|Chapter Title||INTRODUCTION.-STRANGE TALE ABOUT GOLD.|
|Newspaper Title||Bunyip (Gawler, SA : 1863 - 1954)|
|Trove Title||The Devil's Elbow and Rabey Crelone's Christmas|
Ox IKDils €lboi» ^ *~*. AKD -^VL^ Rabep Crclonc s Christmas.
-^SSg. By HENRY J. CONGREVE.
V^ (Specially Written for ' The Bunyip' Xmas Issue.)
* CHAPTES I. INTRODUCTION. — STRAKGE TALE AKATPP noT.D.
Babey Trelone was the last of his race. The fortune of his family, occe ample, had gradually dis appeared — with his father just dead, the balance had fina'ly vanished. Babey was left with very little money, nn Rftllinir or ,'nrofession. but with a
fair education, plenty of pluck and healthful youthfulness. After the funeral he returned to his home, now his no longer, and having packed his belongings he sat down for a few moments to think. His thoughts were not of the past, there was nothing particu larly inviting there — (hey were fixed on the future. What was he to do ? Where was he to go? To London ? No, that was not the place of his desire. He must go somewhere ? where there was elbow room. As he sat in the already dismantled home he felt stifled and wanted space to breithe. He must go to a country where people did not jostle one an other, a new country, where there was a chance to exn&nd. He had
heard of Australia ana must manage to get theie. So he turned his back on the manor house, and in a very few days was on board ship and on his way to the land of the Southern Cross. On board he made the acquantance of an old man who was returning to South Australia. This man fell sick, and Babey carefully nursed him, but he gradually sank, and it was soon apparent, even to himself, that he would soon pass away. Babey did bis best to soothe his dying hours, and frequently read, at his own request, passages from the Bible. One day, as it was drawing on to evening, he and the old man being alone, the latter drew Babey close to bis side and said: 'Matey I am going, but not to where I thought my fortune was. I am going to die and I trust through Jesus to Heaven, but you have been good to me and maybe I can make your fortune. I was once in the ranges in South Australia and looking about I came to a spot where there was lots of gold in the bed of the river. I gathered some and planted it, I forget where, but before I could gather much I hoard a dreadful noise that I couldn't understand — it was fearfuL Then from round a bend of tin creek a figure came clothed in a cloud and with arms outstretched. I had been ill and was very weak and very fearsome and so I fell sense less. When I awoke I found a flood had passed along and I had been washed away; how far I do not know, for I never went back to see. Well, it matters not how, but I got together a little money, and went to the old'country. There 1 did no good and the thought of the gold haunted me, so I started back — but,' and here he paused and gasped. 'I ana getting weaker and must hasten — come nearer — Barossa Ranges — sharp bend — Devil's Elbow — a cave a bit— up— the range — big gum tree — in centre of stream — flat — rocks — full of gold -r-no more — here, take this paper.'
Tnen the old man gasped for breath, threw up his arms, and his spirit took ite flight While the last words were being tgdkaa an ugly-looking fellow, who bad during the voyage tried to force his companionship upon the two friends, had drawn -near. He at once questioned Rahey as to what the uW nun had said, hut our iu-ro
would give him no satisfaction, and always kept aloof from him. Babey pondered deeply over what the old man had said, anil was much impressed. He fe't sure there was some truth in it, and resolved to try and find the spot and secure the gold. He had money enough to last him twelve months, and he would devote that time to the search. CHAPTEB II. IN THE HILLS. — ATTEMPTED BOBBEBT. ? BOSE. ? A SHOT. We must now change the scene to the hills that encircle Adelaide and melt away in the far north. High up on those hills a gentleman of moderate means had formed a home It was of but small dimensions but taste had made it a lovely place. The house of stone was but a small cottage but the beautiful creepers over the verandah, the bright garden in front, and the back of fruit trees, made it a charming place. Just in side the garden fence were three noble pines, and on every side but one, the hills densely timbered shut out the view. To the south, how ever, the delighted eye looked out over hill and dale and cultivated land till it rested on the mountains that marked the horizon. Mr. Melton lived here with his only daughter, a young lady of some eighteen summers. She was the light of his life and the joy of his heart. And well she might be. Of medium height and well filled form, with roguish blue eyes, and yellow hair, generally floating at ran dom over her shoulders, she was fitted to be the joy, and, perhaps, the plague of many a man's beart. At the present time, however, she had gathered her hair and pinned it in approved fashion on the top of her head, and was about to proceed to the post-office to posj letters and bring back money which 'her father expec ted from Adelaide.. Her errand finished and the mjpney safely be stowed in her pocket \she commenced her homeward jouiney. From the main road she had to turn off at an angle and enter the forest along a dark aud rough track. Just at this turn she was startled by a man breaking through the underwood and obstructing her path. She was terri bly frightened and attempted to pass him, but he caught hold of her arm and demanded her money. ' Unhand me,' she cried, ' or I will call my father, who is near.' ' Father be hanged,' he answered, ?' if you will not give it quietly then I must take it,' and with that he flung her to the ground. Rose, for that was her name, screamed aloud as the man placed his knee upon her breast, and pro ceeded to search for her pocket. He at the same time produced a pistol, and threatened that unless she kept quiet he would shoot her. He was, however, bindered in his design, for at that moment a stranger, who was near at hand, broke through the bushes, and with one blow knocked the ruffian to the ground. He then helped fiose to arise from her prone position. While thus engaged the robber rose to his feet, and crying, ' Perdition seize you both,' fired^his pistol and fled through the tinri0. The shot missed Bose, but took effect on her rescuer, who fell on the ground. Seeing bis condition Rose screamed aloud, and was directly answered by her father, who soon made his appearance, accompanied f-y :. neighbour. As soon as they
r : saw what was the matter the wounded man was carried to the house and carefully attended to. That man was | Kabey Trelone. CHAPTEB III. THE OLD, OLD TALE. — THE CHABT. ? GOOD-BYE.
nor sume eigug or iiiue weeiss Babey was the invalid guest of Mr. Milton, during which time he was carefully nursed back to health by the charming Bose. Need the reader be told the result? Babey for the first time beheld a girl he could love, and Bose felt the power of Cupid's spelL Neither had loved before and so they enjoyed to the full each other's company. This, however, could not go on for ever, for Babey was getting strong again, and began to feel that Le must set to work. He had now an object in view — to make such a position for himself that he could ask Mr. Melton for his daughter. No actual words of love had passed between them, for Babey felt that it would be dishonor able for a poor; penniless man to ask for love when he had no prospect of a home to offer. He must first be successful, and then ? . While regaining his strength he had often thought of the old man and his tele of gold. Sometimes he believed it was the dream of an over wrought imagination, while at others he was sure there was abundance of gold somewhere in the ranges. Then there was the paper, though that told but a meagre tale. It was simply a verv rude sketch of a bend in a river, almost perpendicular rocks ob either hand, a mighty gum tree in the middle of the stream, and a small flat On this flat anri near to the
tree was the word ' GOLD.' A little way up the cliff a dark patch was marked with the word ' CAVE ' beside it. The only clue that Babey really had was that somewhere in the Barossa Banges was this El Dorado. Tossed about by conflicting thoughts, sometimes full of hope and at others of doubt, Babey at last resolved that, come what would, he would search for this gold mine. If it existed and he found it, his fortune was made — and if not — well, it would be only so much time lost. With this resolve he prepared to say good-by to his new friends. Contrary to hie expectations, when he made known to his host what were his intentions he was met with sympathy and -not discouragement. Bose, too, was enthusiastic. She was sure he would be successful, and she joined her father in the heartiest good wishes. And so the good-byes were said, and Babey, his eyes saying all he would not utter with his lips, shouldered his blankets and passed down the garden path and out through the gate. He had, however, proceeded but a yaid or two when he heard the sound of hurrying footsteps and his name pronounced. I* was Bose, who came breathlessly, bringing a silver mounted pipe which her father had sent as a parting gift. A beautiful couple they looked as they stood in the shadow of the trees — she with her bright golden locks and deep blue eyes, and he with bis manly figure and strong face, with curly hair of the deepest black and dark speaking eyes. ' Here,' she said, handing him the pipe, ' father forgot to give you this, and he says you must be sure to write, and he wants you to come back again whether you are success ful or no.' ' And you ?' said Babey. He had kept himself under control until now, , but as he gazed at her downcast look and her flushed cheek his arm stole gently round her waist, and he drew her towards him. ' And you,' he said, ' do yoa wish me back again ?' ; 'Yes, yes, oh! yes,'' she said, 'I ; fear now *hat you will be always in ' my thoug;u-v'
' Bless you, my darling, for that word,' he replied. 'It will neire me as nothing else could.' 'Hark!' she said, ?'father is calling. I must go.' But ere they parted he drew her closer, and imprinting one long fond kiss upon her lips, released her, and turning up the Mil was soon lost in the forest. CHAPTEB IV. THE DEVIL'S ELBOW. Babey travelled along, sometimes thinking of the girl he had left behind and at others of the adventure upon which he had entered. Ere long he had the impression that he was followed. The track he was on waa one little used, and nobody had evidently passed along it for days. Shortly afier he had started he had passed a man sitting by the wayside, but he was so engaged with his thoughts that he had scarcely noticed bita Once, when he had paused on the top of the range and looking back to tbe pines that bid the home of bis beloved, he had seen a man hastily cross the track and enter the bush. Two or three times after when he had looked around he beheld the same figure again hiding himself * He wondered whether it meant anything. Perhaps, he thought, it might be the man who had shot him, but that he could scarcely believe, and unable to come to any conclusion, he banished the matter from his mind, and occu pied himself with more agreeable thoughts. So he travelled on, till at night he found himself in the ranges he had been seeking. Then he left the track and kept up the side of a left} range, day by day exploring the various gullies in search of the golden spot. After weary weeks of wandering and fruitless search he one evening, just as the shades of night were closing down, descended the range by an open gully, and fixed his camp by a pool of
clear water. Here, after lying down, he drew his chart from his pocket, and for the hundredth time proceeded to study it, but being unable to make anything further of it he placed it under his pillow, and was soon fast asleep. In the morning when rolling Tip for a start his chart was missing. Where could it have gone ? There had been no wind to blow it away. He searched everywhere, but it was not to be found, and so he started without it. He cared but little for the loss, for he had studied it so often that he was able, if so iuclined, to reproduce every line. The night had been fine, but the morning broke angrily. Deep black clouds sailed sullenly through the sky. The atmosphere was sultry, and the wind made strange mutteritigs in the trees, now crying in the sheaoaks as the wailing of one in distress, while distant thunder came in grumbling echoes among the rocks. The scene grew wilder as Babey proceeded. The trees were twisted into wierd forms, the ranges were steeper, and the gullies deeper and darker. Anxious to find sone shelter from the coming storm Babey hastened his footsteps, an-] descending into the gully perceived he was on the bank of a creek of running water. The clouds had now settled down upon tbe hills, and ?» grim and ghastly twilight per vaded the gully. Babey stumbled along, looking for some rock under which he could shelter. Then the storm broke. The lightning spitted and spluttered around, and the thunder followed in one long continued roll. By this time he had entered a part of the creek where tbe rocks stood like walls on either side, and a little dis taace ahead seemed to close in alto gether. However, just when he - thought he would have to retrace his I steps a vivid flash revealed to him a \ sharp bend, and turning the corner a : monstrous gum tree stood in the J centre of the stream. He had found j the Devils Elbow. 5 His first thoughts, in spite of %h* : raging storm, were joyous ones. The 'old man was right There was the plae»'. ami. if cnurso, the sjold was
there too. Another flash illuminated the scene, and then to his horror he beheld a man standing by the gum tree with a paper in his hand. Suc ceeding flashes revealed to him that that man was the one who had been following him, who had shot him, who had been a. passenger on the same vessel, and the paper in his hand was the lost chart. Rage filled the heart of Rabey. Was he now on the eve of his dis covery to have his hopes dashed to the ground. No ! not for one moment could he endure the thought. He would punish the would-be robber and murderer. With thoughts of ven geance in his mind he darted forward. Before he reached him the man turned, saw him, and drew a pistol from his pocket. Ere he could fire, however, a flash of lightning struck the tree, and a large limb fell with crashing force on his head, at one* depriving him of life. That was the last of the st«.rm, and the clouds fled rapidly away, and soon the declining sun w.i-s casting its peaceful rays upon
the spot. For :i few moments Rabey was stimuli by the awful nature of the vi-it.ttin!i, but soon recovering he iipprnnchrd the budy and fcund indeed ilw life was extinct There was a fearful scowl upon the face and the finger* weie closed upon the trigger of tl.e uiulischnrijed pistol. One hand *»!1J }i*-l-J the paper, which Rabey recognised as his chart and concluded had been stolen at night while he slept. Tired out with his struggles with the storm, his long rough walk, and the excitement, Rabey, deferring everything for the morrow, unrolled his blanket aj;d was speedily asleep. CHAPTER V. GOLD INDEED. — SODDEN END TO LABOUR. During the night a flood, the result of the previous storm, had swept down
the creek, and on awakening in the morning Rabey could see nothing of the dead. He had evidently been washed away. Looking around he was sure be had found the spot indicated by his friend. There was the bend, the Devil's Elbow, the gum tree, the flat, and a few yards up the clif£ accessible by a steep path was the opening of the cave, but the flat, instead of tr»re rock, was now covered by a deposit of silt. The first thing Rabey did was to explore the cave, and here he met a surprise. Undaunted by weird noises, which seemed to proceed from its -* jpths, he entered. It had evidently been used by the old inac. There was a rough table and a few boxes, but what please*' Rabey most a pick and tin-dish, As he entered deeper into the recesses of the cave, the noises increased, but lie soon discovered they were caused by the appertures in the rocks Wasting no time he set to work to clear the silt from the flat and was soon rewarded for his labour by seeing the glint of gold, a nugget of con siderable size. As he continued his task fresh pieces were unearthed, until at the end of the Jay he had as much of the precious metal as was worth one thousand pounds. With the darkness he ceased his labours. The next morning he completed his inspection of the cave. Some rocks piled carelessly
together in a corner attracted attention. On removing these he found a receps in which was a box containing gold equal in amount with that he had himself gathered. He then resumed bis labours on the flat and with the same success as on the previous day. It was long ere he slept that night for he was thiuking what was to be done. He hnd worked but a small portion of the flat and if the remainder was as rich as that he had already worked he would be wealthy beyond the dreams of avarice. It wanted but a few days to Christ nas, and he ardently wished to return to his love on that day. He
could not, however, work out his olaim in time, and it would not do to leave it. He was in perplexity. He need not have worried, however, for the matter was decided without his opinion or his advice being asked. Towards morning he was awakened by the howling of a heavy storm of thunder, lightning, and rain, and when the first glimmer of daylight enabled Rabey to see, a scene of devastation met his view. A vast torrent of muddy water, many feet in depth, was running down the channel, and the mighty gum tree was swaying in the stream, to fall the next moment with a mighty crash across the flat. At this moment Rabey was startled by a creaking and groaning sound, as if the whoie neighbouring rocks were being ground together. Then with an indescribable roar the side of the clifl slid into the river, blocking up the whole of its bed and burying the golden flat under millions of tons of rock. So close *as the landslip from where Rabey was standing that it almost demolished the cave, leaving only the 'inner recess where Rabey had fortunately stowed his gold. The slip formed a heavy dam behind which the waters fast accumulated into a lake. Thus nature had taken her way and herself bad put a stop to any further accumulation of the precious metal by our hero. CHAPTER VI. CHRISTMAS. — CONCLUSION. Christmas morning, and Rose, a little paler than usual, was in the garden gathering flowers to refill the vases inside. Rabey had been absent for a long time, and no word had reached them from him. What had become of him I While stooping over a rosebud inhailing its sweet perfume, she was starrfed by hearing a footstep outside the fence. Whoever it was had paused under the shadow of the pines Prompted by curiosity she
passed through the gate, and saw* man standing with Ms back towards her. He wore die drew and had tfe» bearing of a gentleman. There was something in his figure which struck her as being familiar, and on uttering an exclamation the gentleman turned, and in a moment she was pressed to the bosom of Rabey. 'Oh! Rabey,' she said, 'I am m glad you have come. It has been as lonely without you, and father has missed you so much.' 'Dear heart,' he said, 'God has been good and prospered me. I haTe found the gold, and as- now in a position to ask you of your father.' ' Oh ! tell me all aboat it, but fins let us take the good news to ny father.' Inside a warm welcome awaited him, and the narrative of his adven tures was eagerly listened to. His account of the gold fired the imagina tion of Mr. Melton, and made him desirous of rediscovering the Devil's Elbow and its bidden treasure. Manj schemes were subsequently discussed, and after Rabey and Ruse were married an expedition was planned. But they could never find the place, fv.r tlabey got confused in the rocky timbered ranges and could not tell one gully from another. During their many weeks of search they were often near the spot, but turned away when a few minutes more would have led to success. And that treasure has never beea. rediscovered to the present tune, and so it remains for some adventurous spirit to search for and find the great golden store that lies buried near The Devil's Elbow. Wagstaff : Good morning, doctor. Are job enjoying good health this moraine? Doctor: Well— er— tort's aboat the only kind of health & nun an eajor. isn tit? T« never knew anyone to enjoy bad health, did you ? Wagataff: Oh, yes; I've known some doctors to enjoy bad health.