Chapter 65517943

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Chapter NumberV
Chapter TitleNOT GUILTY.
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article65517943
Full Date1891-05-01
Page Number5
Corrections0
Word Count7107
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleEuroa Advertiser (Vic. : 1884 - 1920)
Trove TitleA Final Reckoning: A Tale of Bush Life in Australia
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A FINAL itECKONING.* A TALE OF BUSK LIFE IN AUSTPRALIA. Br G. A. HENTY. CHAPTER V.-Nor GUILTY. The schoolmaster was the first witness called for the defence. After stating that, although no evening was actually tettled for his coming over, he expected the prisener one evening that week, and that he had promised to brine his tools over to do a little job of carpentering, he also detailed his visit to the lane and the result of his observation there, and then gave Reuben the highest character, saying that he had known him for five years, and that he had an bezolute confidence in his integrity and honesty. "He has from the first," he said, "proved a most intelligent and hard'working boy, anxious to improve himself and to get on in the world. Hehas learnt allthat I could teach aim and more. He is one of the last persons in the world whom I should consider capable of the I crime which he is charged with. As to hishavtug any animosity to Mr. Ellison, I can swear that on many differrnt occasions he has expressed his high opinion of him, and has declared that it was quite natural that with the evidence be fore him he should have thought him guilty oft poisoning the dog." The jreeper of the vavysidepublic-housewhere he had-breakfasted, proved that he was struck with the prisoner's appearance when he entered, that he was very pale and seemed scarcely able to wilth. He had asked him the nearest way to Lewes. and had inquired whether there was any chance of getting a lift, as he was anxious to get back as soon as posEible. fr. Penfold was the next witness. He sald thatthe prisoner had been apprenticed to him four years previously, that his general conduct had been most excellent, and that he was re mar"kaly quirk and intelligent, and was an excellent workman. During the time that he had been employed he had never lost a day. "At the time he was apprenticed to you, Mr. Scharged by Mr. Ellison?" . " a " I was aware of that fact," Mir. Penfold answered; and Reuben with surprise looked at his employer. "From whom did yon hear of it?" "I heard of it from Mr. Ellison himself, who called' upon me about the matter." - "HleOw was it he came to call upon you, Mr. Eerfold$"' "The prisoner's mother.had applied to me about-apprenticing her son. I had asked £50 premium, and said that it wasn't my custom to pay ant-wages for the first year. fihe said the could only afford £20, and I thotght that was an end of the matter, until a few days later Mr. Ellison called upon me and said that he had heard from the schoolmaster in his village, who was a friend of the boy's mother, how matters stood, and that her applica tion had fallen through owing to her 'being unable to find more than £20. I said that this-vas so. Mr. Ellison then said that he ws prepared to make up the deficiency, - that he had a regard for the boy's father, and that, moreover, h?himself had, through a hasty mis co-sceptionregardtng the saoisoningof the dog, discharged the lad from his service, and that be felt uneasyin his mind at having been guilty -of a piece of injustice. Overand above the £30 le gave me six pounds ten in order that Imight pay the boylhalf a crown a week for the first year,which'hesaid would be a matter of con r, equence to his mother. He requested me on no .accotint to let Mre. Whitney know that he had intervened ina the matter, but to re present that I changed my mind and was wllingto takethe £20 she offered as a pre mium. " He was particularly anxious on this point, because, he said, she would certainly refuse to accept assistance from him, owing to that unfortunate affair about the dog. I 'may say that from that time to this I have not mentioned the fact to anyone, and the sum of £2 was inserted in theindenture of apprentice ship." There-was a little movement of applause in the court as Mc. Penfold-gave his evidence, ,and Reuben looked gratefully towards Mer. Ellison and said heartily: "I'thank you, sir, with all my heart." The foreman of the yard was next examined. He confirmed the high character Mr. Penfold .had given Retiben, and adding that he knew the lad never entered a public-house, but spent .his evenings almost entirely at home -studying, for that he himself had many times .calledinandhad upon every occasion found Limesa employed. The counsel for the prosecution tlen ad dressed the ja ,- - T +... -.,.-- - -..Sabe's narrative, which, he said, was unsup. ,preda im.axynztatit'?t parttcular. a . h h met the rest o he party in the lane was likely enough, he may have returned there with them after the burglary, and probably it was there thatin a quarrel over the spoilha received the rblow of which you have heard. " My learned friend has told you to dismiss from your mind the question about thatpoison ingof the dog four years ago, but it is im possible for you to deo so. You have heard that ,the dog was poisoned, and that the evidence was so strong -that Iis employer at once dis missed him. It is true that Mr. Ellison has told you that he afterwards changed his mind nthe subject ; bat after the evidence which Mr. Penfold had given of the kindness of that ,. ggentleman's heart you will readily understand thstno great streescan be laid upon this. The matter so far from being trivial, as my friend represents it, ishighly important, inasmuch as here we find that again the dogs have been lpoiaos nedjust as on the first occasion. It is clear that burglars from London would be ignorant of the whereabouts of the kennels, a?nd were not-likely to have come down pro vided witha store of poisoned meat, had they not known from persons well acquainted with theplace, oftheateps that would have to be taken before an entry could be effected into the house. You will therefore see the extreme importance of-this point "' I am perfectly ready to admit that the evi dence is of a wholly circumstantial nature, but from the nature of the case it is necessary that this should be eo. Had Mrs. or Mr. Ellison Sawoke when the thieves entered their room, it is probable that much more evidence would be forthcoming. It is. however, for you -to weigh the probabilities of the case. You have to 'onsider whether the theory which I have laid before you as to tie connection of ot prisner with this affsir, or this wild story which he tells you, is the most probable." SThe judge then summed up with a strong bias - gainstBeuben. He told them that evidence for character was, of course, of importance, but that it must not be relied upon too far. The p?soner appe rsduandoubtedly to be intelligent and well-con ..ed, but unfortunately his ex pefience told m'that many criminals were men "of unumual intelligence. Stress had been laid l' the counsel for the defence upon the fact t the prisoner was.not known at any time to i hae consorted with suspicious characters, bat - ubhiabedbyapeeiatsre g"meut with theaothor.

this after al was only negative . evidence. Affairs of this sort were always conducted with secrecy, and had one of these men come down from London, as was probable enough, to make inqtiries as to houses which could be broken into with a prospect of good booty, he would naturally not make himself conspicuous. They had heard the two stories and must judge for themselves, but he agreed with the counsel for the prosecution, that the fact that the prisoner had been discharged by Mr. Ellison for poison ing a dog, and that on the night of the robbery other dogs were found poisoned, ahd that probably by some one acquainted with the locality, could not but have an influence upon their minds. At the same time he would tell them, that if they Lad a doubt in their minds it was their duty to give the prisoner the benefit of that doubt. - The jury consulted together for a minute or two in the jury-box and then expressed their desire to retire. A buzz of talk arose in the court when they had left. Opinion was divided as to what the verdict would be. When the counsel for the defence sat down the general opinion was that the prisoner would be certainly acquitted, but the speech of the counsel for the prosecution, and the summing up of the judge, had causeda reaction, and few doubted now that the verdict would be guilty. So Reuben himself thought. It was, he felt. hard that, standing there to be tried for burglary, the decision should, in fact, depend upon that unjust charge whichhadfour years ago been brought against him. Reuben was in the habit of what he called arguing things out by himself, and as he. stood there waiting for the verdict he tried to put himself in the position of the jury. and he felt that in that case hie shoul. have difliculty in coming to a decision. It was not until after the lamps had been lighted that the jury returned into the box. The crier shouted for order, and there was not a snund heard as the foreman told the judge that they were not agreed upon their verdict. -.".Then. ou must go back, gentlemen until you are," tie-uuge esa.: " We are eleven one way and one the other. Won't that do. my lord P?' "No, sir. the judgereplied. "You mustbe unanimous. The jury amain retired, the judge and counsel went off to dine iat the hotel, and almost all the public trooped out. Two hours later, as the jury did not return, Reuben Whitney was taken back to thegaol and the court closed. At 0 o'clock in the morning awarderentered. "The jury have come bacu into the court," ihe sid. They are going to return a ver dict." Reuben was aguain placed in the dock; the seats open to the public quickly filled as the news spread through the town, severil of the members of the bar droplied in., and then the judge came in and took. his seat. Reuben.had occupied the time in trying to judge from the I faces of the jury what their verdict was going to be. They looked sulky and tired. But as Reu ben's eye rested on Jaloh Priestley, whom heat once recognised among the jury, the smith gave him an encouraging wink. At least so I Iteuben thought, but us the next moment he was looking as surly as the rest, he thought that hlie must have been mniistak, n. "Are you agreed, gentlemen, as to the ver-. 1 dictyou find in this case ?" the judge asked. " WVe are, my lord," the foreman replied. "Do you find the prisoner guilty or not guilty ". "Not guilty, my lord.'! "Very, well, gentlemen," the judge said tartly. "It is your verdict, not mine." At the foreman's word a thrill had run through the court, for when it was known the evening before that eleven were one way and one the other, the belief had been general that the majority were for a conviction. Reuben himself had so understood it, and' the verdict was a complete surprise to him. The constable raised the bar for him to leave the dock, and as he moved out his friend the scholmaster pushed forward and shook him warmly by the hand. "Thank God for that verdict, Reuben. I 1 am indeed rejoiced, and I own I hardly ex pected it." ' - "I didn't expect it at all," R'euben said in a choked voice, for his sudden liberation had shaken him more than his arrest or any of the subsequent proceedings had done. "I congratulato you heartily, Reuben,". Mr. Ellison said, putting his hand on his shoulder. The squire had waited at Lewes until 10 o'clock was he about the verdict. " I didn't. believe you guilty this time, my boy, from the first. I' I was glad indeed to hear the verdict, for after the udge's summing up I was sorely uneasy. And now, Reuben, I hope," he said, as they entered the street, "that you have quite forgiven me for that old business. It has been the unfor tunate cause of getting you into this affair. Had it not been for that, no one would ever for I a moment have doubted the truth of your story." - . - "There is nothing to forgive, squinre,"Reuben mid. "'.I never-blamed- you-for it from. the first; and even had I done so, year goodnesse of which I only heard yesterday, would have made up many times for any mistake you may have made then." - "That is right, my lad," the squire said. "I am glad that matter is made up. And now I I will not keep you, for I know you will want to be off home to your mother." - 'Reuben walked quietly home, so "as to give the schoolmaster, who had hurried en' ahead, time to break the news of his acquittal to his mother. Mrs. Whitney had remained in court during the trial, but. had "retired when the jury left to consider . their verdict, being completely overcome with agitation 'and excitement. The schoolmaster had slept in the house, and had persuaded her not to go to the court in the morming;' fearing is he did that the verdict would be a hostile one. She completely broke down when she was told thenews, and was still sobbing when Reuben arrived. The schoolmaster at once took his leave, leaving mother and son together, and promised them to return in a day or two. When he again came over he saw' at once that Mrs. Whitney was looking depressed and I .unhappy. ' . " Wiat do you think, Mr. Shrewsbury? Reuben says that he shall go atrosd out to Aus. tralia. I have talked against it till I am hoarse, but it's no good.. I hope you will persuade him= to give up such amad idea. " " I will hear what he has to say first, Mrs. Whitney. Reuben has generally agood deal to say for his side of a question, and I must hear his reasons before I can argue against them. Now, Reuben, what have you to say for your self ?" .. "I made up my mind while I was ingaol,' Reuben replied, "that if I was acquitted I would go right away. These things stick to a man all through his life. That first affair four if a small matter like that did me such harm, wthat will this do P If I had been proved to be thought I was gillty, aind.I am convinced that hejueywee esleven toone rainst me onlythe twelfth was more ob~stiate than they 'wers,sand -o they gave in. I believe it was Jacob Priest-I ley ths? blacksmith echo held out, for the sake of old times. At any rate, a great many people will think me guilty all their lives unless ,some thing turns up to prove my innocence. Mother says we might settle somewhere else where we ein't known; but I should never feel safe. Years on someone from Lewes might see meand tell the story, or Tom Thorne mig t keep on my track. I won't risk it. I have been to Mr. Penfold, and he says if I am determined to go he will cancel my indenture for me. I have no doubt I shall find work of some sort out there. I am a pretty good workman now at my own craft, and if I can't get work at that I can turn my hand to something else. My only troubleis about mother. I want her to go with me. I mould make a living for her out there, but she won't have it. She says six months at sea will kill her, and then ohe has all sorts of ideas in her headabeutthe natives. However, I hope that in two or three years' time I shall be able to write and tell her that I have comfortably settled, and have a good home ready for her to come to, and that then she will join me." "Never," Mrs. Whitney said excitedly. " I was born at Lewes and I have lived near it all my days, and I will die here. 1 am not going to tramp all over the world and settle down among black people in or.landish parts. I could not do it, Mr. Shrewsbury; it's cruel of him to ask me." The echoolmaster was silent for a minute. He saw that Reuben's mind was firmly madeup, and he could not deny the force of his reasoning. It was true that many people still considered him guilty; it was true that this story might crop up again years on and ruin his life; it did seem that the best thing he could do was to leave the country. "Anutralia is not so bad a olace as you fancy,Mrs. Whitney," hesaid at last. "They do have troubles with the natives certainly in the outlyingsettlemente, but m the towasyou have no more trouble than you have here. Besides, every year the white population is in creasing and the black dimmishing. 8i_ months' voyage is not so dreadful as it seems. And thoughI do think that if Rehubeni goes out ,t will be tter for you to reman 'quietly here til:l hes has home prepared for you, Ithink .that when the time comes you will chane inyourmind about it As to Renhan hilete

I must own there's a good deal of force in what he says, and -that until those Thornes have been sent out of the country his story might follow him. And I have no doubt he would do well out there. He is a good workman for his age, and, as he says, can turn his hand to almost anything. Labour is scarce out there, and hashe has got his head screwed on the right way I have no doubt that he will fall on his feet." . , "I didn't expect this of you, Mr. Shrews bury," Mrs. Whitney said, beginning to cry. "I thought you. would have taken my part, and now, you are going right against me." ' "Notagainstyou, Mrs. W'lhitney, for I think that Reuben's'plan is best for you both. He cannot hut suffer if he remains here, and you will be unhappy in seeing him suffer. Great as the loss would be to you, I believe that you would be happierhere alone than you would be were you to see himn in constant trouble and worry. At any rate you would have the option, if you found life intolerably- dull here, of joining him out there at any time. But how do you intend to get out, Reuben ?" he asked, seeming that Mrs. Whitney made no answer but again relapsed into tears. "I shall work my way out,"Reuben replied. " I can do any rough work, as a smith or a carpenter, andI should think I ought to get my passage for my work. Anyhow I have got twelve pounds saved up, and if I can't get out free. that and my worn A.. ` O.e me. in a short time Mrs. Whitney, f1tni1g tnat Reuben was not to be shaken'in his. deterunia. tion, ceroed to oppose it, od beogan to-busy herself in preparttlins for his dopartire. which he had arranged to take place as soon as possible. A day or two before starting he walked over to say aond-bye to Mrs. hirews bury. Ie stopped as he passed the smithy, and eeiiugJJacob Priestieyat work alone he went in.- . " Ahli, -Reuben, is it yon ?" the smith said. "Better here thati in the dock at Lewes, eh ? I hears a talk of your going to foreign parts." "Yes, I am off " euhen said. an 1 have Shrewsbury, so I- looked' in as I -passed; knowing as you were one of those who fomid me not guilty, and would perhaps give me .a shake of the laud before leaving." - "That will r, lad. 'Yes, I found younsot guilty, and I jest tipped you' a wink from the box to let you know as it were all-right: bhut, my eye! whata game we hald bad of it. Never had such a game in all my born days." . And i theblacksmith sat down on a stool to indulge in a great fit oflaughing. " What was the game?" Reuben asked. "N0ell, you know, Stokes, he was theforeman, and a Cockney sort of chap he be. Its turs t round inthe box and says he, 'In course you t are all agreed.' 'Agreed as how?' says I. r WIshy, agreed, as h?n's guilty, in counse, says I he. ' Nothing of tse sort,' says I. ' I.believes lie's as innocent as a child unbors.?:t Then they all comes round me and jaws; but seeoing as I wasn't going to give in, Stokes he asked the a judge for leave to retire. " Well, when we'retires they all pitches'into t me, and says as it's monstrous one man should '1 hold outagiti eleven, and that even if I dide't foeel sure myself I ought to' go as the others went. So I didn't say much, but I sits myself down and brings out a big caunk of bread and bacon as my good woman had put into my t pocket,'and'I begins to eat. ' Look you here,' says I, ' I ha' got four parcels like this: tou-da v be Friday, and I can hold on easy till Tuesda y. That's how I looks at it. T young chau ain't had nothing to do with this 'ore robbery, and I ain't. going to see he transported for what he never done.' tt f " Well, there we sits. Sometimes they would all talk at once, sometimes two or three . of them would give it me. Ten -o'clock comes and they got desperate like, for only one or two. of them had put- anything into their pockets, thinking that the matter was sure to be finished that night. When the messages were cent out againas we couldn't agree, I sits down in a corner and says I, 'I ain't a selfish man, and anyof you as changes your mind can have a'share of what I have got.' I dozes off, t but I hears them jawing away among them edves. It might have been two'o'Pflock when' one of them comes to me and gives me a shake, and says he,' Give us a cut of that bread and bacon; I am well-nighstarved. I have got a wife and children to think of, arid it. don't matter to me whether this chap goes to Botany Bay or whether he don't; it didn'tseem to me a certain case all along, so I will go along with you.,'ra.a. tro~eesm... 'Len.-...= ,tws~zo.our~a- thvo? mo=.?m n-h hesitating, so says I, ' Lookee heresmy'riendds those who has agreed to give this young chap another chance has lessened mystock of bread and bacon pretty considerable, and I ain't got more than enough for one more, so who's the next?' Four more spoke out at once. I divides the bread and bacon among them; then, as there was nine of us agin three, we goes at them and tells them how wrong it is as we was all to suffer from their obstinacy, and we works on their feelings about their wives and children, and then says I, ' I call it down right ridiculous, when there's a hot breakfast t on twelve tables waiting for us, as three men should keep the rest from tucking in, just acause they won't give an innocent lad the benefit of the doubt.' - t "'Yell, that finished them. The thought of the hot breakfast made the other chaps so 1 ravenous as I believe they would have pitched into Stokes and the other two if they hadn't have given in. So they comes round, and we sends out to say that we had agreed' on the vardict." It were the best game I ever seedin nuylife." "i am"n'e "" ' eei " t "Wel,Jacob, I am surel am heartily grate ful to you, and I shall not forget your kind ' ness, though what made you so sure of my innocence while all the others doubted it don't know." - "' Lor', Reuben !'" the smith said, " there ain't. nothing to thank me about. I didn't know nowght as to whether you was innocent or guilty, and it was a good.job for me as I had made up my mind about that there verdict afore I went into court, for I should never have made head or tail of all that talk, and the fellows with white hair on the top of their heads as kept bobbing up and down and asking all sorts of questions was enough to turn an honest man's head. The question was settled when Miss Kat?e Ellison-that's the little un, you know-came in here. Says she, 'Jacob, you are on this jury, I Lear.' 'Yes, miss,' says I. 'W?ell, I hope you are going to find Reuben Whitney innocent.' save eb ' I don't know nothing alateuit, says t ; 'folks seem to think as he did it.' Then she 1 went at me and told me that she was sure you was innocent, and the squire he was sure, and I he would be moighty put out if you was found guilty. So Itoldher natural that the squire's being a good landlord I wouldn't disoblige him 1 on no account, and she might look upon it as I good as settled that you should be found inno. rent. So she tells me not to say a word to anyone, and I ain't, not even to the ould w.oman ; but in coarse I don' coasiider as she Rebe ouldnet help 1laughisg as he l'i'searne that he had been .eqnitted, not from any balieif inhih ioenese on the part of the jury, but by the intervention on bin behalf of the girl who bad before fought his battles. Shaking hands with Jacob, he went on to the schoolmaster's. As he was sitting there chatting with Mr and Mrs. Shrewsbury, he saw Kate Ellison come out of her father's gate along the road I with her basket as usual. Catching up his hat 1 he ran out and stood bareheaded awaiting her. " Ah. Reuben !" she said with a smile and a nid," I am glad to see you before you go, for Mr. Shrewsbury told me yesterday you are going to leave Lewesandemigrate. Iam glad-" and she hesitated a little. " very glad that they found yea innaont. I was quite sure you would not dn nuch a thing." " I am glad I came over to.day, Miss Elli son," Reuben said quietly-" very glid that I have met yeu, for I have just learned from JacobPriestley that it isto you I am indobted that I am not in the present moment a prisoner ingaolunder sentence oftransportation." The girl flushed up hotly : "Jacob Priestley is very wrong to have spoken about it. I told him he was never to mention it." " I hops you will not blame him, Miss Elli son; he told me he had never spoken a word to anyone else, but he thought you did not mean it to aoply to me. I am very glad he has spoken, for I shall carry away with me across the sea a deep gratitude which will last as long as I live for. the kindness von have shown me, not only now but always--kindness which has saved me from a terrible punish ment for an offence of which I was innocent. May God bless you, Miss Ellison, and render your life a bappy one." Good-bye, Reuben," the girl said gently. "I hope you may do well in the new land you are going to." So sayinsg. she went on her errand. Reuben steod watching her until she entered one of the cottages, then, putting on his cap, he returned to flee schoolmaster's. Anreek later Reuben was wandering along the side of the London Docks, looking at the vessels lying there, and somewhat confused at the noise acdbushtleofloadingatidanloadingthatwasgoing 'on. H1e had come up the night' before by-the carrier'", waggon, 'and' had --elep at 'the imn where it stopped. His parting with his mnother had been a very sad one, but Mrs. Whitney had so far come rounslas to owa ,that she. thought

that his plan was perhaps the best, although she still maintained that she should never venture herself upon so distant a journey. He had promised that, should she not change her mind on this point, he would, whether sue. cessful or not, come home to see her. The squire had driven over the day before he left to say good-bye to him. He had, through Mr. Shrewsbury, directly he heard that he was going, offered to help towards paying his passage.money, but this offer Reuben had gratefully, though firmly, declined to accept. "Well, Reuben, I wish you every good luck on your adventure," he said; "the place you are going to will be a great country one of these days, and you are just the fellow to make your way in it. I am sorry you wouldn't let me help you, because I am in a way, you know, at the bottom of this business which has driven you from home." " Thankyou, squire,for your kind intention," Reuben answered, "but I am so much in your debt now that I would rather not go further into it. I am old enough now to make my own way in life; my only regret in the matter is that I cannot persuade my mother to go with me." "I think she is right, Reuben," the squire replied; "you can transplant a young tree easily enough, but you can't an old one. Some how they won't take root in new soil. Well, lad. I wish you every success. I suppose I shall hear through Shrewsbury from time to lime how you are going on." -As Reuben walked along the dock he stopped to read the notices of their destination affixed to the shrouds of most of the vessels. He had already gone on board three or four which were loading for Australia, but in none was there a vacancy for a carpenter. He stopped before a fine-looking barque to which no notice was attached. "Where is she going to"'' he asked a sailor who was passing along the gangway to the shore. " She's bound for Sydney," the sailor said; "she warps out of dock to-night, and takes on board a cargo of prisoners in the Medway." 'Do you mean men sentenced for. transpor "Yes," the man said,- "and I- wibh she had any oteresort of cargo: I have been- out with such a load before, and I would as soon go with a cargo of wild beasts." . Reuben felt a sudden chill as he thought how narrow had been his escape of forming one of a similar party. However, he stepoed on board, and went up to the mate, who was superintend ingthe cargo.- - -I "Do you want a carpenter for the voyage out?" - - - "A carpenter," themateo'repeated.j "W Well, yes, we do want a carpenter; the man who was a to have gone has been taken ill;- but you are too young for the berth. Why, you don't look more than eighteen; -besides,-'you don't look like i carpenter." - - : "I am a mill-wright." Reuben sazd, '"and am capable of-doing any ordiniary jobs either in carpentering' or' smithwork. I have testi monials here from my late employers." . "Well, you can see the captain if you like," the mate said "youi will fifid him at Mlr-i 'hompsoni's oliicoin TowerStreet No. dl." noeubein at once made his way to the office; The captain refused at first to entertain the ap p!ication on'the ground of his youth, but ship's carpenters were scarce, the time was short, and theraewas a isifficultS inr obtaining men for 6nviet sh?js ~ tlheiefore, iifterreading:thevery warm tetrimonial as to character and abilily t which Mr. -Penfold .h.d given Reuben, he t agreed to take him on the terms of his working ii his passage.. Reuben wenit back at' once to the inn. where he hod stopped, and had his- cheat a taken down, to the docks, and went on board the: Paranmtta,'which at high water warped out of dock into the stream. h CHAPTER VI.-Ox nO'c E OYAE. The next day the Prraramalta weighed anchor 1 and proceeded down the river. Reuben had y no time to look at thapassig ships, for he was fully occupied withthe many odd jobs which t are sure to-present themselves when a ship gets a under weigh. The-wind was favourable, and g the Paramatta ran downa to the mouth of the b Medway before the tide had ceased to ebb. She t anchored for three- hours and then made her way up to, Chatham, where she brought up close to the government yard. It was not till late in the evening that Reuben had finished his work and. was at liberty to look round and to take an iinterest in what was going on on c deck. '"This is your first voyage, my lad, I i reckon?'"a! old asllar who van 5and. i.-n ar. .?saet'?rni , bulak emtig his- pape, re- a marked. -: -- - " Yes,"Reuben said cheerfully, "this is my first voyage. I have shipped as carpenter, you know, to work myway outto Sydney." "You could not have chosen a better ship than this 'ere barkee," the sailor said; " though I wish- she-hadn'tgot them convicts on board. She will sail all the faster, 'cause, t you see, instead of being choked up with I cargo, the deck below-there has been set aside i for them: that will make easy sailing and t quick sailing; but I dbn't like them for all - that. They are-a-lot of trouble, and they has to be watched' night and' day. There's never no saying -what they might be up to ; there's mostly trouble on board with them.- Then one can't help being sorry for the poor chaps, though they does look such a villainous bad lot. They are treated mostly 1 kL dogs, and I 9 have been on boar- ships where the rations was not what-a decent dog would look at." " But I thought there was, reular food a according to a scale," Reuben as " Ay, there's that," the sailor replied, " and the Government officers s+e that the quantity's c right; but, Lor' blbs, you ! they dont trouble as to quality, and some of the owners.buys up 1 condemned stores and - such like ; anything, thisnks they, is good. tiough for a convict ship-biscuits as is dropping to pieces, salt junk as 'as- been twenty years in cask, and which was mostly horse to begin with. No wonder as they grumbles and'grosls ; a con vict is a man, you see, though he be a convict, and it ain't in human nature to eat such muck a as that without growlinog.' - "What tonnage is the vessel !" Reuben asked. "'Leven hundred and fifty ton, and as fine and roomy a ship as. there is in the trade, and well officered. I have made threa wages i with the captain and first mate, and the second mate was with us on the last vyage." " How many-hands are there altogether?" " Twenty-hbse courting you as one, and not a-counting the two stewardia" "We are going to take some passengers, I see." Reuben said. "I have been at work I putting up pegs and shelves for them." "Yes, there's eight or tee par'Sigers, I hears," the sailor said. "Passengers -don't mostly like coiug by convict ships, but then the fares are lswer than by other vessels, and that tempts a few. B'ides, the Psramatta is known to be a fast ship, and the slipper has a good name, so we shall have a better class of passengers, I expect,, than usually voyages t withsconvict ships; and besides the passengers I there will be the officer of the convict guard at sea " -" It just depends on the captain," the sailor said~' "You will be put in a watch and work with the others, except that they may not send " you aloft; that depends on thetirJns that yoe "j shipped as carpenter and to make myself generally useful, and to obey ordors. Isha!l be happy to do anytl i'g I can; hard work is ( better Shan doing nothing any day." " -"That's thesort, my lad," the sailorsaid heor:ily. "Now I am l almaker, tat, bless your heart! except putting a patch onr a sail now andthen, there's nthing to do that way, and when not so wanted I am one of the ordinarycrcw. Still if you works your passage it ain't to be expected as they will drive you the same as a man as is paid. H~e's a fair man is the skipper, and you won't find yourself put upon on board the Paramutta."' " s u't I go up aloft now ?" -Reuben asked. "' I would rather accustom myself to it while we are lying steady, than go op when the wind's blowing and she is heeling over." "iGo up! to be sure you can, and Iwillgo up with you and tell yeou some of the names of the ropes, and put yon up to things. There's a pleasure in helping s lad who seems in anyway teachable. Some of they boys as comes oe board a ship ain't worth their salt in these days." The sailor led the way up the shrodds. Reuben found it much more difficult than it looked. He had seen the sailors running up and down, and it looked as easy as mounting a ladder; but the slackness of the ratlines, which, as the sailor told him, was the name of the pieces of rope which answe?reod to the rounds .of a ladder, made it at first awkward. WVhen they reached the main-top the sailor told him to sit dlown and look round quietly, till he became accustomed to the height. S"It looks unnatural and risky at first," he said, ' but when you get accustomed to it, you will feel just as safe when you are astraddlethe end of a yard, and the ship rolling fit to take her masts out, as if you were standing on the deck." As Reuben had heard the sailorslaughing and' joking aloft, as they hauled out the earings of the sails bs. hadnos- doubt thtt what the sailor said was trie;. bat it seemed to him that hhilalould neveraci?stoalihself to-aitat thit ena of a spar irithnothing'bat the waler at ~ vast depth below. It woald, be-ib a -with -a ahsip lying

quiet asat present, it would be terrible with the vessel in a heavy sea. The sailor now told him the names of the masts and stays, giving him a general idea of the work aloft, and presently asked him whether he would like to return to the deck now or to mount a bit higher. Althonuh Reuben was now becoming accustomed to the poition, hs would, had he consulted his inner eelings, have rather gone down than up, but he thought it was better to put a good face on it, and to accustom himself at once to what he would probably have to do sooner or later. Holding on tight then, and following the in structions of his companion, he made his way up until he was seated on the cap of the top gallant mast, holding tight to the spar which towered still higher above him. He was sur prised at the sze and strength of the spars, which had looked so light and slender from below. " Very welldone, lad," the sailor said approv ingly. "You would make a good sailor in time if you took to a seafaring life. There's not one in ten as would get up there the first time of going aloft. You don't feel giddy, do "No," Reuben replied, "I don't think I feel iddy, but I feel a strange shaky feeling in my "That will soon pass off," the sailor said. "You look at them hillsbehind the town, and the forts and works up there. Don't think about the deck of the vessel or anything, but just as if you were sitting in a chair watching thohills." " Reuben did as the sailor instructed him, and as he did so the feeling of which he was before consciouspessed completely away. " I feel all right now," he sai , after sitting quietly for a few minutes. "All right, then' down we go. Don't look below, but just keep your eyes in front of you, andnever leave go of one grip till you make sure of the next." Five minutes later he stood on the deck. '" Well done, my lad, for the first time," the first mate said, as Reuben put his foot on the deck.:--"-I -have had my eye on- you. I shouldn't have let you go beyond the top at the first trial; but I didn't think you would go higher till you were fairly up, otherwise I should have hailed you from th deck. You ought not to have taken him up above the top, Bill. If he had lost his head it would have been alluu with him. S"I couldd see he wasn t omng o lose nts head. Trustme for not leading a young hand into danger. He'was a little frustrated when he got into the top, but after he had sat down a hit his breath come quiet and regular again, and I could sec there was no chance of his nerve going."? (T-o nE dowTreEDn.