Chapter 52026465

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Chapter NumberIV
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article52026465
Full Date1884-06-19
Page Number1
Corrections0
Word Count2183
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleMorning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Qld. : 1878 - 1954)
Trove TitleRonald Walton: A Tale of Early Squatting Life in Moreton Bay
article text

.RONALD WALTON. ; . ¡ ?

A TALE OF BABLT SQUATTWO LIFE IN

QUEENSLAND.

[All -Rigid» Raerbed.'i

CHAPTER IV.- YOKTHG-DF MAGPIE. -

MURDERING: SKINNER. :

" I'LL fix his flint {or him, never {ear," said Smaaher, half to himaelf, ea he, proceded to yoke up hie bul looks. When it came to Mag- pie'» turn there was a good bit of dodging re- quired to get him into nie place by the eide of

the étrange mate that Smasher designed for. him. The old rogne tried all hie arts to escape, running through the mob with bead down in all directions ; but at last, by dint of perseveranoe-without a great admixture of patience-not a few cute of the whip, and much shouting, he was forced to comply; which he did with a very bad graoe, looking extremely savage. Smaaher tried to pat bim over the near side bullock's neck,' but he only

snuffed savagely, shook bis bead, and licked out hie long tongue, sharply at intervals, re i'eoting all friendly advance», no doubt mowing the value of them. The old bullock

over whose neok the little attentions were being lavished by the wily Smasher, stood perfeotly rigid, ready for any emergency, or the oommands of bi» master, for he had been moah used for yoking young bullocks to, as well as old rogues, and understood the busi- ness thoroughly.

"Stand over,'Nugget," «aid Smasher, as he poked theold beastln the ribs with the bott of bis whip-stick. Nugget obeyed, leaning against Magpie with all hie might, preaaing bim against the wheel. Magpie tried to draw back, but iras tapped, not to say affectionately on the bone above the tail, by a heavy stiok in the hands of Jupiter. He then tried to bore ahead, but waa met by a poke on the noaa from a long stick urged under the belly of the near side bulloak in front,: for he kept his head down. Pinchgut had .to continue the irritation with, the long stick for some time before the beast could oe made to hold his head high'enough for Smasher to. yoke him. At last, when every one's patience wari thoroughly exhausted, ea well sta the forbear- ance of. the bullocks io front-amongst whose legs Pinohgut's stiok and Magpie's head had been dodging so fong-one of them kicked th's old rogue on the small bones of the noBe which had the' effect of making him' throw his head up with a bellow. Instantly Smasher pushed Nugget's head ever, ' so that ' hie long horn prevented the rogue's head from descending ; in another moment the green-hide ooupling-rope was round his neck, and the chain between the two bullocks in front was hooked to it, after wbioh there was no more trouble. As soon as the yoking was ootnpleted, Smasher knotted the coupling rope pretty tightly ronnd Magpie's neok, sud tied th» end-of it to the centre of the yoke ; so that, in the event of him drawing bia head out of the bow-a feat thus rendered all but impossible-he wouldn't be able to get away.

The operation of yoking up Magpie had delayed the (tart brer an hour, and though a oold morning, Smasher, .by reason: of hi* exertions excitement, «ss constrained to

wipe his face on the sleeve of hia blaok-and white striped guernsey, aa he exclaimed,

" My oath hs « « 'nation dodger 1 but old Nugget's a regalar; briok | : He's a fort'n to any man iee has much todo with opstrop'loos baUookMi- it its' only 'to yoke over. He stands like « -gainé covey a latin' of his fifty

with the 4 oat -never a move out of him. He know'd «ll about it Hw did old Hag, when he got that horn shored under his neok-the gallows old rogue I The cove at Ourracurra

adonghteratand us a gallonof rum for this 1 -bot ITO gallfed fae won't,' the old skinflint."

"Oh, he ain't such a bad sort-leastways when be's sober;" chimed in . Pinchgut. " But Ieee him in town, and if he ain't home when we gets there, we may as well whistle s jigs to a.mileetone'as expect to get .anything -ezoept a flogging-from Murderie' Skinner, his super.- Why, he had "Jim the Stagger nearly flogged;to death for losing that same

bullooknowloometo think-of it. -

"He did t" «daimed Smasher. . "Then here goes to losé my bottle to you, mate," and he-walked up to ; his team with; the intention of setting Magpie free, and putting another in : ¡te: place s .nut Ronald, who-was drawing a pannikin of rum from a keg, to serve out to the men before starting, said,

" YoU' shall do no auoh thing; Smasher."

"Why,1 sir," expostulated Smaaher. "Who'd 'do a good - turn for a blasted murderin' skunk like him ? How could'a man help losing:«; knowing old dodger like that, when no one could ride over the boggy country after bimi"

" Ii V muí .«erred me euch a trick ea you contemplât», 1-believe I'd tura bim in tor a flogging, I may IOSB a bullock, some .time, and how do you think I should like the Ender to leave him on the road when he waa able, to deliver him to me ?"

' ' Ibère ain't much- fear nf any mab serving you a trick, «ir, as knowe yon-you ain't one of the flogging sort, and can treat a man like a hnman i but: that minderin' Skinner I: To think of him a Hoggin* a man half to death for losing of a nobby bullock 1 He'd never oughter bean broke-in-nobby cattle'« always play io' hide-and-seek. "

" Very like he had him broke-in a' purpose to triptbeSlogger.up. He's always a . laying of traps to get his men flogged. I wonder he don't get: chopped flown by some of em I" «aid Pinohgut, with muon warmth; -

" Well, leMia geii on," said Ronald. " I will not allow the beast to be turned out. If yon do not see Ur. Mc Arthur, and tbe «upar, does not think fit to reward you, you «hall not lose by it, and. you will haye tho satis- faction of having done your duty ."

Tba teams then moved on, tbs four «psre bullocks being driven behind by Jupiter's gin Wontungalee, a prepossessing young lady, who dressed and rode like a boy. She wore a

blue-serge shirt, a pair bf old trousers, o | cabbage-tree hat, and smoked vigorously.

Smasher of course dared not reply to his master's speeoh, but grumbled to himself,

" Blow the satisfaction, I'd rathor have the j rum-but he'll pull us' through it,. I know. Don't'think I'd take the bullock on for any other man living, even if ho did havo me flogged for not doing it."

Theodore George, alias " Murdering" Skin- ner, waa about thirty-five, tall, activo, and bandeóme, but bia features were strongly marked by unbridled passion. His innate cruelty of disposition waa proverbial, but eroept when he bad neither the power nor authority to bask him up, he waa as eo many of his kind are, a coward. The iron hand with with which he ruled the unfortunate wretches under him caused him to bo as much bated as feared. He bad several of his men flogged so cruelly for comparatively light offences, and increased their work so much

after, that they died of sheer exhaustion. This earned for him the very unenviable but appropriate aohriquct by which he was known far and wide. He had been transported when a lad of eighteen, for forgery, ana from that time was lost sight of by his broken-hearted parents. Being a young man of energy and ability) fae was soon employed as a clerk on a Government situation, and fulfilled his duties satisfactorily. Mr. McArthnr noticed and took a fancy to him, and persuaded the Oommissary-General, in whose department he was, to let him have him. For some time be wat storekeeper at Currawarra, but was subsequently promoted to the superintendence

ol the station.

When they reached the camping-placo that afternoon, before unyoking their team, Smasher coupled Magpie and Nugget together by means of a piece of green hide rope round the neck of each, connected by a hobble-chain; then he tied their tails together with some wax-end, ta prevent them {ram turning face to face and fighting, or putting their legs over the couplings.

It must not bc eupposcd that the road waa in any sense made. It was simply a dray traok, winding along on the virgin soil among

the tree«; over flat«, ridges, gullies, and through swamps. In many places, especially,

on the »lopes of ridges and on flats, where the I ground was liable to be mach cat np ia wet 1 Weather, there were many tracks branohing off, i but always joining the main one again, aa spon as practicable ; thus showing how much easier it waa to avoid bad places than to repair them.

A few more days' travelling brought them to the; foot of the Big Bange, where they camped, just outside the Curraonrra paddock. Ronald did not camp witb the drays that night, but went on to a neighbouring station, about six miles off, to see an old friend named Throsby. As it was late when tho drays drew up, ; he told Smasher not to take Magpie to Ourfracurrs till morning. A little after day* light, when the men were at breakfast, Murdering Skinner rode np to the drays in a towering passion, saying

Who do you scoundrels belong to?"

' No one replied, but went on with their breakfast, without noticing him or hie remarks, which made him furious.

** Who 1 do you thrice-'oonrioted ruffians belong to !"

No reply.

"By tho Lord Harry I I'll open some ot yoiu- jaws with my whip-handle, and your backs with the lash 1" be continued, raising the1 stock-whip with the intention of carrying out his treat.

"We ain't your slaves, thank goodness," said Smasher ; " and if you touch me with that whip, I'll brain you with thia polepin."

" Would you dare to threaten a gentleman on bia own tun, you thrioe-oonvioted eon of a thWf ?"

"Yon try me, that's alb" replied Smash«, who was an ugly-looking customer when bis temper was np, which it now was thoroughly.

" You speak like a gentleman, if you are onej and I'll anawer fair and square. .Civility

breaks no bones."

Skinner saw that the man wes in earnest, and moreover that the odds were too much against him if be attempted the chastisement he Bo dearly loved to mete out to those who wodld stand it, Or were in his power, so be wisely abandonded that line of argument and

tried another. j

"What are you doing with that magpie ¡ bollock that ia coupled to tho other}" ]

" I ain't doing anything with him. I found

him on the road."

", At yourold tricks. Don't you know I can hank you for cattle stealing) And as sure as my name is what it is, yon shall ewing for thia business, and for threatening to murder me with that pole-pin. I have Been better men that you dancing on nothing for half what you' have done," and said

, ".Doyou think I'd be such a fool as to steal your bullock, and then drive him past your plaoe ? No thank you, Smasher ain t so green

as thatl"

" Oh you're Smaaher ; then you belong to

Mr.) Walton."

"I don't belong to no one. I'm as free as youl wsBonoe, with all your high hand-"

"You're a eight too free to my way bf think- ing,'1 interrupted Skinner.

".And," continued Smasher, "I serve a mad you.ain't good enough to black the boote bf, you murdering skunk."

. " I would have youoareful of what you say.

It ¡will all tell against you at your trial. ' Your master shall pay for his share in the transcription, too. Isupposehe hassneakodoff

somewhere t"

Smasher'laughed, and replied,

"iHim sneak Off? Yon try hie grit, that's all, 'and hell not leave yon tiro ivories to atiok a pipe ' »tween, I swear. Sneak off. Hal hal*

Jest then Jupiter, who was enjoying the fun,' called ont Mr, Walton was coming. That individual rode into the camp, and seeing that somethingunpleaaant had occurred looked Brat at Skinner and then at his nen for an explanation, '

Tbur man has grossly insulted me, and threatened my life, Mr, Walton, beoauae X hav£ claimed my employer's property. There isa bullock of Hr. Moàrnr's coupled to one of yeera, which I fortunately saw over the I paddock fence this morning, as I was riding round to look op some co)ta,"

? "[What do you mean by 'fortunately ?awi' Mr. Skinner ?" said Ranald, his bot Mood mantling in bis eivarthy cheeks, and hisldark eye Kindling at the insinuation. " Will you be kind enough to explain 1"

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