|Newspaper Title||Narandera Argus and Riverina Advertiser|
|Trove Title||The Bushman's Revenge: An Australian Christmas Story|
f(h SaV)))^^L^) [P^'BL'SHBD BY SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT.] ktPm The Bashman's Revenge,
T mfa yf By Satjan Muib,
sjSkbS5^\* f ?*'' [ALL BIGHTS RESERVED.
CHAPTER in.— (Continued.)
The developments in the case of the buBhman were snch as to occasion grave concern to the inmates of the hoinestewl, and to cause considerable alarm to the master of. tha h«use himself. The bast unprofessional attention was bestowed upon thu Bufferere, but for both cases the advent of the medioal gentleman was
eagerly awaited. Or, Home at length arrived, and im . mediately attende-l to the Buffering bay. He eet the fractuied limb, gave fctiiot instroctions ae to his treatment, pro nounced him ae in bo danger, and pre dicted a speedy recovery. Tfce deotor then proceeded to the case of Sundown Bill, and a few minutee' examination sufficed to show that the condition of the poor busbman ?was fraught with danger. The Iobs of blood and Bhock to the system, which already ha1 bee» reduced to a state of extreme weakness by physical exhaustion and privation, were greater than the remaining strength conld combat. The experienced eye of tbe doctor quickly observed that the life of the un fortunate bushnntn w»3 flowly ebbing away. The knowledge cf this caused John Maclean tx'reine anxiety and anguish ; to do him justice, not from any fear of the consequences to himself. Ho told Dr. Herne to pp&ro so effort or expense towards alleviating and promot ing the lecovtry of the cuniowner. But the doctor's best efforts were in vain. The bushman was dying. Towards evening be rallied considerably, and to John Maclean thie appeared h hrpoful token, but to the doctor it was the rallying effort predictive of the end. Sundown Bill motioned with his lips, nn j the doctor ap proaching, slowly asked. * How'b the litilo chap, doctor f' ' He's all right, thanks to you ; he's in tbo next room,' said the doctor, who had had the whole of the facts related to him. 1 You're D:. Herne,' said Bill. ' Yes ; you know me, don't you P but ycu must Keep quiet now and not talk.' ' Oh, it don't matter, doctor. It's no go. I've gone on tbe wallaby track for the last time. Say, doctor, could I see tre little chap before I go P' The doctor muaod. It would be a very unprofessional act to move either of the suSerere, bat the circumstances were exceptional. He consulted Air. Maclean, who loft the matter entirely to the doctor, his own feeling being to gratify every desire of Sandown Bill. The doctor reluctantly decided to remove tbe Bun downer to the adjoining room, and, as gently as poiiiblo, he was carried through and placed upon a couch a few feet distant from Eiy. Tie bey wag asleep, but a sad smile crossed tfio face of tbe bnshman as he saw tbe pale face cf the lad. boon the boy awoke from his fitful slumber. B'a recognised, with some sur prise at first, tho form of his friend and involuntarily his left band was stretched oat towards Sundown Bill, Smilts of recognition ware mutually fUelied from both, and the right hand of the bushman clasped, the outstretched hand of the boy. ?How are you sonny— got home all rig't?' tho Sundowner feebly inquired. ?Yes, Bill; your kiadnesB saved me. If it wasn't far you I would have died,' paid the boy. ' It was noihing, Boy,' said the baehuitm, But John Maclean, seated in the shadow, bis face tensely drawn, and mentally sutlotiuii the tortures of the accursed, thought it a noble deed, and in the absence of that ulterior motive ' of self-interest, which he always looked for in every man's conduct, to him Sun down Bill's act was will nigh incompre hensible. 1 Father and I wiU never forget your kiadnefB,' e»id tho youth. ' Hut what's tbe matter with yon, Bill P' ' I've had an nocident, Kny ; niv' I'm dead-beat tired with the hi»t.' ? Poor Bill ! You've sot that by leing kind to me. Ht-vr did it bajipen, Bill P' 'O^-, it a'n'f much, santi) ! We cai't help accidents ' 1 We'll have, good timi s when we're bettor, Bill. You'll stay here and won't go on the track no more.' Then the doctor intPrvenno', and tiadly inf omned them that further convert atioa u nit be suspended for the present. Both
sufferers gradually feU asleep, and the doctor, who had arranged to remain fer th« night, passed from the room Bat John Maclean ctill sat in the shadow. Soon the doctor re-entered. About 8 o'clock Euidoxn Bill awoke, and tbe trained eye of the doctor observed that the bushman was slowly sinking, and that hie hours,, yea, his minutes, were numbered. The dying man, turning his eyes to the boy, sow also awake, stretched hie hand towards him, and in it the lad plaoed his. ?Good-bye, Boy, I'm going,' he sadly said. ' Where f' fteked the boy. - ? I'm going out on the track for the last long journey, Roy.' The boy was bewildered. Then the doctor whispered to Eoj to be a brave boy, and told him that bis friend was dying. With a startled look the boy burst into tears, and cried ' No I No I' 1 Yes, Boj , I've got to go. I'll never ece thu blue eky nor tbe wattle blossom, nor bear the laughing-jack and the mag pies no more. You'll -jet better and be master here eome day. Think sometimes f poor old Sundown Bill, and don't be too hard on the sundowner who comes vour way.'
But the sobbing boy could not reply. Tho doctor waa touched by the affecting scene, and John MacleaD, suffering un speakable agony, Bat still in tbe shadow. Then the dying man said to the doctor, * W here's the bass, doctor ?' John Maclean beard and came forward. ' Good-bye, bass,' eaid the bushman, 1 Will you shake hands with the old sun downer ?' His vexed spirit at last overwhelmed by the torrent of his feelings, John Maclean, taking the hand of the dying man, wept aloud, and cried vehemently, ' Forgive me, forgive me.' 1 It's all right, boss. W've all made mistakes. Sundown Bill's life was a very big one.' ' Forgive me,' reiterated the remorse stricken man. Too sundownor feebly pressed John Hiclenn'u hand, and in a low tone said ' Don't tell tho boy.1 The dying bnshman slowly withdrew hie hand from the father and again grapping that cf the son, Bftid :— 'Good-bye, Boy! B« a good boy. I knew your mother. Sho once spoke a kind word to me. When you get better you will write a letter to my old mother in the little home in Devon in the old country P I've not written her for twelve
years now, but I know that every mail Bhe expects a lettor, and - ipecte to tee myeelf some day. You'll find the uddresB in her last letter to me. I've carried it in my old pcukot-book for tin last eleven yeara. Tell her Bill is dead ; died think irg of her, and say no more. Say nothing of his wasted, useless life. Poor doar mother 1' T'e boy sobbed bitterly, and clung to tbe hand of his dying friend. Soon Sundown Bill closed his eyes, and faintly smiling, spoke incoherently of the good ghepherdB in whose company he imagined he came that morning to point oat where the littla child lay, and to bring a messaee of peace and good-will to the master of Eangarilla. A cUathly eilenoo then onBued; thn irresponsible lips ctwsed their motioa, and the dying man slnmbered peacefully for a time. Suddenly his features moved con vulsively; his face finally assuming an expression of mingled fear, and despair, and in a f ileovs pleading voice he ex claimed: 'Djnt! don't touch me, boss;' I'll go.'
Then with a violent start he awoke in bewilderment, nod gradn&Hy recovr-rinn cnneoiouanesB, he bestowed a grateful poiilo on the doctor, and tuning his eyes enco again to Kay and slowly muttering, ? Gr-ocU-ye, geod-byo,' Sundown Bill fell into n calm deep sleep, from which ob thin i firth ho nuver awoke. And long aftor Dr. Herne had pro n--oncrd lire to he j-xtincf;. John Maclean eat in trie shadow, never uttering a worJ. N.nt day the body of Sundown Bill was 1-urind iu the little, cemetery on tho estate, and on the same day, in his. capacity as ua^istratd of tl.e district, John Maclean forwarded a full and true account of tho
tragic occurrence to the Government I-»r ' Department. The doctor, who acted as coroner for that part of the country, bIbo forwarded his report, referring therein to the admisjlou made in hie own hearing by the deceased, that hir injuries were KCtfivrd as the result of an aoiident The law authorities decided that no further action in the matter was necegstry. It was many week* ufter the death ot Sandown Bill before Eoy Miolean was permitted to leave bis bed, but the first request he made, upon being able to s^op ever the threshold, was to visit the grave of Sandown Bill. And groat was hie sur prise upon reaching the spot, to observo a beautiful granite monument marking tbe resting place of his friend. ' ?Who pUcrd this stone hereP' he hastily enquired of bis father, who had drir»n him thither. 1 1 placed it there ' was the quitt reply. And Soy, approaching the obelisk,
EBKUTBD BY JOHN MACLEAN, to tha memory of ' SUNDOWN BILL. ? ? Greater love hath no man than this, that he Rare hie life, not for hie friend, but hie enemy.' ? ? ? ? ? ? - Roy Maclean waa intensely pleased with thid mark of respect bestowed oa the memory of Bnndows Bill i for, during hiB long illness, he had silently cherished tbe id.»i ot requesting Mb father toaieot a tablet to' the memory of the d- partec trifcl. John Maclean lived for sevstal yrars after the death of Sundown Bill, bat- from 'the dav of the traffic ocenr
rence, he was an altered, a remorseful, and it is believed, -* better man, It is certain that when a year or two later, a proposal waa carried by the- Pastoral iute assembled, to discourage the visits ot iun downen by refusing to give them food or. theltor, John Maclean, to the surprise of all warmly opposed the motion, arid voted with the minority. Moreover, and r in . proof of nis sincerity, tbe homeBtead of Kangarilla had from that fatal day be ?-.omo proverbially known for its hos pitality, which was duly taken advantage i-f and appreciated by a'J the nomadic fraternity of sundowners Some months alter the death of Sundown Bill, the jural postman knocked at the door of a little cottage In a green lane in Devon, and the poor old soul who eagerly grasped the proffered loiter with the Australian post-mark, fervently thanked God for his goodness in ariBweriBg her praym. Tho loiter from ber long loet eon had at last arrrived. But her joy waa soon turned into Bor
row, Her Bon was dead; died bravely, n»My, tbe letter informed her. God be prated To her the life that had been ended bravely and nobly, must have been nobly lived. Of that she was fully satis, fled. And he had died thinking of her, his mother. Ob, blessed joy; and she wept tears ot gratitude to God. The long years of neglect were entirely forgotten. He waB to her the child of her heart ; her own son, who had lived and died nobly, and whose last thoughts were of her. It was enough; all she wished for now waa to revel in the thought of it, and in her strong and simple faith, to prepare for that hoar, which must soon come, when she wen'd meet her son in spirit, and never part from him acain. Blessed faith; glorious hope. The letter proceeded to inform W that her eon tad bequeathed to her Mb money, to be paid in the form ot an annuity so long ns she lived. The bequest was more than euSiaient to provide ner in comfort throughout her remaining few years. John Maclean appointed himself testa mentary executor, and remitted tbe first amount. To the aged mother, tbe legacy was further proof that her con had been an active and prosperous man ia a far away country. Bnt John Maclean is now dead, and Mr.
Roy Maclean, BLV . and JT, is master 0 Eaugsrilla. Since attaining the age of manhood, Boy had learned the true cause of the sudden and tragic end of Sundown Bill, and ia const q a ncu hie father's reason's for the erection of sach an elaborate and ccstly monument to the memory ot bis humble friend. And he walks across to the little gravoyard at frequent indefinite itWv Is during the year to mark his loving remembrance of hie parents and his friends, his little eliildroB who accompany him reverently keeping the grass green and ia seas n planting snowdrops and daisies on the graves. (The End.)