Chapter 52033169

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Chapter NumberXXXVI.-Continued,
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article52033169
Full Date1884-11-05
Page Number3
Corrections0
Word Count1617
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 OP EAELV SQUATTING LIFE IS

QUEENSLAIIII

Bi THE " AUTHOR OF ADVENTURES IN QUEENS-

LAND."

[All right reserved.]

CHATTES XXXVI.-Continued,

When they were again in the light of day, I Ronald examined the boy's features, and all

doubt of his identity with his lost son was Bet ' at rest. His splendid glossy black hair hung I in wavy masses over his shoulders, and his

face and body were browned to the colour of mahagony. Ronald asked him some quest- ions in English, which he did not comprehend He then spoke in broken English, as one would speak to a block. Thc boy understood it, and replied sulkily in the same fashion, but seemed to have retained no recollection of his earlier years, while he was with his parents. Jupiter then tried him in the Wockogo tongue, but nothing could be elicited from niin either way. He had of course often seen, and spoken with Wontun galee while on her visits to her friends and they used to converse a good deal in broken English, but as she and others were strictly prohibited hy Molonga from speaking of his parents, all rcinembcrance of them soon faded. The party proceeded to their camp, which they reached without molestation from thc blacks. An endeavour was made to induce the boy to put on some clothing. He stead- fastly refused to wear it, hut wulingly threw a red blanket around him, and seemed very proud of it too. He had occasionally, on his way to thc camp, burst out into lively fits of vituperation against his captors, and of lamen- tation for his "father." When he saw the animal that had been led for him to ride, he gazed at it wistfully for some time. It was a cream-coloured cob that his father had often taken him up on. Ronald asked him if he knew the horse, but he only looked earnestly at his father, and made no reply. He then went shily up to the horse and patted him, saying something in the Wockogo tongue that they did not catch thc purport of. After breakfast, in which he joined heartily, in spite of occasional bursts of grief, he was Îiut on the horse, and managed to stick ta

lim very well. A striât watch was kept that night, as much to prevent his escape, as a precaution against surprise. In (lue time they arrived at Boorooma. Ada was out in tho verandah watching, and when she saw her young savage approaching on the cream, coloured cob, she ran to meet him with feelings that cannot bc described. He looked as much amazed as Bhe, for he had not seen a white woman for years ; indeed, he hod never seen but five or six besides his mother in his lite. She called him by name, and asked him if he remembered her. He did not understand tin question, so Jupiter interpreted it to him, bul without effect, for he Baid he did not recollect her. Nevertheless he could not take his eyes off her, and seemed fascinated with her, bul would permit no personal demonstrations o' affection. He allowed her to lead him by th< hand into the house, but seemed frightened a( first. She took bim from room to room in th« hope of reviving hy old associations son« remcmberancc ot his carly home life. A: length she openod a drawer-a sacrée drawer-tho contents of which she had oftei

wept and prayed over as she tenderly lookec through them.' They were little playthings toys, and a few small articles of clothing He was attracted hy some of them, especially the noisy musical instruments that had bee) Sivon to him by the good-natured Tomm;

ones. His father and motlier showed hui how to usc them as he took them up one b; one. Then he looked from one parent to tin other with an expression of light and intelli gence that his features had not befor reflected. They questioned him eagerly, bu the number of words at his command, in hi mother tongue, were insufficient to exprès what was running through his brain, an< what he felt. Nor could he convey to thei: his impressions tu the language of th Wockogos, for those savages had hut fei ideas and wants, and consequently thci number of words was limited. His parent! however, felt that some faint recollections t Iiis infant life at home were struggling faintl to assert themselves, and hoped for thc bes He blew thc lloras and whistles, and mac hideous noises witli a small accordéon with i great glee as when a little child. Ho oppositely do the same outward influent affect us at different timcB ! How infinite! more pleasant to Ronald Walton and li wife were those discordant sounds just tlx than thc most heavenly music ! Ada ho managed to coax him into a pair oí trousei which was thc most he could bc persuaded do on that day, except his blanket. He w willing enough to take his meals on ti verandah, but would not eat in thc house, i course they did not oppose his whims, b 1 humoured him, for fear he might ta ? offence, and endeavour to make his oscar

By the time lie had critically cxamin ' everything in thc house, and out of it too,

' was nearly dark, and he asked for a tomahai ! that he might cut a few sheets of bark to ma r a gunyah. They showed bim a neat lit

room, and mode him understand that it v ' his "gunyah." He surveyed it with a lo

of disdain, saying that it was not half - good as a gunyah, and he would not sleep

it. They tried all their aita of persuasion, but failed to shake his determination, so he was allowed to have his way. Jupiter went with him, and assisted in stripping the necessary number of sheets of bark, and in erecting them into a conical-shaped edifice such os he delighted in. Ronald, being afraid that he might try to make his escape in the night had another gunyah pitched close to it,

in which he himself could sit or lie and

watch.

The boy bad taken to Jupiter notwith- standing that ho was thc slayer of his "father." Black society was of coarse more congenial to him thcu white, and Jupiter was the only block on the station. But perhaps the real secret of his friendship was the fact communicated to him by Jupiter that he had been tho husband of Wontnngaleo, for the boy was very fond of the giu, and wailed loudly when told of her death. The latter piece of information was not imparted to him till his arrival at Boorooma. When con- ducted to her grave, it was with difficulty that he was prevented from venting his grief by beating his head with a stone, after thc fashion of tue savages he had lived BO tong amongst.

Throsby volunteered to watch during the first night, but Ronald would not hear of it. as he hud taken part in the watching each night since starting for Coongbroggie, and his head and shoulders were 'still sore from thc effects of thc stone old Momkoll threw at him, besides a wound in each arm dealt by Molonga with his knife, at thc rescue of little Ron. Throsby insisted on sharing the watch with his friend, but Ronald took the first watch till 12 o'clock. Ron asked Jupiter to share his uunyah with Min. About 9 o'clock they repaired to it, talked for some time, and they sang a corrobtioree ; after which they coiled up in their blankets, for Hon would not sleep on a bcd that was made for him on the ground, but turned it out. Ko attempt waa made to coerce him in thc least, for they felt that it would have abad effect on one who was

so thoroughly-in his habits-a savage. They

trusted that with their kindness and watch-

fulness, they would gradually break down his strong will, and reduce him to a civilized

being. Bis temper was bot, and of course unbridled, in consequence of having bad no restraint put upon it for so many years of his life, years during which, more than any others of a boy's life, he requires the firm guidance of judicious parents to mould his thoughts and lay down rules for his future conduct in life. Thc home influence during the first ten years or so of a boy's life, un- doubtedly colour the whole course of hie life, however long it may be.

He evinced thc greatest astonishment on seeing his brothers and sisters, but on the whole seemed pleased with them, especially with his oldest sister whose beautiful silky chesnut hair he was iinmcnsly taken with. He made her sit beside bim on the floor, and stroked it till it became thoroughly dis- heveled, when his admiration knew no bounds, for it touched the ground. He wove it in with his own raven Tocks, of which be seemed very r*0^! vii* «ymr.nao*: wj*l* I evident approbation. His mother's hair, if a

trifle less thick than on her introduction to this story, was still lovely beyond the average of that feminine attraction, next engaged bis attention, and be treated. it in the same way as he had done his sister's. Ladies do not Uko to have their hair raffled several times a day-uuleBs under exceptional circum- stances, and thiB was one of them-but his mother and siBter submitted to the-under some circumstances disagreeable-operation with much pleasure.

(To be continued.)