|Newspaper Title||The Week (Brisbane, Qld. : 1876 - 1934)|
|Trove Title||Bill Hawkins and the Mystery of the Black Forest|
TALES & SKETCHES
BILL HAWKINS AND THE MYSTERY
OF THE BLACK FOREST.
. By. Sascho.
Dltuno breakfast, tho new comer, as we have characterised him, communicated to tho numerous company seated round the table the facts of the singular adventure himself and companion had had with tho devil, as he persisted
in' asseverating the object they had seen really was. 'Among the guests at the table was the sergeant of police of .the township, who lodged at the holel, as in those days no watchhouse
accommodation had been erected, and tlic sergeant and his, two assistants had to find quarters where, tliey could.
Do you say you heard a chain Tattling ? " asked the sergeant..
* • "That; or the devil's tail," replied the new
"But what was tlio object like?"
Tho devil,"-responded tho now comer. " How do you mean ? " ^
" How do I mean ? "Why, it was as black as night, and had great big shining eyes, that shone like evil-spirits*. I tell you what, I wouldn't see them again m the same way for nil Bendigo." •
" But it didn't touch you ? "
" Then why didn't you see what it was ? "
" It's .very fine for you to ask that here, in a largo company, and -in daylight; but you go and try it by yourself, 6r only another with you, •n a dark night." '
. "VVliilc. tlie newcomer and the sergeant had been holding their colloquy, the stranger had -linvfr uttered a word; hut manifested evident signs of impatience at his companion talking, about the matter, for it liad the effect of drawing
attention to the pair of them, which was anything but pleasant, so far as he was concerned,
judging from appearances.
1 The signs, of uneasiness exhibited by the stranger did not escape the notice ; of. the sergeant, who eyed him very attentively, feeling
assured in ilia own mind that lie had seen him somewhere before,'had.got liis description in his note-hook, or tliat lie had something to do" with him, or/that there was something wrong somewhere . about him. Acting upon this impression; lie was yletermincd to question him and drayr hiiu* out somehow., He therefore said,—
'?* Did you'take what you saw last night for
the devil r
T ? " tho stranger replied' • rel act nntly, |
T. don't know-what it;was we saw.'* "You did see something then jvb. ' "Certainly."-•
" What did it look like ? ?> ' u [ don't know." • . 5 ; : "
Can't you think of .anything that it re- |
semhlcd ? " persisted the sergeant.'
" Nothing at all ? "
" Not on earth."
"Oh!" ejaculated the sergeant, "Do you I believe in spT—,
Here boWas interrupted by a man entering
the breakfast room in a. hurried manner, ex- I claiming as lie did so,. "Is the sergeant of police here?'
" Yes," replied that, worthy, " what dp von
."Why there's a .man lying dead in the bush about .fifteen miles from here. I lost my bullocks last' night, and while I was looking
for them I came across the man."
" Aroyoii quite sure ho is dead?" asked the sergeant.
" Quite." • ^ " Where is ho
" O11 tlie hack road, in a gully."
"That's the road you two gentlemen came, and about." tho distance von say you were camped from here when you saw the * Devil.'"
" Yes,": said tlie new comer, " that's true."
Tho stranger loboked. very uneasy, but said | nothing. ; • . . • . j
" Well, gentlomcn," the sergeaut replied, " I am sorry if I cause you any inconvenience, but I
must request; and in point of fact I must insist, j that both of vou accompany me with this man, | wbphas seen the dead body, to the spot whore it is lying. • - *
"I cannot, saul the stranger, " for my time i is very precious, as rnv mates are waiting for me 011 the hndge and thov cannot get 011 without inc." . .
"Why, I thought you said you were all alone and knew nothing of the diggings," replied Ins companion of .tlic previous night's adventure. ' .
"It. is of little consequence," said the sergeant,
and before the stranger could explain away whnt his travelling friend had let out. —"what your Haste may he, the ends of justice may require your presence, as you camped last night so near, to the.spot where the dead tnnn is lying, and I now tell you that if you do not accompany me 1 shall ho under the necessity of apprehending the pair of you."
This sounded rather ominous, and thestrangcr felt ho had perforco to succumb. His companion
tooktheniattcr very philosophically, only remarking,
" I don't care how often you take me, so long as there are plenty of us, and it is daylight when we go."
The sergeant,; without paying any further heed to tho remarks mado l>v tho two men, called the landlord and ordered a waggon mid two horses, and a . tYcsh horse for tho young man who had brought in tho news, for bis own whs so done up us to preclude nuy chance of his performing the journey in the time required.
"All read}', sergeant," the groom sang out in about a quarter of jin hour after tlie landlord
had received his instructions.
4t Come along, gentlemen," the sergeant said to the stranger and hisfriend, " tho conveyance is at tlio door. And lis we lmve fifteen miles to ride th'nro and fifteen hack, we huvo no timo to spare. And you, sir," he fiaid, addressing the bullock'driver, who was to act as guide,
"you mount the horse saddled,ior you, and
lead the way."
Tho -whole party were soon in their seats, and set off on their journey to the locality where tho dead man had beeit discovered.
The bullock-driver rode alongside the American
waggon—-which, by tho way, wan almost as light as an ordinary buggy; and, after tho party had accomplished half of the distance, he pulled las horse up short, and listened attentively
for a few seconds, and then exclaimed, " I can hear my bell." :
"Never mind your bell," replied the sergeant;
" We must settle the business in hand before you can meddle with anything else."
I am hlowed if I don't go and see whetheT they are my cattle or not though," said tho bullock puncher. '
" I'm hlowed if you do though," replied the
^" A1I right1 Cocky,'" eaidthe driver, Bricking his spurs into the horse, which darted off through tho bush at right angles to tho road at a rapid pace, and his voice could be heard exclaiming " You c fire away' with your trap. I'll soon catch you."
The sergeant looked daggers after him, but it was.no ubo attempting to call him back, and | he therefore knit his brows and tethered the I horses out of spite. <
! " That's a queer sort of chap," said the newI
comer, addressing the sergeant.
I " Yes," answered the sergeant, " but he's a
good sort if I am a judgo or phiz."
" Do you think he'll come back ?•"
" To be sure he will," replied, the sergeant, (s do you suppose he would hare ridden all the way from Kynetou to tell mo what he bad seen if he meant to run away now ? Not he! But he is naturally anxious about his bullocks, for they arc his little all perhap3."
"Well, perhaps you're right," said the new comer, " for I. shouldn't like to come nil this way on a wild-goose chase, although I should be quite prepared to make the sacrifice of time a labour for nothing, so long as we don't camp at the spot we left last night."
. '' No fear of that," the sergeant said, "for I must be hack before dark."
About half-an-hour after the bullock-driver left the conveyance, and pounced into the hush in search of his cattle, that worthy, made his appearance in a most boisterous manner, singing
out sit the top of his voice," I got 'emI got'em!" '
"Now.you look here," said the sergeant, putting on a very severe frown, " if you make the. least attempt to leave us again until you have pointed out where yon saw the dead man, I'll ahoot you, sa sure as my name's Down," taking, as lie spoke, his revolver from his belt, and elevating it above the head of the delinquent.
" I am not going to leave you again before I show "you the ' carenss " of the old chap I saw, but I -wasn't going to pass by my bulla without knowing where they were, for I've got to get 'tucker* for self and my old dad out of them, and if I lose them, what's to become of the loading I've got on?"
" You need not say another word," replied the j sergeant looking somewhat mollified, "only
don't go away again. How far are we now from the place ?"
"I reckon about four miles, but I am not sure, and it may take me some little time to
find it." ~
" Why. didn't you make any mark to enable you to do so ?"
| " No! but I noticed a branch < mimi' alongI
side the road, just above _ the gully where the I old chnp is lying."
" That's the place where you were camped in," said the new comer, turning to tho stranger, | " when I came up to you."
At Ibis announcement, the: sergeant and : bullock-driver looker hard at the stranger.