|Chapter Title||1. Ronald Pops the Question— Ask Mamma. 2. The Drays start for Boorooma. —the Blacks.— Ronald's B|
|Newspaper Title||The Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 - 1954)|
|Trove Title||Ronald Walton: A Tale of Early Squatting Life in Moreton Bay|
A TALE OF EARLY SQUATTING LIFE IN
By the Author of "Adventures in Queensland."
[All Rights Reserved.]
Chapter I.—Ronald Pops the Question—
Throo hundred miles from Brisbane, stood the homestead of a fino sheop station called Boo- rooma, ? owned by a wealthy merchant who ro sided in Sydney, and managed by Ronald Walton, a young man of considerable ability and long experience in tho bush. He was about thirty, of middlo hoight, broad and sinewy. His complexion was decidedly dark. Ho had black, curly hair, black eyes, and where his face wns not covered with black hair, his skin was tanned by tho fierco rays of tho sun to a dcop bronze. He was very steady on tho station, but on the occasions of his visita to Brisbane, and after his business was completed - iiovor before - ho would throw off restraint somewhat, and pursue his plonsuro with somo kindred spirits-young mon of his own calling, managers or owners of stations- who generally visited town about tho saniB timo of the year, for it wns only ouco, or - perhaps twico a year, that they conld bo spared
from their station duties for two or threo weoks. It must not bo supposed from this that tiley wcro drunkards ; but .then it could not bo Baid that they wore Good Templars. Their long pont spirits vented themselves in various directions. Thoy were fond of song, billiards, and practical jokes - vory practical, and generally moro amusing to themselves than to their victims Yet, their fun was only fun ; it was nover_ ill natured ; and if it caused chagrin, it certainly
never did moro substantial hann.
Ronald Walton was tho son of a noble old soldier, Colonel Walton, who had done his country pood service, and finally settled down on a Government grant of land in New South Wales. Ronald was neither the quietest nor steadiest of those rostless spirits,'as may be gathered from the fact that ho well-earned the sobriquet of "Wild Walton," by which ho was known. But wo must lot bygones be.bygones, for at tho period at which this talc opens, " Wild Walton!' had soborod down considerably, and when pressed by his companions to join in some frolic, ho would reply that ho liad sown all his wild oats, and henceforth sprcos wcro not in his line. This wonderful chango requires but little explanation-Walton was in love.
The young lady who had captured Walton's affections and wrought such a chango in his mode of life, deserves at least passing montion. Sho was considered a beauty, and us a matter of course had a great many admirers, amongst whom was a solicitor named Silas Blast, who is destinod to play a somewhat prominent part in tlicBo pages. But moro of him anon.
Ada Brandon was tho only surviving child of a widow Indy of but limited moans. She was a tender, affectionato girl, and a great comfort to her mother in her declining years. Ada was fair and slender, and her beautiful complexion, massive euria, and bluo eyes, wcro at oiicî the envy of lier own box, and objocts of adoration with tho opposite Sho was a " Currency " lass, being a nativo of Sydnoy-a city that over- looks ono of tho lovoliest harbors in tho world, and whoso daughters aro not surpassed in beauly and other fcininino attractions by those of any other land. Ada's attire was always simple and elegant-uovcroxpensivo-and though sho was fond of balls and their attendant excite- ment, of dance, music, aud pleasant conver- sation, sho was alwayB careful to koop quito within tho bounds of moderation in each ; and it could not bo said by any of thoso who were envious of her charms, mid of tho great
amount of attention sho received from all tho
gentlemen who constantly flitted about her, that sho was a flirt, nor that her hoad was in tho least turned by tho court they paid her. There wero several young men of her acquaint- ance, any one of whom only requirod a little favour shown by her moro than she extended to the rest, to fall at her feet in abject supplica- tion. That little namoless something, only_ to bo understood instinctively by love-nothing tangiblo, nothing that can afterward« justify a young man in saying, if ho has boen too pre cipitato, and has boan rejectod, "You led ino to this. You deceived mo." Ronald Walton, who, though perhaps tho loast " eligible " amongst her admirors, was yot the only ono who had tho hardihood to declaro unreservedly his ardent love, and to throw himself on her mercy, without, over having rccoived that in- tangible something -Yos, thoro was nnothor,Silas Blast, but ho Btood on a different footing ; ho had been intimate with Ada from childhood, and had always dotormincd that silo should bo his wife, but bIio never liked him suffi- ciently to givo him any encouragement, novorthelcss ho still wont on trusting that she would softon towards him. Ho was ablo and eloquent in his profession, but personally ho was not a lovoablo individual, boing cold, hard, and revengeful, never forgiving an injury, ol' what lie considered to be one On tho day that ho heard tho rumour of Ada's engagement, ho set himself tho task of ascer- taining its truth, which, willi his usual wilincss he soon drew from Ada. Ho left her with a bcowI on his brow, and a set determination at heart that ho would never rest till ho had had revenge on his successful rival, Ronald Walton. So great was his hatred, that ho cared not if tho innocent girl and her aged .mother wore drawn into the vortex of ruin in which ho panted for the opportunity to engulf Walton. Ho would not allow a soul to guess his intentions. Tho eecrot should bo his own till tho timo for revengo came, then Walton at loast should know it. He was tho very opposite to Walton in almost evory particular. Tho latter was warm-hearted, and gonorous almost to prodigality. Blast was tall and thin, had vory light hair of no particular colour, and a small quan- tity of straggling whiskers of the Bama hue, tho rost of his face boing shaved His features wero not to say bad, but expressionless-porhaps a valuable quality in his profession. Nevertheless, thoso who noted his face for tho first time, involuntarily Bhrnnk from its contemplation, and shuddored as his cold, snake-liko grey eyes mot theirs. Yet he was, in outward life, a man on whoso character rested no atain. Ho was a rogular attendant at his church, and when the minister was absent on his round of visits to the stations in tho district, Silas Blast, being a good read or, did duty for him. Besides, was not his namo foremost in all charities, and on nil subscription lists Î But, to return to Ada. Naturo must havo intended ber for a squatter's wifo. Sho was not only a graceful, but an accomplished equestrian, and in leaping, racing, scampering through tho bush with (ho kanguroo dog3, or in a chase after an emu,she ecliused all the young Indies in Brisbane. Then, she was domesticated, and by roason of her many visits to lady friends on atations in the Moreton Bay distriot, Bho became oonvorsant with the domestic economy of bush life) and with many dotails of station management, tho performance of which doos not como properly within tho provinco of a lady, but still, sho somo times is placod in a position which renders tho knqwjedgo extremely valuable to the wolfaro of
Ronald .Walton's modo of popping the ques- tion was perhaps the same as that pursued by most men of his ardent tomporamout. Ho made a morning call at Mrs Brandon's house. Ada only was at homo. He was a man who seized opportunities, and though ho felt very norypus-who does not at such a time?-he know tho dangor of losing precious moments, so lie fell on his knees and doclarod himself. Ho told how lior image haunted him day and night ; and how «ho was the first girl who had ever raised tho flame of lovo in his broast ; and how certain ho was that there did not exist another in the,,whole world who could havo dono it. Ada was at first a little startled by tho vehemence of his unexpected declaration, and when she recovorod her composuro sufficiently to speak, said that ho must givo lior timo for consideration, and must speak to her mamma Mrs, Brandon onterod shortly after the last words wero «poison, mid noticed, without appearing to do so, that Ronald's visit hud Büiiiu meaning that required explanation. No doubt she saw that there was «miioLhiug unusual in the expression of botli countenances-lior daughter's heightened colour, and her visitor's nervous look. Ronald was a great favourite of Mrs. Brandon's, and she extending her hand frankly and with a winning «mile, «aid .how
glad she was to seo him. Ada soon found an excuso for leaving the room. _ When Ronald had closed the door after her exit, lie said,
," Mrs. Brandon, I havo a confession to make which I hope you will have the patience to liston to, a3 it concerns my happiness very nearly. I have just now doclarod my sincere passion.for your daughter, and she has referrod me to you, and also requested me to givo lior time for con-
"Do you not think, Mr. Walton, that you
should have como to mo first?" said Mrs.
Brandon. Ronald lookod puzzled, and stam-
" I-I-It did not occur to mo in that light, Mm. Brandon. The fact is, I-that is, 1 hope you will forgivo mo if I havo done wrong, but I really do not know much about this sort of thing, and-and-but I should havo thought, really, that the young lady's consent was the first thing to bo obtained. If I had your conaont, Mrs. Brandon, and your daughtor was -was unfortunate enough to- I bog pardon, I mean if I was unfortunate enough to be re- fused by Miss Brandon aftcrwardsj I should havo troubled you needlessly."
Thore was certainly something logical in this,
and as Mrs. Branxton was not an unreasonable
old lady, she waived the point and proceeded.
" How do you know, Mr. Walton, that you havo not troubled Miss Brandon needlessly? Has she ever givon you any hopo thai your suit would bo favourably recoivod ?"
" Nevor, on my honour, Mrs. Brandon. But, on the- other hand, Miss Brandon has always treated mo kindly, and as I am- a-a- that is a-my affection is very great for your daughter, and recollecting that ' faint heart novor won fair lady,' I thought it best to do as I havo done, and got my mind roliovcd as soon as possiblo, I am not an entire stranger to you and Miss Brandon, and trust you will allow mo to visit you as usual-at loast, till Miss Brandon has mado up her mind. Mino cannot alter.
"Mr. Walton, you must know that my daughter is very vory dear to mo. Sho ia all tho world to mo, and I am vory proud of her, for bIio is a girl of no moan older, and her hap- piness is tho one thing that I livo for. If her welfare should suffer m any material point, I may say it would bo tho death of mo. Now, you may easily conceivo that it bohovea mo to watch any ovent likoly to affect lior happiness with a jealous caro, and will excuse mo if I ask what worldly prospects you havo ? You aro quito old enough, and soiiBiblo enough too, to know that 'love in a cottage' without any other dependence, will not satisfy the cravings of hunger."
This business-like speoch struck a cold chord in poor Ronald's breast. Ho was, at present, only a superintendent of a station, with a salary of £200 a year, and but small hope of an in- crease thereto, for his employor was a close fisted, monoy-gotting man of business He felt that ho was able to make his way anywhero in Australia, by himsolf, but how could ho drag a wifo, and perhaps children, about from placo to placo, and subject thom to all tho
discomforts of an unsettled life ? Ho could rough it-ho had dono that all his life, and had enjoyed it. ile called to mind soveral instances of friends and acquaintances who had marriod under similar circumatancos, and who managed to koop tho wolf from the door vory succssafully. Australia ia just tho place for auch imprudent marriages, and yet ono .seldom sees a caso of real want resulting. This, how over, ho felt would bo usolcas as an nrgumont to
advance to Mrs. Brandon. Ho know it was treacherous ground at tho best, upon which to attempt to build a successful matrimonial structure, and that it succeeded oftoner than it deservod. With thoughtlessness and impru deaco at tho Btart, young people could not expect a flourishing issue, unless tho gods stopped in to favour thom. All this flashed across I1Í3 mind as be hesitated in his reply. At length ho said with a sigh,
" I have but £200 a year at prcsont, Mrs. Brandon, but since my mind lias boon fixod on matrimony, 1 havo been thinking of making a start on my own account-with sheep, of course. Indeed, I havo written to my employer, Mr. Sharp, asking him, if ho will either tako mo in as a partnor, or sell mo tho station on terms that will leave mo a fair prospect of ultimately clearing mysolf of the debt. I havo not yot received his reply."
!" I do not doubt your ability to succeed, Mr. Walton, if you havo ordinal y luck ; but you must admit that thoro aro chances against you iii such a venture, mid though Í do not wish to bo discouraging, I look upon a start in life, under Buch circumstances, as precarious, to say the loast. You begin with a heavy dobt, and aro mainly dopondout on circumstances oror which you havo no control, to favour you in your Btrugglo to pay it off. Seasons, diBoaso, or tho fluctuations in the market, or all com- bined, may work against you. I havo not much business knowledge, but I happon to know to my cost about what I am now Bpoaking, for my poor husband lost all ho had by misfortunes of that kind, and all I now havo to support mysolf and my daughtor is tho pension I rocoivo as tho widow of a heutenant-colouel If it wore not for tho faith I have in tho lovo and goodness of our Hoavonly Father, I should fool great anxiety for tho futuro of my dear child iu the ovent of my being called away befoio sho is sottlod."
Mrs. Brandon's eyes wore suffused with toara as sho concluded. Her faith was only human faith, aud thcreforo liable to Blight flaws, for in spito of her trust, she had in the courso of her Ion? sojourn on earth seen many as pure, loving girls as Ada, thrown on tho mercy of tho hard, hard world, to bo rowardod
with bitterness and insult for thoir sweet»
uncomplaining self-sacrifice at tho altar of plebeian arroganco and wealth,
"If you do not object to mo personally, and I obtain Miss Brandon's conaont," said Ronald, " I promise you, Mrs. Brandon, that I will leave tho date of our union to bo fixod by your- self "
Mrs. Brandon bowed without replying, and after a ßhort silence continued,
" There is yet nnothor matter upon which I wish to touch ; and though tho last, it is, in my oyos, certainly not the loast in importance. I foul that I cannot conclude this interview without mentioning it. It is commonly said that you aro somewhat wild and rockloss, and that you havo earned tho sobriquet of ' Wild Walton.' Inmnwaro that fast young mon do, at times, sottlo down and make good husbands, but I have seen so many instances to the contrary, that I do not hide from you tho fact that I would place every obstado in the way of Buch a union for my child."
" Mrs. Brandon, mako yourself quite easy on that score," Ronald said, smiling. "I freely admit I havo not boon as steady as I ought to havo been, but my wilduess-if you will con- sider my unfortunate conduct in bo severe a light-lias boon confined to harmless, if bois- terous amuBemonts, which I now soo aro but folly, and of which I um heartily sick. I will disguiso nothing. If I have drank deoply at times, it has boon moro for tho sake of companionship than lovo for liquor. I do not wiall to attach blaine to others. I did it freely and willingly, but I promiso you it shall never occur awaiti. Beyond that, I can conscientiously assort that I havo never committed an unmanly act against man or woman. I dofy friends and enemies aliko to witness against, mo, upon my word and honour, Mrs. Brandon ! "
He spoke vory oaruostly, and during tho latter part of his speoch ho unconsciously rose and extended his douched limul with excitement. Mrs. Brandon read truth and honesty in tho expression of his manly features, and as sho noted his powerful, well-shaped figuro, sho thought that, bo far as outward appearances went, it would bo hard to find a more «uitablo protector for lior beloved ono.
"Mrs, Brandon," ho said, "oro you suffi ciontly satisfied with my explanations to allow mo to continue on the same footing that you and Miss Brandon hnve boen kind enough hitherto to recognise ?"
"That ia moro than I can prudently decide, Mr. Walton, bofore Booing my daughtor. I will write to you."
She rose, and Ronald left with a mind not at oaso. He was a man of impulsive, strong feel- ing, and would havo liked tho matter to have boen settled oil' hand ; but ho saw how keenly the widow's heurt was bound up in her daughter, and fully recognised the proprioty of her cautious reply. As soon as he was gone, Mr«. Brandon culled Ada, who did not respond, bo aho wont to her room, and , found her bathing her eye« with cold water, which operation «he had commenced a little too «oon,
" Ada, my child ! What is the matter with you ?"
"I really don't exactly know, mamma. I-" and she rushed up to her mother, throw her arms round her, and burst into a flood of
_ "Ada! Ada! My darling child ! What is it ? You must bo ill."
"Dear mamoia," said Ada, with many sobs. " No, I am not ill, I assure you ; but it would be so dreadful to- to-leavo you ! Oh ! I could
not do it !"
"Then, Ada, you do think of leaving mo ?"
Oh ! no-no-yes- that is, I-Oh ! I could not ! Dear mamma, do not talk about anything so dreadful. It would break my heart 1"
" But, darling, yon talked about it. Did you give Mr. Walton any consent, or lead him to suppose that you might do so ?"
"No. no, dear mamma. I only referred him to you."
" Now, my dear child, wo must not boat about the bush. Have you over givon Mr. Walton any encouragomont to warrant his notion to- day?"
" No, indoed, mamma."
" Wo must trust eaoh othor fully, Adn. Tell me without fear or reservation. Do you love
Mr. Walton ?"
" Oh ! m.imnia ! I have really never thought of such a thing-till-till to-day. I do not think I ever did, or ever can lovo any ono as woll as I lovo you."
Ada spoko truly. Sho had never thought seriously of lovo till that day, when it was thrust so prominently into notico by tho eloquent pleading of Ronald. But sho had had a pré-
férence for him for somo timo in her inmost
heart, though sho know it not till sho retired j
to hor room after leaving him and her mother i together. Ho had touched the hidden spring in
that maiden breast, and at the oponing of tho ,
door to tho now feeling sho was bowildored, not [ knowing precisely what it was. I
" Mr. Walton told mo, my clear, that you never liad givon him any encouragement ; but, of course, I would sooner have that, or the contrary assurance, from yourself, before taking it for granted-"
" I am sure, mamma," interrupted Ada, with over so little warmth of manner, but not too little to escapo tho watchful eyes of hor parent,
" I am suro Mr. Walton would not tell you an . untruth. Ho certainly ti n gentloman." I
" Ada, love, I havo to communicate with Mr. Walton respecting our intorviow ; and it is necessary that I should know from your own lips, whothor you love him or not."
" I cannot answer that, mamma. Indeed I would if I could. Givo mo a little timo."
Mrs. Brandon, thinking it would relieve her daughter of somo embarrassment, put the ques-
tion in another form.
" Do you liko him bottor than any other gon tleman of your acquaintance, Ada ? "
" Very much indeed, mamma," ropliod Adn, frankly, hiding her fuco on her mother's
" Then I nood not toll him not to call hero any moro ?"
"Oh, mamma! That would bo dreadfully rude, would it not ?" Ada roturned, with a de- precatory look through lier tears, at the baro thought of tho possiblo alternative.
Mrs. Brandon kissod hor vory tenderly, ,aud pushing hor beautiful hair from her forehead, told her that she would always consult hor happiness ¡ and prayed that tho mau who should bo so fortunato na to win her affections, might bo worthy of hor. But tho old lady said it with sadness, for nu undoSncd fcoling stolo through hor, aud whispored to hor discomfort, that the happiness of hor daughter in such a case, would mean separation from her; but there was nothing of Bolfishness in her composition, aud so long as Ada wos happy, what did it matter if only she herself had to baar tho grief of separation.
Tho news of tho ongsgomont, for so it turnod out to be, was soon spread far and wido, and doep wero tho anathemas launched at Ronald for carrying off the coveted prize from so many. CHAPTER II.–The Drays start for Boorooma.
—the Blacks.— Ronald's Black Boy, Jupiter.—Vine Scrubs.
It was the latter end of August when Ronald put the momentous question, and was accepted. Ho had boon nearly a fortnight in Brisbane, awaiting tho supplies for lambing and shearing, which woro expected by tho Sovoroign, stcamor, from Sydney. AU tho loading was at length on tho drays, the toams woro yokod up, and the start n as mado for Boorooma. Two of the toams wcro driven by Government men, who had been assigned to Ronald ; and tho third by a civilised nativo of tho Moroton Bay district. Tho boy-for ¡vii civilisod blacks aro called "boys," up to any ago-was a smart intelligent follow of about twenty summors. Vory hot summors, too, if ono might judijo from the colour of his skin, which was, contrary to tho avorngo of his kind, as black as that of a negro. Tho nativoB of that part of tho world woro a restless, active, treacherous people. Tho young ones woro capable of loaming-and quickly too -all that is nocosaary to mako usoful Btation hands. Good stockmen, bullock-drivora, and drovors ; and could tako a part croditably in any othor kindof work, oithor on a station or ou tho road. Tho old and middlo-aged of both so\os, who had not boen much amongst tho whites in their youth, woro voryuseful as"wood aud-water jooys,"shepherds, or messengers afoot, but generally oschowod riding. They woro in consequence of the latter disability lookod down upon by thoyoungor and smarter ones, who contemptuously designated thom "myalls"-that is, rough, uncultivated, know-nothings. Thoy nover took kindly to European clothing or cus- toms ; indoed, it was with difficulty that thoy could be induced to don sufficient covering to bring thom within tho palo of tho most ordinary decency. A grey-headed warrior might be seen strutting about town, with that stately stop peculiar to tho " noblo savage " who has nover condoscondod to labour, and novor will, with simply a kangaroo bono through his nose, a nativo dog's tail oncircling his groasy, red ochred brow, and a s wallow-tai led coat buttoned behind. Perhaps his "old woman" would glido in the roar, liko his slave, as sho really was, with the circle of woolly hair on her head, bedocked with feathers, aud bits of glass and china stuck on with gum ; the bald placo in the centre all glazed and soamed with the wounds sho herself had inflicted with her dull-edged stono tomahawk, during tho days of mourning for deceased friends. Peradvonture, the weapons of her brutal lord had no small share in
dopriving her of her natural covering. Her dress might havo consisted of a blanket thrown over one shoulder, and held round her dusky form by the hand on the uncovered sido. Or, perhaps, a lady's short jacket on hor back, and a 'possum-hair fringo round her loins. Again, might bo seen a fast- looking young fejlow dressed in tho vory acme ot bush-fashion. As Ronald Walton's boy, Jupiter, was a typo of the class alluded to, wo will describo him. His intelligent face was adorned with blaok whiskers and moustache, Dundreary fashion, the chin being carefully shaved. On his head sits, gracefully cocked on one side, a wide-awake hat, round which is fastened a white puggeree with gay coloured fringo at the ends, which hang down his back. His Bhirt is white, or light regatta, open at the throat. Round his nook is a yellow silk bandanna tiod in a sailor's knot. His breeches are of cord, strapped for riding, and fastened round the waist by a belt suspending several pouches ; besides which, he wears also round his waist a flash rod scarf. His boots aro long Wellingtons up to his kneeB, terminating at tho boola in a pair of bright swan-necked spurs, the large, sharp, cruel rowels jingling as ha walks.
Tho young womoii were also fond of dross, and of bright colours loo, " Tiley woro vory useful in their generation, being capital ser- vants when theil- mistresses looked sharply after them, and kept thom from the filth and vices of-well, wo will say people. But, alas ! in spite of the strictest supervision, thoso vola tilo young ladies would at timos contrive to stray from the path cf rectitude. What marred the usefulness of tho wholo ruco was the insecure tenure one had of them ; thoy either gavo very short warning of tlioir intended departure, or none at all. A messenger would arrive from a distant camp, and tell thom that tlioir presonce was roijuirud at soma contem- plated social gathering, or at a fight, a kangaroo hunt, or one of the many pleasures t7iey were always ready to join in. All would disappear ib the night, without a single note of warning ; and when the omployer went to the, camp to roua» them up m usual in the morning, he would
find all as still as death, with the exception of the crows that cawed and hopped about the foul bark habitations, soeking a meagre breakfast amongst any old bones and offal that the blacks might have loft. Perhaps a half-starvod, mangy dog that hod remained, or had strayed back, as was sometimes the case, would start snarling from the warm ashes of a spent fire, and receive a kick that tho donor heartily wished he could givo its owner. The race was indeed a thorn in tho side of the white man, and its extreme use- fulness at timos alono saved it from annihilation at his hands, for, as n rule, who could track like a blackfellow ? Who but ho could find water and food while exploring in a dry, barren country ? Sotting asido his many other minor useful qualities, thoso wcro not to be despised. Why, ho was called into requisition on all occasions - oven in amusements mid sport. If ono wished to have a day's shooting, a black-boy was indispensable ; ho was pointer and rotriever rolled into one His knowlcdgo of tho habits of all kinds of game was unlimited,
and his eye was as that of the eagle. Ho j would glido lightly boforo his matter, signalling with his hand, or a low whistle, to troad lightly, as gamo is near or expected in the neighbourhood ; suddenly, tho wild screeching of cockatoos is heard overhead, and thoy fly into a tall gum treo some distance on. 'Hie sportsman stalks thom successfully, and shoots one, but it does not como down, nor would it perhaps for an hour, so groat is its tenacity to life ; but it swings hoad down, or biting at the branch. The boy Baves time, and another chargo of powder oncl shot, for he nimbly climbs with tho aid of his tomahawk to tho giddy height, and und hits tho savago bird on the hoad. It whirls swiftly through tho air, and falls to the ground, screeching, nnd biting at everything within its reach till despatched with a blow, by which time tho boy has descended. They enter a vino scrub, and a difficult feat it is to push through tho tangled mass. It is composed of shrubs and trees of many kinds, some of which bear fruit, such as figs and plums of various sorts, and myrtlo borrica. The groit gum is also there, with tho red and white cedar, mid pine ; the whole being interlaced with enor- mous vines, the foliage of which spreads over and between tho trees in such dense
massoB as to effectually exclude tho sun's rays. A dead silence reigns in thoso scrubs, which is broken only by the occasional screech of the cockatoo, or tho noto of tho coachman bird. This shy bird ia seldom seen, but its note is both loud and sweet, mid very hard to i mi ta to or describe. Thoro aro many fine birds in these scrubs worthy of tho sportsman's or naturalist's notico-tho wonga pigeon, tho green pigeon, and other sorts, some of which aro as gorgeously plumaged as parrots. The scrub turkey, wal- laby, nativo boar, 'possum, and snake, aro all to bo found there ; somo of which tho reader will no doubt think aro worth leaving out of the game bag.
Tho wondrous beauty of those scrubs is acknowledged by all who have seen thom. All tho vines and most of the trees are evergreen, and in the spring, when the pendant masses of vine folisgo are covered with blossom, the effect is a foast indeed to tho eye of tho lover of tho beautiful in Nature. Tho Moroton Bay chestnut generally grows on tho margins of the vine scrubs, and when in full leaf and blossom, is perhaps tho most beautiful tree in tho world. It loves tho shelter of scrubs, and the rich loam on the banks of rivers and crooks. What sccno could bo moro en- chanting than a long sorpentino shoot of water, whose placid bosom reflects every hue of tho _ magic walla of sorub on ita banks ? The foliage overhangs the calm wat ora in lavish profusion. Hero an enormous «creen, composed of vines, strotches between two gigantic trees ; there a pendant mass kisses tho mirror beneath, either calmly, or gontly swayed by the passing zephyr that agitates tho sproading hoad of the patriarch whose proud limbs support it. What pen can describo auch a grand wotk of tho Croator ? What oyo can tiro of resting on and drinking in the ovor-present loveliness of such a scene ? Tho lightest broath of wind playing over the foliage, or tho gently-gliding shadow of a small cloud stealing across the scene, is sufficient to change the whole as with the magic wand of a fairy, and intensify tho ploasure of the bo
The fooling of forgiveness, reader, is a noblo ono, and it is to bo hoped will be extended to tho writer for tho digression, in endeavouring to convey an impression of tho indescribable. To return to tho story. The black-boy glides through tho scrub noiselessly and easily, while tho sportsman, with his utmost ondoavours, can scarcely keep in sight of him. Now ho is caught by tho leg, or round the neck by tho thin wire-like vinos, which have often to bo cut boforo his release is effected, Tho oye soon becomes accustomed to tho gloom of tho scrub, but all depends on the sharp sight and hearing of tho boy. Ho stops, whistles low, and points to a turkoy which ho has seen riso into a fig troc, where it is with difficulty that tho white mau cm make it out, so still does it sit amongst tho denso foliage. At laat it is sighted and bagged ¡ or perhaps only wounded, and has to bo tracked and recovered. Tho guido und bia master push through to tho bank of tho river. Ducks aro Bighted. Bang !-both barrels. The black-boy Btrip3 in a jiffy, and is into tho water like an otter, chasing und diving after tho woundedr, thon securing tho dead ones, brings thom all ashore From forest to scrub, from scrub to river, and from river to swamp ; till ono is weary of shooting and toiling, and with a full bag trudges homo content with the day's spirt, pro- bably not taking into consideration tho valuable assistanoo rendered by the blaok-boy, who 13 following with tho gamo.
12*0 be continued.]