up entirely by the sand that is washed up by the violence of the fierce south-eastern gales that devastate the coast ; at others it is opened out into a broad deep channel by the action of floods occurring in the numerous creeks that empty themselves into tbe lake, and which drain a very large expanse of ground. The entrance, how ever, has never been known to be deep enough to admit of the passage through it of any vessel larger

breake upon its Bands makes even the passage of such boats s matter of anything but safety, except after the continuance of the calmest weather. Here, too, as we remarked cursorily in a former chapter, the lake is separated from the sea by huge and barren sandhills, bearing a few dwarfed and Btunted Bhrubs, their only veubire a few tufts of coaree wiry grass, all vegetation being kept down by the cutting blasts that, salt laden, sweep over them from off the wide waters of the Pacific. From the opening to the sea, for one can hardly call it an entrance, as we proceed northward, the belt of land that intervenes between the lake and the sea g-ows gradually broader and broader, and as shelter om the wutds is provided vegetation extends, until, as we reach the extreme northern end, hill and gully, tree clad mountain and rugged water courses, inter vene between Tuggerah and its parent waters. The next portion of the lake, known as Nerang Tuggerah, is the smallest of the three, and forms almost a per fect circle. Its gently sloping shores are clothed in sand, forming a safe and convenient beach, on which the mimic waves curl and break in puny imitation of the giant waters out eide. The northern portion of the lake is wilder and ruder than either of the others. Hete, heavy ranges shut it in from the ocean, and its banks are clad with the richest, almost tropical vegetation. Every gully shows a mass of rich and tangled verdure, whilst the slopes ef the hills are laden with tall and massive trees, betwixt which the grass tree shoots up its green and gracefully pendent blades, from the midst of which starts up tbe hard yet light reed from which the sea-coast blacks select their spears. Here, too, the gigantic lily towers aloft, bending gracefully beneath the weight of the vast mass of flowers that it rears upwards, and that scent the air for rods round with the delicious fragrance they emit. Though the ridges are thus luxuriant, the margin of the lake is wild and broken. Ridgea run down suddenly into the waves, and break off with a clear straight cleavage, as though lopped off by some Titan axe ; and at the foot of the headlands or bluffs thus formed, lie masses of rock beeped on each other, or wedged together in such curious fashion as to lead almost to the fancy that they have been thus placed for aport. In other spots again, some richly grassed and heavily wooded valley runs down to the very water's edge, and there stops abruptly, leaving perhaps a flat ndge of rock to meet and defend it from the puny attack of the waves. A t the extreme northern end of this sheet of water lies a low flat, swampy and muddy at the best of times, and rearing only a growth of mangrove and stunted swamp oak. This extends for somewhere about a mile till it reaohes the southernmost shores of Lake Mac* Suarie ; these two beautiful and romantic lakes being lus only separated by this narrow and almost levd belt of earth. The tracking skill of Moruya has already shown our readers the course taken by Dick and his com panions, after they had secured their prisoner. Through the first and second portions of tbe lake, lane found herself conveyed by the monsters who had torn her fto tn her home. As we have said, the first shock of surprise and horror had caused her to faint, and she had thus been unable by her cries to guide those to her assistance who would have perished or have rescued her. ' On coming to herself she had found herself lying in (he stem of Everington's boat, ?whilst aome stranger to her. but whom our readers already know to be Beardy Charley, wot sturdily plying the oar. Finding all entreaty useless, and that the stem hearts of the ruffians were not to be softened by her prayers, she had made up her mind to die rather than remain in their power. . With this idea, she had endeavoured to cast herself overboard, but to her astonishment found that she had been an ticipated in this, her final hope of escape. A rope had been fastened round her waist, the other end of which had been firmly hound to one of the thwarts. Thus .deprived of all hope, she had ones mars called for help, making the bush echo again with her Bcreama. She was now, however, too fir removed

from assiatatioe tor her cries to be heard by Uij.6 who desired to aid her, wbilet this conduct on her part only induced further violence from the monsters who guarded her. They sarin seized her, threw the blanket over her head, and tied it tightly round her neck, not only preventing theneotpeof all sound, but almost the possibility of breathing. It was only when on the verge of suffooatioa that they again released her, and she, seeing that no advantage conld arise from further resistance at that time, quietly submitted to her fate, husbanding her strength— mental and physical— for the moment when a road of esctpe should be opened for her by that I'rovidence to whom her prayers were firventiy directed, and who she was sssuied would not desert ber in her hour of need. Thus resigned, she saw herself transported across the waters of the lake, until at the rocky point which forms tbe division of the middle and northern portions of the fake, her captors directed their boat amongst the numerous rocks that lay heaped around, until they reached a species of natural dock where their boat rode easily, and concealed from the tight of any who might lie on the look out from the water. Here having unfastened the cord that bound her to the thwait, they liftid Jane on shore; and having care, fully secured their arms, they forced her to plunge with them into the deep bush that clothed the sides of the adjoining ridgea. (To be continued.)