Chapter 166694543

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Chapter NumberXI
Chapter Url
Full Date1862-07-26
Page Number2
Word Count2071
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleSydney Mail (NSW : 1860 - 1871)
Trove TitleTales of Barranjuee. No. 1. Morouya, the Black Eagle of Colo
article text


(By the Author of 11 IV IV ' My Boliday,' &e.)

No. I. MOROUYA, THE BLA.CK ElGLK OF COLO. Chapter XI — The Tit ail Fovhd.

MonooiA and the liirdcatcher, when they found themselves in the lake, took the precaution to stand out well from the Bhore, in order that there might be lees chance of their being visible to any prying eye that might be on the look-out. In this way they reached that portion of the take which was opposite to the late camping ground of the natives. No sign of h uman being waa to be discovered there, and not even

»ue smouiueriug apara tii a nre was perceptlDte. Cau tiously approaching the shore, and finding all clear, they landed in search of tracks, and then discovered] w ithout the possibility of mistake, that the camp had been broken up. Here they took counsel as to the beat couiae to pursue. Their powers of observation and acute bush knowledge, though taxed to the ut most, were here found to be of no service for their guidance. No track of those they sought was to . be found ; whilst the trail of the blacks who had been left in charge of the camp and of the Virdcatcher previous to his escape, led off up the ridge and joined the main trail to Wyorg, as if the band had proceeded at once to inform their tribe of the lose they had sustained. Fully convinced, how ever, that they had hitherto followed the same direc tion that their enemies had taken, they determined upon following the line of the shore on which they then etood. Certain that their chase had not pushed e cross the lake— for in the etillnesa of the night the practised ears of Morouya would else have detected the sound of the oars— whilst it was little likely that, cumbered with their fragile captive, they would have sought shelter amongst the inhospitable eandbankB, -m which they would hnve been hemmed in with all chance of retreat cut off, the liirdcatcher and the black once more embarked, and, keeping as before, at s safe distance from the shore, they again urged the frail bark canoe that bore them to its utmost speed. Nor were their eyes leas idle than their hands, since they were constantly engaged

W BVMvusMg nwusiu; UJ auc VMVlCf MI1UBV llJClr ever ready ears were open to catch the smallest sound that might offer them a clue. Thua employed, they urged along their light vessel so vigorously, that they reached the northern portion of the lake only a short time atter the landing of the robbers. On the clear beach they had passed, they had st once perceived that no boats had been hauled up, for the aanda glistened white and unspotted in the clear moonlight. On reaching the dark masses of rock which formed the projecting point, on which Jane and her captors had landed, both Morouya and his companion tacitly admitted the necessity for cir cumspection by relaxing their efforts. The natural dock of which the marauders had availed themselves, was not unknown either to the liirdcatcher or Morouya ; and then, for the first time, its existence suggested to them, thet so eccure a ahelter and convenient landing had been made available by the robbers. They, therefore, cautiously directed their little craft in that direction, and the sight of the boat riding easily In the basin showed their surmise to be correct. Elated by this sigh of success, they now proceeded, with every precaution, against surprise. Landing at some distance from the spot where the boat lay, they glided into the bush, and only approached it, after having asBured themselves that no lurking enemy lay in wait for them. Satisfied that here the ruffians had taken to the bush, they passed over the rocks that intervened, and commenced a careful search of the adjoining ridge for tracks. This occu Jiied some time, guided as they were by the moon ight only ; but at length a cry of satisfaction from Morouya announced his success. As the Birdcatcher approached, Morouya pointed to some small glittering object on the ground, which Billy discovered to be a hook that had been detached from Jane's dress. A minute examination of the ground in this locality, now enabled tnem to discover the perfect tracks of the three, and the direction towards which they tended. After an attentive examination of these, once more a consultation was held between the two companions. ?' Where does Morouya think the white thieves have gone r' asked the Birdcatcher. 'The tracks point towards the main range,' answered the black. ' The croppieB are wise. Billy knows the big lBgoon. The whole tribe of Barranjuee might he hid in the scrub that surrounds it, and none would find them. They would leave no track in the water.' ' If they were all men,' replied the Birdcatcher, ' what you aay would be well enough. But they

wouia never toinx 01 easing tnat young girt with em into the Big Swamp. Besides, she's not used to travelling, and I'm sure they ain't gone so far. They wouldn't be able to get her along.' ' Are the croppies fools rejoined the chief. ' Would they venture to camp in the open bush, with their foe upon their trail 1' ' Well, I don't know,' eaid Billy, ' seeing that they're whites, and whites do do most uncommon foalihh things in the bush sometimes. However, they needn't do that for there's good cover near.' Morouya looked at him enquiringly, and answered 'Morouya is in the country of the Barranjuee. If he was on the hunting grounds of the Colomen, he would know every cover.' 'To be Bure,' replied Billy, ' It ain't to be expec ted that you should know the ground so well as tne m that's been over every inch of it. But you must have heard of the Cabbage-tree Waterhole ? ' Morouya has never seen it,' said the black. ' Then, I can tell you that it's the finest cover in these parts, and the nearest water for miles, to where we are now. And,' added the Birdcatcher, ' its my opinion, judging from the trails that the young girls knocked up, and that they're taken her to camp there.' He then proceeded to describe the locality to his companion, more particularly dwelling upon the fact that as he eaid—' the young girl am't gut much strength or will either to travel far.' Morouya, on hearing these arguments, readily con ceded that this was the most likely spot for the vil lains to make to ; and it was thereupon determined to make at once to the spot. Striking at once boldly acroBs the bush in the most direct line towards the secluded nook, they reached at length the broad flat which extended along the foot of the vast ridge that towered overhead, and into which opened the gully in which lay the waterhole they sought; Here for an instant they halted to eettle their plan of action. They were now within a half mile of the spot, and as the two ruffianB whom they expected to encounter were known to be hardy vil lains, with whom it was a much more serious matter to cope than it was with their savage allies, a greater amount of caution was necessarily demanded. 'Morouya,' eaid the Birdcatcher, after consider ing for a moment, ' I know every inch of this ground, and I think it'll be better for me to go for ward alone, end see how they've placed themselves. You can wait here till I come back, and we can then settle what to do.' 'The step of Morouya is like the footfall of the wild cat,' answered the black ; ' tne ears of the startled kangaroo cannot catch its sound. Morouya will go with Billy.' ' We should have a better chance of managing 'em, if we had everything settled beforehand,' replied Billy ; ' but if you wish to go, I won't baulk you. The God of the white man will protect us, Motouya,

Seeing tnat we re performing a good action.' ' Billy is wise,' said Motouya, sententiously ; ' two are better than one— they can aid each other.' Once more they started, but ecatcely had they taken a dozen steps, then Morouya came Suddenly to a halt, at the same time giving a low Bound of warning to the Birdcatcher. The black stood motionless as a statue, almost as breathless, his head slightly advanced, his noBtrils distended and eager, and ids eyes opened to their fullest width. His attitude was evincing the pro foundest attention, every energy and sense beinglcon centrated upon the one effort to catch a repetition of the sound that had startled him. The Birdcatcher also listened, hut in vain, for however sharp might be his practised organs of sense, they were yet far behind thoBe of his companion. At length Morouya seemed satisfied, forpolnting up the fiat, he said in a low whisper, ' whitefellow t' ' Whites !' cried Billy, exceedingly puzzled. ' It Can't be the bushrangers, unless they've lost them selves ; and that ain't likely, for Dick knows all these gullies as well as I do.' ' The white man knows the bush bydsy,' aniwered Morouya,' but the dark clouds of night make him like the stupid bandicoot. Morouya knows the tread of a white, and there are many there.' 'I hear 'em now,' said the Birdcatcher, 'and Stupid and noisy enough jthey seem to be. Why could follow their trail by night as easily ss we can that of the Broken Bay men by day, and 'only by the noise they make. It ain't the bushrangers, but those who, l o thinking, we'd been better with out. It's the master and his party.' In this supposition he was correct, for, as they ap S reached, Billy recognised with little difficulty the uriy form of, Ralph, and the active proportions of

Evcrington. As he stood in the ehadow of the trees, undecided whether to make himself known to the party or not, the others would have passed him, had be not attracted their attention. It had struok him that, possibly this force, unless acting in concert with himself and Morouya, might do more harm than good, and he_ therefore let his piece down so as to strike the butt with a ringing sound upon the earth. This waa sufficient to warn them, but casting quick searching glances round, end aeeing nothing Ureriog. ton called out in a loud voice — 1 ' Wlio'e there ? Answer at once, or we'll give you a volley ! ' ' Silence t silence ! ' answered the Birdcatcher in a subdued but impressive tone, ' if you wouldn't undo all that we've been for the last two hours doing.' ' Thank God that we have come across you ! ' f jeculated Everington, when he recognised Billy and his companion. , 'Ana I would sooner not have met you,' bluffly responded the Birdcatcher, ' for vou walk through the bush as though nothing short of a cannon shot could wake up the ears of those you are seeking. It's a good job you haven't come near the blacks.' ' My daughter, my daughter 1 ' here broke in Ralph, in the frenzied accent* of despair, ' aay, have you discovered any trace of my daughter ? ' ' She is now within half a mile of us,' said Dick sternly, ' but if you happen to make a noise as loud as the falling of a leaf upon the grass you may happen never to Ece her again alive.' The impressive manner of the bushman had its effect, not only upon Ralph, but upon the rest of the party, and the remainder of the con. vernation was carried on in the lowest pos sible tone. Billy briefly gave them an account of his proceedings, and explained the ground* upon which he based his certainty of finding the bushrangers and the young girl in the spot he indi cated. He received e confirmation of this certainty by the detail they gave of their proceedings since they had etarted, little more than two hours ago, from Wyong. (To be continued.)