Chapter 58576474

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Chapter NumberNone
Chapter Title
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Full Date1893-01-06
Page Number3
Word Count5101
Last Corrected2013-05-17
Newspaper TitleThe Broadford Courier (Broadford, Vic. : 1891 - 1893)
Trove TitleThe Deaf Mute. A Convict Incident of Macquarie Harbour
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THE DEAF MUTE. A C~l! !ict Incident of Macquarie llarbour. ---e- rCo'YRIttGT.] The west coast of T.tsms enia bids fair tc fill a good space in the world's history. ¶T:astn11 and Cook sighted its prec'pitous cliffs and snow-capped peaiks ore they had any real idea ot the great TeIra i hts hotlii, whisch lay to the north, and indced both ,of tlhel tlthought it was the southern por tion of the unoklloow conltinelt which was a 'pposed to balance thie north in the soulthlern hllisiphlere. It long ages past this Iight really have been so. anld many igtuoraut clnvicts whi peopled the Island Sin tho following century actually thought as did tlhos, of liitaniy fay) that lChina :night be reached overland. This pro .,unld geraphicalignoralnce Ilrgfed miore than oneo felon to esclape, and trust to the ,olitude of anl Australian bulsh for free ulim aimt better days. WVlhen the British t vernmentlli decided to Itlake at convict Sttltenttt of Vail Dietitatns Lanld it 1805 i .e umlilbereo trausportees was sogreattlat several stations had to lie formed in addi uin to that of Hlobart TowtrI. lirown'sRiv cr, tlhe different Ticrs, and other outlyilng s?ttionts were establisheld with Hlobart 'rvowl as a base, but it was found that ilia mnore desperate of the felouls managed i, escape andll attack the free settlers, plundering anid mIurdering them whtenever they could. This tcaused the autholrities to seek a place whlere the natural difflel .ias to escalpe would ie practically insur miounLtable, and Mlacquario IHarbour, oti the west colast, was selrcted. This migiht .llmiost be callel ant inland sea. and it .tontains nulmerous stall ports. The for Ist timber in the vicinity was vatluiable, intd that was nit added iilduceetct to fund a penal settlemenit, as tile colnvicls cltl be kept emtployed. In 181 this was donle, and a numllCeroius draft of the moslllit desperate transporterls was3 sent to the Macquarie Staltion. Theo situation w:as wild and desolate in the extremeo. Far away to telt south and west tihe rollers of Ithe unknown Southernl Oceanl beat againrst tihe forbiddilg and dangerous coast. Woo betide the vessel that should bIe drivrIe oei that wall of sheer rock whence escape was ittpttossible. Frotmt the coast lille a dentse scrutb grew broken here and tlhere with lmore open latchllesof gigantictrees-- osalo ..f valuable quality. I)n rocky helighta grew the mourniful "shteuak," (thie tillian . trps of the Iiush), and in somte places .hIiilcmp ofi pineo were to bt fiound. Ilack friom the settlemenlltt lh country sloped upward unti tl in the listance rose the lnow-capped peakt s cif Z.chiiIIa, ]ieems kirk, anid the Freiilccitn aa'a ;lap, the at. ler towiering to a Iheigttt of live thoutsand feet. These raunr were. clcithed with a enlrart coverilr. of ulnipentetraiile forest, 'chlic afirdedl r il, stlll islteilce tic liacsn. 'nia great taibht lud, out of which jutted trecipitous hills, and which Iwas inter sected by narrow gitlli s in whicil grew ihe dreaded bauri viine-tihe cltanlus ef the forest-rentlered it almost illl cossiblo for ani escalpee inroti ?llc l.q:rie tIo reach the settlements in the south na-strn or north eoastlern polrtiorns uf \'al D)iernl's Luid. The very wildnees and desolatnll of tile pllice caused the western station to ibe abandoned witin aii dzen years of its eutablishutienit, but to-day it echoes to tlhe hun' of hulaltt industry, and fromt all parts of the woritt the seekers, after csid. den wvaalth, are tIckiing to Mount t.'chant and the s?rr.undiig district. To 0 s1e cluarie IIarhiur they come, for while the felous toiled, bled, and died inl that wilderness a catgician lay sltinbericng lie I:eaIthe surface, wBichi the stroke of a iick awoke to life. In that Sylvan desert probably tlhe greatest silh'r deiosits in the world lay Ihidden, and the mineral richness of thue \Vest Coast will soon trans form the solitudes of thIe bus!? inito a throbbitngcentre of iltndustrial life. The locomotive will shortly rushi tihriigh tli, primeval forest where l:antiv a despairing escapee slew lltmsCelf by viilenro( rathler thant stanld the linugelIn itsuigalii of death by starvation, or the euitll; y horrille soli tude whitlc secliced to press oil hill as thlouigh spirits of darkness encomIpassid hliin. The uillertess will t siubduid by the imotive power of civihzltitun--montey --acli in fer yeairs ithl t ldiandmarks which tell of the olld c.licet dtcic will tie swe it away, only to be eviveld, pierhalps, bysioneU prosy historian, who itiay Cichtic to search the penal records. Tlis will not be a mlatter for regret, biut before thie .ighlt of tile old penal station at StMaeluarie is swept away forever iby the transforma tion whichl is taking place, it will not be amiss to arouse a lassilc* interlest lby thle ilarratiotn of tragic evecrt whilch happlened there in thle year 18111. At thiat time there were upwalrds fl two hunldred felons at the sltalion. They were suppoIsed ti be the very scumll of tile convuricts. -Norfolk island settleinent was lnt yet openedi and Maeluaclrio was imalae tic do the Ilideous dutyt tllat aftirwrds was carried oult at Sorfilk. Aslnlllgst the prisoners was a tiitan nameId 1i h.iael Cuornai (No. 8:l'). Iie was in a chahi ganig working oil a road-or- rathler track -that was being made through the scrub anld bush to a belt -f pine timtber. ite had bleen drafted to Mac luarie from IIi. hartTowl'n when the western station was opened, itld hie Iad lhelied to Iput addi tionts to the rambling structure as they werer relquired. Ile hal a ieculiaritv osuicli distinguilshed hil froom all the utherfelons. l wails adiutf mllte. This ntialut hato beei a blesseig ti hict, or a cerse as the coase iay ile. li could neot hllacr the brutal languago ocf hIis giard or of the prisoters, but the senlses of siglht ettd feeling were left, andt that wras suti cient to make Ilis lot intolerable. The overseers or turnkceys, in default of his Scapacity forlearicg, enfcirced their orders writhl blows and culfts. They weroe certain ly not gentle icl their treatolmeunt., and the iniserable convirct imeekly stood the ill usage for moretlian tlree years. Hoe was a " lifer," and lad little hope in the fu ture. Hlis criie-oer alleged crime--lhal been robbery, but thiere was grave reasonl to tiilek that Ihe was iot guilty of the o tlfrlce fur wheich ile was enduring so terrible a putnisitect. 1li could niot, of course, read or write, anld Iis trial was a mere farce. l'be judge, ith peorhapls a devout hoItoror f Ilpauperisn it hidis mind, thotght .o rwas doing his ceuuntry a giod esurrice by setding Corrac to Val Die anll's Laud, aud as tile deaf and dutmb wretch had nio one wilo cared foir Ilim his transportation to acioilCer spIChere oc cauillled elietheor regret llor cllmillmlont. A cltil lilltte is Itot of cllelth itse liiywlhlere, anld sliooting hhi ol tlhe hulman riibbish heatps of V?rat Dioetai't L:ttd vwas the Ieaet tlhing that rcould be dote. Gorral could Inot shiut Ihis eyes to the dreadifl scrties which surrounded hiin. All i:locrutable irovidenr e had closed the avellues of sound. 1i could see the writhing and quivering weretches strung to tihe triangles, but he could not hear their agonized screans. llohad eren felt the sting of the lash, and hlie knew what they iuffeced., elohil beeaa ordered ifty

lashes six months previously for a breach of the regulations, and the spectacle lihe presented when undergoing the punish miont was one thie hardened and callous gaolers did Inot soon forget. Corran was a giant in stature and strength, and as he had been a Ilacksmith's laborer he was nicknamed Tubal Cain by a facetiot s pri soner, formerly of a good position, and who had narrowly escaped the hangman for forgery. In the beginning of the year 1819 a new superintendent named Smith (Ebenezer Smirth) took charge of the lMac quarrieStation. If the gre't and numer ous family of Smiths had been thorough ly and purposely searched a more man for tile position could not have been found; cruel by nature, lie was at the same time capricious. instead of a stern un bending discipline, such as was thought proper in those days, Smith indulged in paroxysms of fierce cruelty, or in lits of misplaced leniency. There was nothing equable about Isis government, and coness quenltly neitlher oflicialsor prisoners knew how to take himi. A feeling of perpetual unrest brooded over the place, and bad times were in store for all. From the first Superintendent Smith took an aver sion to the filleted Corran, and with a brutal vulgarity which sat well upon him the chief ollicial took a delight in torment ing the deaf mute. It is almost needless to say that the example of the Superin tendent was copied and followed by his subordinates. What he did must be right, and they imitated him. if the lot of No, 832 was hard before the arrival of SSmith it became intolerablo after his ad rint. In a hundred ways he became the mark for the illtreatment of the officials, and tile want of speech and hearing was the cause ot many a brutal blow from the men who were supposed to maintain a just discipline. Corran's great strength was fully utilised by the overseers. The hardest tasks were allotted him, and he was given work to do that really needed two to men to accomplish. But his pro digious powers carried him through his labours successfully. and uncomplainingly ihe toiled from daylight to dark, anxious to please those who were such hard and unfeeling task-masters. The gang in which he worked consisted of eighlteen conlvicts of a very had type. They were all life sentenced men, and seven of then had to serve for " the term of their lnatural life," si that iall hope was shut out from them. Tw'o ecSapes had been made fromn tile gang, so that the rmost rigorous discipline was enforced. The guard was an unusually strong one, and overseer Ilobb had an assistant with him. The track they had to cut was about six miles in length, and led towards the ranges above which towered the lofty enak of the Frenchman's Cap, with its coronet of glistening snow. - The country was rugged and wild. Deep gullies in tersected the road, and in places these had to be bridlged over inl a rough, tem porary way. Tioe bauri creeper abounded, and proved a formidable obstacle to pro gress. I: spread itself horizontally over the deep glens, forming a floor or roof (as the case might be) of tangled verdure, but it was dangerous in the extreme. At times it spread out like a level green isheet, giving no sign ofthle hidden danger, hut if the w'anderer stepped on it he might drolp through fi'teei or twenty feet below into the gloomy depths. If he were in jured and assistance was linot at hand. Inothing but a miserable death would await him. Under these growths of horizontal barin it was sometimes possible to walk for miles in a Cimmerian gloom, broken here and there by fitful gleams of sunlight. These places were in fact huge scrub caverns, (O,) the 30th May, 1819, the gang in which Curran worked was employed in crossing one of those bauri glens about four miles fron the station. It was one of the worst Iplaces that had been en countered on the track. On the eastern side of tihe gorge a steep range shot up fully live hundrired feet. andl that would have to be skirted when the glen was passed. The creeping scrub in the gorge ior:red a flour about lifteen feet above the murmuring stream that ran and babbled below, but hidden from human eyes. 'The discipline of the chain gang had been sorrewhat relaxed in this part of tihe route, as it was impossible to keep the felons isl proper position and do the work, owing to the density of the forest. Giant trees, between two and three hun died feet, reared themselves from the stunted scrub which encircled their base, and it was on one of those forest le viathans, that tlhe deaf mute was engaged. It was being felled to throw abridge over the gorge, which, with some additions, would permit of the transport being car ried on. Overseer Hobbs was anxious that the glen should be passed that day, and lie was consequently urging the half fed feloes to extra exertions. The guard appeared to be taking matters very easy, and sat about on logs wearily watching the toiling convicts. They had evidently no suspicion that any attempt at mutiny or ecape would be made. Winter was fairly setting in, and nothing but sheer madness would induce a felon to take to tihe bush at such a time they perhaps thought. The clank, clank of the irons mingled with the sounds of the axe and the crash of the falling scrub, whilst some fifty yards back fromn the gorge a huge crackling fire, in which the felled timber was being consumed, threw its sparks heavenwards. It was two hours after nono, and tlle frugal mid-day nrtiion had been partakeIn of some time previously. The tree which Corran was felling was a pierfectly straiglht one, ani niot a breath of air was blovwing to influenco the direc tion of its fall. It had b,'en so cut, hiow ever-the eastern cut two feet lower tlhan thie weeoern--that it would fall in the former direction where it was required. It was fully four feet in diameter, and though tile convict was a good sxemanr it took a cnssiderab! tinme to sever tile trunk sullii'ientiy to cause it to fall. This n?s ahnlost accomprrlished at half-past two, wheso n rlooking up thel steep range in frront of him Corran saw an olminous breet agitating lthl~ trees osn thie summit, and bsoi'ing frsi the nor:tl. Knowing that if it caughlt thle tree he was fellirrg in would tlhrew it in thie wrIing direction, tihe convict Inutely drew lobbrs' attention to the mratter Iy pjirting ui'wards. The overseer lookedr ard saw that a treeze was blowing, buths was ir a baid humolr, and besidles the wind had no right to in tlerfero withll the oleratirons iof the System. Such mreddlesomenesse could inot be toler ated, and the work imunst go on. IPer hraps lIe really trhought thie lofty hill would shelter the tree from the wiud. Whether he did r lnot wrill nIever be knownr. W'ithl a fierce toath hIe signed with enuergetic panolurinic action for the convict to go on witill hIis work, tnd Ihe followed it up by a string of invectives on thie stupidity of a iman who would idle at such a slomeit, whenr a few strokes of thie axe woulrd lary pironlie the forrest giant. It took mnore than thie few blows Hloblbs spoke abouit to complete the work, and during the time tile mute cast many an anxious glance at the tree tops, and also at the guard and felons who were working back on the track.

So far the extremely high range had kept the rising wind over the lofty summit of the gum, but gradually through every wooded avenue down the steep sides of the hills faint breezes whispered of the prose.ce of eolus. Naturally they first kissed the top of the lofty vegetation, and overseer Hobbs was either so stupid or obstinate that lie could or would not hear the faint rustling of the slightly agitated leaves. It was too late now to stay the axe. As Crran struck the last blow a loud crack, like the report of a gun sounded, the sylvan monster swayed for a moment like a drunkein man, then an unseen but irresistible force appeared to seize it, and, as a hlearse cry of warning reverberated through the wild forest, it was almost instantly silenced by the groan ing and screaching of the tearing timber as the tree fell headlong in the opposite direction to which it was intended, S lWhen Corran saw what was about to happen a horrible sound broke from him that was only half human. A convict working near, seeing the danger, gave the alarm that the aflleted deaf mute could not, and the guards and felons who were in the path of the tree fled for their lives. lNot all, however, eseap"d. A sentry, who had been sittingin a drowsy state on a prostrate log, was so taken by surprise and alarmed that he actually ran right into danger, and was instia.tly killed by a limb of the tree. A convict named Ran some also met his death, but in a more shocking manner. lie coull have es caped had i:ot his leg irons caught in the tangled scrub, and lie was firmly held for a fee awful momenta until life was crushed outof him. Perhaps it was best. He was one of the "natural life " men. Had the gang wished to escape at that moment there is little doubt they could have done so, for the consternation among the guard was great. When the tree crashed to the earth, bearing down the lesser growth, and with deafening noise throwing up a cloud of dust and woody fragments, the convicts were for a moment appalled. for they did not know how many lives had beent sacrificed, and when they recovered frtom the momr.entary conster nation, Lieutenant White hadl them covered with the firelocks of the five men who had gathered round him. The felons made not the slightest move, however, and under orders the convicts set about rescuing or recovering those who had leen caught by the tree. Meanwhile Corran stood at the stump of the tree, mutely gazingat the catastrophe. It was not his fault that the affair had happened, but there was little doubt that whatever blame there was would be placed on his shoulders. llo was only a convict, and that was sufticient. Before he had time to obey the order which had been given, Overseer Hobbs came up to hinm with an evil look in his face. Hobbs was at best a contemptible bully and petty tyrant. lie had made himself peculiarly obnoxious to the mute through his persistent and unjust ill treatment of the prisoner, though Corran had meekly put up with the persecution. Hobbs, of course, well knew that it would only be a waste of breath to abuse the deaf mute, and hIe was a man who never cared about wast ing anything on convicts, unless it was brutality. lie carried a stout stick in his hand as he approached the transportee, who silently awaited him with an enquir. ing louk in his expressive face, which was not yet written over with the unmistak able signs with which the System marked its victims. The overseer was adiminu tire man, not more than five feet four in height, but the authority which he wiolded made him feel a perfect Goliah. He was a man of action, too, and when he reached the felon he raised the sap ling, and without a mord began to be labour the giant before him. His exvuse nmiguht have been (out he was never called upon for it), that witth the deaf and dumb man it was the only way he could argue. Lieutenant White heard the whack of the falling blows, and he turned to see what was the cause. Injustice to him it must be said that he evinced somesurprise when lie saw what was the matter. The regu lations did not provide for such treat ment by an overseer of a prisoner, al though it frequently occurred, and Lieu tenant White, who had only been a few months at the settlement, was about to interfere, when he was staggered to see Corran dash aside the stick which Hobbs held, and the next instant he seized the overseer as though lihe were only a poodle, and putting forth his enormous strength he flung him several yards out into the gorge and on the horizontal scrub. The weight of the man and the force with which lie was thrown broke the frail sup port, and with a muffled cry Hobbs dis appeared head first through the creepers. Lieutenant White instantly summoned his men to fire on Corran, but before the scattered guard could obey the mute made a jump on the bauri, and dropped through the verdant but deceptive floor of vegeta tin. White ran to the spot, but no sign nor sound of Hobbs or Corran could be seen, and the officer at once divided the guard and convicts, so that one portion might continue the work of extricating the bodies from the fallen tree, whilst the other rescued Hobbs front his awkward position, and endeeavored to capture the deaf mute. The work of making a pas sage into the gorge was no easy task, but tile gang had good tools, and after half an hour's cutting they made their way down to the eliot stear which tihe overseer was supposed to ho. Ie had not answered any of the calls which had been made to him, and the lieutenant concluded that he must lhave hbeen stunned by the fall, iunless Corran had followedl up his attack il the gorge and slain his foe. Ordering one of the soldiers and a convict to get torches, White accompanied tlhem into the gloomy dell to where Hobbs had been thrown, and as they came inear the place they could see tile outlines of a motion. less body. As the torches flickered they reached the place, and found the body was that of tile insensible overseer. Sum nonting a couplde more melt it was con veyed to the open, antd in the daylight the lieutenantl noticed a peculiar look in the face of Hubbs. It was the face of a dead mtan,' for the overseer's neck had been broken by the fall. hIis brutality had cost him his life, and the System had claimed another victim. After doing what could be done for the inanimate bodies, White ordered the strictest search to be imade by four of tile guard for the missing convict, but after an hour's quest they returned unsuccessful, and the whole •part at once set out for the station, carrying with them on improvised biers the hiodies of the dead men. When the mat ter was reported t, Supermtendant Smith he smtiled a grimt smile, which spoke volumes as to what was in store for the deaf mutlto should lie fall into the hands of the chief official, and next morning a sirang party was despatchled to search thie forest for the fugitive, Smitht even went so far as to promise a substantial reward if success crowned their effort, andI indeed he offered to use his influence to obtain a free pardon for any convict who might by word or act aid in the cap ture of the unfortunate deaf mute. For a fortnight the search was maintained

with unabated vigor, but not the slightest trace of the escapee could be found. Those beet acquainted with the district were certain that Cor an had perished in the bauri gorge, and as time woze on other matters arose to engage the altten tion of the authorities, and the fate of the deaf mute ceased to interest any. body. Daring 1819 the Protestant Chaplain or Religious Instructor as he was calltd at Macquarie Station, was the Rev. John Roden. He was a man of kindly heart, and altogether unfitted through that rea son for the stern and awful realities of th' penal settlement. lie had been eight lounths at the station when the tragedy described took place, and during that period he was the only friend that Corran had. The miserable deaf mote interested him, and as he slightly understood the dumb language e was able to conserse with him. The convict felt grateful for the only kindness he received, and with the devotion of sucll persons lie would gladly have givesn his life to save tiat of the IRelhgious Instructor. Thecatastroplh that had happened troubled ,Roden great ly, apd thought in the ollicial reiport it was made to appear that the whole occurrence was a diabolical plot of the miute the Chlaplain knew better tfor the convicts who were present tol :'?m tie true facts. One of them had seelt/Curran draw the overseer's attention ts tthe ri- ..I..-1...., and nearly all the feloii had seen litbbs beating the convict. ('he death of thl' official was more the result if accident than intention, but Itoden well knew that no excuse would save the felon from tile Lands of the lshangmantt if lie were ct;p tnred, and it gave him it melancholy satis faction to think that the wretched outcast hadI perished sn a less ignominius sltan nor. One day Mr lRoden was taking a solitary ramble along the coast when he was startled by the sudden appealrance el Corran, who was it a deplrable state from exposure and want. After a few words in the dumb language the minister made up his mind to succor the unfortu nate at all risks, and took him to bia quarters at the station. Hie first went and brought what food he could get for the starving wretch, and at night smug gled him into his house. This was a very easy matter to do, and was successfully accomplished. A onug retreat was made at the of tile clergy man's bedroom for the fugitive, and each day Roden himself attended to the wants of the convict. It must be said that the clergyman felt very uneasy at the action he had taken. From the standpoint of the System be w'ts a traitor and a cheat. llo was receivitg pay and acting falsely to his employer. But when he looked at the question frostm the broad platform of humanity lie ceased to reproach himself. The iman he was succouring had been persecuted, and his life was in danger. If he turned him away it woold be a sentence of death, either by starvation or at the hands of so-called justice, and these reflections comforted the kind hearted tinister. There was always the danger, however, of discovery, and that would meaul ruin to both and death to one. That was not a pleasant outlook, and for a fortnsight after the appearance of Corran the clergy man scarcely slept at night nor left his quarterE during the day, unless compelled by duty to do so. It will thus be readily understood that when on the cod of August Superintend. ent Smith informed Roden that he woull have to proceed to Hlobart Town ii a.n swer to a summons from the Bishops Iof Van Dieman's Land. the reverend gentle man was considerably disturbed. Ito would be away a week at least, and pro bably his ecclesiastical superior intended remnoving sum from MlIacquarrie alto gether. Of course he would have to go at once, as the sloop was lying in tile bay ready to start that day. There was no help for it, and after a brief interview with the mute, and giving him all the provisions he could Roden went on board, and at nightfall was sailing out of the entranca of the harbor, and heasning for Hobart Town. lie was kept there for a fortnight on business, at the end of which time he departed for Macquarie Station, eager to get back to the coscealed con vict. It was nearly midnight when the little vessel entered the great hay, and Its those on deck looked in the direction of the station they saw that the horizon was lighted up with the pink glow whlich told of a conflagratison. For a week afterRoden left Macquarie the convict Curran managed fairly well. The food left lhad been sufficient, and as it was cooked there was no risk attached to preparing it. The second week was different. The provisions were ex. hausted, and the fugitive found it ne cessary to ransack the place for mtire. He found sufficient, and also a quantity of dry tea. This was a luxury greatly prized by the trantsportees, and in spite of the risk he determined to make some of the beverage. For this a lire was ne cessary, and for threonights in succession the convict, with a ilint and tinder, actu ally kindled a small blnh.e. and made tea. Emboldened by his success he essayed again on the fourth night to do the same, but whilst doing so he was startled to hear footstepls and voices ounteide anld ap proaching the tdoor. iie instantly sea: tered the burning sticka to extintguish the light, and as hle imade fpsr his hiding place he heard a voice say that it must have been a delosilsn wihen htey thosught asmoke was coming from the ilumsney. Feeling that Ihe had a narrow seaple hlie lay quiet ly for nearly an hour wiith the fumes of asnimoke in his nostrils. When he lo sked out hlie found the room full ,f smoke, and as he opened the dcor the smoulder ing fire leapt into fames. One of the scattered brands Ihad set the wooden building on fire, lie realized his danger at once, andi instantly makiog for thS, door hIu opened it and passel out. The bursting flames a second later roused the station, and threw a bright light over the yard. Corrtan had hoped to escape ill tile darkness, but tthat hope was futile, lie had on a suit of the clergyman'a clothes, however, and throiugh that fact hlie passedti the inner sentry successfully. N'ut so the outer. 1Ie had th?e strictest instruce tionsto allow no one to go lthrough with out the password, and he challenged tihe flying man. Corran could not, of course, reply, but rushed on when thie soldier raised his weaposn and tired. It was a dead shot, for the bullet went througill his left breast, and the troubles of the deaf mute were over for ever. When loden landed he was horrified to find his quarters a smouldering healp of ashes, and in his alarm he aimstst be trayed himself about Cuorrat. He was al most relieved to find the fate that had overtaken the mute, and though the cir. cumstances surrounding the matter were suspicious, no breach of the regulations could be sheeted home to the kind hearted minister. It was years after when he told of the part he had'played in that convict incident. 280