Chapter 22480011

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Chapter NumberVI
Chapter Title
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Full Date1904-04-14
Page Number6
Word Count5024
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleCamperdown Chronicle (Vic. : 1877 - 1954)
Trove TitleThe Outlaws of Cradle Mountain. A Story of Van Dieman's Land
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The Outlaws of Cradle Mountain.

A Story of Van Dieman's Land. FOUNDED ON FACT.



BY CAPTAIN LACIE, (James J. Wright). Author of "The Gem Finders," "In the Wake of Fortune," "Narratives of the Bushranging Times," "The Huts of Ellerslie," &c,, &c

" At the regular inqueit there waa a big crowd of legal talent from the capital, to prosecute, and as the accused did not bother with counsel at that stage, the proceed ings were short. The evidence of the arresting constables appeared very oonclu tive. Practically, they had caught him in the act, and moreover, the head (onsuble stoutly asserted th?t the motive appeared to be rolil>ery. " We caught him making a search ot the body, as ii looking for valuables, your worships,** he said in the course of the evid ence, in a way which caused the accused to lose his temper and call the witness a liar. The outburst of course, only added to the Kid impression formed of the prisoner, who declined to say anything in his own defence. The regular trial was fixed for a fortnight later, and as Lyell-or Williams, as he was called-refused" to employ counsel, a young harririer named \V<y*is, was assigned by the crown. Lyell had lapsed into a state of utter hopeless despair, in fact he almost longed for the last supreme scene of all, to arrive and pnt an end to his troubles. It was on the tenth day before the trial that Lyell's identity was discovered. The boarding-house keeper with whom he had resided two years at Hobart Town, was on a visit to Lannceston, and obtained permis sion to have a peep at the murderer of Lieu tenant Lytton. In fact Lyell was the chief lion of the place for sightseers. This man whose name was Gibson, recognised his former boarder, notwithstanding the great change in his appearance and for whom he entertained & deep respect. His astonish ment was so great, that he could not conceal it, and impulsively ht Vurted out "why that's Xcd Lyell, and I'll swear he never com mitted murder, though they've outlawed him." Then were the first kind words the miserable man had beard for a long time and the trust of Gibson, who had known him so well, deeply touched him. "Yon don't think I did this foul deed, Gibson, God bless yon for that," exclaimed the accused, thus establishing the troth of Gibson's identifies-' tioo. The fact that Williams was found to be identical with the outlaw, Edward Lyell, .on whose head a price was pet, soon became known throughout the island, and it made the fate of the accused very certain. His life waa already forfeited and worst of all, in the criminals own estimation, <v the anguish it would cause Elsie Clarke. The five constables congratulated themselves on having made such a haul, and were regarded by their companions, no little amount of envy. It -wanted but two night* from the trial which would be the begining of the end. Lyell waa quite resigned to his fate, having given op all hope. The nignt wai a fear lnlly wild one, indeed it ?v the worst storm that had visited the island for years, Houses were blown down in the settlement and the utmost consternation prevailed. The huge convict barracks wan partly nn roofed and fearing an outbreak, all the avail able force was concentrated there. Though the storm raged, it troubled the doomed prisoner bat little. Blast after blast shook the building in which he waa immured until he began to hope one would carry it away altogether. The warder 03 duty in the c orridor had ceased to march to and fro and took up a position at the north end, waiting for tbe rushing wind to moderate. Lyell was silting on the floor with hands clasped around his knees and head bent upon them when the sharp rattle of keys in the lock followed by the drawing of bolts, caused him to look np. As he did so, the massive door swung open, and a man, to tall that he had to to' stoop in enuring; stepped in and beckoned to him. " Brady ? good heavens how have yon come here ? M the prisoner exclaimed, but the howling wind drowned his voice. Catching Lyell by the arm, Brady—for it waa indeed he, but stangely altered,—lifted him to his feet, and drew him ont of his celL Passing through the corridor, Lyell saw the body of his late keeper, stretched on the floor, and apparently lifeless, but the sight affected him little ; passing to the outer gate without hindisnce, it was found unlocked and in less than a minute, the two outlaws were lieyond the precincts of the gaol, and making through the settlement in a south westerly direction. The storm was at its height, and the wind so strong that at times, it almost brought them to a stand. Yet, it was their salvation. There was not a light risible, save a few dull lanterns which flitter ed about in the vicinity of the convict and military barracks. •Lyell had noticed when Brady entered the cell, that he wore the uniform of a chief 1 constable, and the disguise no donht assisted hhn greatly in gaining access to ii-.? L-Miland overpowering the solitary tut: Vtt in tbe corridor. That, and tin- .likable slorm, made it comparatively r.-M. lor a! bold and desperate man to effect such an extraordinary escape, i Tor two hours Brady and his release^ 1 comrade strnjclcd on with a will, putting a ? considerable c'istance between themselves j and the settlement. When morning ; dawned, so grea- had been their efforts that \ Quamby Bluff reared its bold outlines but a : short distance ahead. j " We can get some food and a change for j ye. lad, near yonder Bluff. There's a hut- i keeper there to be rt-lied on. lad, an' we j may cheat the hangman yet," spoke Brady encouragingly to his comrade. * j The latter could scarcely find words'tore- | ply. At first it seemed to him he must be ' dreaming, but reality waa soon forced on ! him. The evidence of his senses was not 1 to be denied, and as the love of life once ; again rose in his heart after the awful : despair of the last few weeks he lelt 1 more grateful to Brady than words could ex- ! press. "How did you manage it, Brady?" was all he could ask. " I've bin waiting about for three days. Ever since I knew 'it waa ye they blamed. I heard a sailor named * Williams was I arrested for the affair, but it didn'l trouble j me, lad. Ye never told me under what j name ye were going to ship or I might have j seen through it. When I knew the truth I 'swore ye wouldn't hang for it, even .if 1 had to Rive myself up," explained tbe outlaw. " What will be the end of it all, Brady V • the youne man wistfully asked. "Don't bother yerself aboat the end, Ned. There is the hut yonder, and when ye've had something to eat and drink an' a change of rlnthw yell feel better. Well get them 1.r... ii.tsoff, too." Thi? iW-ni-d lo the handcuffs, which still manacl?lLyells'?ri %<, and in •pit* of which : b<t bad been able to make wch good pro- I

?, gress. The locality in which daylight found them was nearly twenty miles from Laun ceston, and they were rniudlv nearinc a comparatively wild and unsettled district, where safety might he obtained. The hut mentioned by Brady wn ktpt by an " old hand," named Shcrritt, who was •vidently in league with the outlaw. He had not left the place when the two reached it, and soon a substantial breakfast was being prepared by him, while Brady filed off the handcart* from Lyell's wrist*. A suit of strong clothes, such as the fre* settlers usually wore, was next donned by the young man, as well as a mnsket, two pistols and a formidable-looking knife. " We may have to light at any moment, Ned. and must be prepared for all emer gencies. I'll keep on this uniform, at I had it specially made," remarked the giaut aahe handed the things to Lyell. " I thought you might have killed the, chief constable at the settlement last night. It wouldn't have been much loss if you had," the young man replied rather bitterly. " Xo, I didn't come acrot3 him or I might. This was part of my plan to get ye out, for storm or no storm 1 meant to try. Eat and drink what you can. lad, aa' Shcritt will make us up a bag each. We mustn't stay here long, you know, for the ?hole island will be after us when they find out what has happened," said ISrady. "They wont know you had anything to do with it, though. Did anyone —the turnkey for instance —get a chance to see you !" returned Lyell. '?Indeed he didn't. The fellow hadn't time to look round More I downed him. l'riiai-s the authoritieswont think I've had anything to do with the escape, .-.n' if so it'll be "all the belter. Com,-, fall to now." con cludrd the outlaw, Mtui-king tin- >>ri'.ikfast with n keen upp<-tit<>. l.veil also did full justice to it, for hi; tell it would be needful to keep up strength, and in truth hunger wa> upon him. An hour after the hut was entered, the men wcro ready to leave it, and Sherritt g?ve them each as much provisions as they could carry. "Y\ hrn you want more, Brady, you know the signal," the hut-keeper taid, v the outlaws turned away, still keep. ing in a south-westerly direction. By noon, they came to the base *.'. ;];t curious range known ai Dry Bluff, which they climbed. From the summit, a splendid view wa? •btained oMhe Great Lake, while scores of I peaks and ranges were to be seen. : " Halfway down here we'll find a safe and comfortable hiding place, an' where ye can continue ye're prospecting, lad," re marked Brtdy. leading the way, " I don't 1 know much about the gold-finding business, but from the little I've picked up in my traveli it appears to me that this is a like >ly region to find minerals in, of some kind." I " Yes, Ben." said Lyell. glancing critically aronnd, "I believe' you're right. There should be plenty of the precious metal ly ine buried here, and it only wants diligent ?nd intelligent searching after, to unearth ! it." " Well, come on lad and let's get to our new home, and as soon as the hue and cry jii over, well both go at it with a will," I answered Brady, The spot he spoke about, was a fine cavern, approachable only by a very narrow passage. The interior was perfectly "dry though just at the entrance, a l.irge spring of water its rise. The whole of the country lo the touth-west and east, could be sun-eyed from the point which, as the outlaw said, was both safe and comfortable- After the fat igue and excitement of the day and nizht, Lyell felt worn-out, and noon" sank into a a slumber in which we will leave him, to introduce the reader to a different scene. Lying on a sofa, in a room ft her mnth?r's home at Hobart Town, was KNie Clarke. The house was really hen. for on the death of her father, for some reason of his own, he had willed what little property he potseised, to Elsie, and no: to her mother. The girl wai a brunette, rsther above med ium height. Her face, though not classically chitelltd, had a winning expression, which wai captivating. Tht lustrous dark eye? gave evidence in their slumberous depths' of rare courage and rievnjion. The face, now white almoit to p? by contrast with the raven hair showed signs of grief or ill ness—if not both. That was scarcely to be wondered at, for the neivs received "by the girl, a week previously, was tragic in the extreme. The nun on whom she had showered the weslth of her love, had been caught red-handed, so it was said, in the a£t of committing a foul murder. There seemed little room to disbelieve the terrible story, and yet' Klsie Clarke, of all the thousands who did hear it, was perhaps the only one who did not believe her lorer guilty. Something whispered in her heart tkat he mint be innocrnt. She did not previously believe thai Lyell had committed the acts for which he had been outlawed, and neither would the girl give ear to the last horrible charge of murdering Lieutenant Lytton for the sake of any valuables he might have on his person. As KNie lav on the sofa, her mother entered, and in a" few minutes began on the old theme of Apsley's suit. " Mr. Apsley will call this afternoon, my dear. Ido wish you would treat him differ. •ntlr." vl will not fee him any more. If he I dares to epeak to me, I will insult him," indignantly answered the girl, rising from the sofa with flashing eyes. " Why so, Elsie, sorely you are not still grieving over that wretched outcast who is to near his doom." " Edward Lyell may be wretched outcast, bat he is not a criminal, mother," retorted the girl defiantly, "love is proverbially blind, my dear, but other people fortunately, see with differ ent eves to yours. Mr. Apsley ii the best match in the island at present,"and you are | flying in the face of providence, by treating him as you do," rejoined Mrs Clarke. Elsie did not answer for quite a minute. Then, as if a resolution had been suddenly formed, she slowly said, "I am going to start for Launceston in a couple of days, mother. You might come also." If a thunderbolt had crashed into the room, Mrs Clarke could not haTe shewn more astonishment. " Launceston ! Latin eeston !" she gasped. What in the name of. heaven do too. want to co there for nil child! •' You know well enough."came the abrupt answer. "I want to go and see Edward, and learn from his own lips, the truth." "Are you mad —quite mad, Kl?ie! ex claimed Mrs Clarke, angrily. '• Have you not brought sufficient disgrace on me already by having our name linked wiih that of ?n outlaw—a murderer. I am your mother, and you will hare to obey me. You shall not daie go to that place to see-yes to see an execution for that is what it will end in." Mrs Clarke'i face was purple with anger, but it made no impression on her stubborn and imperious daughter. As an only child, Elsio had bten somewhat sioiM, especially by her father—a naval lieutenant—and her mother's anger did not trouMe her much. "If you will not accompany me. I must go alone. lam not a child, to be spoken to in that way, mother, and there are reasons why I should know the truth, and be in a * position to help Edward. It is to try and removo tbe dtsgr?/-e you epeak of. that'l will go, and nothing will stop me. It would be a relief to get away, if only to escape the persecutions of thai cad, Apsley," defiantly answered the girl. Mrs Clarke well knew that the had no power to prevent Elsie, journeying to Laun •etton, if she chooee to do so. Her only hopes lay in argument and expostulation", but they were in rain. When Ap.lcv call ed iv the afternoon, she put the ra*e before him, but he was quickly checkmated, Elsie poiot?dly refusing lo ace him. "The best way to stop her, is to announce four intention of going also, Mr. Apsley," the mother taid to the discomforted, but persistent suitor, who winced under the meaning which the advice contained. Even that threat, "Elsie treated with contempt. " Mr. Apaley is free logo where fie chose*, but lie is not privileged to annoy me," she ealsaiv answered. Fusing Utai tfc* girl waa rttttlaU, Mre

, Clark* gave np opposition, but nothing j would induce her to accompany Elsie. Two i days after the announcement* mide by the girl, of her intention, she left by coach for the northern settlement, wnich she, was not destine! to reach. When Campbell Town was entered, the place was lound to be in an unusual state of commotion. It was the day after the great storm, which had not been felt much in tho south, and the news was heard that E.lward Lyell had escaped from Launceston gaol, and so fir, no trace of the outlaw had been found. Scores of armed men were in pursuit, and even as Elsio entered Campbell Town, a party of military, marched through, in the direction of the Ben Lomond ranges, to search them tor the fugitive. Many were the theories set up as to how the criminal escaped, but none could be con firmed. The only man at the j aol who micht have thrown light on the snl-ject, wks dead. That was the corridor turi.l:-y whose skull had been fractured i.y a vinfent blow. It was quite cli-kr tne prisoner must hare been aided from outside, and ill sorts of wild Klsie Clarke was in s dilemma. It was useless to proceed JmJier. until som-thins deiinite was h-sv.i, tlmuvh her; w.-.s heavy at the thought of what tlmt Tim-thing might be. IViiaps she would r.rvrr have the opportunity of again spiking with Lyell. Under the circumstances, it was scarcely likely he would ie taken n'.ive. " Innocent or puiiv,'1 she thought, "they mean to sa?ririre him, and he kuowi it. Therefore he will resist arrest until death." Who can describe the girl's feelings, ouring the days whirl, followed. Every hon-emitn who appr?K-h?n'(.'.-impliell Town— for she decided to rcin.iin !i>..-re for a timo — ! teemed to her. the ix-.iier 'of fatal news. I How she went through the trying time, j Elsie could not und^tand. but "it nflected I her health not a little. She was stayini: with friemi* mmcd Miller, ar.d they did all that was pos-itile under the circumstances to I assist th,- girl in her trial. They were aware of her attachment and still unbroken on everyone's tongue, and they could not fail to sympathise with her. lo divert her mind, long excursions were planned, to picturesque spots in the district, by the Millers, fur Elsie's special benefit. ; The genial time of summer was approaching, but it brought little sunshine into the girl's heart. A month had rolled by without tho least tidings being heard M the escapee, and many people begin to think he must have I got away from the island altogether, or elite perished' in the ranges. Klsie alone now begin to hope. The first outcry had died out, and perhaps, it was possible Lyell might yet have the chance to vindicate himself as he had staled in his treasured letter to her. Meanwhile, a new and startling sensation had risen. Comptroller Hampden. whilst accompanying a search party on the east bank of the threat Lake, had mysteriously disapjieared. and not a trace of him could lie found. As he was one of the most import ant officials on the island, this was some thing to talk about, aud it was a real nine days wonder. More than a hundred men, including the famous tracker. Thornton, searched the locality in which the officer had disappeared, but without success. The tracker's efforts were rendered nug.itory by the large num ber of searchers. The numerous footprints crossed and re-crossed in bewildering fashion, and puuled him. At the end of a week, it was conjectured that Hampden must have been drowned in the Lake, but no sign of the body was to he discerned. All the resources of the government were brought to bear, to clear up the mystery, but without avail, and it was seriously con templated to appoint a new comptroller general, when the missing man himself ex ploded all the curious theories which had been formed by quietly walking into the military barracks at Launceaton, one bright morning, little _the worse for his disappear ance. Curiosity was on tip-toe, but it was not gratified. The Comptroller General bluntly stated that what he had to reveal was, in the first place, solely for the governor's ear, and press and public had to wait until he reached Hobart Town. Meanwhile, the news of Hampden's re markable disappearance had reached Camp bell Town, and several parties were dispatched to search for him. The locality was not more than thirty miles from Millers' farm, and from there, a small expedition including Elsie Clarke and Ethel Miller, was formed to join in the quest. It was chiefly to show the girls the Great Late, and tlie picturesque scenery about it, that the party set out. They quite expected the missing man would be found before they reached the district, but in that they were deceived. On the fourth day after leaving the home stead, the party reached the base of a curious-looking peak which rose np almost from the waters of the lake. Apparently it was inaccessible, consisting of great tiers and cliffs of basalt. It was curious form ation, certainly, towering to a height of four thousand feet. Elsie Clarke in particular, was fascinated with the. magnificently picturesque monu ment of nature's vagaTtes, and never wearied of gazing upon its wild beauties. Camp hid been formed near the west base within a mile of the lake.'and therefore, the girl had many opportunities of gratifying her taste in the direction mentioned. After her tint wonderment was past, Elsie need to climb the lower tiers and survey the country around. By searching out new routes and passages, on the third day she got to an altitude of quite one thousand feet. The climli was a rather perilous one, but as each difficulty was surmounted her success only drew her on, and she ascended until further progress was barred by a sheer wall of cliff. She was exhausted by the long and diffi cult .itcrnt.anil seating herself on a rock, from which a splendid view of th. lake was obtainable, she soon sank into a troubled reverie. The fate of her lover weighed upon her. Better far to knuw the worst than to be racked by doubt, the thought. ft Has a beautiful day. The sun was now shining on the \r?t side of the peak, and not a hrrath of wind could be felt. Suddenly a voice —clear and low —broke on her ears, and "used the girl to start lo her feet, trembling. With a lutlf-terrilied glance. Klsie looked around, but human presence was not visible. Yet that voice was the voice of Edward Lyell, or her senses deceived h?r. •? Elsie :" Onre mere that name was called, and this time ft seetied to come from above. Look upwanL the girl sank hack on the rock, half fainting, fur there, nearly thre? hun dred feet at*ve her, was the face of Lyell peering down from what appeared a recess in the fa<-e of the sheer cliff. "Wail until I comedown, Elsie. Don't be afraid. All will yet be well," he shouted encouragingly. In a sort "of dream she saw the well known face disappear, but it seemed an age before Ned Lyell came swiftly round a projecting ledge of rock and ciu'eht her in his arms. For a moment she suffered him to do to, and then, gently repulsing him, said : " 1 want to know the truth, Edward. Tell me that you are innocent." " I am innocent, and all the world will toon know it. Mr Htmpden has i^ns to the Governor to place the matter before him. Brady has at last set me right with the authorities," cried the young man, with t beaming face. " Then can you not come down to our camp, Surely you will be safe there. But Brady, where is he?" aaked the girl. "He left here a week ago. with the in tention of going back to that awful west roast. His mission was ended, so he said, md it did not matter what happened to Kirn," explained Lyell. Yielding to the pertuaaien of Elsie, th* rosac shb slMtsjtM th* twak with km.

and yielded himself to the party, towhom hit : staitment made it clear tlmt he was at ; Icntii: |il;i-lv to i;ot justice. , It was "Cmuntroller lleneral Hampden I who assisted to that end. He had ac companied one of tho lirst parties sent out to re-capture Lyell and his rescuers, I who were generally supposed to Iw Brady ? and Carlton, tho death of the Utter, of J course, not having l>ccon-.e known to the I authorities. It was while the tearch was Ibeiug prosecuted in the, region, of the Uke that Hampdi-n so mysteriously disappeared. He had wan dered away from tho m.iin pnrty, and in passing near the base oi ihe reuL was seized .'rum U-hind in a grip of iron, while his eyes ;\v?.-ic blindfolded, and a voice said, "Come i with me. 11l not harm ye." Itecognising that it would be useless to resist, he itcuimpaniet! his unknown captor up steep paths and along narrow passages, so far as he could judge, until the bandage was removed from bis eyes and he found himself in a large cave in the presence of ; Michael lirady, whom he -aell knew, \ und Lyell, whose name wai given him by It was Kradv who had captured him, and at :-rst he feared he was either to be killed 'or held as a hostage for the safety of the two. That idea, liuwevcr, was quickly dis pelled. Brady simply wished him to listen to tii- truth about Lyell's .wc.-iation with himself and Carltnn," after which he was to by liberated on his solemn promise to lay the facts before the Governor and obtain a free jm-.ion for Lyell. P.rady then gave him a !uir and true "account of the murder of LlVutensnt Lytton and the breakaway from Launccsion Oaol, in whii-h he had killed the turnkey to obtait Lyell'a release. A query from Hamp'den as to Carlton's whereabouts rlicitcd tlie information of his tragic end at the depot on the whaling station. Knowing so much of l!;e noted oii-Jau's cari-er aim his life-long veucMtice agninst Lieutenant Lytton, he had no doubt whatever Hint it was Brady, and not Lyell, who slew the oliicer. The explanation of the acts on the .west const which led to the young man's outlawry were also given, ?'s the reader knows them. In fact, it was from Haiupden's notes that most of the fact* on which this stmy is founded were taken. For some days Hampden was detained on the curious peak now known aa Brady's Look Out. The searchers around it were so numerous that the outlaws did not care to chance revealing their retreat, but soon as possible the Comptroller- General was released, and, after making his way to Hobart Town, laid his statement before the Governor, the result tf which Lyell was anxiously waiting. All the surroundings pointed to the fact that Lyell was the victim of an unfortunate and adverse fate, and soon after a free pardon was granted him. From the shadow of the gallows he suddenly emerged to th* sunshine of liberiy. A very strong party was sent out to search for Michael Brady, under the guidance of Tracker Thornton. From the information gleaned by the latter it seemed likely the fugitive would make towards Cradle Mountain, where his old strong hold had been, ami thither the pursuers went. It was Christmas morning when the armed men—notoo an errand of peace—be gan the arduous ascent leading to the stronghold. Recent footmarks led them to realise that Brady waa not far away, and all anticipated bloodshed. The way by .which Lyell and the two outlaws had made good their escape when previously attacked was known to Thorn ton,'and men were'posted at the''outlet near the summit of the mountain. If Brady was at the retreat they, therefore, con sidered his career was as good as ended, though each of the party wondered who would fall before his capture. Thornton was the hrst to enter the ravine, in.- which was the cave.. An ominous silence prevailed, he thonghi, but as the men filed in and no shot came from the retreat Thornton concluded the quarry had again escaped, and he ordered a rush into the cavern. Brady was lying within it, or rather all that was mortal ol tho outlaw, for his sdol had gone to be judged by a much higher tribunal than any Van Dieman's Land could produce. He did not seem to have been dead many hoars, and tbe placid features afforded, a strange contrast to the wild and stormy life which Michael Brady had so long led. It was with relief that Lyell and Elsie Clarke heard of tho outlaw's end. Ten years later, when th? luckless, prospector of west coast had become a gold king at Ballarat, he took stepa to provide for a sister of Brady, who, stricken with in firmity, starved in Hobart Town. " Though an outlaw and a man of ven geance, we would never have met again, Elsie, had it not been for him, and for that alone I will always think well of him," Edward Lyell { often remarked to his wife, who seemed to reciprocate the senti ment. In Brady, like many another greater man, the principles of good and evil, were cnriouily interwoven. TUE CT>.