|Newspaper Title||Clarence and Richmond Examiner and New England Advertiser (Grafton, NSW : 1859 - 1889)|
|Trove Title||John Brown and His Dog Faithful|
BLACKWOOD - RED BLANKET TENT - BOWLING
In ?peaking of Blackwood diggings in after dave, John Brown said,
" I cannot say, tho whiteness of her bosom tran soendeth the lily ; her smiles were more delicious than a garden of roses.' '
Diggers fiocked to the .' rush " from all parts, till over six thousand were on tho ground ; the whole bill near the oreek was soon pegged out ; all alluvial claims. It was well oallod Blackwood, for it was a black forest covered with ander growth ; a wild rugged place. Not a polioerran for some months after the rush, but troopers did eventually arrive some ten ; but they were away most of the time on escort duty, and this they were only too glad of, for the miners were evor playing them pranks, and leading them wild goose chases. What oould ti n mon do with five or six thousand 1 Trna diggers as a body are not lawless. I Bay true diggers, i.n., the real miner. Min workers, prowlers about, wore to be found, scoundrel*, convicts, escapees from Tasmania, that would rob the miner of his gold. Such was the state of Blackwood. Seven miles from the dig- gings, across the crook, on the main road to Mel- bourne, wan a tent, culled tho " Red Blanket Tent," a grog shop. I cannot call it »lt grog shop, for liquor was openly sold in those days all over the diggings at unlioensed tents ; in fact thero were no licensed booths, or publie houses ; the whole duty of the polioo seemed to be, to see that the diggers had miners' rights, i.e., licenses to dig for gold.
Well, this Red Blanket Tent was a harbour for out throats. No minor with gold oould pass this place with safety. One case I well remember out of
A Mr A-who had Bent up ts Blackwood I some horse teamB of goods for sale, visited the gold fields at the same time, to receivo the money. In duo time he got it, worked carefully, having heard of tho Red Blanket tent.
Some one betrayed him to the gang.
He started on a good horse, compelled to poss the place, for at the spot it wo» impossible to mai a any detour. When ho approached the spot he put spurs to his horse, so as to run the gauntlet.
Bang 1 bang 1 bang 1 bang! bang I bang ! bang I went the rifles and revolvers. Seven shots were fired. Two bullets went through his white beaver hat. One bullet buried itself ia the hinder part of his saddle ; another passed just before his hand as he held the bridle, and out his bridal rein in two, caus- ing the reins to drop. The horse bolted, but kept the road, Mr A-holding on to the pummel of tho saddle.
Fortunately Mr A- was a good rider. For fully ten miles the horso rushed on, ere Mr A lowered his hands around the horse's neck, and caught the two ends of the dangling bridle.
John Gilpin never rode auioker than Mr A-did that day. He would have lost his hat, but it. was fixed for tho occasion firmly on his head.
Evidently the Red Blanket Tent oro w were not expect- ing Mr A-to ride past at the pace he did ; their thought was to stick him up, thinking ho would ride gently past, BO they were unprepared, or else things would have been different, causing A-^- to loso the No. of his mess ; but as it was he esoaped by the
skin of his teeth.
There was another " shanty " on the " blazed " line (trees marked by the bark being chipped to show travellers which way to go), on tho way between Blackwood and Daylesford. More about this anon.
The real miner waa a hard working man ; further, the diggers wore sober men as a body, and tho' thero were grog shops everywhere, yet the spirits sold in thoso days was until, only tea put into brandy and water into white spirits. If a miner did exceed over- night a hie, there was no need to neglect work next day. You saw no day after day drinking, conse- quently no D.T. Vitriol, f usai oil, turpentine, tobacco juico, Sus,, tea., were left for this enlightened (?) day of civilisation 1 ! I When will the Government of each colony wake up, and take steps by putting a stop to the vile poison that is now being sold for spirits ? When will tho difforent Governments see to this, and severely punish any and all who soll Buch liquor ? A few years ago, a publican in South Australia was pro- secuted for soiling brandy containing a laige quantity of fasal oil (i> deadly poison), He Btated, in defenco, he Bold tho bottlo of brandy as purchased from his merchant. The coses of brandy in his cellar were oxamined, and thoy woro found the same, eaoh and all containing this deleterious stuff largely. The spirit merchant was a membor of Parliament. The publican was fully exonerated, and the M.P. mer- chant- woll, woll, ne was, waB, waa,-nothing at all mid to him. Was he not an M.P. ? Ho waa pro jet ile loi ; too often many of thom, von* asiiwriim. " Whisper it not in Gath ; tell it not in Askelon."
At Blackwood thoro waa at a very early stage an Amorioan bowling alloy,'with billiard tuble, kept by a ahort, shrewd American, up to every frolio and fun ; a groat favourite with all, on aocount of his good humour. There was also another billiard table, oon dootod-however étrange it may appear-by two female*, and they were able to hold their own, and conducted their establishment mell ; wore respected, and ooined money. One was French, and the other English ; oaoh about thirty years of age.
Strange it waa ' to seo those two lone women on such a diggings, among some six thousand mon. Tho diggor'B wives could be counted on ono's fingers, but they had their husbands to proteot thom,-dig- gers took not thoir. wi vea thoso days to a rush-while these two women had. not oven a brother to protect thom ;. but they were well guarded. When their charaater was known, there were thousands on that field ready to defond them. ' Tho true digger is a »it. Woo botido a rough.that would molest thoso women. : 'ííí ? ? ""^
They had a history, but. none knew it. '. Of ono we shall. . .
Tho first evening Achates walked, into their saloon (not knowing. at the time . by whom ; the plaoo was kept), whon he. saw. ono. acting ns marker, and, tho other outing as the hoad of tho plaoo, his nose imme- diately went up and his chin came down. Soon he hastened back to John Brown (having left him writ- ing a lotter to Hobo), and said, " " '*' " - - . - » --
"Como old boy, I want to show you a sight-a real wondor of an Aurora Borealis of two of tho fair sox.' Tho innocence of their eyes is like that of the turtle dovo ; simplicity, and truth dwell in their breasts." .'! .
John Brown Bighed, saying, " Beware, beware oh Aohates, how often shall I warn you of tho allure- ments of women. The madness of thy wish shall dofeat its own purpose, from tho blindness of its rage. Thou shalt some day rush upon destruction 1" ? .'Therefore, give not thy hoart to her sweet smiles ; neither suffer thy soul to be ensnarod by hor enchant- ment*, hor delusions. Oh I Aohates, Aohates."
John Brown took his friond's words as if really falling in lovo with another pretty face. Achates saw this ; so to tako a rise out of his companion (which ho Boldom had a chanoo to do), he replied,
" My protector " and Bago, but when virtue > and modesty enlighten her charms, tho lustre of a beau- tiful woman is brighter than tho stars in the firma- ment, and tho influenae other power: it is in vain for Aohates to resist, John Brown, shut not thy bosom tn the tenderness of love ; the purity of its flame shall ennoble thy heart, and soften it to reoeivo the fairest impression. Come this once and sea my Anrora Borealis, my Desdemona.
Jahn Brown, rising from his rough Boat, said with a sigh,
" Yes, I will go to shield you. In the prime bf thy life, old age shall overtake theo, thy sun shall declino in the morning of thy days." ;l .? .' '
Wish that they went arm in arm away.'
TO BB CONTINUED.