|Newspaper Title||Launceston Examiner (Tas. : 1842 - 1899)|
|Trove Title||Matched and Mated: A Romance in Real Life|
CHAPTER V. B Canvas was the first article thought of. dl All hands turned out to work, women as Si well as men. Even the delicate Judge it Brandon was helping, for all remaining ft hope rested on what they could save; tl piles of sail cluth, bags of biscuits, tubs I of salt beef, and bags of flour and sugar. w Before the day was half over, several pt tents, strong and water proof, were wn pitched. Mrs Biaudon had a magnificent tL. monk of St. Bernard hound. ti This splendid animal first seen the w light at Newstead Abbey, the ancient seat y' of Lord Byron. They brought the dog tt with them, and all the passengers said, tl this noble brute saved th. ir lives, for on ea the second day after the shipwreck, Mrs ft Brandon was resting after working so rc hard; she was clothed in a loose white w garment, and as she stood by the tent, tl her son leaning on the hound, a party of blacks came up with open mouths, gazing ce in wonderment upon the intruders. She u looked like some Grecian godess, standing to there with the hound beside her. Even the blacks were struck by her loveliness, it and no doubt thought her some spirit, si well protected by the huge dog. Yelling w out in fear they fled, and never again re appeared. B All hands worked hard for several days w under the glaring tropical sun, until ti everyone had a tent, the largest and best it being given to the Brandons, on account w of the sick husband and child. They ca landed all the bedding blankets and rugs ss they could find. At last the work of re building was over. When all excitement t had subsided, the fearful truth came upon them, that they were alone upon a desolate island. All day long, save the si little time spent at their frugal meals, hi they watchea,half scorched with the sun I for a sail. lhe glaring sun streamed la from the red sky, and the sea beat tl against the shore. The tempting water lured them to cool their burning bodies, i and the frightful fins of the sharks, here w and there, filled them with horror-but 01 no sail, no sail. D.ys and weeks past, 4 and their hearts grow sick, for nothing better stared them in the face than death ct by starvation. The rain came down in tl torrents wetting the tents, destroying the it flour and sugar,and the hard biscuits grew v mouldy-but no sail, night was the most fearful time for those poor people ii Swarms of mosquitoes, would buz and k bite, preventing them from sleeping. f, Imagine this delicately reared English lady, with her dying child, sitting up all tl night, brushing off those pests from her child, trying to give it all the rest she could. No complaint ever passed her lips, cheerful and composed, giving her d husband hopeful and comforting words always. a After the fourth week, her greatest n sorrow came. The child was kissed by the angel of death. Judge Brandon felt this 1I blow, even more than his wife. His grief el was dreadful. The heat was then so a intense that it was necessary to bury the child almost immediately after its death. h They dug a little grave under a palm p tree, and laid the tiny sufferer therein. They folded his little wasted hands over v his breast and threw the dust down upon v the pretty child. Geff was then seized I with a most violent fit of sobbing and coughing. He threw himself on the little e grave and sobbed and coughed till all present were nearly petrified with fear to see him fall down,with the blood gush ing from his mouth. This was the first time that the spartan a courage of Gwendoline gave way. t Throwing herself on the apparently lifeless form of her husband, she shrieked out -' Oh Christ ! do not take my husband d too.' Then she fainted. The doctor lifted him up and carried him back to his tent, while she was passed on to the care of the ladies. In a short time he recovered his senses. Before night came on,the joyful news was told to him and Gwendoline, that all the science of England was mistaken. His lungs were perfectly sound. An aboess on his liver was the cause of all his suffering. The grief which he gave way to at the burial of his child, brought on a violent I fit of coughing. He coughed up the aboess. His life was spared. After this, the improvement in his health was remarkable. In a few weeks' time he would walk about for miles. His favourite amusement was gathering oysters off the rocks. Oysters grew in great abundance on the rocks, and they would gather them In the mornings, and smash them open with a hammer. Those oysters and such fragments of biscuits as were not mouldy, were eaten ravenously by those half starving people. Mrs Brandon would cook them in all manner of ways, till even this, their only food,was becoming sicken ing. One day while watching as usual, one of the ladies thought she saw a small sail. Everybody crowded to the edge of the rocks to see. They would see a little I wing upon thle surface of the water, then it would disappear. Hope and fear would come to them, but all at once a 1 small craft became visible. With a shout of joy they all cried out, 'ship ahoy !' SShouting and waving their handker Schiefs. SThe little craft turned towards them, Sand gradually came alongside the rocks. SIt contained only a few black fellows, and 1 they could not understand their language. SBy the greatest trouble they made them know by signs that they were shipwrecked there, and needed food. Then they Sshowed the blacks golden money, and a pointed to their zuouths, making them r understand that they were hungry and f wanted to buy food. The offered money a was evidently tempting, for they imme p diately exhibited their cargo. S Fine large pumpkins and potatoes e were offered in exchange for the golden a money. It was joyful to see our friends w carrying off their treasures, and no ban. n quet was ever most enjoyed by them than a those pumpkins, potatoes, and salt beef. p It was during this trying ordeal, that h Judge Brandon and Humphrey Hall first e became friends. He, Mrs Hall, and little Pauline were finishing an all-round-the t- world tour, when Mr Hall proposed, that ;h they should visit the northern territory. n This was the result. The misfortunes of of being shipwrecked, however, ended in good results, for it bound the two
families in firm bonds of friendship, whichwerene er broken.They would walk a arm in arm in front of their tents, enjoy ing a smoke, and watch the two children 1 Pauline and Hugo playing on the sand. And as the stronger man leant his arm to 1 Brandon they would jokingly pre dict the future of the children. Sometimes when a sea breeze blew it was very lovely, the perfume from the blue waterlillies reaching them. You cannot imagine any colour I more exquisite than that tof the blue waterlillies which grow upon the large f ponds about the island. All the gentle men would bring them to the tents, while 1 the ladies would decorate the place with them. Indeed they were the uunly flowvers which grew on the island. Little three year old Hugo would make a couch of them fur Pauline, and cover her up like the babes in the wood. Nothing could exceed the love of this two year old baby for Mrs Brandon. She would toddle round her skirts all day, and when Hugo would say ' Mother,' she too would claim the gentle baby. When Mrs Brandon would kiss and caress her only child, Pauline would hold up her little arms and cry -' Me too, me too, mother.' Thus this little girl wound her way into Mrs Brandon's heart,and they would say, 'Pauline and Hugo must marry when they grow up.' On the night before the rescue Mrs Brandon had a strange dream, which is well worthy of narration. 1 call it a dream though she most positively insisted upon its being a manifestation from tht spirit world. She thought she heard her name called, and looking out of her tent she saw a heavenly visitant. His face was radiant and spiritual, and he called out 'Gwendoline I am Arial? Come with me.' ' Whither?' asked she. 'To see your father,' quoth he. She silently gave him her hand, and he led her through the night. On and on they sped, the soft wind fanning her face. At last they stopped by a large pond, and the blue waterlillies waved to and fro. Then from amongst them walking through the water she saw her father, with her baby in his arms. She cried out in rapture. ' Oh father ! father ! and my child.' He waved her back and said, 'you cannot touch as we are not of the flesh, three days I have been waiting knee deep In the Gordon, waiting for the child. We are now amongst the blessed dead. He disappeared amongst the water lillies, and another form appeared. She knew that this one was Pauline's mother, for she had her face. And the spirit said, ' Take care of Pauline and love her,' and then the lillies hid her from view. Gwendoline awoke and cried out, 'Geff ! Geff! I have seen my father.' 'None sense dear,' he replied, ' you have been dreaming.' 'It was no dream,' she answered, in great distress, ' He was here indeed,' She rose, and going to the tent door looked out. Then pale and trembling, she spoke in hushed voice to her husband and related the strange vision. ' It was indeed a curious dream darling,' he said, 'but only a dream, come, com pose yourself and go to sleep again.' But Mrs Brandon pondered on her vision, and she wept for trany days. She would not be comforted, for she said she knew that her father was dead. And so it proved to be. For the time of her dream was indeed the date of General De Burg's death. About a week after that they were rescued. A ship bound to the Northern Territory from Sydney, took them all aboard. So after three months want and hardship, they reached their destination. They lived there for many years, and afterwards In Sydney, where Judge Bran don restored to health and the highest honour as a judge, blessed with happi ness and prosperity and a fine family, they forgot all their suffering on Face Island.