|Chapter Title||THE MURDER|
|Newspaper Title||Northern Star (Lismore, NSW : 1876 - 1954)|
|Trove Title||Curly Harry: A story about Old Times|
A STORY ABOUT OLD TIMES.
CHAPTER I.—THE MURDER.
"Watty," said my mate, Tom
Connor, as he entered the tent, just as I was boiling the tea billy, "I've just dropped across a poor devil who wants
us to let him have a feed and a shakedown for a night or two, whilst he has a look round to see if he can drop on a bit of ground that he may knock tucker out of. What do you say—shall we give him a lift?"
: " I stipposo so," I answered, ns I took off tho billy and put on the frying-pan. . " Where is ho / Does he look a docent sort ? There ÍB a lot of queer chapB como up to tho diggings lately, and lie might bo ono of tho same kind. Jim Maxoy and his mato stuck to a fellow for about a week, and gave him n, stai't ¡ but j .ho found out whore they planted their gold, and bolted with it ono day whilst they were at work." ?' j
" Oh 1 this ohap doesn't look like any of those sort. Ho says ho came from Sydney, and stopped in Melbourne till his money was gono, and thou tramped it up hera. 1 gave him llvo or six shillings to go and get a serge shirt. ' Tho ono lie had on was all tho worse for woor, and 1 told him'to como hero' after wards and: I'd ask you about a shakedown." ? "Oh I wo'll givo him a week's tucker," Biiid I. And, having got through my culinary operations, wo both of us sat down to our evening meal. '' '?''?'.
> Thb incidents that occur iii this stoty hap pened in-'CH, and though my rendors'mrfy fancy-they dotoct a somewhat; melodramatic character about somo of them, yet old minors of that cm-and 'thero 'nm plonty of them still living-will recogniso . the occurrences described as-of a not nt nil out of tho way character at that time. - .. .
lloforo wo wore half way '.through our feud n shadow dnrkoncd tho nperturo that did duty for our door, and < tho individual ; wo hail been ' speaking about poked his head' in, nodded to Tom, and said- ' ?
" Well, mate, can I put my siyng insiiloî"
"Yes; all right ;" ropliod Tom, with his mouth half full ; "chuck it down-hy the sitio of that bunk and sit down. ' Watty; shove on some more chops. 1 I'in'ns hungry ns a dingo on half rations ;" and tho pan, hnving boon [mt on with: another supply of chops, waa soon hissing away, whilst 1, having taken my seat
. ngain,. took ? a ¡good look nt our ?. guest.
I to wasn't ra : bnd looking follow by any /means. Ho had a magnificent crop of curly black hair j but ho-lind n dissipated, worn look that didn't impress ono in his favor;' lt was very hard in those days to'tjudge ix-niau by his loolvs. 'il hare seen collcyc-brcil gentle men of tho most undoubted pedigree look the most sinister of ruflinns when clothed iii moleskin trousers,serge shirt, and a billy-cock hat; and when, in addition to this, which wns tho ordinary costume of n digger in those days, a mau had a beard and moustache-of the most ferocious and untrained description,
1 think even Lavator would havo ? been
puzzled to rend tho character of any of us. One peculiarity about this man was a very largo pair of earrings worn. by him, which woro of an eccentric pattern, and heavier than thoso goncrally worn by men.
; Our guest's'story was very short and com monplace. /Ho had left a pound a week and his board in Sydney, to try tho gold fields hore. Ho kriow nothing^about digging, but wanted toloarh. / 'He required thc usualout flt, viz. :^-tub,.erndlo,/pick,jshovel' and 'tho, necessary 80s; licdnso, which every man. had to hold in thoso days ; but ho hndn't'got a shilling,¡and wanted us br somebody else to' give him a start. ' íí-vív'^'-^'Y
Tho advent of such mon ns our friend- on thc diggings was not at nli an uncommon occurrence, and few refused ito help anybody; to a start at'any time, for tho man hard np. to-day, without a shilling, might ba tho pos
sessor of tho richest clnim on some now lend, before tho week was out. ' ? ' :
A custom prevailed nt that 'timo amongst tho diggers that'when a man appealed to thom for assistance thoy mutually responded by giving him a shovelful of wash-dirt, from each of their henpB, and would lend him the tools wherewith to wash it. off, iivo or six ounces being not at all a rare result from their combined gifts, Nobody, missed it, and tho now comer got a atdrfand wai williriçto1
contribute his shovelful at some future time to another dead broker. ?' '?
Tom and I had some conversation tho next
morning with, référencé to our ,no>v ,lodger, and instead o£^ appealing' to our, follow laborers, who were .working ii) thc same gully,
wc decided to give 'him a start ourselves. ! So wo bought him the usual digging plant,gave j him a couple of pounds for n start, hud told him 1)0 could stay with us:till ho mode arise. Wo also laid him on to some old ground that wo had left off working that would pay half an ounce a day, which nt that timo was not considered good enough for us, ns wpwero then taking out about ninety ounces a week from our 24 by 12 ft, chum in Snob's Gully; tho said gold being placed lu pickle bottles every week and planted lu n Jipío underneath wbro wc used to kiiidlo u ilro in oiir xVtH-y rudo but effective chimney. At tho Hmo our Sydnoy friond put ih nn ap pearance, four/uli^-wd pichle bottles filled to it'lio bung rçposçd/ln this cache, tho result
of ten weeks' work ; nnd we only waited for I the next " escort " to forward thom to Mel bourne by what was then considered tho only sato way tb get'gold through ^without any risk:'. " . '.' ?
1 For a -week our friend worked, or was snp-: posed to work, at the ground wo had put him On to; the result being : aboiuV half ; an -. ounce for. a week's work. This struck me and Tom as strange, and on the Sunday which followed tho production of tho result of his labors, wo two wont for. a quiet w-alk out, to ? tho gully, taking a pick, shovel and dish with us. Wc began to havo' n suspicion that our friend was . loafing, on us. One look at our old. workings proved we were quite right; Tho work that had been done Tom and i could have got through in à couple of hours,., so we came to thc conclusion that our friend was a fraud, and decided to givc_him his,", walking ticket." . " ". . ',,-'.
. Look hero, old,chap," said, i, tho'samo evening, to tho man, who was sitting'by the fire sinokinghis pipe, and gazing listlessly at tho crackling'branches that had just been thrown oh, "Tom and I want you to clear out to-morrow..' Wc have'given you af air show, iind,wo 'find that you don't caro nbput work ing. " Give somebody else à look up, and if you want a pound or ,two'wo won't soo you Btumpèd when you go away ;. but wo have mndo up our minds youwill have to clear out to-morrow." ' ; :" ''
' Tho follow (bye-thd-bye,' I forgot to men tion that his name was Harry Fenlo) turned round, looked at us with a, sulky expression j and . simply said, " All right," nnd went on with Iiis smoking. Shortly ' afterwards ho wont out for, ns 1 supposed,, a stroll."
" I don't lileo that fellow, Tom," said I, when wc wore alone. " He is n sulky, lazy, ill-conditioned cur ; and I'm glnd ho's going. Byc-thc-byc, ' how about last week's' gold ? We're got nearly enough to fill np the balance of our last pickle bottle. Hn'du t wo better plant it ?"
" No," said Tom, curtly ; " mid I'll tcllyou why ; if wo go opening up our plant that fel low might drop in whilst we wore at it. I don't like lum nny moro than you do, and I'm glad he's going. Wo got about sixty ounces last week's washing j it is hid in thc bag of flour ; and whoa wo get rid of him it will be quito time enough to disturb thc ashes of our domestic hearth. I'll put thu sixty ounces in my trousers pocket to-night and shove them under my pillow. . He'll bo a clover fellow who will tnko it away from mo, won't bc ?" concluded Tom, with a lnugh as ho.pluugcd his hand into bur two-hundred weight ling of tho best Adelaide Hour and ex tracted thc . precious metal, which ho was about putting into his pocket when our hnrd up friend walked in and snt down. Tom, still laughing, commenced blowing tho gold bog, mid tho man's eyes appeared to glisten, as ho watched Tom placo thc gold in-his pocket. Hellion, turned'to us anti said-^v ..
" Look hero, mates ; Tvo mndo it right with a .friend, of mino to shako down with him for a week or two, and I may ns well go 'now as to-morrow ;". 'and< rolling up his blankets, he said, " Good night, chaps ; I'm sorry 1 didn't work hard choiigh to please': you. If I 'bad had your lock, I might hnvo worked harder ; but a man don't, care about, .killing himself working nt tucker ground.' Good night." And ho was gone. ' ' '
; That night Tom put tho trousors under tho head of his bunk when he turned in. About two in tho 'morning (as We afterwards dis covered).I was woko up, by.(Toui laying bis hand gently on mc lind whispering " Hush I" in my car. H
, "What's up, Tom 7,"-said .J, j in tho same whispering tones.
"Somebody nt tl» hw*' ot tho tent," said ,Tom ;:;"nnd. they have. j<i.«it,.'-ripped up tho tout close to thc head o/.iiiy bcd. Ho won't get much," snid Toni, quietly chuckling, "for ?I've taken away tho trousers 'and got them
on; butj]?]} giye, ,him un ounce or twii of shot," and, feeling' under ruy bed, ho. pulled
? (Soo " Curly Harry?">
oílt ourlold íowltng-picco loaded with shot,
and blazed away right nt tho placo where ho' imngincd tho midnight pilferers to be.
A yell.told us thnt Tom had struck a buU's oyc, and :.Tomj who was as bravo as a lion, rushed out in thc darkness, and I could hear a struggle taking' placo outside, and a voice shouting ont oaths thnt I seemed to recognise ns being uttered by om' late boarder.
Without waiting to slip on my hoots or anything else, and ¡with only my shirt on, I *rushèd'6ùtsuïàrâfatts£umliled over somebody lying on tho ground. Tho struggle lind consctl -when 1 got outside and 1 shouted-" Tom', where nro.you 1" : ., ; : v..,. .
,1 received, no.'reply, but 1], could seo tho lights showing thrqugh tho neighboring tents, tho inmates .bqing ll'Pfivcntly, disturbad by tho noise. , I gavé n loud coodoo and .shouted out-^r . ,- '. ... i ". :
*'Boll"np, herp.I. Bushrangers I" I then rushed into thc tent, struck, a light, put on my trousers, anti wont outside., .pour or live neighbors lind by this limo put iii'an appear ance, all well armed, and others wero, coming in from all directions, mid wo wont round tho tout only io find.thnt.my clear old 'mate had. boon Htahhecl'rïgh^fhroagh/^.'vitaiyjmt^ and would növor.speak agniln, '' ' ~\" '.
Poor-follow. Spitt»iirbve'tïta'mb,from'fully expressing '. my ' fcbliiigs. on Ümty sorrowful occasion when'I found my bid arid well-loved liartuer dead. ;?' ' 'f..''.'; , ; , ! V ,. ' ;
.Wo hurítbd''tho'murdórcr for'mnny miles tho next day. ' Huj had bccii . wounded, and
his blood-stained track enabled us to follow him forabont a mile and' a half, when we lost them entirely.
After burying my unfortunate mate, with but little enquiry from tho police camp offi cial, I sold tho claim and started for Mel
bourne, and I have never bipen on a goldfield
as a miner sinco. ' '
I forwarded Tom's sham of tho gold to his sister in England, and wont into business as a storekeeper in Melbourne, whore I speedily made a lot bf money.