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Chapter NumberVII
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttps://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article169146550
Full Date1927-03-09
Page Number27
Corrections1
Word Count4005
IllustratedY
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

[?]

CHAPTER VII.

'And out of the cavernous centuries to cacti other we blindly reach.'

— Arthur Tl. Adams.

JEANIE, meantime, giving up Dave with a sag of her shoulders, was hurrying away from the dance-hall in her grandmother's house, at the foot of Golden Hill, when Casey caught her arm. Andy Blake was stand ing with Casey — Andy Blake, a man a good deal older than herself, but young si ill in the hope of gold and a fortune. Charlie Began was with him.

'Can you identify a man you saw when you were ten?' Casey asked Jeanie. 'I might be able to.' Casey pointed Ihrough the door to 'Flash Harry.' 'Is that man at all like t lie man your father brought in with you when you came?' Jeanie with folded arms regarded 'Flash Harry.' 'He's the man,' she said. 'I'd know his black eyes anywhere.' 'Painterly,' Casey said. 'Now stand by me. hoys. .The others are after Campbellwell. We'll get Painterly. ' Jeanie made her escape quickly, as the saloon became riotous with fighting. 'Flash Harry' had been accused of cheating again — this lime almost, discovered. Casey approached him quietly. 'Harry, you betler ' come with me,.' he said. Morgan pushed Casey aside. 'What ml. Casey!' he said. 'Harry's doing no harm.' 'Flash Harry's' hand was on his revolver— loo lale. for Casey had drawn his.

There was a re port. a f-; it o r 1 s scream, and, fling- j ing up his arms. | 'Flash Harry' fell. p 'Foul! Foul!' the | miners cried. 'Foul! | Casey, you are mad!' I Harry was gasp- I ing his last un- I happy breath. I 'You've got me. I Casey.' he s a i d I hoarsely. 'You've S got me.' | 'You asked for it. j You're Painterly. 1 aren't you?' ! He could only | nod. His fingers [ twitched, and he j flung out it is arms as I if trying to cluich I something; then lie I gasped out as he I fell over on his side : I 'Campbellwell — on I Brisbane road — raid- I ing Hill io-nighi— j stop ? ' I He was dead he- I fore he finished his I confession. j Casey turned the j dead man over and j began to search 'his j pockets. The crowd 1 was so thick that the j atmosphere was stif- 1 ling. j 'Stand back! Stand I back, half a score of j you!' a young I trooper said, who ' had come running to the hall at the

sound of the shooting. Casey had emptied Palmerly's pockets. 'Positive proof it is Palmeriy,' he said. 'Take the carcase away — Palmeriy, wanted for half-a-dozen mur ders — Palmeriy, with no mercy. Now, who's with me to hunt his mate down?' Tire papers found on the dead bushranger showed clearly that he worked with the black. Campbellwell. A perfect plan was revealed. Campbellwell was to meet Palmeriy at nine in the morning to help him with the coach. 'The rotten dog!'' Casey said. 'No wonder we could never catch tiiat black .when -'he had a white man helping him. : Come on. hoys.' Bed Morgan was 1 he. first to shout: 'I'm with you.' Regan and Andy cried : 'So am I.' McPhie did not volunteer. 'You can have all the horses in my yard, Casey,' Morgan said. 'Heavens, I'm sorry I've ' been taken in hv 1 hat dog.' Morgan seemed lo he ashamed of himself, as under neath Tie was simple, if rough and brutal in some of his dealings. THE Hill, was now awake, and alive lo I lie danger .'about il. Miners' lanterns twinkled everywhere. Running figures- could ? he seen 'darling past the covered mines, and Golden-street, with its tents and one or Two stores separate..] from one another by gum-1 roes and wattles in hloom, was' thronged -with- bearded miners seething with - e'xeitonient. Notices and offers of reward for (lie capture or' Palmeriy and Campbellwell had been posted up all over (he country. One hung outside M'erriman's sfbrc. above

' Women unci children . . . were hurrying In join the nou: no'u.-y -r-urd ,'

the placard advertising newspapers, flapping in the w ind against I lie nolice. — GOLD BOUGHT HERE. Women and some children, alarmed at the news of Palmerly's capture in iheir midst, and current rumours I hat Campbellwell was raiding the Hill, which had be come mixed wilh other rumours, were hurrying to join I lie now noisy crowd. 'Oh, you needn't he scared. We'll look after you,' some of 1 lie men declared, as gnarled hands trembled and old black pipes were bitten. No one had ever thought of an attack of blacks, headed by the notorious Campbellwell. Morgan, ordering Carrie to shut his saloon, ran up Hie steps lo the stage in search of Ruth. Ruth was not there. Ruth was nowhere to he found. 'Morgan,' Carrie cried, agitated at the turn of events, 'I believe Dave Markham and Ruth have ridden a way to Brisbane.' 'On the Brisbane road! ' Morgan cried now.no longer thinking of anything save that the girl might fall into ( iainpbeilw ell's dreadful hands. Though in anger he had planned to carry Ruth off, lie, did not want her to meet a fearful fate. Also, it was in a healed moment he had laid lii.s plans, and Ihey were as wild as they seemed ludicrous lo him now. Thai lie could have been misled aboul 'Flash Harry' all ibis lime angered him. 'Yes,' said Carrie. 'Oil, Morgan, get Iheni! G-T Idem!' Carrie ran out now lo see Casey on Ids big black horse at I he head of a number of riders. The sight of the mounted men going out to bring in the nushranger pul hearl inio everyone in the

lonely little out post. for Hill horough was still lonely a n d still lilile. Carrie went from one frightened little group to another, cheering them. Jeanie had come hack, a n d there were consultations as to whether the women and chil- ! dron should all go j to Hie police sta tion. But it was deserted, and all the ammunition was wanted now for the capture of Camp bellwell. 'Oh, the fools, lo go away at night!' some of the women said of Ruth and Dave. 'They'll he caught, nothing surer. Poor Ruth! The unfortu nate girl.' 'Oh, Dave Mark ham knows more about the blacks llian they know about themselves,' others said. Then Casey was away, and Morgan, following him — de- tailed lo ride round i by the scrub and f cut Campbellwell off f by 1 ho river — took a f number of others s willi him. | Those who slaved [| i.

behind watched the band of armed men ride off into the murk. it; did not seem fair to Carrie to see them all riding. off: heavily armed, lo hunt down one black. Many blacks, she feared, would lie, killed. But Carrie, had little notion of the besti ality and the sheer brutality of Camp bollwell: Each man was given a position to hold -by Casey. They were, to sur round the three, tribes which were with Campbellwell, one the cannibal Yonga Barra tribe from the north, an -Ipswich tribe known to be dan gerous, and another they believed to be the Gidgee tribe. If the' third tribe were the Gidgee blacks Morgan thought. Dave had a chance to elude even Campbell well if lie were caught unawares. AT the Brisbane road the riders broke up, making for the bush in all directions. They posted themselves in a wide circle ready for an attack, for, the. black -in figliting spreads out. . But one armed man ; properly placed may hold up a whole tribe of a hundred. Casey calculated from the papers he found on Pal inerly that there were four to five hundred blacks with Campbellwell. A nice little crowd to raid even a strongly-armed mining town! But he had long/wanted to bring Campbell weiD in — his head, if he could not bring himself. Dead or alive, the bushranger was wanted. Many a man bad a score to settle with him. CHAPTER VIII. 'Love suffices. Love, that, bids a woman cling to man and trust, Follow him into the desert, bear his burdens , soothe and aid. Live as lonely as the. landscape , and forget the distance thrust 'Twixl her kin and this bare dwell ing, wait the future undismayed Thomas licney. RIDING sheer into the blacks' stronghold went Dave and Ruth. Dave knew, when he was about ten miles from Hill borough, that be was in danger. Having learned to track with the blacks even in the moonlight, be bad also been initiated into many of their strange and secret customs. One thing be understood well was the language of smoke. He bad friends out there in the wilderness warning him not to go on, friends of the Gidgee tribe. But lie did not think that the warning was against Campbellwell until be actually spied the blackfellow him self, lying like a panther along an arm of a red-gum that leaned across the road no distance before him. He and Ruth were riding leisurely for the moment. He bad discovered that the girl was really brave, and did not fear the wilderness as much as he thought she would. .. 'Sing, Ruth,' be said softly, draw ing bis horse a little nearer hers and slightly slackening bis pace. 'Why ?' she asked. ? 'Don't scream or cry out. When we get within a few yards of the red gum ahead of us swerve to the left; I'll go to the right. Pull bard on the bit, and your horse will rear and plunge. Campbellwell is waiting for us along the limb of that tree.' 'My God!' 'Ruth, sing 'Ye Banks and Braes.' These horses like music. . They are : used to campfire songs. They'll prance. Also, mine's smelt the black — he does. He's like a circus horse for nosing out a lion.' In moments of supreme danger the human being, because the animal in stincts have through aeons of evolu tion been trained to do so, subcon sciously is ready to fight for life. Ruth needed 110 second telling, that a fearful death awaited them both un less action were swift.

'Why don't you shoot?' she asked, her while face paling. . ' . 'He's probably got us covered. I'd miss; I. can only see him as a blur.' ? , , 'How do you know it is he?' 'I've been looking for him for about two miles in every tree we passed. He's ready to leap down on us when we pass under that limb, break my neck, and vanish with you.' Dave leaned lovingly near her, and leisurely encircled her waist ? with his arm. 'Sing, sweetheart,' She lifted up her voice in song, and the murderer waiLing for his victim was satisfied. Campbellwell never fired a shot unless it was absolutely necessary. The fools riding towards him were not worth one. The limb along which he crouched was not far from the road. Under it the riders had to pass. He

would shoot the man if he -couldn't swing down on him ; and break his neck that way.:: Ruth was unable- to see anything at all on the limb as she sang lightly — ' ? :'..*??? '- 'Ye'll break pay heart, ye warbling birds.' Dave could distinctly .see the, bushranger's eyes glaring like the eyes of a cat's from the night. He knew well that Campbellwell's aim. was sure',- and under those eyes was the muzzle of. a revolver that would not, miss him, that would fire if, his hands moved from, his]; reins to his hip pocket. ., - They were, now within. a few yards, of .the tree, and Dave, narrowing his eyes, saw that Campbellwell ; intended to leap. _ . 'Shake!' Dave cried suddenly. It was the signal to swerve, aside. Ruth's horse reared, and almost threw her, as she

dragged it to the left. A prick of ; the spur made Dave's horse snort and turn as if it understood the cry. j From the time that Dave had 1 espied the black till the moment he ! swerved aside was but a few min utes. But the ruse bad succeeded. Campbellwell, thinking that they were casually riding under him, leapt as Dave's horse turned, and came tumbling down upon the ground. Quick as a flash Dave had fired. . . Campbellwell, , leaving bis own firearm in his anxiety to escape, was , up and making for the scrub before Dave followed, firing again. The tangle of stinging-nettle and briars caused a delay, though Dave kept the flying bushranger in sight. Knowing the bush as intimately as lie knew his own' home, he saw, the fatal ' heart - shaped leaves of the stinging-nettle everywhere; and. cried 1 to 'Ruth: 'Back to the road, Ruth. ' Wait for me. I'll get him single handed.'' ' Dave leapt from his horse and made a dash into the scrub after, the ? blackfellow, who; having his horse : tethered 'lo a -tree near by, sprang on it ' as Dave ? fired again, ? catching ? him this -time in the foot. One' of the black's arms was hanging limp. ? and Dave had taken aim at his heart when ?Campbellwell's horse, 'prob ably touched by the stirigingnet ? ties, whinnied and bolted madly, not for the wilderness track and the camp of blacks, hut for the road again. 'Dave! Dave!' Ruth cried for by this time Little Eye and Johnny Crow — who had' been riding ahead of Dave and Ruth, since no white ma' ever allowed a black to ride Denind liini — aroused by the shooting, were riding back along the road. They might have caught the es caping bushranger, who, realising that he was trapped, thought only of his stronghold in the Rocks, seven miles or more from Hillborough, where, once in his cave, he could defy the smartest police in the world. Dave rushed back to Ruth now, and, picking up the black's revolver, got on his horse. His black-boys, scared and trem bling, pointed towards the disap pearing black. 'That's all right. Johnny,' Dave said, entirely satisfied. 'He'll only make for one place, the Recks. I'll be there before him.' Little Eye beard the approach of horses' hoofs first. 'Someone come 'longa road from Hillborough,' he cried. 'Dave.' Ruth cried, 'it'll very likely be Morgan and 'Flash Harry' follow ing us. What shall we do?' Dave was thinking of the danger ous scrub track to the Rocks caves the blacks bad once taken him. It led . through the country where the ? Yonga -Barra tribe had buried their ..king, and was not safe for white or black : ma 11 day or night. : Casey Tode into the group as Dave was hesitating. 'Did- you get him?' Casey asked. 'We 'heard the shots. Where is he?' ? 'He- got away,' Dave said, feeling ashamed tliat he had not made a cap ture that looked so easy. 'He' always does get away,' Casey said. 'Never mind; we've got him this time. Palmerly's shot and con ressea.' 'Paimerly?' Dave cried. 'You got . Paimerly?' .. 'Yes. . He and 'Flash Harry' were one. And we'll get Campbellwell, too.' ' 'Here's bis revolver to begin with,' Dave said. 'Casey, I wish you'd leave this to me. Take Ruth back to '.?Hillborough, and get the boys to muster to the Rocks. We'll run him * dowi) there. I've shot him in three _ places, and he'll be sick from loss of - blood before he gets to the Seven

: „ Mile. I'm taking the scrub track.' 'You can't 'Mo' that, my boy.' Casey said. 'Take oiie/ of the'' hoys'*- with you. Let me come. Some of tlie' ..'others will 'be- here lo take Ruth back.' y '.Morgan-,. 'heading two or Three others, now came up by a track which led off the road, thinking that the shots meant the black 'was captured. ; Ruth looked at Morgan in terror, but he said: .'thank God you're * safe, Ruth. Where is he?' 'He's :g6ne,'; Dave said. / 'Well, why are; we all .waiting? He can only get to - The. Rock^ by taking the .Brisbane road to Bottle Tr^'e, : and Then swerving back along the Deepwater Greek., route. ... . After... him! . Hunt him down!' The snorting, pawing horses seemed to answer that they Were ready. ' : ? ?'* 'I can get him alone,' Dave said. I'll be at the cave before him. * ( Continued on Page 37.)

Sons of the Seven Mile ( Continued from Paye 29.)

I know where he hides. lie's in Palmerly's old 'haunt. I'm going Ihe scrub track.' It was quickly arranged that one of the boys should ride back with Ruth ; Mor gan should follow the black's trail with two others; and Johnny and Little Eye should summon those waiting at their posts, as well as others in Ilillborougb, to get as quickly as possible to the Rocks, and so prevent the black from reaching his cave. The cave was a tunnel through hills, and or.ce there he could run through it to the other side, let himself down io a deep valley, which opened out on a river, whore a boat awaited him with the Wonga tribe, he would get away 1 ill lie was ready to annoy settlers again. Dave Markham, however, believed that there was a possibility of Campbell well eluding Ihe chase by cutting back through Ihe scrub higher up to the camp. The raid on Hillhorough might be carried out yet. Casey decided to go back in case he had to hold the little town, with Ihe many thousands of souls practically left under his protection. This was the biggest catch the north tiad known. Once caught. Oampbellwell and bushranging would he put down for good. They were all ready to start when Dave heard the bull-roarers of Ibe blacks, small pieces of hard wood with flat surfaces and pointed cunningly, which when whirled round in the air made a roar like the distant roaring of a bull. 'What did I tell you ?' Dave cried. 'He's beaten us. He's got back lo camp, and they're coming for us.' 'Well, get ready,' Casey said. 'We're a nandful of white men. but we're a match for any number of blacks.' 'What's io be done -with Ruth?' Dave said. 'You can't ieave her open to danger like this.' Ruth was equal to the demand of the moment. 'Give me the black's gun, and show me how it's used, and I'll stay with you,' she said. A spear hurled from the darkness stuck in the ground just before them. 'Heavens! They mean ilglil!' Morgan said. But Dave recognised the spear as a spear of peace. 'Wait a bit,' he said. The others were eager lo fight, and he .had difficulty in preventing one of those gruesome slaughters of the natives that has left its red trail of memory all over Queensland and the west. The noise of the hull -roarers had ceased, and several jabbering gins came running out of the scrub. Dave recognised them as Gidgee blacks, and spoke to them in their own tongue. 'Camphellwell is in camp, and the gins say they will lead us to him,' Dave said. The gins were always faithless to their men, and for tobacco were ready to sell them to. the white men. 'I'll come with you, Dave. Please let me,' Ruth said, realising what a man she had won. They all moved off into the scrub. * * * * BACK in Ilillborough all was confusion. Tbe streets were thronged with women and children, old and young miners, and every resident of tbe town. Jeanie, a grey shawl thrown about her shoulders, her light brown hair pulled back from her lace, and her blue eyes darting strange wild lights, moved from group to group of the more anxious people, giving comfort and good cheer. Jeanie was that sort of girl. 'Never mind. Mrs. Jenkins,' she said to a little brown woman who was nursing a

fretful babv: 'the hoys will fix. him.' You'll be safe. Nothing will happen. Give' me baby.' Jeanie was known as a helpmate about Ibe Hill. Evervone was full of sympathy for her over Ine affair of the Golden Girl and her brolher. .Teanie's younger sisters, Dolly and Madge, it was well known to them all. had died in childhood, and Dave iiad been the sislor's mate all their lives. Jeanie would have preferred her brother to marry- Carrie — anyone, in fact, but a common actress. Now, however, as she realised in what danger the actress was, Jeanie felt her heart flood with sympathy for her. 'What if Dave and Ruth had been ? cap lured by Campbellwell? Impossible! 'I don't know. .1 don't think any or us ought to turn in to-night,' one old miner said. 'We ought to build a barricade for them blacks. They're 1 as treacherous as Ihe deuce.' Just then a black-boy came riding .wildly . inlo the town, and everyone crowded round him to hear the news. He could not explain. 'Mister Markham and — and Miss Duggan r aught.' 'Caught ?' Jeanie screamed, catcning the bridle of ihe black-boy's horse and shaking it. in her anxiety. 'Caught?' 'Yes.' 'Oh,' she cried, and turned round on Ihe white-faced women, 'Ruth's caught by Campbellwell. What's to be done?' She had no sooner asked the question than, woman-like, she decided for herself. 'We've got to get her, we women,' she said. 'We can't let her face the fate of other women he has killed.' 'Oh, merciful goodness, this dark wild country!' a little rosy-faced Englishwoman said. 'It's the furthest land from civilisa tion and the wildest land in the world. But yes, yes, let us all go.' Ruth was no longer Jeanie's enemy. Jeanie scarcely thought of her as a gin she hated. She was in trouble, and they were all women of the new land, great lonely Australia. Jeanie's grandmother, tottering old Mrs. Todd, tried to restrain the girl when she called for horses. 'Don't be silly to ride yourself into dan ger,' she said. 'No, no, don't be a silly girl,' several others said. 'I'm going. I don't care about vou people. I'm not going to know a girl is captured by the blacks and not go after her. T know the gins. I can save her per haps from something worse than death. I know Campbellwell. You others don't.' ?'I'll come with you, Jeanie,' a big, stal wart girl said with quivering lips. She was Maggie Templeton, a big newchum girt from Scotland, .with cheeks like roses and bright blowing hair. 'What do you silly girls want to ride away for before we know the facts?' said one of the party. 'Ten to one they're all coming hack with Campbellwell's head.' Bui a mild panic had taken place in the town, and some cheered, while others shook their heads, as Jeanie and Maggie and some of the older men, who were impatient to see capture or fight, galloped away along the Brisbane road. 'Up, up, up, boy!' Jeanie said, urging on her horse. Carrie, left behind with the others, now watched the disappearing horsewomen, ana wished she were with them. But some had to stay behind. There were blacks all about, and the attack might come from any quar ter. 'I'll back Dave to capture him,' Carrie said cheerily. (To be Continued.)

A VIEW OF VICTORIA-STREET, TAREE, Showing the fine War Memorial.