Chapter 67863377

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Chapter NumberIII
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article67863377
Full Date1884-02-23
Page Number4
Corrections0
Word Count2355
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Capricornian (Rockhampton, Qld. : 1875 - 1929)
Trove TitleIn Days Gone By
article text

tdUs m& ^ftchf5.

IN DAYS GONE BY.*

Bt as Old Sittlkb.

CHAPTER IIL

I FAXCT I beard Boland say something ol his intention to publish these stones, provided Key were good^ough. I do not know* anything that »oold deter me from relating any of my little experiences more than tie idea of xdui my Mm. in pnnt Iahnnk

fa=iff:-1lSnEtad--Y- wiU soon get over that feeling. Yoo will be on the Ben* by-and-by. and some guttersnipe, who thinks he can sling ink, will roast yoo. Probably you will be very angry at first but youwfll get accustomed to it in time. It will act as f kind of corrective. The better man and the better magistrate you are. the fairer I game

yoo will be. Not for tbe 'upper len ». «?- press, bat snipes who haont in the gotten of Etertture for {heir daily bread^nd cheese.' ^?You can -?*«*? all that now. If you pardon my slang.' said Sims. 'And we will have Monsieur Jaqnes next, sn't so please yon. I can aee matter io bis eye.' ' Blight by jove,' .aid Bolaod. 'Jack Cond^T have you any eye water on board 'Sftort see not the matter with Hm .- said Jack. 'An nothin's better than weak brandy an ' waiter. 1 think the lofftenant were i fun loike. Ab ! Well, Jacques we are all attention.' TALE SECOND. When a man ' shuffles off tbis mortal coil ' (I beg pardon Boland has infected me), be is saidtolie with the dead. I. who stand here, living and breathing, have lain with the dead without performing the operation afore men ._? ? a i .m . mtive of Tasmania a- it u

now called. Van Dieman's Laud that was. I suppose the name was changed to gloss over U» tact of its having been a convict colony. What I am about to relate to you took place on the Victorian border of New South Wales. ?5k time of which I am about to speak is not so far distant as to reoder it advisable to give

the name of places or of people. In the course of this my first sojourn in The Island Continent, I had a fair share of what fellows nowaday call 'rough- ing it.' II they only have to camp OTt for a few nights on m journey with appliances for comfort, of which in those Sysoue never dreamed, they think it a feat, on my word I am often reminded of a story told by Sir Walter Scott, of the old clueftan. The old man kicked it from under hit head, teuing him be was growing too ? effeminate. lithe days of wbich I am speaking, there were not so many opportunities as exist now {or making a living. One had to depend on his bodily strength, his brains were a oseless

cerned. I did wb.t many who occupy chief .eats in the synagogoe, and have credit balances at their bankers did-I took any work which offered— fencing, hut-buildmg, ploughing, shepherding, bullock-driving any Snni I had just finished a job of fencing, my mate was only a chance acquaintance, and when the work was finished each went h» own road. There were no banks in the country, very few in the towns, to get your order cashed, it was necessary to go to some storekeeper or to Sydney, always provided that said order was good. It did not follow as a natural consequence in all cases, that, because you had an order, even with a good

name to it 50a could get it casuea. 1. w» ua my way to a large town at some distance for the purpose of reducing my piper to cash, aod placing the proceeds in safe keeping with a friend, when one evening a tremendous thunderstorm came on. I did not know much about the road I was on. I had only a general direction. Had the weather kept fine I should not have cared one bit. I got wet throosh and tired, and would have been re joiced to see any shelter however bumble, I plodded aloog through the mud. the rain fal ling heavily. I said to myself I am just as well crawling along as trying to camp Darkness was coming on. To my delight and snrprise I saw before me at a turn of tlieroad a BnbatanfaJ-looking house. I lML-eH fnr a aiffn. Hoping it was a public

house though I should have made bold to ask for shelter if it had been a palace. On coming closer I conld see no lights, nor coul'i I hear anyone moving about. I waited a little, then knocked a few times, and called ?? House, house !' A little delay occurred. A gruff voice asked. ' Who waa there ?' 'A traveller' I replied, 'open pray. I am wet, cold, and hungry.' The man opened the door. We took a general snrvey of each

other He was a tall man, not very sioui, brown hair, and brown eyes. Queer looking optics they were. He did not squint exactly, but there was a certain undehneable erpres sion in those eyes — not a bad one either. It seemed to me u if at times the fellow was u-- wardlv amused at something. I repeated that I was a traveller, wet, hungry, and foot gore and wanted shelter for the oight. I also asked lor tome drink. He did not seem at all pleased to see me, though at times there was that expression of grim humour 00 his face However, he led tbe way into the bar, and placed a bottle and glasses on the counter. I had orders for small sums, ffom 5s. to a pound, for travelling expenses. Fancying that be took me for a tramp I tendered him him an order in payment for the grog, and invited him to join me. He looked at the etanatme and said, ' That is aU right' ma tooTof amtisfaction. Agam I noticed this ?trance aleam from his eyes. He thawed coo i££fblf in hi. manner; began to chat aflably. and .bowed me into » room. The ? Written Jar tbe Cajwtanrtam bra ««iHnn»-* lot* and varied cokiuuilexnaieucs

furniture consisted of a rough slab table, and . few rough home-m.de chaos. He told me I could eheaas my wet clothes there. They wvrabavTsp lot room. At this I wa» not a little sorpci.ed. for from the glance I had it seemed to me to be * large house. I said no thins 'There is no one about, but' ha saJoT' I moat go and aee about supper.' He went »w»y. T did not anticipate any evO, though I confess the fellow did oot look up to much sood. In a few minutes he returned, took my wet clothes to hang in the kitchen, and set the table for two. He never asked me where I came from, whither 1 ma hnand. or one of the counties! queries

put to one by bush publicans in general. His face wore a look of mirth opon his return. Hu tongue wagged a little faster about the welcome rain. How long they had been suffering from drought, &c The meal consisted of the usual bush fare damper, beef, tea. only we had both milk and butter— and was soon over. We lit our pipes, and smoked away in silence. Every now and

then 1 detected toe aame e»pre»ivu w - ««^* I have spoken on his face, but especially in thosa queer eyes. He propped a gUss of grog. 1 consented. We bad two each. He talked of Sydney, and the people there, with whom be seemed to be pretty well acquainted. I had not heard his name, nor did I ask it, addressing him as Mister when I had occasion to do so. He ?? young followed ' me, and so we robbed on until bed time. He seemed in a better temper. At last I said I was tired, aod wished to go to rest I really was tired and sleepy. He took up the lamp, and led tbe way into a room at the back, the appearance of which was so different from the other part of the bouse which I had seen as to slightly astonish me. There was an air of comfort about the apartment— good furniture, a gaudy doth on the round table at one side of the room. French lights, boarded floor. There were signs of a woman's presence in anti _»M«»f« m thA chairs and some work that

lay on tbe table. He then said, ' I have but one room in which I can put yon : it is this. Ton will have to sleep in the same bed with my mate. I will give you separate clothes. Yoo see there b plenty of room, pointing to a large iron bedstead, on which lay what seemed to be a man, covered from head to t*ut* *Um )w4r tnm*d tnwmrds me. He tnmet

down the clothes, and said, ?? Yon will not be disturbed by my mate ; he is very quiet.' He ? bade me good night. ?? By-the-way. doo t extinguish the lamp; just turn it down, said he, as be went out. I had only seen or heard this man about the place. I did not trouble myself mush about that, but, with a look round the room, stripped, turned the lamp down, and lay down myself. Chuckling to myself, that I was lucky to have auch comfort able quarters, as the rain pattered on the shingled roof. I pulled the blankets over me and addressed myself to sleep. I was tired, and soon went off I cannot tell how long I slept. I awoke suddenly, with an uncomfort able sensation of chilliness. My bed mate certainly deserved the character given him, for be had not once stirred. He was very quiet. I then found that the camp was turned up, and that a woman was sitting at the table with her face buried in bet bands. It was her entrance which had roused me. I deter mined I would keep quite still, and discover the meaning of all tbn. My face was covered with the clothes all but a little hole through which I peeped. The Ump was not to its full height. T bad plenty of time to observe her. She raised her head, leaned it on one hand, and seemed to be lost in thought. She seemed to be a woman near middle age. good-looking, freab-complexioned, with dark hair, and black, bright eyes. I Baw a wedding ring on her finger. I pinched myself to prove that I was ant rireamine. No. I was wide awake. Tbe

feeling of chilliness had become one of intense cold, especially on the side next my quiet mate. 1 could not hear him breathing. 1 be came strangely curious to know what the woman was doing there. I was not left loog in doubt ; I heard the sound of hoofs Bplasbing through the mud at the back of the house. Presently a glass door was opened. A man entered— a tall, good-looking fellow as far as I conld see from my peephole — dressed in shooting coat breeches, and boots, splashed with mud. He strode to the table, took the woman's band—' What are you sitting in the dark tor!' he said, and turned the lamp to its height ; he sat down ; the pair commenced to convene in a low voice. I could not bear what was said ; 1 aaw him put bis arms r««md her and kiss her; the situation was becoming painful to me, and the dead cold feeling seemed to paralyze my faculties. What should I do. It seemed dishonourable to lie quiet. I wished I had never seen the house. It would have been better under my blanket tban as I was. My hesitation was put an end to unexpectedly. The woman did not seem at all averse to tbe stranger's caresiea rather the contrary. The

whispering continued. He was evidently coaxing her to do something to which she was or pretended to be averse. More caresses, more coaxing, on his part. Then she answered him aloud. Oh ! George, bow can you ask me ! Aod my dead husband lying there before me : ! Tbis, then, was tbe secret of my mates quietness and of the cold feeling. 1 sprang from the bed, seized my garments, and rushed from the room. They had botb torned to the bed 00 heariog me move. I caught a roomeu tary glance of their faces pale as death ; there was a shriek, a rush, over went tbe table, smash went the lamps, and I ran to where I had left my boots, nastily put on my things ; a light was burning in the room where I had eaten. Mj swag was on a chain, I seized it and bolted, tbe front doors not being fast. Tbe rain had ceased and the stars were out. When I had gone about a mile, I looked back. Something was burning merrily at the rear of the house. I left it to him to extinguish the Barnes caused by his nllany. in putting me to sleep with tbe dead. I want on my road, but iTwas long ereloorddgetridof thateery feeling. I haw never slept 'mates' with so unknown party since.

' Did you never hear anything more of tb» people r said Bolan. . j. ^fSome months eflwirarns I s»w tn en oM paperTwconnt of the eocidenhi *'*-?*-* i bush pub. The account did not atata whether my quiet mate was consumed or not. Rv^^ar2»w^ I w« in 8*dn^»a« the person of the landlady of a certain boos* of resort I recognised tbe womsn_ wboconM kias and cuddle with her lover in the pnsenee of her dead husband's corpse, tat was too austerely virtuous to go further. In the hasty glance which I bad at him, I recognised -ny late employer. (To be mntimud)