|Newspaper Title||The Colac Herald (Vic. : 1875 - 1918)|
|Trove Title||The Bush Wedding|
-THE BUSH WEDiNllG. t [Br J. R. LOCKEYEAR.] Author of " Goulburn Mary." " Little Mother," " Mr. Bunyip," or "' Mary, Somerville's Ramble," &c., &c. CHaiTrER I. "Love rules the Court, the Camp, the Grove," whilst even the most re- I mote back'bunsh linut is no less suscep tible to its all-subduing .influence. 1 "The scene of the festivities we are about to chronicle in celebration of the wedding--the actual tying of "The Holy Knot, which makes a Paradise on earth, when hearts and hands combine," having been per foihiied 'in' Melbourne-was 'a smalF ip-country towpshipin the North Eastern district, which forms the centre of an extensive agricultnrial area, noted-especially 'for its podwers of.wheat production;waving fields of the golden grain displaying them selves at harvest tiie in every direc tion around, scores of isaggon loads of which, destined. for thei ?Melbourne markets, beinmg daily despatched from one station alone 'Avenel for sever?lt moiths'of the year. Here, in this particular village townshipof Violetville, the lives of the inhabitants :glide peacefully along from seed time to harvest;'un moved by events agitating those living in the laiger?centres of popula tion, they appearing, to live in a little world of their own, partaking somewhat of the character of a large family circle being. indeed much like the members of the Newhaven fishing fig raternity, of "Caller Herrin" .fame, more or less closely connected by marriage--the past history and every day' life' of each member of the little community being intimately known to all. the rest, forming as it were a kind of common property. A pretty piece.of country, too, it is there, .which re mains, of the ".forest primeval" or native bush, closely pressing in certain directions upon the little township, and over which the plough has not yet assuiled. the sway, the endalypti and wattle, with shrubs and undergrowthl of various kinds shedding their grateful aroma upon tlhe. balmy spring air, whilst a rich emerald carpet, gorgeously bestudded with wild flowers of almost endless shapes and hues outsi)reads itself as far as the eye can reach. In the distance are to be seen tree-capped mountain ranges, mist enveloped when the leaden-hued clouds descend, the home of the eaglehawk, who may at times be seen in bold relief against the bright blue sky, describing graceful circles in the air, whilst casting a keen enquiring eye around, with a view to the furnishing of her little ones in the eyrie above with the ma terial for a morning meal, to accomplish which, vacancies may ore long be seei in the brood of some distracted lien, whose agonised cries and violent flutterings of the wings have proved powerless to repel 'the attacks of the rutlilces invader of the family circle. In those mountains the kangaroo and native dog still retain- a home, though' owing to the now. rapid-settlement 'of the district, their range of country is' becoming daily more and 'inmore circumscribed, whilst so high a price is being offered by the 'neighboring squatters for the dingo's caudal appendage, 'that ere long not one is likely to be left there abouts "a tale to unfold." The bridegroom owned, in conjlunc tion with his father, the principdl store in the township, and 'cultivated as well a goodly tract of land, besides possessing extensive paddocks well stocked with sheep and cattle. It was while upon a visit to Melbourne to "sort 'up stock" fori their store-the portion of the busi ness he usually undertook-that the son made the acquaintance of his bride, herself the daughter of a store keeper, and who, like Ruth of old, expressed after a while her willing ness to leave .friends, and home and everything she there held dear and share with him :his bush abode with all its i'eported dullness; and, like Ruth again, has never had occasion to repent her of having taken such step: : The. inn in which the festivities were'about to take place, and which for our present purpose we.will style "The (Shlairers' Armi," was in the possession of a relative of the bride groom aniid was of the usual bush type, with the' usual bush surround. ings. ' Abutting upon the old Sydney road, it had enjoyed in the palmuy dayp"'of the New South Wales and Ovens diggings a large share of road side patronage, supplying carriers and others with feed for their horses as. vell as accommodation for them selves, when carriage was at an almost fabulous rate, more than a hundred :ind fifty pounds per ton being paid for the same from Melbourne to Beechlvorttl; the old residents of the little township still retaining a lively recollection-of these, to them, " halcyon" days 'of the colony, when ceaseless streams of drays. waaggons, and other vehicles, as well as horsemen and foot-' passengers, miners and others-the majority fine athletic fellows under thirty, a good many of them inuna?vav sailors- who, sometimes with ther skippers arid otl'er officer, had left their vessels in thIe bay to look after themselvei, they steering thoir course, true as needle to the pole, to one or other of 'the diggings--would 'pass the7.Shearers' Arms from mornine, until night. Thlen would these various parties camp of a night out side the inn, owing either to the accommodation within being all en gaged, or else to: enable them to enjoy greater freedom and purer air, or with a view, in the case of the teamsters, to the protection of their propeitjt fi~o n midnigliht mraauders. The old cronies of the little town. ship. stilllove to recall, whilst sitting of a' witer evening around the huge log fire of tlheuSl~earers' Airmsj whose intense- heat-for the glowing logs are ,sife'ebt ' long-compels themi to take up their quarters a considerable distince therefrom; how those tra vellers of vairions kinds would fetch out their drink from the inn in bottles, in some cases bicketsfull, for the night's supply:, ladling it out with pannikaus: as they shoeld'feel disposed, yarning hour aftcer hoiur around thefglowing camp-:fie 'whiclh, when composed bf the biinches as well as the bodies of tlle.ti'ees, would blae 'andl cr:ackle '.and lthro," oiff snarks ?'hlicl Woiiihldpenuetua ta night's dar~lnss 'aud.a ascud. high . towards the hEgedns, like shooting stat's-" a
moment-bright then gone for ever," to paraphrase Robbie; the sub jects discussed by these travellers would partake. of a strong digging, early colonial, or Hoba- Town flavor, interspersed with si p-board incidents, of which they would be fell, in the case of some ef the newly arrived immigrants ; till overpowered at length with drink and its accom panying drowsiness, they would lie at full length like soldiers upon the battle field whenever they might chatice to fall, the stars shedding their soft faint light upon their up turned faces; they dead to evei'y thing around them, till the chill:air of early dawn should restore them' to some degree of consciousness, when they would arise flrom their grassy bed, brain bemuddled, and with dew damped varmients,and 'proceedstagger ing to the inn for a fresh supply of stimulants, the opening :of the day thus, frequently leading to a renewal .of tho previous one's proceedings :. Not infrequently would the more dishonest of the: carriers broiich the spirits they were conveying to their 'various destin-tiobls, substituting water- for.. the. liquor they ;had-, ab stracted, and thereby hiringing the. Melbourne houses into disrelpute with their: clients. : Often would :these teamsters anid 'others thus hanigabout the Shearers' Arms day after dajy, in some-, cases week safter:: week: their horses or bullocks strayed thleyknew *not whither; in niany` cases' lost altogether in the neighboring ranges; whilst the storekeepers: to ?whom ±.he 'oods were being consigned would be daily. expecting their arrival, the delay in their delivery often entailing' upon them the severest loss. - The morning of. the auspicious day whose proceedings were to mark it a~ red-letter one in the' annals of the little:township and district, broke bright and clear, with blended breeze anid sunshine, a chiaracteristic Aus tralian one indeed, and which _it would be difficult, one.would imagine, to finid surpassed in point of healthi-, ness or pleaisantness in any portion of the globe. The wattles and fruit trees had put forth their blossoms, and were looking their brightest and best, the former indeed impregnating the air with its grateful perfume, whilst the birds, emtulatiig seemingly the young couple whose names were just then in everyone's mouthi were indulging in protestations of love with a view to immediate matiug. The' young men and maideus, who were to be present at- the gathering, rarely late risers, seemed upon this particular morning to have been running a race with the settler's clock, the laughing jackass himself, to see who should have the distin guished honor of first announcing to the little world of the township and neighbourhood, the advent of this, the most important day they had known since the district's first settle ment. '1o be Conitinued.