Chapter 169755368

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Chapter NumberXXIV
Chapter TitleAN ESCAPEE.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article169755368
Full Date1897-03-28
Page Number8
Corrections0
Word Count3626
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleTruth (Sydney)
Trove TitleAn Australian Anarchist
article text

B A3 a j IDSTRiLUH MARCRIST

[All Righto Ewcrred.]

i (By V. h. THOMAS.) -j, Chapteb XXIV,

T ? AN ESCAPES.

Frank Morton sat in his new office when i the clerk announced that the solicitor, Mr Giles, and Conauble Hogan wanted to see ' him, Ab he surmised, it was about tne , Ca-Ye,' said the ex-member of the Royal Irish Constabulary. « with much difficulty

we succeeded in Beeing ber. She was as sullen as ever, and dees not seem a bit glad that you have secured the chance of appealing to the Privy Council. I might us well have never gone near her. She seems to think thst the sole object of law end order is to hang her ; that with the men at the head of the Government she has not the least chance of escape. She said jfaere was only one man in the world who could unravel the plot woven round her, and that he, too, if alive, was no\v in the power of a tyrannical Government 'Ab, well,' replied Morton, 'if we can get no information out of her, poor girl, I we have gained time ; and that is a groat I consideration. Above all, keep your eyes on' one or two 'Other parties. 1 know the I / man ehe means. Too, Hogan, have once seen; him. I'm afraid tliBt, even if he s . alive, he can be of little use to us.' j ? Ay' said Hogan, 'you mean the old foreign devil that travelled with ber in Ireland, twhem I wrested afterwards in London. I'll swear that was a put-up job. The charge in the English Courts was only | all bonkum, got up t® give the French j Government time to lay hold of him. He was sent over to France, aU right ; and, ~ from the character he had, Scotland l ard \ thought it was doing no harm to allow Paris to deal with him-* After thev had gone Morton muttered to himself 'Yes, no doubt, the old deB perade could do a good deal to unravel the case, I wonder is he in the land of the ^living? And, if he is, could he be seen ' in time to be of any ubo to ub ? However, - j-U jjy, in half an hour I can see the —- - only man in Australia who can give any information about him,' In twenty minutes, Morton was seated in Hyde P»rir, beside a dark, foreignlook ing man. It wob Monsieur Jacques, a well-known wine merchant. 'HeavenBl' he exclahnedk in French, ?have you heard anything? D\you know anything, that you should ask of that man, above all in the world, about the last an ordinary person would dream fc^and yet so significant at the present junc ture?' Morton, astonished at bis companion s excitement, said, ? I have heard nothing. I ?have seen nothing, and I do not under atand your surprise at what is an ordinary civil Question.' 'I believe you,' said the Frenchman, *and yet it 'is an extraordinary co incidence. Let me tell you all.' ?Yon know the question of New Cale.

d-Onife G&ccipeeS) though it h&s led to the j ? jnostdelicato negotiations between Down- 1 ' ? lug-street and Paris, and between the j i, Governments of France and England, is j V nltogetherin the hands of a Sydney detec- J live, who, along with attending his j V ordinary work as a police officer, is sup pled to look after this vast international matter in his spare time. He seldom | asks hie for information, Hnejnorning. | he waited on me. You know 1 w»b mixed I 'up ink bitof political trouble in my y.auth, j f' ^Hg Osieu me if I had lately heard any the person you inquire for. I I 5'- told him I had not* j ? He paused as Morton looked puzzled. J The Frenchman went on : I i- . «0f course I made nothing of the] V matter; But scarcely had the detective I i ? gene when I received a visit from the | t' French Consul, inquiring after the same I Individual. The English Government is j ;s not more concerned about him than their I ?f neighbors in Paris ere. In fact, eveiy hi xaowned head in Europe Beems to be I'4' interested in him whom you now ask I after. Is it email wonder that I express aK ? stepriw at your inquiry V I 'No,' replied Morton, 'but what can ^ you -tell me about him — the latest news I meefa-?' ? i That, -Monsieur,' said the Frenchman, jp& ueunple enough, though it is startling to f.-/ . tlie crowned heads of Europe. He has US' haoaped from New Caledonia within the last ten days, and is supposed to have xeaohed the Australian coast. Many shrewd people suspect that he is in Sydney. Than ten yon nothing further about him. &K* Most -of the ordinary French haunts, have been visited by the detectives, who can S ' find ho clue. Though I've seen the folly oftbe revolutionary business, yet I've p been at the game myself, and would never P care to 'put a fellow in the line away. If v ! he is in Sydney, yon must search for yaur P'. self.' man ami .* a- : Thanking his French friend, Morton p\' retamad to his office. Dismissing his S?i : clerkj he muttered : - ? 1 said to myself lately, as briefs came p ; ' In, that I'd never have anything more to § 'it- do With journalisms However, I'll want f-' , this reporter's notebook to-night, partly f«r hnsmess, partly as a device. Yes, if i the desperado is in Sydney, he'll make for §S Hv. his -wldl fellow conspirator, whom I tortu netely know welL Only a few months |P Ago the latter asked me to publish an

axtiole about the hardships and trials or 1 §?'?.? v :Hs calling. l ean call ' on him without ] exciting suspicion and learn if tho other I ^?P-'^aJdfJtow'ia in Sydney. If he is, then] IF*' '?''tfenaoala certain to become still mere Ja6 eqnsatienal and oroiting.' ?V.'-'igdi'iianr IWy Rjink Mwrtog stqppqjl in truncSr bound 'for the western J fjfiv suburbs. His destination was one of .the.] Kp 'fojrhign quarters of Sydney. El': , i ? A travelling scribbler onoe wrote of the liP ,:]jHSh quarter of Melbourne, and one who If, j v knew that city muoh _bettar replied that, ' - there was no Irish quarter in Melbourne, gpvi- though the place where the lawyers and lodges congregated had some claim to be P ' l ioonside^od es sach. In Sydney, too. there P'^ ! : is aot an Irish quarter, though the sons of

the Emerald Isle muster strongly around the courts. But different nationalities are gradually monopolising certain quarters to themselves. The vicinity of Goulburu-street or Lower George-street reminds one_ of Chinatown in Baa Francisco. Out Bed fcrn way the Syrians have formed, a dusky colony of their own. In the in terior are Chinese camps and camps of camel-driving Afghans, where the voice of the CancaBian is never heard, except when, in the former case, tw comes to play fan-tan- or pak-a-pu, er flirt with the fallen sisters of his own race who minister to the pleasures »f the despised mon golian. Not to anv of those, but to a people

with whose nationality/ and language be was* well acquainted, did Frank Merton direct his footsteps, after he had quitted that abomination en wheelB, the Sydney steam-tram.

In bis well-known work. 'Greater Britain,' Sir CharJeB Dilke calls Sydney tbe 'Australian Paris.' At any_ rate, it possesses one purely Parisian industry. Though deadbeats may try the pursuit for a time, hanging about tbe rubbish tip at Moore Park, or, bag in hand, prowling into lanes and backyards, ragpicking as a regular employment is almost wholly in the bands of the French. By them alone is it systematically and steadily carried on. Such a gruesome and unsavory^ occu pation is above.all things unromantic, yet this branch of Sydney ragpicking is founded on a romance, net unworthy the pen of Guy de Maupassant or of Zola him self. A few years ago a batoh of political convicts were sent from Paris to Now Caledonia. They were as mnch out of place there as was patriotic Michael O'Dwyer, transported from his Wioklow Hills to herd with the refuse of the Lon don kens and brothels beside tbe waters

of Botany Bay and Port Jackson. But tbe political wheel revolves quickly in I France. A new party boob ruled in Paris, ibeir friends had got in, and the batch of pardoned convicts speedily re turned to the only country which your true Frenchman thinks worth living in. Many of thein have since become pro minent in that fair land's politics, as well as in other pursuits. ] One of the number, however, did not I recoss the Equator. Why did he remain j in Southern Seas ? The answer is I characteristic of his nation. Cherchez la ifcmnie. She loved him, and, braving all, I had followed him from beantiful Paris, | and a most aristocratic borne, to that bell I hole in the Pacific. For her sake he I decided not to go back home. On her | account, as well &b his owh, he resolved to | quit New Caledonia. Always kindly dis I posed, the officials, now that the shackles I of prison discipline were struck off, offered I facilities to aid his new enterprise, j Having some capital, he chartered a 1 vessel laden with rags, picked up in the I island, and set sailfor Sydney. Disposing -Laf vessel and cargo, he settled down in a | Sydney suburb, Leichliardt, where be 1 founded, and has since carried on the 1 flourishing and (progressive industry of I rag-picking. j At firBt he was assisted by a few of his I countrymen who had come across with I him. The number was quickly reinforced. I An occasional sailor, seeking a change on I land, joined them, but the recruits cams 1 DrinciDallv from New Caledonia. They

were all liberces. When an escapee does reach Australia lie tries to get as far away as possible from Sydney, where.the French detective, with ? the politeness of hiB nation, is always ready to look after people of that class. It may be noted that, for more reasons than one, Botany Bay need not shudder at the approach of New Caledonia. The liheree. or the escapee is eo far inured to

hard labor over there that he has no I trouble in earning an honeBt living in Australia. When inclined to return to evil courses, hie tongue is all against hint, so that if he remains in Australia, Sydney especially, he, as a rule, adopts no calling more noxious than that of tne souteneur or brothel bully, and, even in that degraded line can scarcely compete against the j native 'talent.' These men, as a rule, tackle tbe most laborious work. A master tanner has told j tbe writer that the best half-dozen j 'bullockers ' who ever worked under him were new chums from New Caledonia. Of the 1000 refugees who are said to have ] come into New South Wales from New i Caledonia within the last few years, it may be safely inferred that a large majority have, at one time or other, tackled rag-picking, its a rule they start at that occupation.

That pursuit naB sines tnen nnusrgone | expansion. The founder has considerably I increased his business, while in Leich- I I hardt suburb there are two other ' bosses ' I employing a considerable number of men. 1 [There are also parties scouring various [districts of Now South Wales. In the 1 buBh, though there is more travelling, ] the pursuit is far more profitable on 'ac-1 i count ?£ tbe sheepskins, etc, that are to be 1 j had fer the picking up. j I To give readers an idea of how ] these men work, let us fellow a party ] about to tackle the principal Sydney beat | About 10 p.m., an empty cart with three I or four men, having driven in .from 1 Leichhardt, stops opposite the Hotel i Hetrepele. The men get out, and, each I with a sack, scour the bock and front I streets, proceeding in parallel lines till I they meet the cart, which has beea driven | j along 'Caetlereagh-street, the driver keep- j I ing eyes open so as- to pick up anything j j worth carrying. J About the Monte de Fiete, in Castle ] reagh-street, they empty tbe contents of i their sacks into the cart, which proceeds

aB far a Bathurst-street, while the men take the parallel streets as before, and again empty their aocka. The third sec tion ends at 'Belmore Park, and afc the] long atrip of city lying between Pitt and] I Elizabeth streets has peen examined, the cart should now be about Ml. The I -driver then proceeds with Ms lead towarda 1 Leichhardt, and another cart is in rqadi- j Iness. The Hay market is next -worked, and large drapery establishments like I Hordeih'p generally offer a rich harvest to J the industrious , .ragpioker. Cart Ne. ,2 1 then proceeds along Sussex-street. It { must be remembered that the men do not J confine theit attention to rags only. AU J is fish that comas to the net. . .Around the j wholesale prevision stows bto to be found I strav onions, potatoes, even scraps of

cheese, valueless to the vaunted Anglo- 1 Saxon, but eagerly picked np by eareful j thrifty people, who keep the jpot a foul boiling at Leichhardt,. The etrip be-1 tween 'Sussex and George A treats t u ] operated on till tho Town Hall is reached, j but as it gets wider and the; work heavier, the men explore along Kent, Sussex, and j Clarence streets.? The sacks Ml through are emptied ' as , soon as filled. When the Bocks are reached the cart turnB dewn the Argyle Cub and then George-street, and the lanes and, cress-stweta adjoining are oarefnlly sconred as far as Market-street, , It' ib how nesrihg daybreak, so w start is made for home by. way of Pyrmontt Bridge and Glebe Island. Breakfast and a few hours' sleep have been fairly J earned, bot the day's work i» not so soon [ ended. On awakening toe men have to | sort their rage— n» small task^-ona by

the time it is finished, and their evening meal over, they have to prepare for a fresh start. People who .know say that in rag-picking and sorting there are the same degrees of fi-nd divisions of labor as in the factory or any other branch of industry. Other districts are worked moch after the same fashion — not 60 often, perhaps— and care is exercised that different parties will not clash. At the time of writing there are only- 20 men in the Leichhardt establishments, several having left for the country in consequence of bad times. On no calling does depression bo severely tell. Not only is there less business, but people shut out from other occupations try to earn a little at rag-picking. This brings down prices, and thuB tells against regular practitioners in two ways. The Frenchmen, with all their thrift, some times barely make 'tucker.' At present

about 2000 men, women, and children are picking rags in Sydney who would scorn the work at more prosperous times. The Frenchmen complain of competi tion on one side, and of ' exploitation ' on the other. They have to sell their rags, boneB, copper, tin, lead, etc., to middle men, whe re-sell to the big shipping firms, and the gooda have to pass through three or four other hands before they reach tbe consumer, who works them up into wealth. The founder of the indus try, backed up bF a capitalist, no as to ship his stuff direct to France, would obtain four or five times as much as he now does. There is a rare chance here for enterprise. Turning to good account what would otherwise go to waste, these pickers-up of unconsidered trifles cannot be called a worthless class. Within a few minutes of his quitting the tram, Morton found himself in tho Frenoh

colony. A word brought him into the presence of one of the kings of the rag pickers. The king's palace was a shanty made of bags and kerosene tins, picked np by bis subjects daring their rounds. With the King Morton was well ac quainted ; had often chatted to him about beautiful Paris, aud had once promised to write au article on the rag-pickers' indus try. When, therefore, he pulled out his notebook and began to ask questions, the Frenchman was delighted. A Parisian, he over-estimated the power of the Sydney press in booming up a commercial under taking. He answered all the questions with the speed and volubility of his nation, and threw in observations of his own abont la plomhe, le chijfons, and, above all, about the sweating of the middlemeu, and the grinding exactions of monopoly. All these dreary details were wearying to one who had come in quest of far different and far more interesting information. He had closed hie hote-book. and was thinking deeply on how he could best in troduce the subject which had induced hiB visit, when an unexpected incident re lieved him of the delicate task. A bag screen divided the hut into two compartments. Though it was now dusk, Morton was suddenly startled by the ap pearance of a bead that popped suddenly through a slit in the rough curtain. How could he ever forget that face, which he had seen behind the barricade in the streets of Paris, when 'twas ruled by the

Commune ? The flashing eye was as keen as ever, the hair was no greyer, the skin no more wrinkled, than when that mag netic countenance urged on the Irish pea sants to make short work of the bailiffs in front of tbe dilapidated farm houses. New Caledonia had made no difference. The rigorous discipline of the French penal colony was only training to his iron con stitution. Yallambrosa looked as young

as on the night of his arrest m London, just after bis address to ' The Organisation of the Discontented.' Conceiving boldneBS to be the best policy under the circumstances, Morton greeted him in French by the name under which be first knew him. The head disappeared for a second, then the curtain was drawn aBide, and a tall, sinewy form leaped into the room. Vallombrosa bore in his right hand a long, bright dagger. Morton had not come unprepared. From the hip pocket of his treuBerB he drew a bulldog revolver, and laughingly said in the purest French : I 'My friend, there is no good in that kind of thing. Advance to hurt me and half-a-dozen ballets will find a home in your body. Why should you kill me ? T am not a spy. or a police officer, or a

Government emissary. Our mutual friend here will tell you that. I know something of your career. I havo seen yon before, but that is no reason why I should injure you. At the present moment I am trying to serve one who is dear to yon and the cause which you have at heart. If you sit down and listen I'll explain. Cemmonsense will tell you that if 1 wanted to arrest a man, dreaded by half the crowned heads ef Europe, I would not come here alone. If you listen to me calmly for ten minutes IcanteH you something ef tbe utmost importance. On my word of honor I'll never betray yon.' The old man pulled the King of the ragpickers aside. They whispered quickly for a few seconds, then the newcomer I addressed Morton : - PaTdon ms, Monsieur ; when one is hunted like a wild beastand ban a price'on his head, he is naturally auspicious on hearing bis name mentioned by a stranger. Had you not spoken eo well in French and Swarmed susoicion, I'd never have shewn

my face. I am now anxious to hear what yeu say is of the greatest importance to « Well,' replied Morton, in French, ' talk ing is dry work, as we say in English, and now that you have reached Australian solh allow me to offer you a glass of good AusfraUn wine. Our vintee may not be equal to that of seme of the many lands whiohyeu know, yet, to one circumstanced las you lately must have been, it cannot but be gratefnL There is some good wino sold not far from here. If yea'll permit, lour friend can go for a oouple e£ bottles 1 ef the same brand as he and I had when 1 last I called up ber*.' j He beokoned to the king of the rag piokers and gave him a oonple of pieces j of silver. '/When tho deer was shut be Igeaed reUnd. Here he was alone in a

dark, disreputable navel, witn a manwnose n.nrn waa dreaded throughout the civilised 'world. He drew the small packing box, wbioh did duty for a chair, close beside the old conspirator, and in fluent French „toldhim of events with which the reader is already well acquainted. ' (TO BE coktuhjed.)