Chapter 65386056

See chapter in newspaper

Chapter NumberXII
Chapter Url
Full Date1891-06-05
Page Number1
Word Count8959
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitlePortland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953)
Trove TitleA Final Reckoning: A Tale of Bush Life in Australia
article text

A FINAL RECK()NING' ATILEOF BUSH LIFE IN AUSTRALIA. Br G.A. IIENTY. CILPTER XII.-Tus B?.?6?efns,. Scarce word was spoken u the little party marched along. It was impossble, although very improbable that the natives, on scatter. ing before the charge of Mr. Blouat and his companions, might have left some of their number behind to watch the movements of their pursuers. They would, however, cer. Uiny not anti-dlpte the whites pushing for rdthatnight. Thofire had been pled high the last thing before leasin$, and the two men left there were told to keepit burning brightly til morning, and tosta before anyone watch ing in the distance wouldbe able to see whether thehoree were mounted or'ot. Should any atives appsoah the fire after they bad gone, they would take it for granted that the whole party bed ridden lv t to theettlement. A night Reuben and his companions marched teadiy forward, and were glad to trow themselves down on the ground at the stappanceof daybreak. Four entries were p irith trictorders to keep a brightlook.out thmrah the bushes, but on no account to raise theidr ead above their level, and arrangements bavingbeen made for their relief every two bolr the rest of the party were soon sound leep. Erept to relieve the sentries there was no tir among them until late in the afternoon; thentherewasa general movement, and soon all we ditting up and aeintheir appetite upon the cold ,meat ari'dampers they had broughlt with them. "There s no harm in a pipe, Ippc cap tri'?" Dick Custer said laughiogly. "No, Ithinkwe can riskthal," Rteben re died. "The eyes of the savaes may hbe won. ullybeen.but they would be a great deal sharper than I can give them credit for, were they to notice the smoke of a'dozen pipes curl. lig up among the boshes." "Ippoee, Mr. Blount," Reuben said, as, after the meal was finished, the arty lighted their pipee and draew dcely round the fire, you have heard of a good.many .bad businesse with the blacks and . bush-ranger in your time?" "I hbare, indeed," Mr. Blount replied. "In the early days the settlers had q hard time of it with'the black, who were, of ourse, stronger than they are now, and, after th bad got over their firt fear o firearms, more frles of the whites. The bush.rangers, too, were, when fit they began to send couricts here, more namerous than at present. I do not know that they were as desperate as they are now-not so ready to take life without provocation. You se there was a very much larger run of country open to them; and many convicts who escaped and took to the bush were content to have gained their freedom. Some of them took ack gins and never troubled the colonists again, beyond, perhaps, coming down to a station and carrying ot a sheep or two, or a bullock, whent hey got sick of kangaroo meat and wanted a change. "You see the first settler were generally poor and hard-working men. Young men with a little capital had not as yet been attracted ?ere, so there was but little inducement for the aiped coanicts to meddle with them. There were, of course, some notorious coundrels who seemed to murder for the pure lore of the thing. The worst of them, I think, was a fellow who went by the name of Cockeye; what his real name was I never heard. That man was a erfe:t devil, and was for a long time the terror of theoo settlers. lie never worked with other white men, but lived among the blacks. Of conrte in those days the police system was in its infancy, and we had to rely upon ourselves. I had a narrow escape once of losing my life from him and his blake. "When I was about seventeen I lived with my father and mother in a station about fifty miles from Sydney, or as it was called then PortJackson. It was at that time quite an outlying station. We had two convicts alloted to us. both of them honest fellows enough, who had been tronoported for poaching or something of that kind-anyhow, they were not old hads and Fgae no trouble. lMy father wuakind master, ard we always felt that in time of need we counl rely upon them just as upon ourselves. In th'se days it was nexttoimpossible to get hired hands, for as there sas plenty of land for anycne to sjuat upon comparatively c!ose to the port, the men who came out generally set up for themselves at "One day I had been out on horsebaek to look for a couple of baullocks which had strayed away, and was on my way back when ahead of me I heard the cooey of the btacks. I didn't think much of it because they were common enough at that time, and a party had made a sortofencampmentat astresm'about a nd e from the house; but when, a minute idter, I beard a gun tired I guessed that there was mischief. The sound eeemed to come from away towards the right, where I knew that one of our men was out berdic the btullocks, vs I clapped spors to my horse and rode in that direction. When I got near I saw the cattle uanning wildly about and a mob of blaklekiows among them. I could see no signs of our man, and gues?ed that he must have gone down, and that I had beat ride and warn them at the house. "The blacks saw me and startes at a run in mydirec:ion, but I : on left them behind. I was within a quarter of a mile of the hLbse when a native ytll burst cut ahead of me followed by two ehots. I rode on, and when I got near the house saw a lot of black fellows round it. Then came a fish from cne of the upper windows, tad I saw one of them roll over. This was a sstisfaction, for I knew they hadn't caught my tather asleep. I knew the drorsant stutters were strong. e.nd thtt he could make a gaol fight of it . till there was only him and my mother at home, for both the men had gone out ,before I left in the mo.rning, and one man hLan't much chance of holding a haueaattacked on all sides. So I made up my mind to try to dash thrccgth thEm, when the shutteropmned a little ant my father shouted out:-' llde fIcr help, Bil: I will keep them of till you get Lack.' So I turned; hot whEn I had gone a few yards I looked over my ahoulder, and I saw a ?nm dah out from behir.nd the house on horseback an I sart at a ga!li after me. SIt wa a s ay with a white leg, and I knew that Cokereoted to ride euch ahorre. ?ad that their wasn'ia ttlr in tll.e okny. .tlaoIt at the ? amemoment I hrd a shot..aain, but I didn't look round. I can ell you I felt pretty badly fiightenrd. for there wma no serter to be apected from that s:ootnrel , and I ;knew that he ws a good deul better mounted than I "The next station was anout f:ur mies of.t, and I hadvl about two hundred yards etart, but before I had gone half a mil be was within l yards of me, I could hetar him curr?a swaitand aen ng ty " ' stop, but I had g;ot bnrro of pistols with me, bat I woen't

imoh of a shot. I hal, soon after I start.-,I lJ.lh-. 'Leam ut u t tie hol?lrs :nt :.hie-l'd them into my t,-t in frount o.f me. cci that, as he came up, he S'houlo1't s ee my hand go down otr them. M)y hope was that he would ride tl aight i up to the side of me ndt knowin that I wa I armed, and that w ol, give me na thance ofi suddenly letting fir at hintm. " You think the chance wa, a per ine, snl that he wouldl to a certainty sehot rue doun before he got up. I did nit much think he would do that, for I gue.ed that the scoundrel would do withi me as thhat in io-e other cases, namely, take me antd arry me lbik to the hboa:e.aud there either threaten to oh- ot mi, or hang me up overar tire, or so:ce uch devilry, to make those insi to give in. I was dletermined this shouldn't be. and that if I cocult not shoot him I would be chot myself, for otherwise he would hare got my father and mother, atnd it would have been throehves instoiead. , one. "Pretentl--crak :-came the ?ouuld of a pistol, and I heard the hullet whil close bL. I expect that it was only to fribhten mee into stopping; but itn a second or two he tired again, and the shot just greaed ,v hlwul.tler. ,,ohe wa in earnest that time. Ibent low on my i addle, got a pistol out of my belt and prepared. There was another shot, the horse gae a spriog aind I knewhe was hit, but for a time he wtut inaster thanever; still the last shot wao'nt fromn more than twenty yards ibehind, Rt I exlrpeted every minute to see his horas'shreal comiing up lesite me. "Then I bheard a curse and a suddlen fail, and looking round saw his h-erse was down. " Cockeye was on his feet in a moment and drew another pistol from his holster, so I con. eluded to keepon as hard as I could go without waiting to make inquiries. I guesel pretty well what had happened. The shot I had heard my father fire as he started after me had hit the hone, and the poor brute had kept on until he dropped. I understood the follow'a firing now; he felt his horse was falling under hin. and hi. only chance was to stop me. 1 kept o: tll I got safeto the station. The three men there started in diflrentdirections to fetch auistanlce,I and by the eventilg we bad a score of men assembled there and started luca to our statiion. Weheard a cooey when we were within a mile of the place, and guessed it was a fellow on the watch. By thbtime we got there ther had all cleared off, but it was a cldose thing. Mymoth was a courageous woman and had defended the bacnk of the house and my father the front. The blacks had made several attempts to burn the place down: butthe roof, like the wtlls, was made of solid timber, which is the only safe way to build a house when yea are exposed to attacks of the blacks. "As long as daylighttlasted the old people had done very well and had kept the black at a distance, and we saw by the marks of blood in the morning that they must have killed or wounded eight or ten of them; but if we hadn't come. up before the-blacks had darkness to cover them it would have gone hard with them. Of course we knew that, and calculated so as to get there before nightfalL" " What became of the bushranger I" Itenben asked. "Well, criouslyenough, that was the last time he erer troubled the settlements. We never knew exactly what became of him, but it was said that the blacks killed and eat him: 1 know that was very often the end of those fellows. As long as a wentoet well the blacks were friendly enough with them and were glad to follow their lead, but after a repulse like that theygot at our station, or perhaps as a result of some quarret about the divisaon of the plunder, or theitr gins, or somlthing of that sort, they would fall suddenly on their white friends and make cooked meat of them." "I suppose the blacks seldom spare any whites who fall into their hands:" eubenu asked. "Scarcely ever," Mr. Blount replied. " That was why they were more dreided than the busbrsngers. The latter would kill if they were in the humour for it: but if there was no serious resistance, and none of their number got hurt, more often than not they content I themselves by leaving everyone tied hand and foot till somebody canme to unloose them. I remember one horrible case in which they sea tied up three white men at a Iiely station, and nobody happened to go near it for three weeks afterwards. It strock someone that none of them had been sent for some time, aold a couple of men rode over, and to their hIrror found the three men dead of hunger and thirst. Now the black fellows don't do that sort of thing. When they do attack a station and take it they kill every ,ut, man, wttman, andI child." "I suppose in that afit ir you were telling us of," Reuben asked, "lteth of your ticketuf-f. leave men were killed :" "Yes; one seemed to have been surpri'ed and speared at once, the other had made a stnut fight of it, for the Iodies of three natives ere found nearhim." "I remember one case," one of the others said, "in which the blaces did Esare one of the party in a station which they attacked. It was a little girl of alout three years old. Whyf thee did so I don't know; p?rhots the ehief tool a fancy to her. Mavbehe had lost a child of the same ace and thoouht his gin would take to the little one. Anyhow he carriedher otf. The flather happened'to be away at the time. He had gone down to Sydney with a wag?on for stores, and when he got back he found the house burned, and the tdice of his wife, two boys, and two men, but there was no trace of that of the child. "Ile was nearlrout of his mind, poor fellow. The neighbours all thought that the toly must have been burned with the house: but he would have it that there would have been some sign of her. No one ebe thought so; and, be. sides, it wasn't the cuastoms of the blacks to carry oe anyone. The father got a party to try nnd follow the blacks, but of couree it was no use: they had prettyneartwo days' start. The father never took to his farm again, but hung about the out-station; doing a job here an.d there for his grab. Sometimes he would be away for a bit, and when he came back, theugh t.e never talked ahout it, everyone knew he had been out hunting the blacks. " I do ntt know how many of them he kitetl, but I know he never spare-a one when he got him outside the settlement. After a time the blooks never troubled that part. S- many if them had llen kitled that they got a eautrsti. tious fear of the rtan, and believed he was posss0el of nt evil lspirit, alnd I don't leliere twentr of them tozether would have dared to attack him. "Atlast, from tor of the ba!f-tamed bla hk in the settlement, he got to hear some sod of rumeur that there was a white c?irl living with one of the trit?a for out in their country, and he tet out. lie e w away four msntht, ndl he never said wbhat he had been doing all lth time -in foet he started almost directly fer thepcrt, a:d we?lt h ane ho the next ship.'l Howerver, he Lrought his child b'ak with him. It was four yearsn since shabe had ten carried off,. and she weas a reUar little savage when he arrived in the sett:hlmeut with him. Of cour,. she croul not srteak a word of .Engli,h, anl was as firceo as a little wild-cat. I expect she got all right after a bit. I dlidn't see the man, but I herd be was worn to a shadow when he got hook. lIe murt have had an awful time of it in the botb. What with hunger and thirst, anl dodginq the black. I d.n't know how he lived throuh it: but he looks1- contented and happy in sp?s of his starvation. and ther say it was 1 wonierful to ee how lpatient he ?as with the child. They got nup 3 EuLtacription at SyDnee to send thernm beth homne. I heard that the clp tain rof the ship he wer.t in 'aid, whe e cime bark the next voyage, that the child had taken to him and got crivilred and like other ch:Idren before they got to Egiland." "Of course such fello' as Cockeve andil othbergill are the erxcepltions and not the rule," Mr. Blount said. "Were there many of such rcoundrels aeaut we would have to abandon our s. ttlements andi mtke war upoU them, for there would be no lirir in the co!one till thy v were exterminated. \to0t of these fellows are the oloniaul rerain of the hibhrwarmen at home. It is jut 't'and di deliercr.' They c.ntent themselves with taking wlat they can fEnd in a travell?r's pokots or can obt'Jnbiy a t!yisc viiit to his taetin." "Yoe, I had several of tho.e in my last die tric'," l:oeuaon said.l. "T'' .rer ae jut mounted rob',rs, arid gave us a 'oldeal of trouble in ihunidngthem dawn. But none of them had shid blood during their career, and they did riot evn dtraw a Istol wmen we capturedl them. Tihat stelv of buhshranger is a nuit esc , but rno more. "Men seldom carry much money about with thim here. and no great harm was dune." " You s-?." Dick Caisor sid, "these felloas have a remarkable objection to putti:E their n cks in the way of a noose, so that althoug. they mar lue out a pistol nd shout ' Ble up:' they will ver sidom draws tigger if you heow tifht. So long as they do nit take life ther knw that111 if they are cs ight all they have to ;rrect is to 1w kept at hard work drunng the r-t 'f their sentence, sn- lerhaps for a bit lnrger. Th.te don't mind the risk of that. They have 'had their outing, sometimes a long one; but if they once take life ther know its hatfgisi when they are caught, and are thrtfOre careful not to Ilresis too haird upon their tricg:ers. But once thee hare killed a man, th?r don't generally core how many ma:e live~l they take. Tihey are deeperatl then, and seem to oultin derdre of all kinds. As tn Leing stOck up by an oedinary bushrancer, une would thitk no mrre of it than of haring one's pocket picket in England. It' luchy for us on the whole tbat the !5lck fellow hrave such a hatred of the white men. Were it nst for tlat a goodM many of there fellows

wouilt go all lD;ctlihs, relying on taking to the t h:.h .._hn thyv h1., mande the ecl.ay ti, hot to holI them. But there are re only a few of them that have ever got on well with the block, and t matUr a man whoI has gone out into tho bush! . hans ound his en there. You eto there's n , e'plaiuning to a doen I atliti e who julljl uI] and begnu to throw spears atond boome?ns aI 1 polu that pyu are a ladl white fellow antl not a colonist on the eaorh for fr'sh runs. No, the L~uhra"'er on the whole are not such a llo d lot of felows. I suppo?: there is nlt tne of i.i here who ha'int hil men :j l.ap nod ask for food who were, ho knew pretty well, Iluh-. rangers. OIfcourse thry got ther food, as any. oneelse wouil who roe ull to a st.t:on anudl lsklc for it. Only once I was told to hand over any meneyor I ha1 in the houwe. As fortunately I had only of ew poundo I g?ve it up withi at making a fight for it. It's no use risking one's 1 life u:less for esmethinu worth fig.tinng for. I 1 euplioeo moot 4f us here have had similar c erxelrie,'es." there wras a g" etral chorus of accent 1a.0n -g the clttIre,. ".Many of them are too.r.spirited wretches. , Two ,f telm lailed up a waggoner of mine cmin0g oat with a load from the port. 1ti pIrolettldl to give in, and as they were oplcnl t some of the ti-es he knocked one over with the butt-tnd of his whip. The other fired i hasty shot and then jumped on to his horse andI galloped oIft again, and my man Irought in the iellowI he Ead'stunned." " "IDil you hod him over to the tpolice'" Iieuben a iked. "Not I," the settler laughed. "I thooght he had got what he de?trved, so I lbalnaged up his heat and let him go. Tlhose pootr egars of convicts have a dreadful hard time of it, and 1 don't think there are many ettlcrs who would t hand overr ant man who had escaped and taken tothe buhsh 'even if he hbal ocaionully bailed up a waggoner or so. We know what a t?;;ging the poor wretch would get, and as tI:og as it's only an oc a?olanl roble-rv to k~en : thleoelhves from s!arring we don't feel any t grea:t nim "ity against then. It's differenit altogether when they take to murder. Then. of course, they must be hunted dowt like wild lioaste. And now I vote that we have a nap. MIy piple's out, and I suppose we shall be on tramp again as soon as it is dark." CITAPTERt XIII.-Bsrttsgtnr. As soon as it became dark the journey was renewed. " Now. Jim, you must keep your eyes well open," Reuben said. "There is no saying I when we may come upon them now." "I tink dey not very far off sah. Does sheep too tired to go far. Black fellow glad to stop and rest when he see no one coming after him. De ground more up and daht here. Must no 1 make noise, may come upon dem sudden." It was nearly midnight when Jim suddenly halted. t " What is it, Jim '" Iteuben asted in a low voice. Jim stood saifling the air. " Me smell fire, captain." ItOuben sniffed the air but shook his head. "I don'tsmell anything, Jim." "Ismell him, stab, sure enough; not very t close. perhaps, but in de air." " What is it, Captain Whitney?" Mr. Blount asket. as he came torward and joined them. "Jimsayshe smells tire, hat I can't smell it.' SOh. rou can trust Jim's nose," the settler said. " It is wonderful how keen is the scent of these nttives. They are like (logs in that 1 respecl, cand c:m prceivo the smell of a fire when the rind brings it doawn to tlht miles away." " Dis way now, bsh," Jim said, turning off to the left at right angles to the course which they hbd bee-n pursuing. " Smell come down the wind,dst's sartn. We follow him fat enough we sure to catch dem." For fully two miles Reuben followed the black without speaking, then he said : " I don't smell any smoke, Jim. Are you quite sure you are right about it ? Quite sure, soh. De smoke mu:h stronger than he wis. Some of lese Ibushes make very sharp smell; can ?tmell him very far away." "Thst's ail ngnt, )1am, on we go tan-'n. I must take your word for It." Another half-an-hour'as walking euben thlougtht that he too could ernel! an odour of burning wood. and soon afterwards he became convinced that it was so. The ground on which they were creesing was slightly undulated, and ln nearing the crest of one of ' the 'light rises Jim said: l" ie smote am getting rang now, san. and Jira an hear de Dtleahna of de sheep. If de captain will wait hear, Jim will go on ahead and tindout where der lie." " Butperhaps you won't hb able to find us again." " Der no fear of lot, sob. But if I not come straight back 1 give a little whistle-like this when I get on to a rise, and if the captain answer in just thes same way, then I come straight beck to him." So saying Jim glide-I away n the drtknees, while Reuben gave the word for the men to halt, and lie dow till his return. There was, however, no occasion for a signal, for in little over half an hour from the time of Jim's leving he rejoined them again, his coming being un not:ced until he stood among then, so noiseless were Lis footstep.? " ' eha bdem dis time, sure en;ugh cap tlrn." " Why. is that rou, Jim? You quite startled me. Well, what is your news " " le black fellows and de steep are a little over a mile away, sah, Der got a big fire down in a bottom. Some of dem eating still, but most of dem fast as!eep round de tire." " How many are there of them '" "About tilty, sabh-at least dat about the number Jim saw. I expect I was right when I tell you dat there was wall nigh a hundred at faust, some oh them g oft wid de sLbp tie ?udler way, and we kill over twenty in dat fight. I)o you think we killel s tinly as that, Jim " "I went rout:d, sob, and eountel sixteen of dem. and some sure to have crawl away uand die in die tbuh. Dere were over twenty killed altogether for sure. and I specks dat some more hlb loft de lorty to-day and gone of wit dere share of the cheep t der l~eople." " Well, what do you think, Mr. Illountt shall we attack them to-night or wat till morn ingn" "'I shoull sawr wait till morning, centinlly," the setlter said. "We might shoot a few if we attc.k tcem now, but the rest would be all off at the ftrs: uash of our gun, and we should never get another shot. I think our beet plan woulo be to remain where we are for another coupteot hones--it is two o'clock now-then lona will guilde us to the place, and we can tlike up our position as c!o.e as we canl get and wait for daylight." "There is no ftar of their making a more Lbefore it is light, Jim" "No, eh. )ey tink dyc am safe now and eat one t:g feast; dey not more till light, sar tain." "'ery wel!,. Mr. B.ount, then 'e will do as you say. When we get near them we will dislile into four parties. You with four men shall move up close to the sheep, Sergeant O'Conncr with four others shalt work up from Sthe other end of the bottom, fire others shall make a detour and get right on t0 e otter side of their fire, and I with the other three and Jim, who you see has got one of the conotabtes' rifes and ammunttion, will coae down on them from this side. Jim willplace all the parties, taking them hy turs, as near the fire as he thinks .fe, and will then return to me. Only, as we shall attack them from four cides, let everyson e careful about his shooting, other. wi,? we shall have casualties from our own shots. All will remain quiet until I fire; then a genieral volley must be ipoured in bullet and buckshot, and when the rifles and guns are empt. go right at them with pistol and The plan was carried out as arranged, and before darbreak the four parties were lying in the tositinns allotted to them, within forty vards of the loacks. A few of these were seen ;itting by the fire, the rest were all asleep. Gradually the light began to creep over the sky, and :as it becalme lighter there was a move. ment among the llacks.. As son as he could eee perfectlr tlube- Wnas ab?ut to fire in the air, for hIe lid not like to fire at unsuospecting 10e0, in spitg of the deeds of blood and raI-ine theyr hs performed in the settlement I'reeently, however, his erye fell upon one of the treacherous trarkers who had so nesrle brouncht destrulcticn uponu tlhem: he levelled his rifle alnd fired, an:t tie man fell dead in his tracks. As the rest of the blcks leapt to their fret a "oller from ninet.en guns was poured Itto them, followtd by Ks-rn or eight more, as mtnst if the settlers were armed with double barralled guns, a fei buckshot being dropped into each Inrrelovtr the bullets. Then came th, sharp cor.cks of th, 1pitoli as the whites rushed down to the assault. The natrves attempted no resistanre. Panic strilken at the soludden appo-rance of the foe, nwh-om they imaginod by thlis time far back on their way ta the cettlemen:s, ond parilysed by the slauniter made bh the first yoller, they thoughtonlvof night. A few caught up their a rp:s antl addi-s us they made a dash for the bushes, and strove to effect their escape between thepartIes adrancing on each side of them; Iut the latler wnre now close at hLand, and for a milute or two a fi-iht too.k place Letveen the whites with their c:ubt-d muskets and the latinUl with thle:r sears atndl wadd;es; but it

wai nosn over, for the natires cric funghct to ecape, and s soon s the-- onaer as orpcci g itunet tracy intho:e l:ueaih. O:uly one oft the ssaailanta was killed, but :-:rc?al d?re more ,r lcesv-noerely woundkd by the sp.ars, while I no l.s thlan thirty-four of the blacks were killed. Th. victors made no attemept at pursuit. but as sc-:ow as the last ci the n:tives had escape) they gathered to ascertain what loss i had taken place on their ride. "I'er Phillips is killed," IMr. ilount said as t hit examined the l1dy; " the stoear Ihs gne t light through his throat, Fortunately he was a engle man: he has only ben:l onut a few manths, and was staying down at D:ick Cait er's." " Poor Tom," Dick ,aid in feeling tones; 1 "hie was a capital young fellow, and I am t d-epclvsorry. Fortunatelyhehas left no one I-thind to grieve more than I do for him, for he t lost his father and mother shortlr before he t rome out, and was alone in the world." "I am thankful it's no worse," Mr. Ilocunt e said. " We have Wejen the blacks a terrible f lesnts. I think as far as ther are concerned we a 'an sleep in peace for a long E:me. tOf couse we have not done with themr, for the are very 1 revengeful; but a h'ow like this will render them ereful for a long time how they attack us. How manyof them have fallen?" t "Thirty four " Reuk.r: said; " Jim has just a been counting tom up. Now, r. Blount, we t will have of your ashe?p fir breakfast, and then we'll be off.' The sheep had scatterei roriewrhat at the 1 alarm u.f the fire, but nw r'e s ;on driven together again. One was caught an-l killed, and s lices r of the meat were stuck up on rac:.rod!l aI were oeon frizzling before thel tie. "Well, Mr. Illount. how muny sheep do you think there are here" " I have jurt been loaking them over," the c settler replied, " and I should say there must be r inearly twelve hnndred. ?o that, allowing for two hundred driven off in the other direction, and ahundreddroppcedb the war, the whole I lrck are accounted for. I eta ind!ed obliged to you and to my friends her-. I niver expectel tos-,e a tail tor them aaain wlen I f- und they ( were off." ' I ant very glad you have recovered to many r of them," Reuben said, "anad still more that we have given the blacks such a lesson. We I will, as n ,u as we have finished, be on the r march. Jim will go on ahead at once as we a agreed, and he tells me will get to the stream where the horees are before night. and will c start out with them at once so that we may be able to meet them to-morrow ear:y. I fancy oarwaterbottles are getting very loaw, but we 1 canhold on forte day." As soon as be had finishei eating Jim started I off at a run, which Reubet ks:ew he would keep up for hours. The lldy of young Phillips was buried, ant then, crllecting the tlork awl driving it before them. tlhe cest started upo a their return. The sheepl:ould not travel fast, for many of them were fo- tsfro with their hurried jurney, but they 1?I fr.und ptanty of t niarishment in the erass at tle letttoms and in the foliage of the bastl,s,, anlIt cing so su:llied I had sufmered little from thirst. Jim before str'liug h?d pointed out the enact line they were to follow, and this they relt by compass. With only coa oor t?u el rt halts they kept on until nauttfa:l. and. leaving the sheep in a grassy bettom, lit the.r fire cn the crest above it in order that it, ;itine migh't srve as a guide to Jim should be get back with the horses before daylight. There was but little talking before each stretched hi self all n;gth 1 before the fire, They had been Ite nty-four hours without sleep., anl all were Low aufer ing severely from thcrt ; the lest drops in the water-lsltts had ben m tital e.rly in the day, anld theyr were pa:chle t not oly by the beat of the stn but by the stifling dart raised by the flock as they travelled. There had been but hi:tl. sapper eaten: in deed, most of them cu;tented theumnehes with eating pieces of raw meat to satisfy their thirst rather than their hunger. Although they had no fear of the return ,of the natives fleuha thought it only prudent to keep watch, and each of thea?rty had half an 1. ur on sontry duty. The day was just teginn:ng to break when the man on guard exclaimcd: "I can hear the trarmtlin of h irare:" The news brought everone to their.ect, and in a few minutes the two contables andil Jim rode up, driving before the them htcrsea of the rest of the party. "Well done, Jimt " Reuta a encimed. "Now, the first thing get one of the water skins oif." One of the skins was unfastened in a minute, ad after c.,pious draughts everyone felt ret freshed and ready for work again. " We cannot start for a few hours," Ikcaben sail. " The hones must have come over forty miles and won't be ft to travel till the after noon ; fortunately there is plenty of grass for them in the bottom. And now that Dnv thirst is allayed I begin to dih:cver that I am hnnrry." There was a general chorus of assent the tire was made up again, the men went down to the boettor and killd and brought up a sheep, and all were soon engaged in making up for their twenty-four hours fast. In the afternoon a start was made; but although they travelled all night they did not reach the stream until the follawinrg afternoon, as they w, re obliged to arecmmodate their prace to that of the sheep, The following morning Reuben rode forward to the settlements, lear. ing Mr. lltount with two of his friends to come on with the fleck at his hisure. At the first farm he reached t.-uien heard that, as he feared, the bushranngrrs had taken advantage of so many of the ot:ller being naway to recommente their attacks. At the first twolatuses they visited they had found the in mates on the watch, and had mored off without making any attack. At the third they hadI surprtied and killed a settler, his wife, and two hired men, and had sacked and lurted the house. Reuben learned that eme of the pdlice had gone off in tuursui Lavring his horse to the care of the settler Itlceben borrowed a fresh animal and rde off to the scrne of the outrage, which was same thirty miles distant. Just as he arrived there he met the party of eight police aho had been in puncit of the bush-rangers, and they reportled that they had lost all trace of them. For the next two or three aweks Ieuben did not rcetarn to his head qu:artera, speeting the time in riding from station to station with a small arty of police and urging uplon the settlers the recesi:y not onle of strongly barricading their houses, but of k'heeling a watch by turns, as the bunh. rangers sildom attack a place annlesa they can gain the adeantage of a surerise. As nothing had ben heard of the buhsh rangers, Ileutn determined to return to his barrack. HDe was pending the last night at Dick Caister's, when, just as they were about t, turn in, the sound of a horte's lof at infull gsllop was heard. "Something is the matter." Dick said; "men don't ride like that at night for noth te weat to the door and opned it just am the hcreeman stopled in front. " Quick. Canterr!" the man aie as he lealed down, " the iushrangees are not lilty yards behind." And indeed the round of the tramp ling of other borsnes sounled close tehind. "Come in, come in ." Dick cried. "Ah!is it you. Shillito? Never mind the horse, hemustlook aterhim'elf. Luckily the caltain's here, and we will give it them hot. Just run round and see that all the shautters are fastened." " As Dick spokehe war barring the d?o?r, and he now shouted at the topt of hts voice to the two hired men who were in bed upstairs; but before any answer could be returned therrwas a thundeng knocking at the door, " Whatis it 5" Dick shouted. "L Open thedoor,and be jquick ahout it, or it will be worse for you. Wte want that chap that's just ridden up, and we mean to have him, so he had best come out at once. If you don't open the door at once we will cut the throats of every soul in the house." " You hare got to get at oure throats first, my fine fellow," Dick said jeeringly, The knocking was at once renewed, but with reater violence. "The door's a strong one," Di:k said to Ileuten," and it will stand a rod deal of that sort of thing, but we may as well move the table and benrbes up against at, then we can s'e how things stand.'" Reuben had been bnsy taking dlown the guns whiich hung oarter the fireplace, dropping a ratm rol into them to see that ther ware charged, and putting fresh caps on to the nipples. Illis own rifle stood in the corner, and washe kntew ready for service. " \What anrs have you altogether, Caister I' " 1 have that rifle and double-barrel gun. Both my handi have get muakete l I got themr up from Sydney a few months back." The twao men now came running down from absove. each with his musket. " Where is Jim r" Reuten said, loeking round. " le went out about ten minutes ago," Dick said. " I fancy he went to look after Sour here; he takes as much care of that animal as if it were a child." " I hope they won't find him in the stable and cut !.it throat," Reuben said; "he is wcnelerfuil faithful and attached ;o me. I would not have harm come to him for any thing. Now, I Will ge ap stairs and rcon. notree.Now thes fellows harm left oflkaark ing It the ~ior ther are a Rgood deal more dangerous than whrets they were kicking ap all the row." " Mind how yoa shuw yourself, captain, as

likelyenough one of t?,;'n is on tLe w. t+.h ex pecling that woeloul Ml be, i lu -,.nr lar idter totaken look out ,f that wmi l.,w; o keep well blc"k. The nicht i protty iih-t, o 1 I e;.l.'t y:u will he ": F r to i'?tk t n ut. " Can we get a, vies . f t. st:ble tro: u tohat window"'" Yes," Y Dick rihL. 1, ' I rather had that t in my mind's eye when I put the stable up; t iti' alwras a good th:n men kn wing that t thter masters canh ive ia ee ulo et:lthem when e they least eaxleot it. W\Ly do you ask i' ' "Becaause fthe window comrneands the satable door we can prtevent them r~ ttien: the horses e ut" " " Yes," Dick s idt. "ater licing two en that last affair it would be a L matter to have the rest of them carried off." Iteuben went cup the stairs anl mande his way fowards the wndowr, standing a short distance hack. le could te- no one etcuoving about the 1 card, and he was~au out to moere lose to it when a tremendous crast tc,hk .lace below, a followedby loud C:out.. le ranu down stair's again. The bushrange"s t nad moved round to the I lackof the house, and! there picking up a s young tree which had bLen trought in to saw upintao billet, forfirewood, they used it as a battering-ram against of the shutters, and at the very irst bow broke it of its hiuges and then maul a rash at the window. Two shots 1 rang out almost toge',ther, and then frinr a - hasty voller into the windrow the bushrangers begua to climb in: but by this time lReuben a had arrived, and the Shari, cracks of hispistolas ran,- out. "They hare got the police here " one of the c natn exclaimted, a. he caught sight of Reben's r uniform. " Draw of,i lad', I expect it's that accursed caltain," another voice exclaimed ; he'salwave t ndrig about with nobody but that blackfallodw with him. lHe has got to go down, that feilow has, or hewill give us no end of trouble; ibut draw oil from that window for a rmoment." " What will they do next. I welnder i" Dick c Catiter said, as, learing the two hands to guard the window, he returned into the outer I room with Reuben. "I rather expect they are going to try to c burn us out; we must keep them from that if 1 we can. .Mr. Shillito, will you go up to the ullerroom and keep an eye on the stables? Suieet down any one who may pass your line of ,silt. Iaven't you got any lophnpes, Crister:' ' Yes. of course I hare," Dick replied: "I had forgotten Al about them. Yes, there are two loopholes in the logs in each side of the house upstairs. They have been shot up by wisps of straw ever since the house was bidlt." Gieing strict orders to the two men toshonut instantly if any one moved near the win ow, the two young men went upstairs. '" tre you eensnything, Shillito" : "Not a thing: one would almost think that they have holted." "They will hardly do that, I fancy," Reuben said: "there are ten or twel eof them but I think one or two must have ot a balde in them.'s "I wisa they woald come on," Dick said, as he pulled out the straw from the loopholes. Ite::ue went to them all in au s ad locked out, but nothing could be seen of their asnialants. 'rcesently, however, a number of dark tigures appeared, each bearing a harden. "They have been cutting brushwoodt'' Pert en exclaimed. "I was right, you see; ther are coing to try to smoke or burn us out. Now I think it's tme to give them a laIon." "Lok loo :k,"t The encamatltn was wacted by a sudden glare of light on the other side of the stables. "The scoundrels have set fire to the stables!" Stillhto said. "What shall we do-make a sally?'' Cister asked. "I am ready for it if you think right." "No," l:en?kn aid; "they will shoot as down as we come out. Theymost guess that some of us are up at this window. or they would try to carry the horses off instead of destroying them. I only wish we were on the imor easts' backs. we would go for them though they were twice as many. I don't see the others now; they must have gone round to the other side of the house." S:arcely had Reuben taken up his station at one of theloopholee than he again saw the dark tiures. He took steady aim and tired. There was a sharp cry, and one of the fellows fell to the ground. the the rs at once threw down their burdens and t.ed. Three minutes later there was a shout. " tiok h" re, you 'c.,iceman, and you, Caister, you shall lay de.trly for this night's work. I swear it, and.t Bill Fot:ergill never forgets his word in that war. It's your turn this time, it will be mine next, and when it i', take care." The only reply was a shot from Reuben, aimed in the durction from which the voice carno. A ?uinutelater there was a trampling of heuts. "They ae gone i" Shillito exclaimed. " Perhalps it ts only a trick to draw us out," Dick suggested. "No, I don't think it's that," Reuben said; "they are not ,trong enough to senda pIaty off and to attack us with the rest. No, I think they have gone; they know that we can't follow them, they have taken good care of that," he added L:tterly as he glanced at the stables, which were now a sheet of flame; "however, we will look round and see." The three men descended to the room below, and be;ng joined by the two hands removed the furniture piled gaimst the door and threw it open. " WVemus'n't go round to that side of the house so as t get into the glare of the fire till we have looked round," Ileuben said: "I be. liere they are all gone, but they may have left a couple of them lurking somewhere about to pick nu off when we show in the light. I will take one of your hands, Caister, and scout round on ou.e side, do you three go the other side." A quarter of an hour later the two parties met near the stables, where the tire was now burnine low. The roof had fallen in, and only some of the uprights were erect with flicking fames licking them as ther stood glowing above the mars of still blaing de'brie. "I wonder whether that poor fellow is under thant '" lIeue n st:idl. 'I hole not,indeedl. I fancy he must have got awaty; he might have slip-ed of when they tirct roue up; mtay be h:dinug somewhere round, afraid to c~me near till be knows how matites have turned out." So saying, he alve a loud eooey. Tbey stood silent for a minute, but no antwer came hack. "There is nthing to be done till morning," Dick said, " and it's no uare hangingn about here. Before it gets light I will start for Watson'sl: there are tio of your men there, and they with the two Wateon anJ ourselves can set out after these fellowos, if you are agreeable, that is, as scon as we get b li of some bonrses." "I hardly thiok I shall be justified in taking cyou," Reubeno sad a' he walked back towards the house; '" theee ecounlrels are all anred to the teeth, and they are filst-rate skate, they know rverr fort of the country, acle against annthinglike ilua numabers they would make a resereate ficht of it, eren if ther ditl not thrah us. Of course in anything like an equal number of my own mer I thould not hasiate, hat I don't tthink it wil be fair for rou setters to undertake such a ervic as that'" "Listen!" Shilito exclaimed, "they are romiog back again." Surely enough on the night air tFe wound of horses gallooii at full si?et eoalll ede hoeard. "I doon't think it can be them," Ilculan snail; "t!hey would haae ,o mea titve i,, ctmihi: tack otafter they once r'le off-thor would know we should be ready fcr them." "I don't see who else it can be. At anyramte all our gans arretraded, andil if it is them, all the better." Suddenly a loud coyv was heard. "That's Jim:'" Reucn extclaimec: "I should knowbis call among a thca'ted. iHe must hare made off to get help at once. but I don't know how he can hare core it in time." "Why, it's the Wateers and my r?a:I" he exclaimed as the porte rote op into the light. "All safe ?" one of the ,ettlerJ cried a0 he jumped from his horse. All safe,. thank (God." len'n revlied. " Did Jim bring you newe that we were at tacked ?' "Yes; fortunstely we wrrs sittig up lllte talkinur when he rede up, to thLre ans not a minute lost" "Rodleup:" Reuben reasted in sur rice; " a h, where didl ,tu grt a Lone, Jim " "Rode smaet'r's hore." Jimn aid. "What !" I;eubten excelaimed in delight: "what, is Tartar safe ? I was lafraid his dr was under thc'e ruins. Why, how did yau get him out h" "Jim was in de Etable. ch. when bukh. nranger ride Up ; de hoes was ,!stamling?, nnd I not bhear dem till dey come quite c?rse. den it was too lateto run out D, moment dat dry lbegan to mare bobbery at door I cepeed stable door and I.rtng out de' three he-ree." " 1leat ! did you get nine out too '" Ihick ahouted. "Jim, you are a tromp and no mistske." "D )ea," Jim went oi. paying to at-ention to the interruption. " me led de other two heorse ttle wary and let them go loo?se, sr not go jr from hore, and n jtmp on isrtar ani rilo like the dehel to Watocn's for de pole." " Wel done. Jim: you hare done capittaly. New let us talk over what we had beitter do," I

The a'rtre-entered the house. Freh wood was thrown on t the tire, and one of Dick's Iand? proceeded to put food cn the table and ltrepare tea, wh.le the others consulted what c'ur-e should be purited. It was agreed at once that more aid would be necearry t-fore they could think of attacking the bunhranKer, but all were ready to joinin the hunt for tlihm; therefore it was decided that Dick Shillito and the two Watson sholId each ride at once to neighbouring statiou to bri aid. At one of the stations two more policemen would be found. and as in the pr sit they shnuld probably pass near other stations, their numbers would well a they went. When this was settled the party at down to the meal. * How did you come upon them, Shiluito ?" Cister uked, " I had ben spending the day with the Wil kinsons. Idid not start toride home till it was rather late, and I was riding fast, when about a quarter of a mile before I got tomy place I rode tight into the middle o a lot of men on horebsek. They evidently hadn't heird mse coming. and were as much surpriiedulwas. There was agenealhout of *'Bilup:' andl aw atoneewhat ortof genrey they were. Howevr, I didn't op, but in thto contion dshed through. Afew shots were de at me. I tuppoe they were too sur priedtoaim straight. Then theyostarted off after me. I knew it was no use making for home, for there was only one man there, o I swept round ana made for your place. My hore is a goodone,you know, andl gined on them all except one man, who must havebeen capitally mounted, for he gradually crept p to me. He wa't twenty yards behind me when he shouted, Stop, or I fre !' I puled traiht up, ad as he came up to melet flyat him. He tumbled off his horse, and I galloped off till I got here." SWhat has become of your hone, I wonder '' " I ave him a cut with my whipu I jumped of. He cnteredaway. Of coune theymarhave caught him. but I don't think its likely." "Yoa will find him somewhere about at day light, I expet. I will ride Caister' pare hoe now." ForJim with one ofthehaodsbadgone out tofetch in the two horses from the,spot where thev had been tarnea esoo. S (7 (To coO?Xrr )!