Chapter 67865609

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Chapter NumberVI
Chapter Title
Chapter Url
Full Date1884-03-15
Page Number4
Word Count2109
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Capricornian (Rockhampton, Qld. : 1875 - 1929)
Trove TitleIn Days Gone By
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Sxto m& $kMt$.


By ax Old Settler.


'We shall have to make a board to the aotothard,' said Jack. 'The wind *s m falling tight, and the tide *a & setting of him ftp too Hindi.' 'Make a, board!' said Boland. 'What on earth is he talking of? Make a board even if we had the skill. Where are the materials. He might as well tell us to make a watch. ** Yon -will be made to form Dart of a watch

to-night,' said Jacqoes. ' Yon are certainly not the stuff for a balance wheeL Perhaps not. I should ahine in the compensation line though. Bat I want to know about this board. Has it any connection with 'pricking a soft place to a pbok ' ? I hare heard such an expression. If you contione to display aach crass ignorance, I will feel for a Boft place in your head with a thole pin. Can yon not see that the boat *s head has turned, and tbat we are seemingly going away from the island. ' In order the more sorely to reach it by-and-bye ? Then yon proceed on Paddf-'s principle is driving his ptg. He turned the pig's bead towards Fermoy when he wished him to go towards Cork. I will bare something to eat, sod continue to digest the porrle and my dinner at the same time, said Boland. They followed bis example. A boot four p.m., they oeared the island, and cast about for a landing place, which was {bond in a bay on the west or shoreward side of the island oa a shingly beach sprinkled trith dead coraL 'I wonder if there are any blacks about,' said Bowly. Peter, do you see any ? Yo-i : two fellows sit down tbat way. Baal black fellow, I believe ; now see. Two men were aeen on the) beach as ii waiting for the boat's approach. Not black by any means, rather of a light bronze colour, not large in form, well shaped, with short crisp hair, not at all like the aborigines of the coast as exemplified in the person of Peter. Jack held off for a lime lest there might be ao ambush. Rowly'e ?Story had aroused bis vigilance. The beach W open ; there was no shelter in the shape of trees close at hand. Foliage was per ceptible in the distance. The islanders in view were apparently unarmed. They pointed to the beach, where the boat could come in, aad did not seem at all alarmed. The boat was poshed to the shore. Rowley and Sims landed first, and were received with friendly gestures- Then came the individual with tne nose, at wbom the islanders did sot look closely. They had evidently seen soch people before. Bat the white men were examined narrowly. Their clothes were handled as if to see whether it was skin or not, the islanders passing their hands all over them, and chattering to each other. Jacques joined Rowley and Simtna. Jock decided to keep the boat a little way from the Bhore in case of treachery, Boland volunteering to keep him company with his big gnu. Tbe others walked Bowley aaked Peter if he understood their language. *' Ifcmi ? baal me hear him,' said be. Sims thought it sounded like Maori ; every word seemed to end in a vowel. As they left tbe beach they came on to a wide gully or creek, having plenty of fresh water in it, good-sized waterbolta, tbe banks covered with Ti and other trees. Tbe grass wti coarse and rank. The rocfee on either aide seemed to be frantic, as they followed np the water course. Numbers of birds similar to thoee on the mainland were seen. The omnipresent crow with bis bareh note ; king fishers darted abont. The common kite also was there. Taming to the right the party ascended a low hill, on which grew some stunted boshes, where tbey met some more of the inhabitants, cambering aboat thirty in ^!l_ The men were similar to tbeir com panions ; the wotcea email in stature, well formed, and pleasing looking ; all of the same reddish brown coloor, their bodies covered with a long fine hair. Eowiey cried to ascertain if all the islander* were present, Tbe attempt was a failure. He was not understood.

Peter was lost in astonishment. ' Baal wfaitefellovr. baal blafella, baal chinkie' (Chinaman.) He put bis hand on a woman's arm to feel the strange hair growing oo her arras, at which one 01 the men — her husband, presumably — pat his arms roond her waist, and uttered some words io a threatening tone with a menacing gesture. W hereupon Eowiey be stowed on him a sound kick, and ordered him on in front, at which the islanders seemed quite pleased. Tbe women especially seemad to enjoy it — laaghiog a low musical laogh, dis playing rows of eoo od white teeth. A few of the men accompanied tbe party ; the women, children, and otbers remaining behind. On ascending a sloping hill in front of the camp they came on a pyramid of human stalls. A number of bones were piled near; it were useless to coojecture for what reason. Tbe people did not look like cannibals ; their man - nexB were gentle ; their speech low and «weetly modulated Their skulls were much turner st the back than in front. The pre vailing colour of tbe eyes was brown. The ears were small and well-shaped. Number* of fish bones were strewn about. They did not seem to have any speara or other weapons only a weapon somewhat like a boomerang and a short clnb, which Sims suggested were for killing seals. One peculiarity was noticed. Jacques having stopped at a waterhole to quench his thirst, two of the islanders fol lowed bis example. It was ooticed that they lapped like a. dog. The eeaward aide of tbe itlaad seemed from their cursory surrey to be steep and rugged. The only thing in tbe ahape of a dwelling was the nasal one among the coast tribes. A few bits of ti-tree bars ? * Written for the Capruxmiian by * irfitlfrrun of

propped up by sticks. Thinking that Jack and hia mate might be anxious for their re appearance, after a couple of boon spent in wandering abont, the party returned to the boat, escorted by a moiety of the population. Bolan seeing a somber of people coming was prepared with bis duck gun. Bowley called to him that all was right. Tbe boat was pushed to shore, and the patty embarked waving friendly gestures to the islanders, who responded by pitting the ground with their palms and waving both hands in tbe air. *' Highly in teresting,' as Bolao said, ' if a body only knew what it meant.' There were yet aome hours of davligbt. Jack was anxious to get away. He did not like the appearance of tbe weather. There would be a change before long; better make the most of the wind. Bolan crumbled ; be wanted to go on shore as well as tbe others. Could not they stay there that night? However, seeing tbat tbe majority were against him he gave in with a good grace, and did not repent it afterwards. Sail was made on the boat, and waving a last farewell to tbe islanders they departed. Where are we going ? Back to the creek ; or. where ? Jack, on being appealed to, decided for tbe bay. He distrusted present appear ances. If the wind baoled to the south-east, tod came on to blow, they would be jammed in the creek. 'So be it,' said everyone. Tbe boat's bead was pnt in the proper direc tion. As they drew out from the shelter of the island the wind freshened, aad the Tor toise bowled along with tbe wind on her quarter, the sea becoming more agitated every ruinate. ' Who baa a watch f Eowiey had kept his wound. 'What time is it* Hve o'clock. Three hours to dark. She won't do it.' 'Will not do what?' eaid Siroa. 'She muBt be goiog fully eight knots. I don't think we can lie in the bay before dark, and it looks ugly. How far is it f ' A good forty miles to where we would get shelter.' ' Cannot we go back to the creek ? We should be safe enough there,' said Rowley. 'Yea, we Could go to the creek. We wonld be safe enough, and Peter wonld keep ue in Wamheen, bat if tbe wind hauls more south and blows hard we may be there for a week. Could we not go back by land ?' said ' Ver might. Bat there's no road, and it is rough travelling.' 'Ob! Well go oo and let us get some where,' eaid Bolan on whom the uneasy motion of the boat was making an impressioo, though he strove to be as cheery as usual, gradually collapsing into silence, Bowly and Jacques ware oot much better. As for him of the nose, he looked like an old blue-faced ape in trouble. Tbe sea was getting what Jack called lumpy, the wind veering to the soath-east. Jack kept her np a point, which made her more uneasy in her ?notion. Occasionally a small jet of water was swept in tbeir faces. Bolan wrapped himself in his blanket with a woebegone face. All three were in that etate. Tbe merest trifle would have apset them. The trifle came. Peter had ensconced himself in tbe bow, where he sat in mortal terror. Tbe boat g&*e a sadden lurch as she met a sea, which struck her with the sound of a sledge hammer. A sheet of spray enveloped them for an instant. Peter gave vent to a exclamation, which might have been either a prayer or a corse, and sacrificed to neptune. This set poor Bolaa off. Tbe other two rolled themselves in their blankets and lay down in tbe botton of the boat on the ballast, where tbey groaned in chorus ; Bolad execrating bifi f oUy in wasting to go to sea. So they lay until night began Jack said to Sims, who was hie only stay, 'Take tbe helm, Sims, while Igetaconple of reefs in the mainsail before dar1^' The word reefs reached Bolan '« ear. 'Oh, my God ! is it come to that. Oh, dear.' ?? Shut up Bolan. You might be wqrae off: The boat is behaving splendidly. Jack is only taking a precaution.' While Jack was geeting tbe reefs down the boat galloped abont a little, and either by Sims' carelessness or design, shipped a sea, which flooded tbe sick men, drenching them thoronghly. Not only tbat but tbeir remain

Bolan gave himself up for lost, and only asked tbat he might be boned decently, if any of them ever reached the shore. When Jack had got the sail set asain deem ing himself far enongb to windward, he let tbe boat off tbe wind which made her much easier in her motion. Peter had crept aft and stowed himself alongside Bolan, who was too sick to notice the movement. Aboat nine o'clock tbe boat was going along so easy, that hope revived in Bolan's breast. He sat np. The black had borrowed enough of Bolan'e blanket to protect him from the cold, leaving by his Gradual encroachments the smaller With an expression of deep disgust. Bolan staggered on to his feet, and supporting him self by a grasp on the rigging delivered encb a kick on Peter's ribs as frightened that worthy out of the little sense left him. There upon be set np snch an nnmelodions bowl, which aroased Rowly and Jacques, and Bet Tbe boat was inside tbe Cape by this time and in smooth water. StUl the sea. io the bay was ruing, and tbe wind was bowling fiercely. Immense masses of clottd rolled along before it. Jack blessed his stew be bad reached so tar, and be ran the boat on to the beach. The crew went on shore and finding some timber strewed along the beach they nude a fire, and without farther preparation disposed them* ?elves to sleep. (To be continued) ' Ab ! it was a Kale !*' eaid Mrs. Earns botham ; ** it ahook onr boose by tbe seaside, and I couldn't faelp murmuring to myself, as I Uy awake, the word* of tbe old song yon