Chapter 73760887

See chapter in newspaper

Chapter NumberI
Chapter TitleTHE MURDER
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article73760887
Full Date1884-12-27
Page Number2
Corrections0
Word Count3420
IllustratedY
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleThe Queenscliff Sentinel (Vic. : 1884 - 1885)
Trove TitleCurly Harry: A story about Old Times
article text

- r ..Curly Harry. :, S.-A'STORY/ABOUT:OED.TIMES.;~ CHAPTE'RI.-THi MURDER. ATTY," said 'imy miiate, Tom ^1 i Connor,-'as he" entered the rl? tent, just asll.aslboiling the ¥w I/ ~tea billy, "I've just droppe4 l . across a poor devil who wants us to let him' have a feed a lA 'd; ~ eflown for a'night or two, whilst he-h'aý a look round to see if.he can drop on a bit of ground ithat, he may knock tucker out .of. Whiatd db you say-shall we give him a.lift1'" S" I suppose so," I answered, as I took off the billyand put on the frying-pan. ",Where is he o h ' e look a decent soit ? - There is a lot of queer chaps cbme up to'theidiggings lately, and he might be one.of the same kind. Jim Maxey and hos mate stuck to a fellow for about a week, and gave him a start; but he found out where they plahted their gold, and bolt'et~ ith it'one'day whilst' thiey~were at work." S"Oh I thischap doesn't look. like any of those sort. He says he .came from Sydney, and stopped in Melbourne till his money was gone, and then tramped it up here. I gave him;ift;orsixi shilliigs to go and'get aserge shirt. The one he had on was all the worse' for wear, and I told him,to.come here after wards iad I'd asikyou about a shakedowin.". " Oh I we'll give him a week's tucker," said I. And, hlving got through my culinary operations, we 'bothi of us sat down to our evening meal. SThe incidentsthatoccur in this story hap pened :inr '53, aid' though my readers:may fancy.they detect !a somewhat melodramatic character about some of them, yet old miners of that era--and there are plenty of them stillliviing4-ill recognise :the ýoccurrences described as of- a .not. at all, out of the way character at that time. . i Before.we were half way, through our feed a shadow darkened the aperture that did duty for our door, and the individual we had been speaking about pioked his head in, noddcd 6Tom, .a'd said ; i? Weli?e;' 6ii cn put my swag inside ?" .' !c. ;, all right ;"' replied Tom, with his mouth half full''i;. chuck it down by the side of that bunik'and sit dowin. Waitty, shove on some more chops. ' m, as hungry as a diUngo oi half'ratihs;" 'iand' the pnih having been put on with another Iupply; of chops, was soon hissing 'away, wlvsit;, having taiken my seat again,, took a:,'good -look : at ' our' guest. He wasn't a bad lookiig fellow by any means.. He had a magnificent crop of curly black haii; but 'h';had 'a dissipated, woin look that didn't imipress one in his favor. It was very hard in those days to judge a man by his lobks. I ihae seen college-bicd geitle men of the most undoubted pedigree look the mbst'-"suister' 'of ruffians iwhen clothed in moleskin trousers, serge shirt, and a billy-cock hat; and when, in addition to this, which .was the ordinary costume of a 'digger in those days;'amanti.hidAh beardil and; moustache' ofi the most ferdcious 'iad iutrained description, I think" evenlt lavateri 'would have l been puzzled to read the character of any of us. One feciliariy about this mani- as a very. large pair of earrinigs worn iby).him, which were of an eccentric pattern, and heavier than those gei'ii w6r?fl by. men. i::'l. ., Our guest's story was very shorti nd com monplace. He-had left a pound a week and his board in Sydney,- to try the gold fields here.' ,Heknw. nothing about digging, but wanted io.learn.. He required thiusual'out fit,.viz.:--tub, cradle, pick, shovel' and the necessary 30s. license, which every man had to hold in those days; but he hadn't got a shilling, and wanted us or somebody else to give him a start. : - The advent of such men as our frieind oi the diggings was not at all an uncommon occurrence, and few refused to help anybody to a start at any time, for the man; hard up to-day, without a shilling, might be the pos sessor of the richest claim on some new lead before the week was out. A custom prevailed at that time amongst the diggers that when a man appealed to them for assistance they mutually responded by giving him a shovelful of wash.dirt from each of their heaps, and would lend him the tools wherewith to wash it off, five or six ounces being not at all a rare result from their combined gifts. Nobody missed it, and the new comer got a start and was willing:o contribute his shovelful at some future time to another dead broker, . . Tom and I had some conversatidoi'the next morning with reference to our new lodger, and instead of appealing to our fellow laborers, who were working in the same gully,' we decided to give him a start,ourselves. So we bonght him the usual digging plant, gave him a couple ot pounds for a; start,,and told him he could stay with y? till he made'a rise. We also laid him on to some old ground that we had left off working that would pay half an ounce a day, which at that time was not considered good enough for us, as we were than taking out about ninety ounces a week from ou. 24 by 12 ft. claim in Snob's Gully; the said gold bling placed in pickle bottles every week and' plante.4 in a hole underneath were we used to kindle a 'fire in our very rude but effective chimney. "At the time our Sydney friend put in an ap peara.np, four full-sized pickle bottles filled to the bnr reponed m this cache^ the result

of ten weeks' work; and we only waited for the next ".escort "' to forward them to Mel bourne by What was then considered the only safe way to get gold through without. any risk. For a week our friend worked, or was sup ,posed to work, at.the.groundwe.hadoput.himi oi to;, the result being about half an- ounce for a week's work. This struck me and Tom as, strange, and on theSundiy which followed the production of the-result of his'abofs we ;twoýwent for a quiiet walk- o.ut to' th?li-gily, taking a pick, shovel and'dish with us. We began to have.a sutspicioný that"-our- -friend, was loafing on us. One look at o`ur old Workings proved wewere quite right. The - ork that had been done Tom and I could hate got through in a couple of hours, so we came to the concliision that our friend was a fraud, and decided to give him his'' walking ticket." - t-'t Look here, old chap," said I, the same evening, to the man, who was sitting by the fire smoking his pipe, and gazing listlessly at the crackling branches that;rhad just been thrown on, "Tonmatd I.want yoiitoclear out to-morrow. "We have given you a fair show, 'and we find that you don't dare about work ing. Give somqbody else a look.up,; and if you want a pound or two we won't see you stumped when ogugoi~ g away; 1;but.)e have made up our minds you will have to clear out to-morrow." ' The fellow (bye-the-bye, I forgot to men tioh that his name was Harry Fenlo) turned round, looked at us with a sulky expression, and, simplyi saidd- 'Al1 -right,' rand wonti on with his smoking. Shortlry 'afterwar~dhe went out for, asI supposed, 'astioll:) , ? I don't like ,that- fellow,: Tom,'" said I, when we were a"lo?'ne "'e is aii+ulkylazy, illiconditioned cur; and I'm glad he's going. 'Bye-the-bye, how about last week's gold? We've got nearly enough to fill up the balance of our last pickle bottle., H'adn't we better pldant it?" ' No," said ToA' ;urilyp i I"a. il'tell .Myou why; if we gopgeningsup our plant that fel low might drop -in whilst 'we were ýat it. I don't like him any more than you do, 'nd I'm glad he's going. We got about sixty ounces last week's washing; it is hid in the lag of flour; and when we get rid of him it will be quite time enough to disturb the ashes of our domestic hearth..; I'll put the sixty ounces in any trousers jiboket to-night and shove them unider iny pillow.f I'ele'll be a clever fellow- who wll take it away.from me, ~won't he ?" conclnddi Tomni with a .laugh as he plunged his hand into our two-hundred weight bag of the best Adelaide flour and ex tracted the precious metal, which he was about putting into his pocket when our hard up friend walked in and sat down. Tom, still laughing, commenced blowing the gold: bag, and the man's eyes appeared to: glisten as he watched Tom place the gold in, his pocket. He then turned to us and said " Look here, mates ; I've made it right ?ith a friend of mine to shake down with him for9 a week or two, and I may as well go: now as to-morrow ;" and, rolling up his blankets, lie: said, "Good night, chips; I'm sorry I didii't work hard enough to please. you. If A l;had had your luck, I might have worked harder ; but a man don't care about killing. himself working at tucker ground. Good :night?" And he was gone. ' That night Tom put the trousers unnjere head of his bunk when he turned in Aboiut two'in the morning (as we afterw'ards'i dis covered) I was woko:up.by 'Tdm"layiri@.ls hand gently on me and whispering "IHush !" in my ear. " "What's up, Tom?" said I in :the saime whispering tones. " Somebody at the back of the tent," said Tom* :"and they have just ripiped up the tent close to the head.of my bed. He gwon't get much," said loino. qietly chncklid,:"w ifor I've taken away the trousers and got them on but I'll give 'him an ounnce or two of shot," and, feeling under my bed, lie pulled

(See "Curly Harry.") out our ld4 fowling-piece loaded with shot, and blazed away right at the place where he imagined: the midnight pilferers to be. A yell told us that Tom had struck a bull's eye, and Tom, who was as brave as a:lion, rushed out in the darkness, and I could hear a struggle taking 'place outside, and a voice shout }gput oaths that I seemed to recognise as being uttered by our lato br , : :.. Without waiting to .slip on my boots .or anything else, and with only my shirt onp, I rushed outside and stumbled ovei~ somebody lying on the ground.: The struggle had ceased when I got ouitside and I shouted--". Tom, where.are you ?? ; : I ?ceived no reply, but I could see the lights showing through: th i?eighboriig tents, the inimates being. :apparently, disturbed by the noise., I gave.a loud coo-ee and shouted out "Roll up; here Bush?rangers~': I I then rushed into the:tent,:struck a light, put on my trousers; idhn went outside: Four or five neighbirs had by thisiitiie put in ann appear ance, all well anedl, ald gqthcrs were coming in from all directions, and we wverit iOun the tent only, to' find that niydear old niate had been stabbed-right through a vital part, and would never speik again: ' : Poor fellow. Space prevents me from fully expressing my feelings on that sorrowvful occasion when I found my old and well-loved partier: deid. We hunted the murderer for. many miles the next day. .He had, been twounded, and

his blood-stained track enabled1us to follow himi.for aboutia mile 'and a half, when we lost them entirely. After burying my unfortunate mate, with but little enquiry from the police camp offi cial, I sold the claim and started for Mel jbourne, and I have never been on a gold field as aminer since. - I forwarded Tom's share of the gold to his sister in Englinhdand went into businesswas 9 , korFeeepe'-r in;Melbour&ie'wh6e Isl eedily .made a lot ofmoioney. ' ; .;:, Four years iafterwards T went up to look at a station property with 'a view to purchase it, and as there was some very handsome parrots and paroqueets in the neighborhood, I borrowed a gun and went out shooting. A Scotch collie dog, which. belonged&to-one ?of the shepherds,-followed o.ig ' omu"t sh otig sir? enquired the shepherd who owned the dtog I told him that was my intention. . " Better not go too far'away from the out station," said the man. " Curly Harry has been seen-.within'aff'wn'mi-'of-here." Wjp is .he Psir?--well-youare green-n him assituck uppBeaiiba station, and no. end! of other places. He's?~iteif6r I heis, said the old man;. "butI'dof't think he'd come rouid about here./ :Gbod morning, sir giyonll get plenity 6dPa'nts'oP- thCo'opthat Irag .o (pointing : to a.veryilbfty- one abbut-lfo miles off). Ifyoui lose yourself, follow the gulliesitill they take you to the creek . Coe ul it,'aiid it will bring you close-omioe. Half iinihour afterwaid I had clean for gocttiiinita shl uca person as CurlyHarry ever existed, and the parrots being numerous, I pott'd!ilot of beauties. I was takinmgaim at! 'nficent rosella, vhena.'growl fro mydog le i be look roun .'. Seated on 'log ab6utthirty yads 'off, Io saw' a big i rough fell6w,: with a gun leaning on hi shouilder. frob?i ie?lth his- knees, carving away at'fa hug6--umi?! of damnper and a picce ofi meate fre hd a heavy, jdarso bear, and had the appoarahed of some digger oh the tramp I had 'clelan" forqtten, about-,thl shepherd's w~iig, iand, ifter a ,casuihl glance ii the feU6w's idirectidnŽ I to.k aim' at Rmyjrose. frbond ljquarry,tadrought him dowv. 91 ha us:seiedhim, when' ' roiigh ';coarg6e-voidcesaid&ir' i 4'13 -UP'iYii

drop _ that gun, or. I'l blow the roof of your skufll in." Looking round, I saw that the fell?w who had tbeen so: quietly having his, fced lhad covered me with ': frniidable looking rifle, arid was' within ten feet of me.: ý.' i ? ;-: I am not, casily frightened; and giv me an even chance I wiould tackle anything or any boy i 'It did fb hat most sensible mewit vould hivei done' -I cdopped my gun uid held my arms up above my heliid. " ?allthat dog to you," said the maun. " .. . o~v,' d'Olioone hand unto your pocl cts.'on thait sidc, 'and empty, them one time giimd:" 6:I did so without hlisitationi, foril k?l7ic-ir "l :t.l nsulie)r -adlter'tive thii'n tolobe. "' Now put that hand uli, anid put the other bunch of fives intio yoir other 'pocket," said the ruffiian. I. I complied with the same alacrity. i'.' You're ipretty mart, yoi arc," said the fcllow, grinling. admi~ingly. " 5ccira's iE you had bccn through the mill be /? f:.~i-,ri rr; ~ ·;.

fore. I shant hurt you. Now just walk up to that tree Where you kniioked that bird off his perch, and:put your face Agin fit, ,d if you move for ihalf-an-houir, all you'll wvant is a sheet of bark to cairy hoime hat's left of you. There was something; so familiar inithe sound of- the. man's voice; that ,I could not 1ptipin Myself fro4r having i good 1oot0 a hun before obeying his commands, and. sud denly it flashed across me that the villain in front of me was Harry Fenlo, the murderer of my poor ,mate.. Regardless, of conse quences, I felt inclined to rush at him, but I rememibered, before I made what would have been a fatal step, that I could not possibly have a ~hange with hin, so I controlled the intense desire I felt to avenge,poor Tom, and said.- "I know you, Harry Fealo, murderer and robber that you are,, and if I could meet you on equal terms, I would soon make you suffer for your treacherous and cowardlyreturn for our kindness.' ry Sor one minute the fellow.looked as if he scarcely understoud me; theli" bringiig his gun on dead line for imy c t hlie said ' So, you're one of those coves that, 'cos they gave.a man ti feed and a "shake-down, fancied he ought to work his eyeballs out for a note or two, and,,because he wouldn't you turned him out, and when he called. up :to try and make a rise out of you imported new chuis, oine of ypiirsalted me with a charge

,of shot, eh ei: I know you I ,I /ain't likely to forget you l= Look here '"--and he pointed to one of his `eyes which was apparently sightless-" this was some of your. work, although that big chump paid dear enough for it. And now I'm going to square up a balance that's been standing a long time;" as:herfinished-he pulled:the -trigger'with a smile of malice, but the gun snapped. The next moment .I had seizedFmy gun, and vwent for the scouidrel:; bit he was too uicik for dme;! ad"h'ad darted for the6gully, gaining abouf 'hirty yardis y tli6 timie I osized my :unn,- The. sheep dog, however, kep' t a his heels for some tune d stooping as the dog ran alongside of him, he. seized her in his arms and ,threw the poor slut f~ir away from him, amongt some rough basaltic boulders; which: injured the poor 'animal so. much thit w:e soon left her far behind. On we went at a break-neck pace that iii'knew couldn't last long, until sud `deny rising a very steep range that on one side~had--a most precipitous face, ending in a; dee dyja'w e ourse, liost sight of him. H;onestly, Iwas quite tired of the chase, and when I retraced my steps I lost myself for many hours, but 'was found by a search party :that had been sent out for me; and arrived at the station about six in the morn ing, thoroughly exhaiisted: 'I told hmy host about my adve~ntu?es;'and,: as nearly as I could, where I had lost the' rffian; but, although we searched for three or four days afterwards, I could never point out the exact spot where he .had disappeared; and the generally-expressed opirlfion was that he would not' at'anyi rate;hang about; the, station after what had occurred, and the search was not persevered in ai " ':".1. Before I left the station-'I had made up my mind to purcaiise it, and?oni? return to Melbourne concluded arrangements with the agents. After getting married to an old sweetheart who came over to the colonies to share my loneliness, I removed'to miy new purchase, and, writi~ig as i now am '.aftr'? tweiity-five years' experience of station business,.I can safely say that.Inever. regretted hhving in vested my capital in so profitable and pleasant a speculation. Mi children, five in number, are likely to do credit to. their ,native land ; and my dear :old wife and I consider ourselvýs 'among the ,happiest of mortals.

Last Christmas twelvemonths, as three: of my station hlinds were returning from a ride to the neighboring township, they struck through a piece of countiy.that.had rarely been'visited by anybody.on the station, and lever by inyself., It was a rocky,. barren gully, with no feed for anything near it; but one of my, iders fancied he recognised. the hoof-marnes of favorite horse of mine that had been lost some time'previously, 'trending in this direction. :Crossing over some boul ders in a narrow gorge, after dismounting, one of them saw something white, and close investigation showed it to be a skeleton, whitened byage. The only thing aboiit it likely to lead to its idenitification was' an earring that lay on the solid flat rook along side the remains. When it was shown to me I at once recognised it as one of those worn by Carly Harry, and a visit to the spot at once confirmed me in my belief, for, on tracing the position of the skeleton from the top of the precipitdus range I couild identify, the spot as being the last place where I had seen the murderer. He must have fallen' on the hard rock below and never mRoved after wiiards; as the bones were fradtured inh iia'ny places ; but being in such an n hfrequented nook--aplace that: nobody had any necessity to visit-his remains had not been discovered until found,' after so many :years, by my men. So my poor murdered mate 'was, after all, avenged, and his assassin received his cue punishment, ., WATY$m .