Chapter 172732696

See chapter in newspaper

Chapter NumberXV
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article172732696
Full Date1895-12-10
Page Number3
Corrections0
Word Count3193
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Telegraph (Brisbane, Qld. : 1872 - 1947)
Trove TitleBarumba Station; Or, Amy River's Sacrifice. A True and Eventful Narrative of the Early Days in New South Wales
article text

BARUMBA STATION ; . , ; , . . or, 'Amy River s Sacrifice.

1 True and Eventful Narrative ' of tub EARLY DAYS iN NEW SOUTH. WALES.

- ' - i BY CAPTAIN LACIE.

' / COFTRiaitT RksBBYBD. . d-r ' > ii .. ' / CHAPTER XV.

; . Booth's Station was not more than ' four miles from the tiny village of . - Goulburn, and tne two young men, with their 'intimate knowledge of the ; locality - were able to avoid the most frequented roads, and managed to reach . the head-station practically unnoticed. The Crook well River ran through it

' in a gully very heavily timbered, and \ not more than two miles from the ' homestead the men decided to remain 'until they made certain enquiries. . iTheir provisions were almost exhausted, land had it not been for the manner in .; which they obtained game along their iroute they would have been quite food- 'less. As Gibson was quite unknown at the place, it was agreed he' should go 'to the homestead as a swagman in search of work and ferret out all the news he could. Especially he was to discover, if he could, if Rivers had yet returned from Barumba, and, if so, to try and get a glimpse of him and also ascertain where he lived.' Laurie, too, was very anxious to get some tidings ot his . mother, and he left it to Gibson's as tuteness to find out what he could in- that direction. ' Lynch's family had re moved to Sydney about two years pre viously, and as Laurie senior was dead there was no near relative on the station, except Mrs, Laurie, ji First thing in the morning Gibson set out on his difficult and dangerous mission, and he well knew" no small risk was being encountered. If re- - cognised his doom would likely be sealed. . The only arms he could carry , were a brace of pistols carefully con- cealed,. The idea, of peril did not daunt; him in the least, and when he disappeared the two young men wan dered around on the edge of the scrub keeping a sharp look-out for possible intruders. If the camp, was found with the four horses — for Thomas's had been brought on — it was sure to create sus picion, arid the outlaws made a resolve to slay anyone who was unlucky enough ' to alight on them. They were not at all desirous to sacri fice their lives, though engaged in such a desperate enterprise as the sticking- up of Booth's Station, usually named . " Grookwell " after the stream which ..vS'vflowed-thfoughlthe "fun.?'/-' ' All day they remained in a state of some anxiety, and it was almost dark when Gibson made his appearance with quite a budget of news. Not more than three hours previously Rivers had returned trom Barumba Station with 'his tragic tale, and the supposed seeker ' after work had been able to catch a glimpse of him, so that he could easily .identify the man again. Old Booth was at the homestead, but neither - Laurie nor Lynch desired a description of him. The cottage in which Rivers . lived was about a quarter of a mile to . the south of the main building towards ; the -village, and the spy also found out that Mrs, Laurie was at the big house. /He had succeeded so well as to be en gaged by the manager as a "rouse- about," and from what he could gather there were not more thart ten hands just then on the station. He had fared' well during the day, and he expressed his perfect willingness to join in an at tack that night. ,In consequence of Rivera's return there was no time to be lost, and soon after dusk the three men, after securing the horses, started on the desperate mission. "Let us go to River's cottage first and I will deal with him," Laurie fiercely said j and, after some demur, the request was agreed to. Lynch 'thought the homestead should be the ; first point of alarm, as if an alarm were given from the cottage it might cause the men at the big house to arm and be . . prepared for an attack. In reply to this Laurie contended that if the cot tage were not first secured the people in the village might be apprised and - . come to the rescue of Booth and his . hands, There was little to choose either way; and the jilted lover gained the day. The two miles lying between the camp and the homestead were soon coverecj, and Gibson then led them round to where the cottage stood. t This, iyas a rather heat structure,, sur rounded by a small but well-kept gar- den, and, seeing a light in a side win dow, Laurie decided to make a recon naissance whilst his comrades remained behind, but ready to aid. : : Jumping the fence he silently made his way to where the light shone from, and, cautiously approaching the win dow, he glanced through at a point where the blind did not quite cover-the glass. A young, But care-worn, looking . woman was sitting beside a smoulder ing fire, and the watcher's heart jumped as he recognised the face of Amy Rus sell, now Mrs. Rivers. He was not a little surprised at the expression of settled melancholy on the features, for : ' he was quite ignorant of the fact Rivera .v treated his wife in the worst possible manner, Now she was alone the true reflex of the heart and mind was shown. After gazing through the glass for fully i A . v three minutes at the motionless figure . Laurie returned to his comrades and ; «aid: "There is no one there but - Amy, and I am going to have a few words with her before I leave. No doubt we shall nab Rivers at thehome- 6tead." _ ! , : After listening to the admonitions of fhu .companions not to be caught in a

trap, the young man left them and quickly making his way round to the front door knocked. In a few moments it was opened, and a voice he knew so well said : " Is that you, Fred ?" ,"No; it is William Laurie," came the response. A half-stifled cry was uttered by the woman; but, mastering her emo tions, she threw the door open, and said : " What do you want, William. You must know, of course, I am married?" "Oh, that I do ; but you will soon be a widow. Who forced you to marry a scoundrel and treat me in the way you have ?" he demanded, in a strained voice. Mrs. Rivers did not yet know her former lover was a thief and murderer —a fugitive from justice, and even at the moment was meditating atrocious crimes. Her husband had not taken the trouble .to call at the . cottage, but passed on to the homestead ; yet he meant to have a treat in witnessing her discomforture when he told her how the end of Laurie would no doubt be on the gallows. "Ah, I mnde a mistake, of course; but I have suffered for it. Let that be dead and tell me what brings you here. Are you coming back to the head- station again ? Your mother is well, and you will forget the past," she an swered. He was silent for a moment, for he still loved the woman ; and then he said, in a softer tone, — " What do you mean by saying you have suffered. Surely he doesn't ill- .treat you ?" ."You will hear all, perhaps, before you are back many days. Nearly every one seems to know about it. For God's sake don't quarrel, with him or it will be worse than ever! Will you promise me, William, you will not make my lot harder by a quarrel ?. I know your temper, and tremble to think' what the result might be. All 1 She stopped suddenly and glanced, with brightened eyes and startled man- nei', thropgh the gloom. ." Here he comes. Oh, for my sake, don't let him see you I Go 1 For Heaven's sake go !" and she almost pushed the young man by main strength from the door. Her preternaturolly sharp eyes had caught sight of hefllusband's approach ing form. He was more than half inebriated, or he could not have failed to "distinguish Laurie, who, acting under the woman's influence, did her bidding. Rivers was advancing slowly, and the young , man' had disappeared in the gloom, but she still held the door open to guide the husband's footsteps to the' light which streamed through. She was in a state of terrible anxiety, as she feared Laurie might forget his promise and waylay his successful rival. As she watched she saw a small jet of fire leap out, as it seemed, from, the corner of the garden fence ; a sharp report fol lowed, and .for an instant she stood petrified with horror as her husband reeled round in a small circle' and then fell to the earth. The sight inspired her with courage, and, rushing forward, she knelt beside the body of the dead man, for Frederick Rivers was beyond all pain and pleasure in this world. The girl soon discoverd this, and for several minutes she knelt beside the1 dead man in a mental tumult which threatened .to dethrone reason. Then an extraordinary resolve entered her mind, and she decided to sacrifice herself as an atonement for'her sin in driving- to desperation the man who. had loved her so well. She had no doubt in the world Laurie had fired the shot, and, going back to the house, she took a small pistol from the case, and, holding Jt in her hand, left the cottage and went to a neighbor's place, a few hundred yards distant. -To her despairing friends she re vealed a tale of horror. Her husband and her had quarrelled— as they were known to — and, stung beyond endur ance, she had followed him out of the house as he left for the homestead and shot him. The people accompanied her back, and the evidence of her guilt was before them. They had heard the pistol-shot but taken little notice of it ; but now— ah, now the' good people were more excited than the murderess herself. There was no getting away from the glaring fact, and old Musgrove agreed that the best course was to ac quaint the village authorities and let them act. The district-constable, who had known the girl for years, was more than grieved when he heard of the tragedy ; but he had a duty to perform and at ten o'clock Amy Rivers was lodged in the log-structure dignified by the name of the local gaol.

Two hours later— on the stroke of midnight — Mr. Booth, owner of the Crookwell Station, and the lord of the district in a manner of speaking, burst into the office of the constable in a state of excitement which threatened to end in apoplexy. He had alarming news. The homestead was in the hands of bushrangers. Lynch and Laurie were the ringleaders, and every one at the place were prisoners. By the merest chance he had managed to evade the men, who had undoubtedly come to kill him. He was in the cellar when the place was stuck-up, and, hear ing the commotifin above, wisely de cided to stay where he was until a' chance of escape presented itself, There was a door leading from the cellar to a disused apartment from which there would not be much diffi culty in getting away from the house. The door between was locked, however, and it required an hour of most des perate exertion on the part of Booth to- burst it, and then he' made the quickest time on record to the village and the office of the constable. He told this official he could not say how many outlaws there were. He, could recog nise the voices of Laurie and Lynch, and before he ' left he had caught a glimpse of them through a window. At the time old Mrs. Laurie appeared to be imploring her son to go quietly away or something of the sort. Booth rather startled the official by expressihg

the opinion there could not be less than a dozen of the scoundrels, or they woujd not venture to attack such a place as Crookwell 'Statibn. He added that on coming over he had called at Rivera's place but could not make any one hear, and he concluded the inmates were murdered. , The constable on this told him of the terrible tragedy which had hap pened there, and this added to the seriousness of the position. To make matters worse there were only two con stables besides the district officer at the settlement; but on such occasions volunteers in the shape of brave and hardy settlers were always forthcoming, and immediate action was taken to apprise them their services were needed. It-was three o'clock in the morning when the district-constable, with his two men, Booth, and nine well mounted and armed volunteers, left the village - for Crookwell Station. A short ride .- brought them near the homestead,. and. they were lucky enough to meet one of the hands making for the village, who' informed them the outlaws had left the place about half-an-hour before. No damage had been done — thanks to the efforts of Mrs. Laurie. The man ex-; plained that the meeting between i mother -arid son was a dramatic one, ; The latter expressed his determination ! to kill the owner of the station, before, leaving, and it was only after hours of' expostulation and imploring that he; agreed wi(h his companions to leave.- It was beyond all doubt if Booth had. been found on the premises he would at once have been shot, ' So far as the man couid see there were only three bushrangers, though others might have .been outside. In fact, it was probable one or more would be left in charge ot the horses. This left the way clear, for Booth knew the man too well to imagine he was a mere decoy, and the truth of his words were found when' the armed party rode up to the place and found ds ,it was described. Everyone was in a state of excitement but Mrs. Laurie, who sat like a woman in a trance, and the constable knew it was no use fo question her. One of the linen told him the direction -which the despera does had taken, and the force, being supplemented' by seven of the station employees, the party set out with the daylight in pursuit. It was most ljkely the fugitives would keep tovthe north-west, and as they must be ignorant'of the fact that Booth early, in the night had brought informa--. tion to the village, they would not make such haste in the flight as other- . wise they would have done. The con-, stable was of opinion the bushrangers' would follow the course of the river, as the cover there was the best, and, ar- ranging his force, he swept along. Lynch and his two companions were' just putting the small packs of food they had taken from the . station on the horses when they descried the small army swooping down in their direction. "Mount and be off, lads!" the leader cried, as he vaulted into' the - - saddle. " It is a' race for life, and if our horses are as good as they should be we ought; to beat them I" ' ; Dashing out into the open — for it was impossible -to ride through the scrub — the race began. They were at once noticed by the pursuers, who put their horses at top speed to overtake them. The animals ridden by Lynch and his mates were first-class ones, but they had not been well looked after of late, and their long travel had caused them to deteriorate. In an hour's time the outlaws began to feel they were in a tight fix, for their anim'als showed visible signs of tiring,, while some of those behind were gaining on them. There was a belt of forest about two miles off, and Lynch told his com panions it would be as. well to abandon the horses and sell their 'lives as dear as possible. " If not, they will shoot us down in the open and we .will not Have a chance to give tit for tat," he added. When the wood was reached the pursuers were less than a quarter of a mile behind, and the outlaws dismount-' ing plunged into the bush. It is almost needless to detail the fight. Twenty to three, they were altogether outnum bered and the attackers formed a circle around the doomed men, who, driven to bay, fought fiercely. It was impos sible they could shelter themselves with enemies to the north, south, east and west of them, and in half-an-hour the struggle was over. Laurie and Lynch were dead, riddled with bullets, while Gibson, though badly wounded, was alive. Of the attackers one of the subordinate constables was killed out right, a volunteer settler shared a simi lar fate, while Squatter Booth, who fought with the utmost courage, was slightly wounded,

The bodies of the slain as well asthfe injured outlaw were placed on horses and taken back to the village — nearly twenty miles distant — for the inquest. Gibson was so badly wounded that' it was considered impossible he could live and his dying statement was taken in writing. He outlined the facts relating to the cattle-stealing, the murder of Manager Moncton, and the death of Thomas. Most important of all he solemnly declared Rivers was shot by Lynch, and fully cleared up that point. Dying, as he was, the hardened man was astounded' at the sacrifice of Amy Rivers was prepared to make to save her former sweetheart. He explained that Lynch, being apprehensive Rivers might surprise Laurie, drew a pistol and shot him as he "passed, Such was his story. Six hours after his arrival at the village Gibson died and saved further trouble. With his misguided comrades he was buried, and, in spite of herself, Amy Rivera's Sacrifice was not accepted — at least not in this world. Mrs. Laurie did not long survive, the shock which she sustained on that z8th December, 146, and two years later another mound in the little cemetery of Goul burn marked the spot where all that was earthly . of .'Amy Rivers lay. " Her path was rugged in this world; but, doubtless, it is smooth- in that 'beyond ' the grave. (The End.)