Chapter 65386525

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Chapter NumberXVII
Chapter TitleIN PURSUIT.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article65386525
Full Date1891-07-03
Page Number3
Corrections0
Word Count5736
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitlePortland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953)
Trove TitleA Final Reckoning: A Tale of Bush Life in Australia
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A FINAL RECKONING.' A TALE OF BUSK! LIFE IN AUSTRAILIA. B G. A. IIENTY. CHAPTER XVII.-Is Ilcnst'ir, The last thing before the rarty started leuben went into the house. Mr. Barker was oing to remain behind; he was past middle ife, and the expedition was likely to be a very toilsome one, and Reuben was glad when he said that he thought six days' severe riding would be rather too much for him, and that he shauld constitute himself the guardian of the ladies. Mfy wifehas arranged to stay here while yoa are away so I shall ride over to my place add se that all is going on straight every day, and sleep here at ni ht." "Well, ladies," Reuben raid as he entered the room, "we are just off. So I will say ood-bye to you, and I hope that on ry tet:ure I shall find Mr. Dona!d much better. I a sare that Mr. Ruskin would not have left this morning unless he felt that he had quite turned thecorner. Praytakecareofyourselves whilewe areway. Youknow 1 don't want to alarm you, bu pray be careful." "Goodbye, Captain Whitney; you know you have all our best wishes," Mrs. Barker said. "We wil take care of ourselves till we hear that you have destroyed the band, and above all its leader." "The news that you have done so," Mrs. Donald said, "will do more, I think, for my husband than anything in the way of docteri'g. But take care of yoIutslf. Caplta? Whitney; I know fom what Mr. Barker Eid that, a!th gh yoe make light of your expedtion, it is a diageroune. He said the police had never rentred so far in the buh, and you may- ex. pect sharp Bghtig with the black." " We mayhave a brush with them," Iteuben said lightly; "but do not be anxious about us; we are a very strong party, and yea need have nofearoftheresult. Good-bye, Miss Ellison; praybecarefultillIreturn." The last words were said in an undertone i he held her hand. "Good-bye, Captain Whitney," etc seid: God bless you all and bring yoe safely Two minutes later the party rode ofe. Jim was, like the rest, mounted, as they would travel taut. Four led ho:rses carrie provisions, for they would not, as f!cre, find foodbytheway. It wa 2o'clock in the day when they started, and they role thirty miles before they halted for the night at a wsatr;ele. They had seen no sgns of natives duriLg the day,but Reuben at once posrted four men as sentries. Itwas a merry party round the fire, for all were in high spirits at the ir,p?-ect cf an coxe dition toapoint far ieyond t:hat to which any white men, with the cxcepa:in of fu:irvr?e from justice, h penetrat. d, an I i v;ertr ,clighted with the thought of pultig ga stop at lst to the operations of ti.- hand who had so long been a scrurge to the setlier:enL Mr. Mount, Dick Caister, ani s~v, ral others whohad formed part of the l.st expeditio:, were of the party, ant the confidence which theae felt in their young leader and in the ?sgacityof his native followercommunicated itself to those who had not formed part of the previous expeditior. " Must start early," Jim sid to Reuben the last thing. "Long way to water, ride all day, not get doe before dark." They roderapidlyfor some otime rtrst artin:, so -ato allow the horses to take it easily durie theheatof the day. when ther was a ha!t u three hours; but in the afternoon they quickecd their pacs again, endl mtun act _orseswerejadedand done up lhea, just as the. san was setting, they arrieJd at their destination. "How thatblack fel!oL of y are s: his way tthrough this bush is a perfct marvel to me," Dick Caister sail. '" Te! co.stry has become more undulati.g tshi aftrnue n, but the nrst thirty miles were .!-'t eh' f(ly level, and! could see nathm:: whatever that could serre as an index, e'xe?p rf cu?rse the sun. Stillthat is only a guie a to to the eneral direction. It must hLae ho b. nie o: 'ta va i sincethat fellow was hre, aud y": 1., it us I sta ht as if he was makioio for a church steeple. ' "It seems to bea a rIt cf itinct," Re-ut-n said, "although po:sily fcr ,. last part of the distance he may have " a i?1s ci the pasage of the natirve. .Is :r as I can under stand, he tells me at this time of year there is no other water-hole within a long distance, sathatnaturally there will be many natives making forit. I am glad there are not any of them here now. Why isn't that horse hobbled like the resti" I" :len asked eddeulye . -" Whseis it?" " That is the one your black fellow role, sir," Sergeant O'Conimr sail. "Tim, where are oa R" Iteuben called. but oreply came. " V hat has beome of him, I wonderi " Reuben said. " Hts anyone seen slim since we rode up i" " He jnmped off the instant Iwe came here," one of the policemen replie d. " and sei t to me, 'look ftercaptain horse,' atl I havrn't seen anything of him since."' ' The has been someLody here, sir," anotherpoliceman said coming up. "iere's the remains of fe behind this bcsh.' "Yes," Mr. Blount said exaensdngthem, and pulling out a brand th:at was still glowing. UDo you see, a lot of sand has kb; thrown rverit Whoever was here must hive seen us ingand tried to txinguo h the tire when they caught sight of as." "That imost unfortunate," Ileuben said. "'Thefellowsamadt hare made off to carry the newsof our coming to their fiends. However, it's too late to do anything now; it's already getting dark, and they most have got a quarter of an hour's start. We have taken quite enough out of thehorses, and can do no miore with themif they have to travel to-morrow; batlwould give a year's pay if this halina't happened. Well, there's nothing to do fur it but to light our fires and camp." The knowledge that they hl I becn seen, and that the news would be carriedt to those of whom they were in search, acted as a great damper the spirits of the lerty, and the camp wu much mote qluiet atnI subdued than it had been on the previous ereumr. "All is not quite lost," Reuben said, when, two heours later, he foutd that Jim wass till absent from the cano. "I can cnl aaccount for his stdealing away from us in that manner by mppoinsg that he meet either have caught sight of the natives or ome upon rbheir trail, and at once set ofin ptnuit. I dmn't see what it coulid be othersise." "Rut if he saw them, why diiln't he tell you. WhitneyT" Mr. lildoutt said. "Tired as our horses were they could l2re got up a gallop "Yes, but fora oerr short dbitrnce," Dick Caister pat In; "a~rdas it was getting dusk, if the blak? had had anything like a start, we coald not have overtakeh them before it had got quite dark. Those black, cn run like the wind; it takesa well.mounted man to overtake An hour alter the party had lain donwn one of fnhbshLedbype?.iarrano:emset ?with the asth?t

the i~utri? chLIlenged, and the auswnr wli,h came back, "All right, me Jim," at once brought everyon to their feet. "Well, Jia, what is it:-where have you been i" Iteuben a-koL. "Jim hungry." "That you raly be quite sure," 1)ik Clster said with a laugh. " Was thLre c ve- a native who wasI't hulu;.-y unlees L ha: tI st4fcl him. elf hlalt an hor Ie ':re: ' "YUe, I kept ,uic lulpplr for o, Jim,''" I-huolen s-id: *L': l"'ft ' ' yu I n toI eait just tell me if I'cvryt''lin is all r:iit." "Ercrvtin, all r.;ht," Ji:n si i. uattir" uin elf ics:'.. h- ;'A1 :laig- fire nd Ibe genni:r to eat. Reulbe knrew y bt \r rizad that iit z of no us9 iluestioning him unitl he had lt:ii-hid, and he thertefre waited ,ati.ntly, although one or two of the settlero gRrunbled at eing ke?tt waiting for the news. When Jim had finiehd his meal he coked round. lileuben knew what he was expecting, and handed him a hornful of rum anld water. The blacl took a draught, and then without any further detar began to tell his story. Io had, while still some distance fro::1 the halti:i,.lace, seen a light smoke comill: up, ani l as cure that a party was already there. "But why idl you rot tell u5. Jim?" Reulben int:rrum.t(;. " ;e might have gall. pel on and caught them." "No, Nuh, no catch den; hones too tire3, black fellow run away when see white men coming. Dat no do at ll; only one way to do. Let 'em tink dat no one saw dcm. else dey run and run all de way to Bobitu. When get near camp Jim see dat smoke not come up, know do hack fellow see white man and put out um fire. When Jim come here he jump off hoss, find fire, and follow de track. Dey four men; one go one war, one go anoder. two men go straight on. Uey go on to tell Bobitu, de odm go to blck fellors in de bush. Jim not care for dra, fellow de two." " But how could you follow them in the dark?" "Jm were sure de way dey go, dat enough for.jim. Ile suppose dat dey'top after a bit, and when der see de white man all 'top quiet at de water-hole and light fire der tink it all richt. No make hurry, perhaps 'top and light a fire deraselves. So Jim go on quiet for two tree hour, den at list he see fire sure 'nough. He crawl up quiet an1. see two black fellow dar. ard hear what 'em say. Pey tired, make lcr., walk to-day to water-hole: say no hurry, w.ite men all go sleep round fire, not t, on till sun get up, so dey 'top for two tree hour to rest demselTes. Jim get quite clIoe and jump up, den cut of one black fellow h~ I with sword, run sword through deh bdy of other, finish 'em both and dee come blck to camup." " Well done, indeed. Jim :' Ilcuben ex claimed, and a chorus of satisfantion rose froim all the party at hearing that the men-who, tl they reached the buohringcr, would have given the alarmnn, and so enb.bled them to make their escaipe b-eore the ea.e iition arrired-had .ltn killed. The news, however, that two of tt:. arty had escaped, and might bring the blhek dlon u-cn them before morning, nece·-cltited an increase of precautions. Reuben at once dinvdcl the forca into four parties, each c3nsisting of tire constablci and evcn r.:ttlors. One party were at once plaed on watch, and weret to be relieved in twohours' tin.e. " I not tink dey coaie before morning, sah," Jima aid. "No waterhole near here; to morrow plenty black fellow come." " All riht, Jim, we don't care for them in the dylig:ht, and now that I know the bush. rangern won't be alarmed I don't mind." Jim's prediction proved correct; the night pa·,ed of quietly, an the party again startcl at daylight. The country became more and more broken as they proceeded, the undula tions became hills; -lims of these w.re so seep that all had to diim-unt and lead their hrses uup. "Is lBabitu's cnmpar;:ng thseh ill., Jim ;" " O':r toler siL",, inh. HiM place in valler toicr si!e bL:ih; plnty ga.me L:r black fellow." " How far is it to this valley, Jim : ' im's ideas of ti,:urj wtre but vague, nd he could onl say t 'hat they would gEt there som:ewhcreabout censet. "That would be a ba timo tozt thero, Jim. We mnau halt a mile or two this sile of them, and you must lead half th party round so as to cut off thir r -elit, cren if we don't attack them till the morning. On their fresh hLrs' thosE fellows will pllp right away frcm nus if they once get a tart There is no fear, I hope, of any of the other blacks getting threo before us and giving the alarm'' Jim shook his head. " No; we come straight from waterho:e; ,lack fellow go round long way. No fear dey get dere: dey fight when we go haek." "That's all right. liaitu's fellows an-l the busharngc's will be quite enough to ta'Ile at once. As for the others, re will make short vwork of them if ther venture to attack us on the march bAk. They fight plackily caough naril:t menl on fot, btcause they know they can make off when they like, but they can't stand a charge of hocsemen." Although not so long as the journey on the Ireceding day, the men were heartily gipl when, at about 4 o'clock in the afternani, the halt was called, and thcy heard that the Face TLhre the bu.iSraInger were supposel to 1e wai but fear mil s away. After same ccnul tion it was deci ed that Jim should lead half the t.uld, ccnsictiLn of ten const'i.cs unoder O' onnort md fifteen co!ounist, roun through the hills to a p3sition near the mouth of thi valer, in which the hlicks aen bushrang?rs were likely to be, and that when he had . stod them thL re he ihoul c-'o tback agaain to ir i resLat halt:ngI lae ac lead forr;.rd tLo lurtv undlerlcubln. "Ii';l,'" R-uben sarid l.bocre the othesn sio:td, " w don':t want to altack the blcks unleis they shlw fight; our object is tLe bu.-ra3ngi r. Ji:a says tat by what he heard thev vliagot 0o:nie ,srt of houses tier lave buil:there: let us riake strmsht for them; if the blcks attack, drive thr-m off, but we can settle with them afterwards. The great g aint l i, cap,'re cr kill the baushralgero." All areed to this, for although the bh:,b rave great truble by ririing off the heep and cattle, andt sometimes Liliong the shepherds, t!tre wasc not the sa:es feelint of hatred e:it ,r tainrd lo thcem aforthe bh-rrangers. It was fet to b3 natural that the Cllres should reoent ti: occulpotion of thiir hunling- grond', and ailhoughi they were shot down without mnrcy in fair cbht, cr if orcrtaken while carryin oif etltle, t'ere was no ic:ire feelino, of aninosi:y a,.i::t them, and they were generally kindly tre:.rd uwh:n they callel unarnel at the '.i;on 'at and asked for fc.od. A.-ain't the hah-nran:er, on the ther hanr.ll, a deiiil hatnd waos felt by the colsni'to, and tbL fact tht th 'e wtre constantly aided by the ticket-of-leave lab:urers inacrede the Oast''ity with which they were regarded. Jim I1ft his horse behind him when he startid with hl irarer, ayinog that comintg back at r.i!.t i:1 th dark he would rather b- without it. AfIer their comrades had set out, those who re euinel behind I sted two men as s.ntris s. and then, as soon as they had cocked and eatcn a meal, laid themrelvresdown to strepl until the time should come for their advance. It was just midnieht when Jim returnel HIe reported that he had seen no blacks by the way, and that he believd he had posted his platy without their being observed. le himast, in stead of returning by the same route that he had taken them, had come straight up the ;allcy. Thre were, he said, two huts which had been built by the bush-rangers, and the<e wera now ,cenupid br them. There were great fires ble.ing, and he thought that the natires had Iroibly ly y arrived there that evening. lie Lad got near enough to find that they were in a high state of delight at the presen's which their white friends had brought them. " Did you catch sight of any of the Lush rangers, Jin " Reuben asked. ** Two ob dem came out and spoke to black fillows at tire, but too far off to see which dey rtre." An hour before daybreak the party moved fors-ard and halted within half a mile of the baeh-ran.er's camp. There they stopped tdl they could seethe sunlight touch tho top ofl the hillat the right hmd dle of the valley. 'hie was the signal agreed upan, and mounnag they role forward at full spo'. Just as they got within sight of the huts they heard a wild shouting, followed instantly by the crack of rifes. Another minute and they had reached the scno and joined the other partr, who had made straight to the huts. The blacks, awakelned sudlenlr as they were sleeting round the em lIc-s of their fire, had hastily thrown a volley of spears, and had darte away among the SSurender in ths Queen' nam me: " P.euben shouted, "and I romise ou that you shall be tac-en down and Leee a {ai trial." Thse eiieetr came ia ths flrh of a rif from the window of one of the huts, and a constable immdudtely lehind ? Reubun fll delI with tht ball through his head. "* Dirmoi nt" R-alben aboutel, " and break in the doors " With a stout the men threw themtelves from their hores and rushed at thl doon of the huts. "Sergeant O'Connor," lReuben said; " do you with sia of your men keep up a fire at tih windows. Don't let a mna shoe himase the'. Let ten of tho others look alfter the hone. We thall hare the blacks back in no time. So iyinghe ran forward and joined those

wi.e ere? battering at tha dlors. Several of them had brought stout axir with them, and the doors speedily gave way. There was a rush forward. Mr. B!ount fell dead, and Dick Caister's sahulder was broken by a bullet; but there was to check as the colanists poured into the huti. There was a short, sharp fight. but in two minutes it was over. Three of the gang had Lein lshot as they 'leapt fro:m the windorws. Four more bly dcald r dy1i;g in te hliuts. One of tha:u haal thrown dIuw has arsa, nndehoute. for mercy. Its had been hoochk' down and stunned by the butn-t.l of a ri!-', but was otherwoea rnawound:d. -Short .? rwa- hI lifght it had iven time to the black's tosally. Their shouts were ringing in the air, and the spears were flying thickly as the party, having finished their work, rushed outside again to as!,-t the constables who were guarding the horses. "Pour a volley into the bushes." Ieuhen shouted; '"then mount and charge them." The order was executed, and in a minute the horsemen were dashing hither and thither among the bushes shooting down with their pistols the blacks who resisted, or dealing tre. mendous blows among them with theirhunting. whirs. The charge was irresistible, and in five minutes the main body of the blacks were flying? at full speed up the steep hillsides. The victors soon gathered round the huts. Several men and hr.ees had been wounldel with spears, but none of the injuries were of a serious character. " Well, how about the nrisoners ?" Reuben asked the sergeant who had arrived beforehim. "There's caly one prisoner, sir; all the rest are accounted for." " Is it their captain?" "I don't know, sir, I have never set eyes on him; but if he's a young chap, as they say, it ain't him." "Jim," Reuben said, " just go round and exanmine the bodies, and see which of them is the captain." Jim returned in a couple of minutes. " None of dem aint him, sah; he not dere." Reuben started. "Are you quite sure, JimI" "Quite sure, sah." Are you sure none of them escaped, ser geant " " I am quite sure of that, sir: no one came out of either of the doors, and there were only three who tried to bolt through the windows, and we accounted for them all. Perhaps that chap who is prisencr can tell you where to iend the captain. It's a bal job indeed if he has Is the man recovering hi? senses:" "Yes, sir, he's just comning roun." Ieuben -teHpel into the hut. T'he ieva;pe of Thoree de troyed all the ectitdaction which hi' su:cess would have given hi:a. Hle had god reason tokuow the fiendish malignity of the man, and in spite of the warnino s he had giren Kate Ellison, nad his strict orders to the police on guard, he felt a thrill of anxiety now that he was aware her ene:ny was still at large. The prisoner was ritt:r.{g u in a c.:ner of the hut, a policeman with drawn oword Ltan?ding near him. "Where is your leader'" Reuben asked sternly-the man you call F'thergill." "IIe went aw?v yesterday morning." the man said with a grin of satisfaction. "You haven't cught him yet, ant you will bear more of him before you do." "Where was he guing R" Iteuben demanded. "TYou won't get nothing out of me," the fellow said. " Iti's been a good mate and a true, and I aih't going to put you bolcdhounds nca his cent. He's 'o::e a-wocing, that's where's he's gone, an' that won't help you much." I;uben at once went outside and called the settlers routd him. "I am sorry to say," he said, " that the ealer of the party has got away. tIe rode off yesterday morning. and although the prisoner sre have taken did not say where he has gone, I have not the least doubt he has ridden back to the Donald-' to try and carry out his threat to retura for Miss Eill on. Th refore, gentlemen, may I ask you to start homeward at once. The heroes have only dusne a few miles, and if we lprsic ora:ar we any manage to get to our camp of the ecening before last. We have no more to do here, exct I t to se if there are any valuables Lidden in the huts, and set tire to then. I expect weskhall have tiahting with the blacks on our way luck. Those parties the two fellows who got away went to fetch will likely enou-h bar our war. If it were not for that'l should rit on by rtt ieli, but my duty is to stop with ty men until at anarrate we have passed the pliac where the Jlascs are likely to attack us. That done, I shall push on. It is annoying indee.t to think that that fellow must have l.lus somewhere on the way yester 'e settlers arceed at once. They all sym. tlath'iscl with lReuten in his disapl.ointment at the escape of the leader of the bushrangers, ard regrettel the matter deeply on their own aneount. They wore, too, now that the work was done. anxious to be off, not only because they winhed to return to their stations, but because they felt that their l)oition was a dan gerousone. They ha pne:rated to a ditance hitherto unattempted into tho country of the natives, and they knew that the-a would gather round them ihk hornets on their return march. Tenminutes werspent in the se?reh of the huts. The police probed the ground with their swords and cloeely exatined the walls. They found under some heep-skins in cue ce cmtr a taz centoining upwards of two hundred lounds which was doubtless the amount wl.ich the bukhrarngers hal t rught back with them from their last p:under?n? ecpediia,a: 'ed not yet boon added to their main store, wh rever that might be. Thi:s, however, as a welcome fint to the tpolice, and the atandroe the idea of searching further, and were about to set tire to tL.e hut wl.cn the prisoner said: "Lookee here! I mey as well tell you where the lot is hildan. It o.:py do me good when it comes to the trial. and vnu may as well have it as i.rit to lay there. You die up the gr. und in front of tat L-ce bhLind the hut andl Seo will find ait." Fihe minutes later a lare lentILer t g e:ntin ing a conideratle juati',y of gold abd z:otes, and a number of watchv, clai.e, uni cther trinkets, was tro;ght to light. "Don't s'top to count the money now," leul:n said; " fasten it on one of the horaes n1al let us te oft. S.r:eant, let Jones rile betide the prtesner, and be respensible for his safut. See that hisht:nds are tied behind him, and lis ak!:ls tlid securely to trrahrpieathere. Let four men tke cdi:e of the eight hores of the buorant. rs. Do you rde ahead with four onfhers, andl kee', a harp look-out as you go. Don't i.roJ the he:rom, but we mu t go at a saturt pace, fcr we have a long dao's march tere us. It is f! I -xt a tr ilh to the water hole whe r we campe 'te night fore list." . few mnut s later the toarty were ina mtion. Although dioappeinted at the e.cale of the leader of the l-nd, the r wre ll satiftie with the result of the exCeditiod , and at the small amount of less at which it had been accom plihed. There was genre cl reret at t'e death of Mr. Plount; but two lives rmee consiacred ta Le bat a small 1:ts for the usltu~r of so strong a body of tushrangers, who, knowing that they fought with rcio.s rocnd thur necks, always Jlade a de?eprate rsislance. Itif the journey was accomplished without incident, and Reuben felt satisfied that they tould at la..t lihae no trouble with the tribe they had scatter:d in thu morning. The spefede start that they had made had taken them beyond their pursuit, and if attacked, it would be bLy other tnoe. After an hour's halt to fe-e the hOrses and cook some meat for them selves the party p:rcceecd again. Another fllteen miles were passed, then Reuben saw the sergeant with the little party ahead suddenly draw relain, ie galloped for. ward to thet. " What is it, ergeanti" " I am pretty sure I sawa blckfellow's head over that rock, sir. It's a nasty piece of ground. I noticed it yesterday as I came along. It would be the worst place to be nattacket in of any we have passed. If the blacks are here in force they know what they are doing." Reuben examined the poasition. It was cr. tainly a noty tlace to bs attacked in. The valley was narrow and thickly strewn with boulders of all sizes which had rolled down from the hillhides. Among these the bush grew thickly, and it was only down a narrow path iu the eoentre formed by a wi~nter str!iam. naw dry, that horsemen could pass. "I don't thilnk it would de to make a bolt through that, sir," the sergeant sail, shaking his head. " Wecould only ri-a two abreast, and if ther are str,,ng we athl!d be riddled with spears 'before we cot th?,ogh. and there's no charging them among three stones and bush." "That is ro. sergeant; we sehrl have to dis mouent and dive the vn cut-:at by foot. There's no!eil?a , ,i' for it." tie this :i:ou all the party had a mi up, and Reaub-n epla:ned to them the situJion. All agre(d that they coulnl do nothing on horsehack on such ground. The whole party therefore dismounted. The horses were tied to bushs, cnd the prisoner seurely fastened to a tree. Then rilde in hand they moved forward. The cergeant's eye hed not deceived him, for as they approached the spot where the boalders andbushgrew thi:ckest ashowr of spears was thrown, and the native cry rcse thrill in the air. The party were adraneing in skirmihing order, and most of them threw themsavesr down or dodged behind roee as the thlahe rose

to throw their spears, and a moment later the rifles cracked out. Several of the blacks fell and the rest disappeared among the bashes. " Makeyour way forward steadily and care fully. Let each man watch his neighbour to the right and left, and keep in line as much as you can." The fight now commenced in earnest, but the settlers ant police gradually made their way forward. Not only had they the advantage in weap;ons, but the fact that they were able to lire while lying down or stooping gave them an immense advantage over the blacks, who .had to expose themselves when rising to thro? their e'earr or take aim with their bow:. Several times, emboldened by their sa' crier numbers, the blacks attempted a ruch, blit the heavy fire from rile and pistol which areet:cd them each time sent them back in die:,itshud numbers. At last the resistance became feebler, as the natives, seeing that they were being driven out of their shelter, began to slink off so as not to be exposed to the fire of the white men in the comparatively open ground beyond Many, however, were not quick enough, and were shot down as they scaled the steep hilside. Te party of whitegathered and compared notes. Many had received wounds more or less serere, butnonecta nature to prevent them from continuing their journey. They quickly returned to the:r hores, anid mounting, con tinusd their way. "Thereis no fear of any farther attack I should think, sergeant'" "I should thinknot, air. The beggars must have had enough of it. They must have lost from forty to fifty men." Two hours later the party arrived at the halting place. "Now, sergeant," Ieuben said. "I shall hand oer the command to ound over the command to yo nd shall ride on at once with my boy. I am ma?t anxious about the man who has escapled. I shall take four of the bushrangera' horses. They have not been ridden, and having had three or four days' rest, are comparatively fresh. The fellow has had only one day's start, and if I push straight on I may be there before him." Reuben briefly bade adieu to his friends while Jim wa transferring the saddles to two of the bushrangers' horses, and leading two others, they started together in darkness. Changing saddles every tenmiles, they rode on till past midnight, when they halted, for the horses, accustomed as they were to long journeys, were now completely broken down, ,and Jim and his master could scarce keep their slats. "Too much long., Jim said, as he threw limself down after taking off the saddles and h bbinlgtlbe horses: "toe mrch long, sah." "It is long, Jim," Ieuben replied. "People in England woull hardly lelieve horses could go a hundred miles in a day vcn if led a part efthed:stance. Anotheriftyu miles will take us to Dc:tal!'s. It is about twenty miles tothe water-bhole where we camped the first night, and that was about thirty miles from the station." "Shall Jim light a fire, sah." " No, Jim, it isn't worth while. There is some cold meat in my haversack if you are hungry. but I am too tired to eat. If there are any natives prowling about a tfie might bring them round on us." "No tink black fellows near, ra.ssa." "I don't think so either, but I don't want to run the risk, Jim; besides, I am sure nei:thr of us can be trusted to keep watch." Reuben, in spite of his fatiCue, was some time before he could get off to sleep. The thought that probably Tom Thorne was at that time camped at the water-bole twenty miles ahead, and that in the morning his horse sould be far fresher than those he hal ridden, was maddening to him At one time he thought of getting up and pursuirg his war cn foot; but he was Etiff in ery limb, and felt that the journey was beyond him; maoreover, if the bushranger had taken some other line and was not camping there, he would have no means of pursuing his journey. At the first gleam of daylight they were afoot, the saddles were put on tl.e horses. and they continued their war. Reuben soon found, however, that the fire hours he had rested had been irsuiicient to re: tore the hores, and even by riding them alternately Le rould get them bh little lboynd a walk. On arriving at the water-bole the remains of a fire were found. Jim examined the ground carefully, and found the tracks of a Laore, and was of opinion that the rider had etarled three or four hours previously. Reuben carried a large flrsk of suirit, and having poured what remained in it down the throats of the horses and given them a drink at the pool, he again preyed on. Ten miles farther he arrived at thefirstoutlying station. The owner of this hal not joined in the expedition, being a married man, and unwilling to leave hLi wife in such an exposc d positirn. lBut upon Reuben's arrival he at once agreed to lend him two fresh horses. and to take care of those which RIeuben brought with him. While the settler was driving them in from the paddock, his wife bused herself in preparing two huge bowls of tread and milk. These were thankfully vwallaored by Ileuben and Jim, and five minutes later they started on the fresh horses. It was indeed a relief to ISeuben's anxiety to fied himself a a'n flying ore: the ground at a rapid galle aofter the .sl.w' and tedious piac at which he tad travelled since morniog. His spirits rose. an I the fear' which had oipresed him scrced lifted as if by magic. le assured himse:f that he had no cauce for anxiety, for that the two constables would assuredly te on the watch, and Kate had promised not to ven tur? beyond the doors of the house until his (To cc couxencaEn.)