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Chapter NumberI
Chapter Title
Chapter Url
Full Date1927-02-09
Page Number12
Word Count2599
Last Corrected2019-04-27
Newspaper TitleSydney Mail (NSW : 1912 - 1938)
Trove TitleSons of the Seven Mile
article text

Sons of the Seven Mile An Australian Novel of

Country & City Life

by Zora Cross



These iiad gone out into the wilderness, And / haxl read with them from fear to. fear, - Felt 1 he, iong trail over ihe mountains press Till continents were singing in my ear. — David McKee Wright. NOW thai. Emmy had made up her mind to go to Goldville there was all the bright bustle oi' getting- off. Her grandmother insisted upon helping her to pack, and the children, more

excited about the long journey than the fact that they were leaving home, ran hither arid thither putting in what they considered was indispensable i'or the trip. 'Mamma, we can't leave the white hen, can we?' Dolly said. No. Emmy was emphatic about that. They could not leave tlie white lien. Dolly, the brightest, most eager of the little family of' four, ran out to get tiie white hen. Oh! it was wonderful going away to the bush like this. 'But papa's going lo make us all rich,' Jeanie said. She was her mother over again, plump and biue eyed. The spring-carl was already in the back yard, and Dobbin in the shafts. Pigs, cows, calves, even horses were all ready for what Emmy now laughingly called 'tlie exodus.'' 'Mamma,' Emmy said lo her mother, who had let her have Die little Valley cottage when she and Ernest were married, 'I don't quite like taking my hoops. 1 think I'll leave them all behind. 1 won't have anytime for social life now.' As the fashion was just changing, Emmy's mother decided with her to leave all tlie crinoline hoops, and said that she would stack them in the loft or tlie fowl house. Emmy in her flowered silk dress, which she had worn at her wedding, did not look like one going off lo the bush. There was an argument as to whelher she should not wear something plainer, and her grand mother offered a shawl, while her mother insisted upon her taking the opossum-skin rug to keep her warm on {lie I rip. Emmy was sensitive about going off in a spring carl info a new life, tightly decked out in her wedding dress, with all her animals, fowls, and children willi her. Hut they laughed at Jjer for her fears. 'You'll meel dozens of people on the way travelling in funnier rig-outs than yours,' her mother said. Emmy, who was only twenty-seven and had served in her husband's liltlc butcher's shop up till the pre sent, fell nervous all ihe same. A school-teacher before her marriage lo the. sen of a cattle-dealer, there was something prim and schoohnarmlike aboul. Emmy. She walked to the door of the shop now. and looked along the road to Ooldville, which was fairly thick with people hurrying to tlie goldfield. She came back to where tin1 others were assembled and said: 'Well, now we're off, let us be off. J think myself we should either have gone by the coach or waited for the boat lo Parbur-.' 'It's much cheaper In go as you are going, my dear,' her mother said. 'You aren't going to slay in Ooldville, and you'll he glad you've got everything once you've started.' It really was, however, a tremendous undertaking. Ernmy knew- this as she pulled at her gloves and tilled her flowery hat over her face. Brisbane was bush enough, and Sydney itself was primitive. But she could just imagine what Goldville was like, and she and Ernest and the children were going some ten miles or more beyond tlie diggings. Hut she could not go back on her word now. Ernest ? and her young son, Dave, bad gone on ahead, and already she knew there would be a little home waiting in the wilderness for them. Ernest was not interested in the gold. He had taken up some splendid land, and lie saw more money in that. The three little gii'ls, Dolly, Jeanie, and Madge, were seated in the spring-cart. Emmy's brother Ralph w7as

driving them, and her brother George taking the cattle. . 'Come on, mamma,' Dolly cried out. 'Uncle George has gone.' ? There was no longer any further excuse. People were going to Goldville in 'wheelbarrows, on horseback, by bullock waggon, by foot, and in all manner of vehicles. One more family setting out in a spring-cart did not matter. But a hundred miles was a long way to travel in a spring-cart, with three little children, geese, a turkey, pot plants, seeds, corn, provisions, calves, pigs, and poultry. After all, it was somewhat different from the turn out of those merely going to seek a fortune at the new goldfield. The second rush to Goldville had set in. Pans and dishes of gold were on view in the jeweller's shop in Oueen-street, and the air was tingling with excitement. EMMY, restless, as all the Todds were, got up into the cart at last, sitting on the seat with the chil dren. They were amused to find themselves packed in with the household things about them. 'Oh, we'll get out and walk, and give Dobbin a rest,'' Dolly said, 'when we come to any. wild flowers or creeks.' Emmy felt that she should be stern with them. There would be no living with them in a wilderness, with no other companions save blacks, unless she put a restraining hand on them at once. Her mother, Mrs. Todd, stood at the door waving them off. Emmy had, after all, put a grey cloak on, and she looked less pathetic than before, having opened up her tiny long-handled parasol. There were carpet, bags and boxes, bags of sugar, and bags of flour in the cart with them, a medley of pots and pans, some of which were tied to the back of the cart and made a jingling noise that amused the children. Mrs. Todd and her grandmother thought of some thing Emmy had forgotten every other minute — either a mattress, a towel, or a piece of carpet for the floor. 'You needn't be nervous, Emmy,' Mrs. Todd said. '\rou'll sec Rose when you get to Goldville.' Emmy dabbed at her eyes with a pocket handker chief. and took no notice of Dolly and Jeanie, who were quarrelling as to which one should sit near Uncle Ralph. '1 know, 'mamma,' Emmy said; 'but what I don't know is when I'll get to Goldville.' There was something in this. If Emmy met rain, thunderstorms, or hail, she and the children would have lo cam p under the spring-cart. 'Oh, now don't begin to cry.' her mother said, paying no attention' lo customers who had come into the shop. 'You'll have good company alt along, and you don't know who you'll meet.' 'Indeed I don't,' Emmy :-aid. 'There again is just il. Neither Ralph nor George lias a gun, anil what shall we do if we . are stuck up by PaJmerly or meet blacks?' Her mother and grandmother held a consultation at this. They' had not expected Emmy lo show nervous ness.

As Mrs. Todd said, Rose would meel Emmy in Goldville. ; Rose -was the mother's favourite daughter, and at the moment was dancing and singing in the Goldville dance-hall. Rose always had spirit. Emmy ?was- shy and meek. Mrs. -Todd, who had been one of the first while children bom in Australia, went down to the spring cart, and her mother followed her. Mrs. Todd said: 'I think she had better go on, mamma. J always thought Emmy bad more pluck.' Emmy's grandmother now urged her not to be a silly girl, but to take her voyage into tlie unknown as an adventure. 'Look at me, Emmy,' she said. 'Why, when I came out here lo Australia with your grandfather I was. just as lonely. I had no one; you'll find friends.' 'I don't mind going for myself,' Emmy said with a sniff. 'It's taking the children into the wilderness like this. Somehow it doesn't seem right.' 'Someone's got to begin,' Mrs. Todd said. 'Well, there you are, Emmy. You let Ernest go up and make a home for you, and now you want to draw back.' At this Emmy protested, and, drawing herself up, haughtily said that she would face it out no matter what came. 'Even if Palmerly sticks us up,' Emmy said, 'I'll face him with naked hands.' There was a bright smile on her face at this, and the pioneers at last set oul. Mrs. Todd and Emmy's grandmother went as far as the gate, and then followed them to the road, waving to them as happily as if they were setting out for a picnic. 'She'll be all right,' Mrs. Todd said as Uiey turned back. 'Emmy']? find herself when she gets to Gold ville.' . EMMY'S task was soon apparent. She had to keep three very excited little girls from tumbling out of the spring-cart. Each was chattering inces santly, and, the morning being cool and blue, they re moved their velveteen hats, and soon began to wish that they had worn muslin and not velveteen frocks. Once away from Brisbane, Emmy let them put on old print dresses and run at the back of the carl, when they grew tired of sitting down. She herself did not change her frock til] after they had spent their first night in the bush, all sleeping comfortably enough rolled up in rugs and opossum-skins. The coach passed them early in the morning just as Ralph was harnessing up, and Emmy felt sensitive about her mode of travelling. The coach did the journey in so much less time. It seldom took more than two or three days, unless the creeks were Hooded ; whereas Emmy knew that she would be more than a week — per- haps two weeks — on the road. There %vas plenty to do looking after the fowls and animals, and when rain fell oil their second night out from Brisbane Emmy's gay spirits sank. 'I'm going back to Brisbane. Ralph,' she said; 'we'll never get to Goldville unless Ernest comes' down for us.' Ralph persuaded her not to return. 'Afler we get past the Humpy Mountains,' he said, 'there's no fear either from blacks or bushrangers, and very likely Ernest will ride across-counlrv and meet us there.' But the rain fell in torrents, and they were obliged to seek shelter from il off the road in a cave. Emmy saw half their food destroyed with the rain, and after il had finished the roads were so bad thai Ralph suggested killing off some of the slock or leaving the creatures behind. George had taken another road with the cattle. Emmy gathered her three litlle girls lo her, and gave herself up lo tears again. The carl w-as stuck in the mud, the horse bogged, and she was so ashamed when the coach came to drag them out, thai she fled to the bush with her children, and nothing would per suade her lo come oul till the coach went on. The coach was full of rowdy passengers, lucky miners who were going lo Brisbane for a trip singing boisterously; actresses, and men who had gone up lo inspect tlie field, were on ( Continued on Page 40.)

The exclusive right of publishing this work throughout ihe Commonwealth has been pur chased by the proprietors of 'The* Sydney Mail.' Literary, dramatic, and moving picture copyright by TLora Cross throughout Australia and New Z.ealand and all other British Dominions. Ad interim copyright by TLora Cross in United States of America. Our readers are informed thai all characters in this story are purely imaginary, and if the name of any living person happens to be mentioned no personal implicatior. is intended.

'Sons of the Seven-Mile ' ( Continued from Page 12.) their way bark to form companies to en able them to work it in earnest. They all looked with sympathy upon the pioneer family bravely pushing through. Emmy could not be persuaded after that to remain in the spring-cart. She was al ways taking to tiie bush and burying her face in her hands whenever anyone chanced to come along the road. But the news of her hard .journey and her struggle lo get through went on ahead of her. Goldville heard of if, and was waiting with a royal welcome for the brave little band. Some of the miners had suggested going out to meet thein. bul Emmy was lo be spared this. Before they reached the Humpy Moun tains .joy and consternation met her. Ernest had ridden cross-country to join her, and was there alone. 'Papa! It's papa!' the children cried when they saw him. 'Where did you leave Dave?' His first care being for his young wife, when he had greeted her and the children, Ernest confessed thai ne had left Dave with the blacks. Emmy was aghasf. 'Why did you do that?' she asked. 'Oh. he's as safe as if he were with me,' Ernest replied. 'Don't worry about him. Palmerly is on the road, and we've got to get to Goldville quickly.' Ernest, a tall, fail' Australian some years older lhan his wife, glanced tenderly at Emmy. He had been nearly a fortnight get ling to 1he Humpy Mountains, and his heart contracted a little as he thought of Ihe wild country to which he was taking her. 'Are the blacks friendly, then, dear?' she asked. 'Friendly?' he replied. 'Wait, until you meet them.' Emmy did not want to do this very much, but the children were excited to hear that a tribe of blacks was camped on the edge of the scrub near iheir new home. 'Are Ihere any little girls like us, papa?' Dolly asked. 'Lots and lols of them.' 'llow l'ar away are the neighbours?' Emmy asked sol'lly. 'Oh, not so far at all.' Ernest returned. 'The Pearsons are just about four miles away, and there are. new people at, the Deep Creek. That's not six miles from us.' Emmy expressed no fear at. this news. Even in Brisbane next-door neighbours were some distance away. They were now about, a day's ride from Goldville, and Ernest suggested that Emmy ride on the pack-horse he had brought wilii him, as that would give her ease from the jolting of the cart, Emmy said that it was Palmerly she really feared, and wished they were in Goldville. Ernest was cheerful about it. not fearing the bushranger in the least. 'I'm afraid we'll have to spend to-night in the bush,' he said. 'There is no moon, and the roads are bad.' Ralph wished to push on. At sunset they halted at the foot of the. Humpy Mountains, which was a place well known as Palmerly's haunt. The children were delighted with the spot. The Humpy Mountains were two huge rocks which seemed to have been split in two by Nature in anger, for there was a narrow passage-way between them, wide enough for a man to walk through com fortably. Aboriginals said that Thunderee, the devil, had had a fight with Berral — God — round the Humpy Mountains, and that when Thunderee hid and Berral could no! find him Berral split the mountain in two with liis boomerang, so slew Thunderee. The travellers spread out what was to be their last evening meal of the journey. They did not dream that Palmerly was watching them from the lop of the moun tain. He, too, was ready for the road and Goldville. (To be Continued.)