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Title: Botany Bay, True Tales of Early Australia
Author: John Lang
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Language: English
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Title: Botany Bay, True Tales of Early Australia
Author: John Lang



THE greater number of these stories have already appeared in
"Household Words." The remainder were contributed to the "Welcome
Guest." It behoves me to inform the English reader that, although the
entire contents of this volume are founded upon truth, the names,
dates, and localities have been so altered that to all intents and
purposes they form merely a work of fiction. My object in making such
alterations was to spare the feelings of the surviving relations of
the various persons alluded to in my narratives respectively.

To my readers in Australia (the land of my birth), I desire to say
that I do not hold myself responsible for the sentiments of the
various persons whom I have introduced as "characters;" and that when
I have spoken of the colony as "Botany Bay," and the large land and
stockholders of former times as the "lords" thereof, it was not my
intention to be either sarcastic or insulting. An absence of nearly
twenty years from the colony (partly in India and partly in Europe)
has in no way lessened my regard for the land where the days of my
boyhood were spent, and where I yet hope to end my life; and I would
here desire to express that it afforded me great joy to find that the
prophecy in which I indulged at the public meeting at the Sydney
College, in 1842, when I inconsistently seconded Mr. W. C. Wentworth's
resolution, that the Crown be petitioned to grant the colony a
representative assembly, was not fulfilled, but falsified. I was then
a very young (and perhaps a silly and selfish) man, when I propounded
in public that the colony was not ripe for any government, save that
of a purely Crown government; and the severe handling I received from
the entire press of the colony was no doubt well merited; for
assuredly I was not justified in agreeing to second so important a
resolution, and then express such strong doubts as to the advisability
of its being carried into effect. The unpopularity that I incurred
during the few months that I remained in the colony after my speech at
the Sydney College, was, I trust, regarded as a sufficient punishment
for that "youthful indiscretion" on my part. JOHN LANG Botany Bay



IT was a winter's night--an Australian winter's night--in the middle
of July, when two wealthy farmers in the district of Penrith, New
South Wales, sat over the fire of a public house, which was about a
mile distant from their homes. The name of the one was John Fisher,
and of the other Edward Smith. Both of these farmers had been
transported to the colony, had served their time, bought land,
cultivated it, and prospered. Fisher had the reputation of being
possessed of a considerable sum in ready money; and it was well known
that he was the mortgagee of several houses in the town of Sydney,
besides being the owner of a farm and three hundred acres, which was
very productive, and on which he lived. Smith also was in good
circumstances, arising out of his own exertions on his farm; but,
unlike his neighbour, he had not put by much money.

"Why don't you go home, John, and see your friends and relations?"
asked Smith; "you be now very warm in the pocket; and, mark my words,
they would be very glad to see you."

"I don't know about that, friend," replied Fisher. "When I got into
trouble it was the breaking of the heart of my old father and mother;
and none of my brothers and sisters--in all, seven of 'em--have ever
answered one of my letters."

"You did not tell 'em you were a rich man, did you?"

"No; but I don't think they would heed that much, lad; for though
they are far from wealthy, as small farmers, they are well-to-do in
the world, and in a very respectable position in the country. I have
often thought that if I was to go back they would be sorry to see me,
even if I carried with me 100,000 earned by one who had been a

"Bless your innocent heart! You don't know human natur' as I do.
Money does a deal--depend on't. Besides, who is to know anything about
you, except your own family? And they would never go and hint that you
had been unfortunate. Why, how many years ago is it?"

"Let me see. I was then eighteen, and I am now forty-six--twenty-
eight years ago. When I threw that stone at that man I little thought
it would hit him, much less kill him; and that I should be sent here
for manslaughter. But so it was."

"Why I recommend you, John, to go home is because you are always
talking of home and your relations. As for the farm, I'd manage that
for you while you are away."

"Thank you, Ned. I'll think about it."

Presently, the landlord entered the room, and Smith, addressing him,
said, "What think you, Mr. Dean? Here is Mr. Fisher going home to
England, to have a look at his friends and relations.

"Is that true, Mr. Fisher?" said the landlord.

"Oh, yes," was Fisher's reply, after finishing his glass of punch and
knocking the ashes out of his pipe.

"And when do you think of going?" said the landlord.

"That'll depend," replied Fisher, smiling. "When I'm gone you will
hear of it, not before; and neighbour Smith here, who is to manage the
farm during my absence, will come and pay you any little score I may
leave behind."

"But I hope you will come and say good-bye," said the landlord.

"Oh, of course," said Fisher, laughing. "If I don't, depend upon it
you will know the reason why."

After a brief while the two farmers took their departure. Their
farms adjoined each other and they were always on the very best of

About six weeks after the conversation above given, Smith called one
morning at the public house, informed the landlord that Fisher had
gone, and offered to pay any little sum that he owed. There was a
small score against him, and while taking the money the landlord
remarked that he was sorry Mr. Fisher had not kept his word and come
to bid him "good-bye." Mr. Smith explained that Fisher had very good
reasons for having his departure kept a secret until after he had left
the colony; not that he wanted to defraud anybody--far from it, he
added; and then darkly hinted that one of Mr. Fisher's principal
reasons for going off so stealthily was to prevent being annoyed by a
woman who wanted him to marry her.

"Ah! I see," said the landlord; "and that's what he must have meant
that night when he said, 'if I don't, you'll hear the reason why.'"

"I feel the loss of his society very much," said Smith, "for when we
did not come here together to spend our evening he would come to my
house, or I would go to his, to play cards, smoke a pipe and drink a
glass of grog. Having taken charge of all his affairs under a power of
attorney, I have gone to live at his place and left my overseer in
charge of my own place. When he comes back in the course of a couple
of years I am going home to England, and he will do for me what I am
now doing for him. Between ourselves, Mr. Dean, he has gone home to
get a wife."

"Indeed!" said the landlord. Here the conversation ended and Mr.
Smith went home.

Fisher's sudden departure occasioned some surprise throughout the
district; but when the explanation afforded by Mr. Smith was spread
abroad by Mr. Dean, the landlord, people ceased to think any more
about the matter.

A year elapsed, and Mr. Smith gave out that he had received a letter
from Fisher, in which he stated that it was not his intention to
return to Sydney and that he wished the whole of his property to be
sold and the proceeds remitted to him. This letter Mr. Smith showed to
several of Fisher's most intimate acquaintances, who regretted
extremely that they would see no more of so good a neighbour and so
worthy a man.

Acting on the power of attorney which he held, Mr. Smith advertised
the property for sale--the farm, the livestock, the farming
implements, the furniture, etc., in the farmhouse; also some cottages
and pieces of land in and near Sydney and Parramatta; with Fisher's
mortgagors, also, he came to an agreement for the repayment, within a
few months, of the sums due by them.


About a month previous to the day of sale, an old man, one David
Weir, who farmed a small piece of land in the Penrith Road, and who
took every week to the Sydney market, butter, eggs, fowls, and a few
bushels of Indian maize, was returning to his home when he saw, seated
on a rail, the well-known form of Mr. Fisher. It was very dark, but
the figure and the face were as plainly visible as possible. The old
man, who was not drunk, though he had been drinking at Dean's public
house, pulled up and called out, "Halloa, Mr. Fisher! I thought you
were at home in England!" There was no reply, and the old man, who was
impatient to get home, as was his horse, loosed the reins and
proceeded on his journey.

"Mother," said old Weir to his wife, while she was helping him off
with his old top-coat, "I've seen either Mr. Fisher or his ghost."

"Nonsense!" cried the old woman; "you could not have seen Mr. Fisher,
for he is in Old England; and as for spirits, you never see any
without drinking them; and you are full of 'em now."

"Do you mean to say I'm drunk, mother?"

"No, but you have your liquor on board."

"Yes; but I can see, and hear, and understand, and know what I am

"Well, then, have your supper and go to bed; and take my advice and
say nothing to anybody about this ghost, or you will only get laughed
at for your pains. Ghostesses, indeed! at your age to take on about
such things; after swearing all your life you never believed in them."

"But I tell you I saw him as plain as plain could be; just as we used
to see him sitting sometimes when the day was warm and he had been
round looking at his fences to see that they were all right."

"Yes, very well; tell me all about it to-morrow," said the old
woman. "As I was up before daylight, and it is now nearly midnight, I
feel too tired to listen to a story about a ghost. Have you sold
everything well?"

"Yes, and brought back all the money safe. Here it is." The old man
handed over the bag to his partner and retired to his bed; not to
rest, however, for the vision had made so great an impression upon his
mind he could not help thinking of it, and lay awake till daylight,
when he arose, as did his wife, to go through the ordinary avocations
of the day. After he had milked the cows and brought the filled pails
into the dairy, where the old woman was churning, she said to him:

"Well, David, what about the ghost?"

"I tell you I seed it," said the old man. "And there's no call for
you to laugh at me. If Mr. Fisher be not gone away--and I don't think
he would have done so without coming to say good-bye to us--I'll make
a talk of this. I'll go and tell Sir John, and Doctor MacKenzie, and
Mr. Cox, and old parson Fulton, and everybody else in the commission
of the peace. I will, as I'm a living man! What should take Fisher to
England? England would be no home for him after being so many years in
this country. And what's more, he has told me as much many a time."

"Well, and so he has told me, David. But then, you know, people will
alter their minds, and you heard what Mr. Smith said about that

"Yes. But I don't believe Smith. I never had a good opinion of that
man, for he could never look me straight in the face, and he is too
oily a character to please me. If, as I tell you, Mr. Fisher is not
alive and in this country, then that was his ghost that I saw, and he
has been murdered!"

"Be careful, David, what you say; and whatever you do, don't offend
Mr. Smith. Remember, he is a rich man and you are a poor one; and if
you say a word to his discredit he may take the law of you, and make
you pay for it; and that would be a pretty business for people who are
striving to lay by just enough to keep them when they are no longer
able to work."

"There's been foul play, I tell you, old woman. I am certain of it."

"But that can't be proved by your saying that you saw 'a ghost
sitting on a rail, when you were coming home from market none the
better for what you drank upon the road. And if Mr. Fisher should
still be alive in England--and you know that letters have been lately
received from him--what a precious fool you would look!"

"Well, perhaps you are right. But when I tell you that I saw either
Mr. Fisher or his ghost sitting on that rail, don't laugh at me,
because you will make me angry."

"Well, I won't laugh at you, though it must have been your fancy, old
man. Whereabouts was it you saw, or thought you saw him?"

"You know the cross fence that divides Fisher's land from Smith's--
near the old bridge at the bottom of Iron Gang Hill?"


"Well, it was there. I'll tell you what he was dressed in. You know
that old fustian coat with the brass buttons, and the corduroy
waistcoat and trousers, and that red silk bandanna handkerchief that
he used to tie round his neck?"


"Well, that's how he was dressed. His straw hat he held in his left
hand, and his right arm was resting on one of the posts. I was about
ten or eleven yards from him, for the road is broad just there and the
fence stands well back."

"And you called him, you say?"

"Yes; but he did not answer. If the horse had not been so fidgety I'd
have got down and gone up to him."

"And then you would have found out that it was all smoke."

"Say that again and you will put me into a passion."

The old woman held her tongue, and suffered old David to talk all
that day and the next about the ghost, without making any remark


On the following Wednesday--Thursday being the market day in Sydney--
old David Weir loaded his cart and made his way to the Australian
metropolis. True to his word with his wife, he did not mention to a
soul one syllable, touching the ghost. Having disposed of his butter,
eggs, poultry and maize, the old man left Sydney at 4 p.m., and at
half-past ten arrived at Dean's public house.

He had travelled in that space of time thirty miles, and was now
about eight or nine from home. As was his wont, he here baited his
horse, but declined taking any refreshment himself, though pressed to
do so by several travellers who wanted to "treat" him. During the
whole day he had been remarkably abstemious.

At a quarter to twelve the old man re-harnessed his jaded horse and
was about to resume his journey when two men, who were going to
Penrith, asked him for "a lift."

"Jump up, my lads," said old David; and off they were driven at a
brisk walk. One of the men in the cart was a ticket-of-leave man in
the employ of Mr. Cox, and had been to Sydney to attend "muster." The
other was a newly-appointed constable of the district. Both of these
men had lived for several years in the vicinity of Penrith and knew by
sight all of the inhabitants, male and female, free and bond.

When they neared the spot where the old man had seen the apparition,
he walked the horse as slowly as possible and again beheld the figure
of Mr. Fisher seated on the upper rail of the fence, and in precisely
the same attitude and the same dress.

"Look there!" said old David to the two men, "what is that?"

"It is a man!" they both replied. "But how odd! It seems as if a
light were shining through him!"

"Yes," said old David; "but look at him; what man is it?"

"It is Mr. Fisher," they said, simultaneously.

"Hold the reins, one of you," said old David. "I'll go and speak to
him. They say he is at home in England, but I don't believe it."

Descending from the cart, the old man, who was as brave as a lion,
approached the spectre and stood within a few feet of it. "Speak!" he
cried. "Don't you know me, sir? I am David Weir. How came you by that
gash in your forehead? Are you alive or dead, Mr. Fisher?" To these
questions no answer was returned. The old man then stretched forth his
hand and placed it on what appeared to be Mr. Fisher's shoulder; but
it was only empty air vacant space--that the intended touch rested

"There has been foul play!" said the old man, addressing the
spectre, but speaking sufficiently loud to be heard by both men in the
cart. "And, by heaven, it shall be brought to light! Let me mark the
spot." And with these words he broke off several boughs from a tree
near the rail and placed them opposite to where the spectre remained
sitting. Nay, further, he took out his clasp-knife and notched the
very part on which the right hand of the spectre rested.

Even after the old man returned to the cart the apparition of Mr.
Fisher, exactly as he was in the flesh, was "palpable to the sight" of
all three men. They sat gazing at it for full ten minutes, and then
drove on in awe and wonderment.


When old David Weir arrived home, his wife, who was delighted to see
him so calm and collected, inquired, laughingly, if he had seen the
ghost again. "Never mind about that," said the old man. "Here, take
the money and lock it up, while I take the horse out of the cart. He
is very tired, and no wonder, for the roads are nearly a foot deep in
dust. This is the fifteenth month that has passed since we had the
last shower of rain; but never mind! If it holds off for a fortnight
or three weeks longer our maize will be worth thirty shillings a
bushel. It is wrong to grumble at the ways of Providence. In my belief
it is very wicked."

"Well, I think so, too," said the old woman. "Thirty shillings a
bushel! Why, Lord a'bless us, that ull set us up in the world, surely!
What a mercy we did not sell when it rose to nine and sixpence!"

"Get me some supper ready, for as soon as I have taken it I have some
business to transact."

"Not out of the house?"

"Never you mind. Do as I tell you."

Having eaten his supper, the old man rose from his chair, put on his
hat and left his abode. In reply to his wife's question, "Where are
you going?" he said "To Mr. Cox's; I'll be home in an hour or so. I
have business, as I told you, to transact."

The old woman suggested that he could surely wait till the morning;
but he took no heed of her and walked away.

Mr. Cox was a gentleman of very large property in the district, and
was one of the most zealous and active magistrates in the colony. At
all times of the day or the night he was accessible to any person who
considered they had business with him.

It was past two o'clock in the morning when David Weir arrived at Mr.
Cox's house and informed the watchman that he desired to see the
master. It was not the first time that the old man had visited Mr. Cox
at such an hour. Two years previously he had been plundered by
bushrangers, and as soon as they had gone he went to give the

Mr. Cox came out, received the old man very graciously and invited
him to enter the house. Old David followed the magistrate and detailed
all that the reader is in possession of touching the ghost of Mr.

"And who were with you," said Mr. Cox, "on the second occasion of
your seeing this ghost?"

"One is a ticket-of-leave man named Williams, a man in your own
employ; and the other was a man named Hamilton, who lived for several
years with Sir John Jamieson. They both rode with me in my cart," was
the old man's answer.

"Has Williams returned?"

"Yes, sir."

"It is very late, and the man may be tired and have gone to bed; but,
nevertheless, I will send for him." And Mr. Cox gave the order for
Williams to be summoned.

Williams, in a few minutes, came and corroborated David Weir's
statement in every particular.

"It is the most extraordinary thing I have ever heard in my life,"
said Mr. Cox. "But go home, Weir; and you, Williams, go to your rest.
To-morrow morning I will go-with you to the spot and examine it. You
say that you have marked it, Weir?"

"Yes, sir."

The old man then left Mr. Cox and Williams returned to his hut. Mr.
Cox did not sleep again till a few minutes before the day dawned, and
then, when he dropped off for a quarter of an hour he dreamt of
nothing but the ghost sitting on the rail.


The next morning--or rather, on that morning--Mr. Cox, at eight
o'clock, rode over to the township of Penrith and saw Hamilton, Weir's
second witness. Hamilton, as did Williams, corroborated all that Weir
had stated, so far as related to the second time the spectre had been
seen; and Hamilton further volunteered the assertion that no one of
the party was in the slightest degree affected by drink.

There was a tribe of blacks in the vicinity, and Mr. Cox sent for the
chief and several others. The European name of this chief was "Johnny
Crook," and, like all his race, he was an adept in tracking.
Accompanied by Weir, Hamilton, Williams and the blacks, Mr. Cox
proceeded to the spot. Weir had no difficulty in pointing out the
exact rail. The broken boughs and the notches on the post were his
unerring guides.

Johnny Crook, after examining the rail very minutely, pointed to some
stains and exclaimed, "white man's blood!" Then, leaping over the
fence, he examined the brushwood and the ground adjacent. Ere long he
started off, beckoning Mr. Cox and his attendants to follow. For more
than three--quarters of a mile, over forest land, the savage tracked
the footsteps of a man, and something trailed along the earth
(fortunately, so far as the ends of justice were concerned, no rain
had fallen during the period alluded to by old David, namely, fifteen
months. One heavy shower would have obliterated all these tracks, most
probably, and, curious enough, that very night there was a frightful
downfall--such a downfall as had not been known for many a long year)
until they came to a pond, or water-hole, upon the surface of which
was a bluish scum. This scum the blacks, after an examination of it,
declared to be "white man's fat." The pond in question was not on
Fisher's land, or Smith's. It was on Crown land in the rear of their
properties. When full to the brink the depth of the water was about
ten feet in the centre, but at the time referred to there was not more
than three feet and a half, and, badly as the cattle wanted water, it
was very evident, from the absence of recent hock-prints, that they
would not drink at this pond. The blacks walked into the water at the
request of Mr. Cox and felt about the muddy bottom with their feet.
They were not long employed thus when they came upon a bag of bones--
or, rather, the remains of a human body, kept together by clothing
which had become so rotten it would scarcely bear the touch. The skull
was still attached to the body, which the blacks raised to the surface
and brought on shore, together with a big stone and the remains of a
large silk handkerchief. The features were not recognisable, but the
buttons on the clothes, and the boots, were those which Mr. Fisher
used to wear! And in the pocket of the trousers was found a buckhorn-
handled knife which bore the initials "J.F." engraved on a small
silver plate. This was also identified by Weir, who had seen Mr.
Fisher use the knife scores of times. It was one of those knives which
contained a large blade, two small ones, a corkscrew, gimlet, horse-
shoe picker, tweezers, screwdriver, etc., etc. The murderer, whoever
it might be, had either forgotten to take away this knife or had
purposely left it with the body, for all other pockets were turned
inside out.

"Well, sir, what do you think of that?" said old Weir to Mr. Cox, who
looked on in a state of amazement which almost amounted to

"I scarcely know what to think of it," was Mr. Cox's reply. "But it
is lucky for you, David, that you are a man of such good character
that you are beyond the pale of being suspected of so foul a deed."

"I, sir?"

"Yes, you. If it were not that this dead man's property is advertised
for sale, it might have gone very hard with you, old man. It would
have been suggested that your conscience had something to do with the
information you gave me of the ghost. But stay here, all of you, with
the body until I return. I shall not be absent for more than an hour.
Have you a pair of handcuffs about you, Hamilton?"

"Several pair, sir," replied the constable.


After leaving the dead body, Mr. Cox rode to Fisher's house, in which
Mr. Smith was living. Mr. Smith, on being informed of the approach of
so exalted a person as Mr. Cox, one of the proudest men in the colony,
came out to receive him with all respect and honour. Mr. Cox--who
would not have given his hand to an "ex-piree" (under any
circumstances), no matter how wealthy he might be--answered Mr.
Smith's greeting with a bow, and then asked if he could speak with him
for a few minutes. Mr. Smith replied, "Most certainly, sir," and,
ordering a servant to take the magistrate's horse to the stables, he
conducted his visitor into the best room of the weatherboarded and
comfortable tenement. The furniture was plain and homely, but
serviceable, nevertheless, and remarkably clean. The pictures on the
walls formed a rather motley collection, having been picked up at
various times by Mr. Fisher at sales by public auction of the effects
of deceased officials. Amongst others were two valuable oil-paintings
which had originally belonged to Major Ovens, an eccentric officer who
was buried on Garden Island, in the harbour of Port Jackson. These had
been bought for less money than the frames were worth. There were also
some Dutch paintings, of which neither Mr. Fisher nor those who had
not bid against him little knew the real value when they were knocked
down for forty-two shillings the set--six in number!

"I have come to speak to you on a matter of business," said the
magistrate. "Is the sale of this farm and the stock to be a peremptory
sale? That is to say, will it be knocked down, bon fide, to the
highest bidder?"

"Yes, sir."

"And the terms are cash?"

"Yes, sir."

"Sales for cash are not very common in this country. The terms are
usually ten per cent. deposit, and the residue at three, six, nine and
twelve months, in equal payments."

"Very true, sir, but these are Mr. Fisher's instructions, by which I
must be guided."

"What do you imagine the farm will realise, including the stock and
all that is upon it?"

"Well, sir, it ought to fetch 1,500 ready money."

"I hear that the whole of Mr. Fisher's property is to be sold,
either by auction or private contract."

"Yes, sir."

"What will it realise, think you, in cash?"

"Not under 12,000 I should say, sir."

"One of my brothers has an idea of bidding for this farm; what about
the title?"

"As good as can be, sir. It was originally granted to Colonel
Foucaux, who sold it and conveyed it to Mr. Thomas Blaxsell, who sold
it and conveyed it to Fisher. But as you know, sir, twenty years'
undisputed possession of itself makes a good title, and Fisher has
been on this farm far longer than that. All the deeds are here; you
may see them, if you please, sir."

"There is no occasion for that; as Mr. Fisher's constituted
attorney, you will sign the deed of conveyance on his behalf."

"Yes, sir."

"What is the date of the power of attorney?"

"I will tell you, sir, in one moment"; and opening a bureau which
stood in one corner of the room, Mr. Smith produced the deed and
placed it in Mr. Cox's hands.

With the signature of Fisher, Mr. Cox was not acquainted; or, at all
events he could not swear to it. He had seen it--seen Fisher write his
name, it is true; but then it was that sort of hand which all
uneducated and out-door working men employ when they write their
names--a sprawling round-hand. But as to the signatures of the
attesting witnesses there could be no question whatever. They were
those of two of the most eminent solicitors (partners) in Sydney--Mr.
Cox's own solicitors, in fact.

"And the letter of instructions authorising you to sell by auction,
for cash; for it says in this power, 'and to sell the same, or any
part thereof, in accordance with such instructions as he may receive
from me by letter after my arrival in England.'"

"Here is the letter, sir," said Mr. Smith, producing it.

Mr. Cox read the letter attentively. It ran thus:

"Dear Sir,--I got home all right, and found my friends and relations
quite well and hearty, and very glad to see me again. I am so happy
among 'em, I shan't go out no more to the colony. So sell all off, by
public auction or by private contract, but let it be for cash, as I
want the money sharp; I am going to buy a share in a brewery with it.
I reckon it ought, altogether, to fetch about 17,000. But do your
best, and let me have it quick, whatever it is.

"Your faithful friend.


There was no post mark on this letter. In those days the postage on
letters was very high, and nothing was more common for persons in all
conditions of life to forward communications by private hands. As to
the signature of the letter, it was identical with that of the power
of attorney.

"All this is very satisfactory," said Mr. Cox. "Is this letter, dated
five months ago, the last you have received?"

"Yes, sir. It came by the last ship, and there has not been another
in since."

"Good morning, Mr. Smith."

"Good morning, sir."


Riding away from Fisher's late abode, Mr. Cox was somewhat perplexed.
That power of attorney, drawn up so formally, and signed by Fisher in
the presence of such credible witnesses, and then the letter written,
signed in the same way by the same hand, were all in favour of the
presumption that Fisher had gone to England, leaving his friend and
neighbour, Smith, in charge of his property, real and personal. But
then, there were the remains! And that they were the remains of
Fisher, Mr. Cox firmly believed. When he had returned to the pond, by
a circuitous route, Mr. Cox ordered the blacks to strip from a bluegum
tree, with their tomahawks, a large sheet of bark. Upon this the
remains were placed, carried straightaway to Fisher's house (Mr. Cox,
upon horseback, heading the party) and placed on the verandah. While
this proceeding was in progress Mr. Smith came out and wore upon his
countenance an expression of surprise, astonishment, wonder. But there
was nothing in that. The most innocent man in the world would be
surprised, astonished, and in wonderment on beholding such a

"What is this, Mr. Cox?" he said.

"The last that I have heard and seen of Mr. Fisher," was the reply.
"Of Mr. Fisher, sir!"


"These were his old clothes," said Mr. Smith, examining them
carefully; "most certainly this was the old suit he used to wear. But
as for the body, it can't be his; for he is alive, as you have seen by
his letter. These old clothes he must have given away, as he did many
other old things, the day before he left this; and the man to whom he
gave 'em must have been murdered."

"Do you think he could have given away this knife?" said David Weir.
"To my knowledge, he had it for better than twelve years, and often
have I heard him say he would not part with it for 50."

"Give it away? Yes!" said Smith. "Didn't he give away his old saddle
and bridle? Didn't he give away his old spurs? Didn't he give away a
cow and a calf?"

"He was a good man, and an honest man, and a very fair dealing man,
and in his latter days a very righteous and godly man, but he was not
a giving-away man by any manner of means," returned old David.

"And if he gave away these boots," said Hamilton, "they were a very
good fit for the man who received them."

"This man, whoever he is, was murdered, no doubt," said Mr. Smith,
with the most imperturbable countenance and the coolest manner. "Just
look at this crack in his skull, Mr. Cox."

"Yes, I have seen that," said the magistrate.

"And that's where poor Fisher's ghost had it," said old David.

"Fisher's ghost!" said Mr. Smith. "What do you mean, Weir?"

"Why, the ghost that I have twice seen sitting on the rail not far
from the old bridge at the bottom of the hill yonder."

"Ghost! You have seen a ghost, have you?" returned Mr. Smith, giving
Mr. Cox a very cunning and expressive look. "Well, I have heard that
ghosts do visit those who have sent them out of this world, and I dare
say Mr. Cox has heard heard the same. Now, if I had been you, I'd have
held my tongue about a ghost (for ghosts are only the creatures of our
consciences) for fear of being taken in charge."

"I taken in charge!" said old Weir. "No, no! My conscience is clear,
and what I've seen and said I'll swear to. Wherever I go I'll talk
about it up to my dying hour. That was the ghost of Mr. Fisher that I
saw, and these are the remains of his body."

"If I were Mr. Cox, a magistrate," said Mr. Smith, "I would give you
in charge."

"I will not do that, Mr. Smith," replied Mr. Cox. "I feel that my
duty compels me to give you in custody of this police officer."

"For what, sir?"

"On a charge of wilful murder. Hamilton!"

"Yes, sir."

"Manacle Mr. Smith and take him to Penrith."

Mr. Smith held up his wrists with the air of an injured and pure-
minded man, who was so satisfied of his innocence that he was prepared
for the strictest investigation into his conduct and had no dread as
to the result.


A coroner's inquest was held on the remains found in the pond, and a
verdict of "Wilful Murder" was returned against Edward Smith. The jury
also found that the remains were those of John Fisher, albeit they
were so frightfully decomposed that personal identification was out of
all question.

The vessel in which Fisher was reported to have left Sydney happened
to be in the harbour. The captain and officers were interrogated, and
in reply to the question,--"Did a man named John Fisher go home in
your vessel?" the reply was "Yes, and on the Custom House officers
coming on board, as usual, to look at the passengers and search the
ship to see that no convicts were attempting to make their escape, he
produced his parchment certificate of freedom, in which there was a
description of his person."

"And did the man answer exactly to that description?"

"Yes, making allowance for his years, on looking at the date of the
certificate. If he had not, he would have been detained, as many
convicts have been."

"And during the voyage did he talk of himself?"

"Frequently. He said that he was a farmer near Penrith; that after
he had served his time he went to work, earned some money, rented a
farm, then bought it, and by industry and perseverance had made a

"Did he ever mention a Mr. Smith--a friend of his?"

"Often. He said he had left everything in Mr. Smith's hands, and
that he did not like to sell his property till he saw how he should
like England after so long an absence. He further said that if he did
not come back to the colony he would have all his property sold off,
and join some trading firm in his own country."

The solicitor who had prepared the power of attorney, and witnessed
it, said that a person representing himself as John Fisher, of
Ruskdale, in the district of Penrith, came to them and gave
instructions for the deed; and after it was duly executed, took it
away with him and requested that a copy might be made and kept in
their office, which was done accordingly. In payment of the bill,
twenty dollars (5 currency), he gave a cheque on the bank of New
South Wales, which was cashed on presentation; that the man who so
represented himself as John Fisher was a man of about forty-six or
forty-eight years of age, about five feet eight inches in height, and
rather stout; had light blue eyes, sandy hair, and whiskers partially
gray, a low but intelligent forehead, and a rather reddish nose.

This description answered exactly that of Mr. Fisher at the time of
his departure from the colony.

The cashier of the bank showed the cheque for twenty dollars. Mr.
Fisher had an account there, and drew out his balance, 200--not in
person, but by a cheque--two days previous to his alleged departure.
He had written several letters to the bank, and on comparing those
letters with the letter Mr. Smith said he had received from England,
they corresponded exactly.

Opinion was very much divided in the colony with respect to Mr.
Smith's guilt. Numbers of persons who knew the man, and had dealings
with him, thought him incapable of committing such a crime--or any
heinous offence, in fact. The records were looked into, to ascertain
of what offence he had been convicted originally. It was for
embezzling the sum of twenty--two shillings and fourpence, which had
been entrusted to him when he was an apprentice for his master, who
was a market gardener, seedsman and florist. As for the story about
the ghost, very, very few put any trust in it. Bulwer was then a very
young gentleman, and had never dreamt of writing about Eugene Aram;
nor had Thomas Hood contemplated his exquisite little poem on the same
subject. Nor had the murder of the Red Barn been brought to light
through the agency of a dream. The only instances of ghosts coming to
give evidence of murder were those of Banquo and Hamlet's father--and
Shakespeare was not considered an authority to be relied upon in such
a case as that of Fisher.

Smith's house and premises, as well as those of Fisher, were searched
in the hope of finding apparel, or some garment stained with blood,
but in vain. Nor did the inspection of Smith's letters and papers
disclose aught that strengthened the case against him. On the
contrary, his accounts touching Fisher's property were kept entirely
distinct from his own, and in memorandum books were found entries of
the following description:--

Sept. 9.--Wrote to Fisher to say P. has paid the interest on his

Sept. 27.--Received 27 10s.--from Wilson for year's rent of Fisher's
house in Castlereagh Street.

Nov. 12.--Paid Baxter 3 12s.--due to him by Fisher for bullock

No case had ever before created, and probably never will again
create, so great a sensation. Very many were firmly impressed with the
belief that Weir was the murderer of the man who wore Fisher's
clothes, crediting Smith's assertion or suggestion that he had given
them away. Many others were of the opinion that the remains were those
of Fisher, and the man who murdered him had robbed him of his
certificate of freedom, as well as of the cash and papers he had about
him, and then, representing Fisher, had got out of the colony and made
Smith a dupe.


The anxiously looked-for day of trial came. The court was crowded
with persons in every grade of society, from the highest to the very
lowest. Mr. Smith stood in the dock as firmly and as composedly as
though he had been arraigned for a mere libel, or a common assault--
the penalty of conviction not exceeding a fine and a few months'

The case was opened by the Attorney-General with the greatest
fairness imaginable, and when the witnesses gave their evidence (Weir,
Hamilton, Williams and Mr. Cox) everyone appeared to hold his breath.
Smith, who defended himself, cross-examined them all with wonderful
tact and ability; and, at the conclusion of the case for the
prosecution, addressed the jury at considerable length and with no
mean amount of eloquence.

The judge then summed up. His honour was the last man in the world to
believe in supernatural appearances; but with the ability and fairness
that characterised his career in the colony, he weighted the
probabilities and improbabilities with the greatest nicety. To detail
all the points taken by the judge would be tedious; but if his charge
had any leaning one way or other it was in favour of the prisoner.

The jury in those days was not composed of the people, but of
military officers belonging to the regiment quartered in the colony.
These gentlemen, in ordinary cases, did not give much of their minds
to the point at issue. Some of them usually threw themselves back and
shut their eyes--not to think, but "nod." Others whispered to each
other--not about the guilt or innocence of the prisoner at the bar,
but about their own affairs; whilst those who had any talent for
drawing exercised it by sketching the scene or taking the likeness of
the prisoner, the witnesses, the counsel, the sheriff and the judge.
But in this case they seemingly devoted all their energies, in order
to enable them to arrive at the truth. To every word that fell from
the judge during his charge, which lasted over two hours, they
listened with breathless attention, and when it was concluded they
requested permission to retire to consider their verdict. This was at
half--past five in the afternoon of Friday, and not until a quarter to
eleven did the jury return into court and retake their places in the

The excitement that prevailed was intense, and when the murmurs in
the crowd, so common upon such occasions, had subsided, amidst awful
stillness the prothonotary put that all-momentous question, "Gentlemen
of the jury, what say you? Is the prisoner at the bar guilty, or not

With a firm, clear voice, the foreman--a captain in the army--
uttered the word "GUILTY!"

Murmurs of applause from some, and of disapprobation from others,
instantly resounded through the hall of Justice. From the reluctant
manner in which the judge put the black cap upon his head, it was
evident that he was not altogether satisfied with the finding of the
jury. He had, however, no alternative; and in the usual formal manner
he sentenced the prisoner to be hanged on the following Monday morning
at eight o'clock.

Smith heard the sentence without moving a single muscle or betraying
any species of emotion, and left the dock with as firm a step as that
which he employed when entering it. His demeanour through the trial,
and after he was sentenced, brought over many who previously thought
him guilty to a belief in his innocence, and a petition to the
Governor to spare his life was speedily drafted and numerously signed.
It was rumoured that the Chief justice who tried the case had also
made a similar recommendation, and that the Governor, in deference
thereto, had ordered a reprieve to be made out, but not to be
delivered to the Sheriff until seven o'clock on Monday morning. It was
further stated that the Governor was of opinion that the finding of
the jury was a correct one. The press of the colony did not lead, but
fell into, the most popular opinion, that it would be tantamount to
murder to take away the life of any human being upon such evidence as
that given at the trial.


On the Monday morning, so early as half-past six, the rocks which
overlooked the gaol yard in Sydney, and commanded a good view of the
gallows, were crowded with persons of the lower orders; and when, at a
little before seven, the hangman came out to suspend the rope to the
beam and make other preparations he was hailed with loud hisses and
execrations; so emphatic was the demonstration of the multitude in
favour of the condemned man. By seven o'clock the mob was doubled, and
when the Under-Sheriff or any other functionary was seen in the
courtyard, the yells with which he was greeted were something

At five minutes to eight the culprit was led forth, and at the foot
of the gallows, and near his coffin (according to the custom
prevailing in the colony), was pinioned preparatory to ascending the
ladder. Whilst this ceremony was being performed the shouts of the
populace were deafening. "Shame! Shame! Shame! Hang Weir! He is the
guilty man! This is a murder! A horrid murder!" Such were the
ejaculations that resounded from every quarter of that dense mob
assembled to witness the execution; while the calm and submissive
manner in er in which Smith listened to the reverend gentleman who
attended him in his last moments, heightened rather than suppressed
the popular clamour.

At one minute past eight the fatal bolt was drawn and Smith, after
struggling for about half a minute, was dead! Whereupon the mob
renewed their yells, execrations, hisses, and cries of "Shame! Shame!
Shame! Murder! Murder! Murder!" These noises could not recall to life
Mr. Smith. He had gone to his account, and after hanging an hour his
body was cut down, the coffin containing it conveyed in an uncovered
cart to Slaughter--House Point (the last resting-place of all great
criminals) and the grave filled in with quicklime.

There was a gloom over Sydney until the evening at half-past six
o'clock. Almost everyone was now disposed to think that the blood of
an innocent man had been shed. "The witnesses were all perjured, not
excepting Mr. Cox"; "the jury were a parcel of fools"; and "the
Governor, who would not listen to the judge, a hard-hearted and cruel
man." Such were the opinions that were current from one end of Sydney
to the other. But at the hour above mentioned--halfpast six in the
evening--the public mind was disabused of its erroneous idea. At that
hour it became generally known that on the previous night Mr. Smith
had sent for the Rev. Mr. Cooper, and to that gentleman had confessed
that he deserved the fate that awaited him; that for more than two
years he had contemplated the murder of John Fisher for the sake of
his wealth, which was equal to 20,000; that the man who had
personated Fisher and executed the power of attorney had gone to
England and written thence the letter upon which he so much relied in
his defence, was a convict who resembled the deceased in person, and
to whom he (Smith) gave Fisher's certificate of freedom; that it was
his (Smith's) intention to have left the colony as soon as the
proceeds of the sale came into his possession--partly because he
longed to lead the last portion of his life in England, but chiefly
because, from the day on which he committed the murder, he had been
haunted by that ghost which old Weir had truly sworn he saw sitting on
the rail; that the deed was done by a single blow from a tomahawk, and
that the deceased never spoke after it was inflicted. He protested
that the man who had personated Fisher in respect to the execution of
the power of attorney, and who had escaped from the colony, was
ignorant of his (Smith's) intention to murder Fisher; and that the
letter which had been forwarded from England was only a copy of the
one which he (Smith) had told him to despatch a few months after he
had arrived at home. He concluded by saying that, since he struck
Fisher that fatal blow his life had been a burden to him, much as he
had struggled to disguise his feelings and put a bold front on the
matter; and that he would much rather, since he had been convicted,
suffer death than be reprieved--although he hoped that until after the
breath had left his body his confession would be kept a secret.


I had occasion, one day, to attend the police-office in Sydney. One
of my convict servants, a farrier, had purposely "pricked" and lamed a
favourite horse of mine; and I was determined to have him flogged. The
reader may naturally ask, how did I know the man had purposely pricked
the animal? Because he had been heard to say that the next time the
horse required to be shod, I wouldn't be able to ride him for some
weeks to come. I might, by speaking to the magistrate, have had the
culprit put upon the treadmill for a month, or placed in a road-gang,
to work in irons, for three, six, nine, or twelve months, or flogged
to the extent of one hundred lashes, twenty-five being the minimum.
(By the way, there were slang terms applied to these doses of the
lash: twenty-five was called a "tester"; fifty, a "bob"; seventy-five,
a "bull"; and a hundred a "canary.") My chief reason for having the
farrier flogged was, that I should not long be deprived of his
services, for I had made up my mind to suggest to the magistrate that
he should only receive fifty; and as he was a strong, stout man, that
number could not do him much harm, while it would suffice to operate
upon him as a punishment. Fifty lashes, administered by the hand of a
landsman, who was a convict himself, were not equal to nine
administered by the strong arm of a boatswain, who can cut
"crossways." Had Captain G., whom Marryat has immortalized, seen a
convict flogged at Hyde Park Barracks, Sydney, he might have been
justified in exclaiming to the operator, "One would think you were
brushing flies off a sleeping Venus, instead of punishing a scoundrel,
with a hide as thick as a buffalo's! 'One!' Do you call that one? It
is not a quarter of one! You are only fit to be a fly-flapper at a
pork-shop! You Molly Mop! is that the way you handle a cat? Where's
the boatswain?"

I was walking up and down the court-yard, waiting for the case to be
called on, when I was approached and saluted by that prince of
Australian thief-takers, Mr George Flower, who figures so
conspicuously in "Assigned to his Wife".

"It is a beautiful day, sir," he remarked.

"Very," I replied.

"And a pretty world it is, sir."

"Yes. But what leads you to make the remark at this moment?"

"Do you see those two men standing in the doorway of the office,


The two men to whom Flower called my attention were habited in
fustian trousers, fustian waistcoats, fustian shooting-coats, and
black neckties. On their heads were common straw hats; on their feet
high-low shoes. Had I been asked to guess their occupation, I should
have said that they were constables. One of these men was nearly six
feet high; the other not more than five feet four.

"They are 'Master and Man'," resumed Flower. "The short un is the
master--the long un is the man. The short un is a lord--the eldest son
of an English earl. The long un is--heaven knows who. He was lagged
under the name of Adolphus Frederick Jones. But he is a blood, and
there's no mistake about it, sir!"

Here the two men of whom Flower was speaking approached us, and the
"short un" (as Flower called him) made me a very graceful bow, and
said "Forgive me, if I am interrupting you; but I am anxious to speak
to Mr Flower about a pencil-case which I have lost. It is of no great
value intrinsically; but to me it is very precious."

I signified by a gesture that Mr Flower was at his entire disposal.

The taller person also saluted me by raising his hat, and his bearing
at once satisfied me that he was a man of good birth. I returned his
salute; but I evinced no desire to enter into conversation with him;
on the contrary, I sauntered away, for it mattered not what might have
been his rank or former position in society, since he was then a
convict, undergoing the punishment of transportation for some criminal
offence; in short, a convicted felon.

Ere long my case was called on. I hastened into the office, and
deposed on oath, as follows:--"The prisoner, my assigned servant,
farrier by trade, purposely lamed one of my horses while shoeing him."

"You are satisfied he did it on purpose?" the magistrate asked me.

"Perfectly," I replied.

"What have you to say to the charge?" the magistrate asked the

"Didn't do it on purpose, your worship."

"It is enough that you lamed the horse."

Here I made my suggestion as to what the punishment should be, and it
was forthwith awarded; the magistrate informing the prisoner that he
was fortunate in having so lenient a master. The case did not occupy
five minutes. Such cases were always speedily settled.

I have mentioned in a former paper that in "the good old times" (as
they were called), every master, who was a magistrate, might hold a
court and punish his own convict servants. Such, however, was not the
case at the time to which this narrative refers. General Rourke then
ruled the colony, and the privilege above alluded to having been
grossly abused, his excellency ordered that no magistrate should have
any voice in the punishment of his servants, beyond making a
suggestion as to the mode of punishment, and that all offenders were
to be tried in police-courts, before stipendiary magistrates.

After leaving the court, I mounted my horse and was riding towards my
home, some seven miles distant from Sydney, on the Parramatta road,
when I was overtaken by Mr Flower, who, mounted on his famous
galloway, Sheriff, was proceeding to a place called Prospect, to
effect, if possible, the capture of three notorious bushrangers. He
pulled up, and as we jogged along the road together, he gave me some
further information touching "The Master and his Man." In short,
Flower afforded me their history, so far as it related to their
appearance in the colony of New South Wales. It was thus he ran on:--

"As I have already told you, sir, the short un is a lord--that we
know. Who the long un is nobody knows, as he was lagged under a false
name. Some say that he is the son of a lord; but that's all guess-
work. That he was born a gentleman, we don't want a ghost to come and
tell us."

"Certainly not," I conceded.

"How the long un came to be lagged was this. Two or three years ago,
when they were at college, they went to Greenwich, or Gravesend, I
forgot which, and they hired a trap to take 'em to London. When they
got to London, where they spent all the ready money they had, and both
being very fresh, blest if long un does not go and sell the trap to a
livery-stable keeper, who directly afterwards found out who was the
real owner of the trap. Long un was followed, and collared, and given
in charge. A clearer case there couldn't be, and as drunkenness is not
held as an excuse for felony, he got his sevenpenn'orth, and was sent
to the hulks, until such time as a ship was ready to bring out a
batch. He was in the hulks for six months. Meantime the short un takes
a passage to Sydney, and rents a small cottage in Elizabeth Street,
where he makes himself as comfortable as he can, under the
circumstances. He went to Gov'ment House--he did then, that is to
say--he was hand-in-glove with all the big-wigs, and when the ship
arrives with the long un on board, he applies for him by name, and
gets him assigned to him as his servant."

"But," I observed, "the shorter man of the two, whom I now remember
having seen before, is not known at Government House as a lord, but as
Mr Geary."

"That is the name he goes by, sir. But at Government House they know
who he really is. He told Sir Richard and the Colonial Secretary that
he had only come out to see the colony, and was here incog., as he did
not wish to be mi-lorded."

"How do you know this?"

"Ah, sir," replied Flower, with the air, and using almost the very
words of Fouch, in addressing Napoleon, "if I were to divulge the
sources of my information, I should not be the great man that I am.
You lose your property, sir; I find it. In some cases the culprit is
punished; in others not. It all depends on my judgement and
discretion. What can it signify to you so long as what is Caesar's is
rendered unto Caesar? My lord (or Mr Geary, if you please) has lost
his pencil-case. He has told me where he has been, and has answered
all the questions I put to him; and on this day week, if not before,
he will have it restored to him, or my name is not George Flower."

"And how do these persons" (I scarcely know why I did not say
"gentlemen") "amuse themselves?" I inquired.

"In various ways, sir," responded Flower. "They saunter about the
town, look into the police-office, or the Supreme Court, or the Royal
Hotel, just to see what is going on; or they take a boat and have a
sail; or go out near the Heads, shark-fishing; or wander over the
Surrey Hills in search of quail or whatever is worth shooting. And
sometimes they journey into the interior, and take a spell at
kangaroo-hunting. And, about a month ago, they joined me in one of my
bushranging expeditions, and right good pluck they showed. The little
un faced his man, and shot him as dead as a nit, and I got the
reward--fifty pounds--for his carcass."

"Do they take their meals together, at the same table?" I asked.

"Oh, yes," said Flower. "But in public they are not very familiar. I
breakfasted with them once, and they called each other by their
Christian names. They never walk together arm-in-arm in the streets,
but just as you saw them today; the master always walks a yard or two
in advance of his man. There's a poetry--isn't that what you call
it?--about the whole business that I very much like."

"What do you mean by poetry, Flower? There is not much poetry in
hiring a horse and chaise, and then feloniously disposing of it."

"No, sir. But there is in one man giving up all the comforts of his
home, and coming out to this jail--for the colony is only a jail,
after all--for the sake of his friend. Now, suppose he had left him to
his fate? What would have been the consequence? He would have been
assigned to some master who would have bullied him, perhaps. He would
have taken to the bush and the road, or have done something for which
he would have got two years in irons; and those two years wouldn't, as
you know, sir, count in his lagging. He would have become desperate,
and most likely have killed the overseer with a pick-axe; for your
bloods are always the most violent men in bondage. Put a carrion crow
under a crate, and give him offal and water, and he is contented. But
try it on with an eagle that has been accustomed to soar amongst the
clouds. God bless you! give him the slightest chance, and he will clap
his sinewy claws into your ribs and pick your eyes out."

Indisposed to argue the question, I suffered Mr Flower to

"As it is, sir, when he has served his time, and gets his bit of
parchment, they will go home, and their friends will be none the
wiser; that is to say, they will know nothing about the horse-and-gig
business, and the trip across the pond."

"How do you know?"

"As I told you before, sir, I never divulge the means of getting at
the truth."

"But if their friends do not know of their place of abode, how do
they live? Where do they get wherewith to satisfy all their wants?"

"They haven't got much. The little un brought a few hundreds out
with him; but it is pretty well gone by this time. The long un sold
his dressing--case the other he other day for 25--a thing that must
have cost a hundred, if not more."

"Is the convicted person, think you, sensible of his degraded

"He does not feel it--or does not seem to feel it--so much as the
other. Between ourselves, sir, it was the little un who suggested the
sale of the trap, which the long un executed. Morally, they were both
in the same kettle, but not legally. However, that does not alter the
poetry part of the business. That's what I like. It's a very common
thing, as we all know, for a wife to follow her transported husband to
this Bay, and get him assigned to her. Very few colonial secretaries
can withstand the tears, and witness the grief of a woman. That's all
very natural on the wife's part. And I can also understand a fond
husband following a transported wife, and regaining her here. But it
is very seldom that you find friendship going to such lengths as it
has gone in this case."

"Perhaps not," said I. And here, insomuch as I was at the gate of my
own grounds, I parted company with Mr Flower.

          *   *   *   *   *

Some five or six months subsequent to the time of the conversation
above detailed, I paid a visit to the Supreme Court to witness a very
remarkable trial--remarkable chiefly on account of the character of
the prisoner, who had been a commander in the Royal Navy, and who was
the brother of a baronet, who was a member of the British Ministry.

This culprit was subsequently hanged for the murder of a poor woman.
(See p.95.) He was now on his trial for forgery--the name of the
gentleman with whom he took such an unwarrantable liberty being that
of the chief-justice of the colony. It was a cheque for 10 that he
forged. He must be known to the reader as George Ketchcalfe.

I had scarcely taken my seat on one of the benches close to the bar--
the barrister's place--when Mr Geary, the "master," took a seat beside
me. His "man" stood amongst the crowd--and a very dense crowd it was.
The prisoner had been originally transported for stealing one of the
chronometers belonging to the 18-gun brig that he commanded, and
pawning it for a fifth of its value.

When the prisoner was placed in the dock, he made a low, respectful,
dignified, and graceful bow to the bench, and then assumed a somewhat
defiant attitude. He was a short, thick-set man, of about forty-two
years of age; his face was not handsome by any means. He had deeply-
set black eyes, a short nose, which was constantly moved by a nervous
twitching, a long upper lip, fine teeth, a mouth expressive of
ferocity and daring, and a very prominent chin and a short neck. The
forehead was not lofty--but broad, and decidedly intellectual.

All eyes were now upon the prisoner, who pleaded, "Not guilty!" in a
loud and confident tone of voice.

"How wonderfully like his brother!" exclaimed Mr Geary, addressing
himself to me.

"Indeed!" I replied, for until that day I had never heard of, much
less seen, the prisoner's brother.

"The very image of him!" said Mr Geary. "Ah, me! It is indeed a
strange world."

I don't know exactly what possessed me, but I took it into my head to
let off a commonplace remark, or platitude, on the occasion, and with
the air of a preacher, I said, "It only shows us the necessity of
keeping our passions in control."

Mr Geary said, "Yes," and smiled: so that it is to be questioned if
my platitude and grave look had much substantial effect upon him.

The trial proceeded, and during its continuance we exchanged very
many remarks. Mr Geary did not strike me as a man of any ability, nor
was he a well-educated man. His manners and address were good; but I
could see that he was one of those men who delight rather in the
society of their inferiors than their equals, though, to the credit of
Mr Geary be it said, he did not keep "low company" during his stay in
Sydney. In short, after the arrival of his convicted friend, he did
not keep any company at all. He went nowhere, except with his
"servant," and his servant he could not take into society. His chief
associate was Mr George Flower, to whom he was as partial as I was
myself, and as were numbers of gentlemen.

The trial of Ketchcalfe ended in a verdict of guilty, and he was
sentenced to be transported to Norfolk Island for the term of his
natural life. Instead of appearing hurt at the sentence, the prisoner
volunteered to the bystanders a piece of information. "Does your
honour know," said he, addressing the judge, with much animation and
sincerity combined: "Does your honour know that Norfolk Island is the
first land that the sun lights up and shines upon when he rises? If
you will consult a chart you will find that it is the furthermost soil
eastward." From that day until Mr Geary took his departure from the
colony with his friend, whose time had expired, whenever we met in the
streets, or at a review, or upon a racecourse, we saluted each other,
and when he happened to be alone, which was a rare occurrence, we
exchanged a few civil sentences. During the last eighteen months of Mr
Geary's stay in the colony he was overwhelmed by pecuniary
difficulties, and for several months was a prisoner for debt in the
common jail. For his liberation, eventually, he was indebted to his
friend, Mr George Flower, who paid the whole of his debts in full, and
"took him out in triumph," as Flower used to express it.

"How did you raise that 335?" I one day asked the thief-taker.

"Well, sir, I did it in this way," was the reply. "There was fifty
pound reward for Carroty Joe, the bushranger, that I shot at Campbell
Town, and brought in dead. There was fifty for his pal, that I
captured, and brought in alive. There was five-and-twenty for a bolter
from Captain Johnstone--a man that had been out two years. That was
125. The rest I borrowed from four Jews, receivers of stolen
property, on these easy and quiet terms: my verbal promissory note,
payable, with interest, at one thousand per cent per annum--the
account to be settled on the great day of judgement, and the money to
be forthcoming on the day after."

"And did they consent to those terms?"

"Consent, sir! Why there is not one of them that I could not
transport to Norfolk Island for life, at any moment that I like."

          *   *   *   *   *

A few weeks after, Mr Geary returned to England: he became an earl,
and at this present moment enjoys the title and the estates of his
ancestors. He repaid Flower to the full, and did not fail to repeat
how grateful he felt to him for his "kindness rendered at a time of
such dire difficulty and need."



Some forty-three years ago a wealthy banker, a Mr. Binkie, was
travelling from London to Woodstock, when the progress of his carriage
was arrested by two gentlemen of the road, who made the usual demand
of "Your money or your life!" The banker instantly complied, and
dropped a purse, containing gold and bank-notes, amounting to 70,
into the hand which one of the gentlemen (both of them were masked)
put into the carriage window. The hand, thus stretched forth, was
ungloved, and while the banker was finding his purse, he could not
help taking particular notice of it. There is something certainly in
the shape of a hand. I do not mean to say that it is always a
criterion of a man's or woman's birth; but, generally speaking, from
looking at the hand, a very fair estimate may be formed of the owner's
condition in life. Now, the hand into which the banker dropped his
purse was a very peculiar band. It was not particularly small; but it
was soft and white, and the fingers were so long as to be seemingly
out of proportion. The nails were carefully pared, and there was a
Pinkish hue about them. On the inner part of the thumb there was a
scar, or mark rather, such a mark as would remain after a wound caused
by the application of a piece of red-hot iron. The shape of this scar
was that of a halfmoon, and its size about half an inch in length,
with the proportionate breadth. The gentleman of the road, while
holding out his hand, was compelled to stretch his body over the
shoulder of his horse, and while in this position the banker had a
good view of the back part of his neck, a portion of his hair, and the
lower part of his right ear; for the mask that he wore covered only
the features-the face. It would be a hard thing to swear to a man, by
seeing only a small portion of the back part of his neck, and an ear;
but so very peculiar was the formation in this case, that the banker
felt convinced that whenever, or wherever, he might see them again, he
would be able instantly to recognize them. What was this peculiar
formation? It was this: Behind the ear there was no back part of the
head, or, in the parlance of phrenologists, "no development of the
animal passions." There was, also, another peculiarity. The skin of
that portion of the neck which was visible was as smooth and white as
that of some delicate high-born damsel; while the ear, in its size,
and the delicacy of its shape, was far more like that of a woman than
a man. In stature, this gentleman of the road was about five feet ten
inches in height, and rather slight in figure. His dress was not like
that in which Jack Sheppard, Tom King, and other notorious highwaymen
of bygone days wed to delight, but more like that of a country squire,
with the exception of a slouched hat, and a short black cloth cloak,
such a one as Hamlet usually wears on the stage.

The banker was not asked for his watch or other valuables. As soon
as his purse was pocketed, the postboy was commanded by the highwayman
to "go on." It was about ten miles from Woodstock that this robbery
took place; and as soon as it had been completed, as above described,
the two gentlemen of the road leaped their horses into a field, and
galloped across the country towards a town some six miles distant. The
season of the year was winter--the hour, half-past three in the
afternoon--and by the time that they arrived in the town towards which
they galloped it was quite dark.

The banker had very urgent business in Woodstock, and was anxious to
return to town with all speed; so urgent, indeed, was this business,
that he would not speak about the robbery lest it should break in upon
his time, which was of so much consequence. He was, therefore, silent
on the subject until after his arrival in London, on the following
day, when a formal intimation of the facts was forwarded to the police
authorities, who inserted the usual advertisement in the "Hue and

The bank to which the gentleman who had been robbed belonged was a
bank that issued its own notes, and it was a portion of their notes
that had fallen into the hands of the highwayman. Five "fives;" the
numbers were known, but the banker, for reasons of his own, did not
furnish the police with those numbers. A memorandum, however, was made
upon a card, and hung up inside the rails of every little desk in the
counting-house--"53--12" to "53-16." Ere long every one connected with
the house, partners, clerks, and even the porters and other servants,
had their numbers by heart, and whenever they saw a "flyer" of the
firm, looked into the corner of it instanter. Upwards of a year
elapsed ere one of these lost ones was handed across the counter.

"53-14" came in one morning amongst a roll of other notes--
representing a very large sum of money--as a payment from a banking--
house in the west end of London. In pursuance of instructions that had
been given in respect to this matter, the clerk who received "53-14"
said nothing, but took it quietly to the partner from whom it had been
stolen. Mr. Binkie examined it very minutely, and, with a smile on his
countenance--for the hand and the neck, and the ear, and the form of
the highwayman came very vividly before him at that moment--ejaculated
"Humph!" This note had evidently travelled a good deal since the day
that it was stolen. It was crumpled, worn, and almost filthy; but
there was only one name written upon the back of it--"William Giles."
If the present detective force had been then in existence, it would
have been sufficient to have handed the note over to one of the
inspectors; but the force did not then exist, and the banker was
therefore induced to Institute, by private means, those inquiries
which he deemed necessary. The great questions were--"Who is William
Giles? Where did he get this bit of paper from? When? How?"

The bankers from whom it was received in payment had received it from
another banker, who had taken it from a banker in the country, who had
received it from a grazier, who took it from a butcher in Gosport in
part payment of some sheep. The butcher when the note was shown to him
by a clerk of the banking-house of Binkie and Co.--a Mr. Martin--
remembered it perfectly, "owing to the name of 'Giles' on the back of
it, and a cross in red ink, which he had himself made upon it;
likewise a stain, which was caused by its falling on a bit of fat,
when the gentleman who gave it him threw it on the block in payment of
his bill."

"And what was the gentleman's name?" inquired Mr. Martin.

"His name, sir? Why, Mr. Grafton, who lives up here."

"And who is Mr. Grafton?"

"A gentleman of large property, and a nephew of Lord Banetree."

Mr. Martin waited upon Mr. Grafton; and, exhibiting the five-pound
note, represented what the butcher had stated. "It is perfectly true,"
replied Mr. Grafton; "I did pay him that note. I remember the note
perfectly; it was in my possession for several weeks."

"Do you know from whom you took it, sir?"

"Yes; from the landlord of a hotel in Bath. He gave it to me as part
of the change for a twenty-pound note, after deducting the amount of
his bill."

"Have you any objection to give me a letter to the landlord, sir?"

"Not the least." And Mr. Grafton sat down and wrote, not exactly a
letter, but a declaration, which answered the same purpose. Armed with
this document, Mr. Martin journeyed to Bath, saw the landlord,
presented Mr. Grafton's declaration, and produced the five--pound

The landlord also "remembered the note perfectly;" and had, he said,
a reason for so doing, which was this: that a tradesman in the town
had refused to give gold for it, because he thought the firm that
issued it was rather shaky.

"Shaky!" exclaimed Mr. Martin, rather indignantly. "Really, sir, I am
at a loss to--"

"Well, I hope you will excuse me, sir, if I have given on any
offence," said the fat, jovial, and good-tempered landlord. "I
intended no offence, I assure you, sir. You asked me for particulars,
and I have given you one, at all events."

"And may I ask from whom you received the note, sir?"

"Yes, sir, from a gentleman."

"What gentleman?"

"The gentleman whose name is written on the back of the note. You
must not be offended, but to tell you the truth, I at that time had
some misgivings about the firm--for rumours were abroad, sir--and I
took the note from Mr. Giles, who was staying here for several days
with a friend of his, on the express condition that if the firm failed
before I parted with it, he would consider himself my debtor for the
sum. But, sir, I took four other 5 notes, similar to this, from Mr.

"And what has become of these notes?"

"I parted with them in the usual course of business, sir, They are
not forgeries, I hope?"

"Oh, dear, no. Were they new when you received them?"

"To the best of my recollection, they were. At all events, they were
not so dirty as this is."

"And who is Mr. Giles?"

"Well, sir, he was a gentleman who came and stayed here for some
days with a friend."

"And what is Mr. Giles?"

"Well, I should say he was a gentleman of independent means, and one
who lived up to his income."

"And where does he reside?"

"By referring to my books, I can tell you, sir; for, previous to
going away he, at my request, left his address. Yes; here it is.
'George Giles, Esq., Eagle Lodge, near Exeter, Devon.'"

"What kind of a person was Mr. Giles?"

"Well, sir, I have told you that he was a gentleman."

"But are you sure that he was a gentleman?"

"For twenty-one years, sir, I was the head butler of a nobleman of
distinction, who entertained, both at his town house, and at his
country seat, the best society in the kingdom; and since his
lordship's death I have been the landlord of this hotel, which is not
the smallest in the place, sir. Now, with that amount of experience, I
think it would be very hard indeed if I did not know a gentleman when
I spoke to him, or he spoke to me. Yes, sir, Mr. Giles was, and, if
living, is a gentleman; well born and well bread sir. If he had
represented himself to me as a duke or a marquis, I should not have
doubted his word for one moment. His conversation, manners, bearing,
and address, sir, were quite sufficient for me."

"But the name of Giles is not a particularly aristocratic one,"
suggested Mr. Martin.

"Perhaps not, sir," replied the landlord. "But, as families now
intermarry, there is not much in names, sir. There is, at this moment,
in the house a gentleman whose name is Smith, sir. Nevertheless, he
is, to my knowledge, the grandson of one of England's proudest dukes.
Names, sir? Why, the name of the boots of this hotel (and I have seen
his baptismal register) is Augustus Philip Howard, and that of the
head waiter, Alfred Montmorenci. Howard's father was a shoemaker;
Montmorenci's a small greengrocer, who lived in Black Boy Alley all
his life."

Mr. Martin having thanked the landlord for his information, and
having dined at the hotel, took a post-chaise and departed for Exeter,
where he inquired for Mr. Giles. No one had heard of such a gentleman
in the neighbourhood. Eagle Lodge? there was no such place.

The clue to the discovery having ended at this point, Mr. Martin
returned to London, and detailed to his employers the particulars of
his journey. When Mr. Binki had heard the description given of Mr
Giles, he grinned sardonically, and exclaimed: "Humph! I thought as
much. A gentleman, eh?" Another year passed away, and all hope of
discovering by whom he had been robbed had departed from the breast of
the banker, when one afternoon, while walking up New Bond Street, he
saw before him a gentleman-like looking person, but whose ear and neck
(the back part thereof) made a great impression upon him. He followed
this person, and was often as close to him as possible--so close, that
he could distinctly see the texture of his skin. When in Piccadilly,
nearly opposite to the White Horse, the banker made an experiment:
"Mr. Giles!" said he, in a gentle tone. The person whom he was
following started suddenly, turned round, looked at the banker with a
rather vacant countenance, and then walked on. The banker now more
boldly accosted the person, of whose identity he was now quite
certain. Walking by his side, he said: "Surely, Mr. Giles, you
remember me?"

"No, sir, I do not," was the reply, and he stopped.


"No, sir! You have the advantage of me."

"Perhaps so, in this crowded street under existing circumstances; but
the last time we met, Mr. Giles, you had the advantage--and a very
decided advantage--over me. You then offered me your hand. Will you
now accept mine?" and the banker removed his glove, and extended his

"I tell you, sir, that you are mistaken," said the person accosted,
folding his arms tightly across his chest. "In the first place, sir,
how do you know that I am Mr. Giles?"

"That is the very point. Satisfy my curiosity. Tell me who you really
are, and I promise you, on my word and honour as a gentleman, that our
acquaintance here shall end, never again to be renewed."

"What do you mean, sir?"

"What I have said. But I have another condition to impose--which is,
that you restore to me a small silver coin of the reign of Charles I,
which was for many, many years in my possession, and subsequently came
into yours. It has a hole in it, and the value of the coin is,
intrinsically, less than sixpence."

"The only conclusion, sir, at which I can arrive is, that you are a
maniac; and if a constable were at hand, I should not hesitate to give
you into custody."

"Then I will be beforehand with you," cried the banker; and seizing
the person whom he addressed by the collar of his coat, he held him
firmly, calling aloud, "Help--help--help! Athief--athief--a thief!"

A crowd was speedily collected around them; and ere long a constable
came up and took "the gentleman" into custody on a charge of highway
robbery. Upon being asked his name, he remarked, pointing to the
banker, "This person says my name is Giles. Be it Giles."

On the following day there was an examination at the police-office in
Bow Street. The banker, who was permitted to look at the right hand of
the accused, swore positively that he was the person who, upon a
certain date, had stopped him on the king's highway, and took from him
a purse containing 70 in bank-notes and gold, and a silver coin of
the reign of Charles I. On being asked for his address, the prisoner
declined to give any, which was considered very much against him; and
he was remanded, in order that the evidence of the landlord at the
Bath hotel might be taken. There was another circumstance, besides his
refusal to give an address, which was construed greatly to his
prejudice, or to use a more homely phrase, which "told against him."
When apprehended he had upon his finger a signet ring; but between
Piccadilly and the lockup he had contrived to part with it. When
searched, a pocket-book was found upon him, and a purse. The former
contained a number of memoranda in cipher, and unintelligible to those
who examined them; the latter contained two bank notes of 10 each,
four guineas in gold, and a few shillings in silver. His linen, which
was unmarked, and his apparel, including his hat and his boots, were
such as only gentlemen in those days ever dreamt of wearing. To use a
popular expression current that day in the police-office--"Whether he
had faked the swag or not, he was a tip-top nob, and no flies about

The moment that the landlord of the Bath hotel was confronted with
the prisoner, he unhesitatingly recognized him as Mr. Giles, the
gentleman from whom he had taken the bank-notes, the one of which (No.
53-14) was then produced in court. The magistrate having no kind of
doubt about the case, fully committed the prisoner, "George Giles" to
take his trial at the Old Bailey at the ensuing sessions.


FOR Six long weeks George Giles lay in the cells of Newgate. At the
expiration of that time the day of trial came, and he was arraigned in
due form. He had no counsel, but defended himself most ably. No lawyer
could have argued more adroitly, or more successfully, several
technical objections that he took--especially that one which related
to a proposal to screen his face with a mask (similar to that which it
was alleged he had worn), while the prosecutor looked at the back of
his head and his neck. "If," said he, "the prosecutor will swear that
the mask now produced in court is the identical mask which was worn by
the man who robbed him, I have no objection; on the contrary, I will
gladly put it on my face; but if he cannot so swear I ask, in the name
of justice and of decency, that it may be removed from my sight, and
that of the Bench and the jury."

"But, my lord," urged the counsel for the prosecution, "it is just
such a mask as was worn by the highwayman."

"And I," exclaimed the prisoner, "may be just such a man as the man
who robbed the prosecutor; but still not that man."

Nor was his speech to the jury less ingenious than his objections
taken during the trial. "As for not giving any address," said he, "I
would ask you, gentlemen of the jury, whether there is no shame
attached to even an accusation of this kind, false though it may be?
Innocent as I am, and certain as I am of being acquitted, I would not
for the whole world have my relations and friends know that I have
been tried for such an offence. Nor would I have my enemies--and every
man has enemies in this world--to know it. For, would they ever fail
to remind rue of it? Is there one amongst you, gentlemen, who can lay
his hand on his heart and say: 'I have no enemy who would rejoice on
hearing that I have been placed in so awful a predicamentc?' The
question is not, who I am, or where I live; but, am I the man who
robbed the prosecutor? The shape of the back part of my head has been
dwelt upon. There are thousands of men in this kingdom, and I doubt
not, many in this court, at this moment, whose heads are shaped like
mine. But the prosecutor has only noticed two: the head of the man who
robbed him, and the head of myself. A comparison of handwriting is not
allowed in law, I believe. Is the life of a British subject, then, to
depend on comparing the shape of his head, or a portion thereof, with
that of some criminal? Let reason, justice, and humanity, rise
triumphantly, and with one voice forbid it! Great stress has also been
laid upon the scar or mark upon my right hand. Is there a man in this
court, or in this kingdom, who is devoid of some scar or mark on his
right hand--a scar resulting from some slight wound inflicted in his
childhood, or boyhood, or in later life? I will be bound that there is
not one! We have all cut ourselves or burnt ourselves, at some period
of our lives. Remember that the penalty of the crime of which I stand
accused is death. Can you conscientiously consign a fellow-creature to
so fearful a doom as that of being hanged by the neck in public, on
evidence so flimsy and so unsatisfactory as that which you have heard
this day? The learned counsel has said to you in his address: 'Let the
prisoner account to you for the possession of the bank-notes which he
endorsed, and passed to the landlord of the hotel.' For the past six
weeks I have been shut up in a dark cell in Newgate. What opportunity
have I had to discover the gentleman from whom I received them more
than twenty months ago, at Doncaster--a gentleman whom I never saw
before, and have never seen since--a gentleman whom I met in the ring,
and with whom I betted on a horse--race? I won his money, and he paid
me. Possibly this unsupported testimony of one who avows that he is a
gambler may not meet with much consideration, but I desire to impress
upon you that gambling is not a crime in the eye of the law: and that
even royalty has pecuniary speculations touching turf events. The
last, and withal the weekest, point to which I have to direct your
attention is this: It has been urged against me that no Mr. Giles, of
Eagle Lodge, could be found. There was no such a person, and no such a
place! What are the facts? A banker's clerk--and you will bear in mind
what he admitted on cross-examination--goes down to Exeter, puts up at
an hotel, asks the landlord of that hotel or tavern--if he knows Mr.
Giles, of Eagle Lodge? The landlord says 'No.' He (the banker's clerk)
then talks to the 'boots,' and to the stable-boys, and they have no
knowledge of such a person, or such a place. He then wanders about the
town and inquires of several tradesmen, who can afford him no sort of
information. Where upon he comes back perfectly satisfied that there
is no Mr. Giles, and no Eagle Lodge; just as if it were absolutely
essential that any gentleman going to reside in the neighbourhood of
Exeter must register his existence with the landlord and servants of
the Old Dun Cow, or those few tradespeople to whom the banker's clerk
thought fit to confine his inquiries."

The judge summed up, rather in the prisoner's favour than otherwise,
and the jury retired to consider their verdict. They were absent from
four o'clock until a quarter to eleven, when they returned into court,
and, amidst breathless silence, delivered their verdict of--"Guilty!"
The judge, who seemed somewhat surprised, did not condemn the prisoner
to be hanged, but ordered the sentence of "death" to be "recorded"
against him. This was tantamount to transportation beyond seas for the
term of his natural life.

After a brief probationary (?) period on board of a hulk George Giles
was "drafted," and placed on board a convict ship, bound for Sydney,
New South Wales.

Although the landlord of the Bath hotel has testified to the
convict's manners, bearing, and address, his personal appearance has
not yet been described. Be it known that he had violet--coloured eyes,
which had an extremely soft and sweet expression; an aquiline nose,
and a well-formed mouth, in which were set a row of pearly-white
teeth; a rather prominent chin, and a neck most exquisitely moulded.
His hair was of a chestnut colour. Giles was, in short, not only a
very handsome, but a very peculiar--looking person; and his age, at
the time of his conviction, was not in excess of twenty-five years.
The doctor of the ship in which Giles was borne away from the land of
his fathers to the far-distant penal colony, took what is called a
great fancy for the young man, and contrived, during the five months
that they were at sea, to make his position as little disagreeable to
him as possible. This he effected by appointing him to take charge of
the cabin in which were deposited the medicine-chests and hospital
stores, and suffering him to take his meals and sleep therein, instead
of among the four hundred and ninety convicts onboard.

"I am very curious to know your history," said the doctor to Giles,
one day in private.

"I have none to narrate, sir," was the reply.

"Oh, yes, you have. Come tell it to me. I know what you were
transported for, by the muster-roll and a copy of the calendar--the
Newgate Calendar. But how came it about? You were guilty, I fancy?"

"Well, sir, I was convicted; and that amounts to the same thing, so
far as I am now concerned."

"But, come; tell me. I have read the report of the trial very
attentively, and the case appears to me such a strange and such a
doubtful one."

"I can tell you nothing in addition to what you have read in that
report, sir."

"Oh, yes, you can. Say, now, were you guilty or not?"

"I would rather say nothing about it, sir; but if you press me, I
have no hesitation in saying that this is not the hand into which the
banker dropped his purse, confidently as he swore to this mark on the
ball of my thumb."

"Then you are the other man who was in company of the highwayman?"

"No, I am not, sir."

"Then you are innocent?"

"Again, sir, I implore you not to question me any further on this
matter. I am very sensible of your great kindness to me; but I would
rather incur your most severe displeasure than prolong this
conversation, which is so peculiarly painful to my feelings."

"Very well. But there is one question that I must put to you; and
you, I am sure, will not object to answer it."

"What is the question, sir?"

"Was Giles your real name or not?"

"It was not, sir."

"Then what was it?"

"I would rather have my tongue torn out by the roots, sir, than
divulge the name of my family, the name under which I was born. Had I
been sentenced to be hanged, and if my reprieve and pardon had been
faithfully promised me on condition that I would state who I was and
by whom begotten, I would have remained silent."

"Let me look at that mark on the ball of your thumb."

"There, sir."

"How was it done? By accident?"

"No, sir."

"How, then?"

"It was burnt in by a gipsy."


"That I hardly know. It was done when I was a child. Others have been
branded in this way."

"What others?"

"Ah, sir, you are coming back to the old point. I must decline
answering any further questions on the subject."

It was during the administration of General Macquire, as governor of
New South Wales and its dependencies, that George Giles was
transported for the term of his natural life; and it was in the autumn
of the year 1815 that he arrived in that colony, and was "assigned,"
in company with two other convicts, to a Captain Bellamy, of the Royal
Navy, who had retired from the service, and settled in Australia.
Captain Bellamy, who was then about forty-five years of age, was a
very extensive grantee, and had, in all, some seventy or eighty
assigned servants, the greater portion of whom were employed on an
estate which he possessed in the Hawkesbury district, and which
estate--with the assistance of an overseer, who had formerly sailed
with him as boatswain--he managed himself. On the occasion of having
new men assigned to him, it was Captain Bellamy's wont to have "all
hands piped" to listen to a short address, which, without variation,
he always delivered in the following words:

"Men! I have called you together to bear witness to the truth of the
few observations that I am about to make to these new--comers. I am a
strict, but a just master. I feed you well, I clothe you well, and if
you are sick you are well attended to; but, at the same time, if you
are ever guilty of neglect of your work, fail to be obedient to
command, or wanting in respect to myself, or your overseer--by--I flog
you well. That's all. Pipe down, Jackson!"

These last words were addressed to the boatswain overseer, who
instantly blew a shrill whistle; whereupon the convict servants
dispersed and resumed their various labours, leaving the captain, the
overseer, Giles and his two companions, in front of the house, which
was "the quarter-deck."

"You are labourers, my men?" said the captain, addressing himself to
the trio, who had just arrived, and were now standing before him.

"Yes, sir," said two of the men, touching their hats; but Giles
spoke not, nor did he make any sign.

"Are you not a labourer, my man?" said the captain to Giles.

"No, sir."

"Indeed! What are you, then?"

"An apothecary, sir."

"An apothecary! I applied for three labourers. However, I ought not
to complain, perhaps. Is there nothing you can turn your hand to,
except compounding pills, spreading plaisters, and mixing syrups?"

"I shall be glad, sir, to make myself generally useful."

"Generally useful is such an infernally vague term--I hate it," said
the captain, shaking his head. "Let us have one thing definite. Do you
know anything about horses?"

"Yes, sir."

"Well, Jackson, suppose we put him in the stables? We want help

"Yes, sir," said the overseer.

"Then be it so. By the bye, it strikes me that coach-house door
would be none the worse for a little dumbscraping or a touch of the
tar brush; so, to--morrow morning, at sunrise, let him be employed in
that manly and wholesome occupation; it will give him an appetite for
his breakfast. The others will go into the field, and hoe up their
thirteen rood of ground each."

"Yes, sir," said the overseer.

"But before you billet them off just take their lines, and let me
have them before sunset."

"Yes, sir." And then turning to Giles and the others, Mr. Jackson
added: "Come along, my lads!"

The overseer led them into a room, where he measured them to a hair.
He then took them into the store-room, where he weighed them, marking
down the weight of each man in a book. He next commanded them to
strip, whereupon he ascertained every mark or scar that each man had
upon his Person, noting at the same time, the colour of each man's
hair and eyes, shape of the nose, complexion, &c., &c. This done, he
served out to each person ten pounds of seconds flour, ten pounds of
salt beef, a quarter of a pound of brown sugar, two ounces of tea, two
ounces of soap, and a 'fig' (one ounce) of colonial tobacco. "That's
your week's rations," said he. "And now for your toggery. Here you
are! one duck frock, one cotton shirt, one pair of duck trousers, one
pair of boots, one straw hat, and one black handkerchief. And let me
recommend you all to come as clean and neat as possible on Sundays to
Divine Service into the captain's verandah; for there's nothing that
his excellency is more particular about than the uniform appearance of
all his crew on the Sabbath-day; and any of you as doesn't know how to
tie a running knot, or what they calls a sailor's knot, in your neck-
handkerchief, if you'll come to me in my leisure moments, I'll show
you how to do it. And, lastly, about your sleeping. Here's a bed and a
blanket a-piece for you. You (he addressed himself to Giles) as is
going into the stables, will sleep in the stables; you as is going to
work in the fields, will shake yourselves down along with those as
works in the fields. You will find yourselves pretty comfortable here,
I dare say. What the captain told you is very true. He is a strict,
but a just man. I have known him ever since I was a little boy. He was
only a middy when I fust sailed with him; and he was just the same
then that he is now; not a bit of difference, only older, and a little
more cantankerous, of course."

Let us now leave "Giles" on Captain Bellamy's estate, within
Hawkesbury district, and change the scene to Europe.

One forenoon, about a year and six months after the trial and
conviction of Giles, a gentleman called at Mr. Binkie's bank, and
presented, across the counter, a cheque for 500. Mr. Martin, whose
name has been already mentioned in connection with this narrative, and
who was the cashier of the bank, inquired of the gentleman how he
would receive the money?

"All in bank-notes, except 10 in gold," was the reply. Mr. Martin
counted out the notes, and was about to shovel the gold into the hand
of the gentleman, when, to his surprise, he beheld on the ball of his
thumb exactly the same mark as that upon which had chiefly rested the
conviction of another person. Mr. Martin was rather startled, and,
putting down the shovel, said--"Would you have any objection, sir, to
write your name on the back of this cheque?"

"Have you any doubt as to the signature? Do you believe it to be Lord
Beekthorpe's signature or not?" was the abrupt reply.

"I know it to be Lord Beckthorpe's signature, sir."

"And is it not payable to bearer?"

"Yes, sir."

"Then why should I endorse it? What right have you to ask me to
endorse it, sir? It is an impertinence to me as well as to Lord
Beekthorpe. What right have you, pray, to know or to inquire the name
of every or any person to whom a nobleman or gentleman thinks proper
to give a cheque? If my banker took such a gross liberty with me, I'd
never rest till I ruined him Now, sir, I demand that money; and,
listen to me, if it is not paid instanter, I will, within one hour
from this time, post my Lord Beckthorpe at every club in London, as a
defaulter in the payment of his debts of honour, leaving you and he to
settle and reconcile that unpleasantness between you." Hearing these
violent words uttered in a loud and imperious tone of voice, Mr.
Binkie left his seat in the bank parlour, and was advancing to the
counter, when Mr. Martin met him and said, in a whisper: "Look at his
right hand, sir." Mr. Binkie had a very good opportunity of doing
this, for the gentleman, when he repeated energetically: "Do you
honour Lord Beckthorpe's cheque on demand, payable to bearer, or do
you not?" stretched forth his palm across the counter, and within two
feet of Mr. Binkie's eyes.

"Oh, yes, we honour it, sir," said Mr. Binkie, now taking the case
out of Mr. Martin's hands. "By all means, and it shall be paid; but,
sir, it is sometimes usual with bankers to inquire who is the bearer,
and it has long been a custom of ours to do so."

"Curse your customs!" cried the gentleman, who was evidently a man of
violent and excitable temperament, and of an ungovernable will; "what
do I care for your customs?" "Pray be calm, sir," said Mr. Binkie,
observing the back part of the gentleman's head, and feeling rather
uncomfortable whilst he did so. "The money shall be paid; but--" he

"Curse the money!" said the gentleman, and turning swiftly on his
heel, and leaving the notes, gold, and cheque upon the counter, he
hurried into the street, mounted a spirited horse, which was held by a
groom at the door, and rode away, at a swift pace, from the city
towards the west end of the town.

Mr. Binkie and Mr. Martin looked at each other in profound
astonishment. The former pressed his head between his palms, and said:
"I am bewildered!" The latter looked up at the ceiling, then down at
the floor, and uttered, moodily: "It is incomprehensible!" Both the
banker and his head clerk (for to that post Mr. Martin had been
appointed) were half stupefied, and remained so until halfpast two
o'clock, when Lord Beckthorpe, in a towering passion, and accompanied
by two other gentlemen, constituents of the bank, rushed into the
counting--house, and very abruptly aroused them.

"What's the amount of my balance here?" gasped Lord Beckthorpe,
addressing Mr. Martin.

"Will you walk into the parlour, my lord, and take a chair?"

"No! What's my balance?"

Here Mr. Binkie came out, and timidly approaching the counter, where
stood Lord Beckthorpe, with a countenance distorted with vehement
passion, and with compressed lips.

"Lord Beckthorpe," Mr. Binkie began, "I am very sorry--"

"I do not want any expressions of your regret, sir," replied his
lordship, cutting short the banker's speech; "I want my money!" Then
addressing himself to Mr. Martin, he demanded: "Can't you tell me the
amount of my balance? Quick, sir! Time is precious with me--my credit,
my honour is at stake, sir!"

"The balance in your favour, my lord," said Mr. Martin, trembling,
"is 9,214 16s. 3 1/2 d."

"Then just give it to me as short and as sharp as possible, in Bank
of England notes and gold. I'll not have any of your notes. I'll draw
a cheque for it;" and he did so.

"Yes, my lord," and Mr. Martin counted out the money nervously, but
with accuracy, even to the 3 1/2d.

"I believe I have some trifle here?" said one of the gentlemen who
had come to the bank with Lord Beckthorpe. "Let me know what it is,
and give it to me."

"Yes, Sir John," said Mr. Martin, referring to his books; "your
balance is 11,219 4s. 1d."

"Oh! Thank you. I did not think there was so much left. Well, let me
have it, or rather pay it into Skinner and Flynte's, to my credit."

"Yes, Sir John. It shall be done." Sir John, was Sir John
Nemberpage, then in his thirty-fifth year.

"I am afraid I have but deuced little to take from you," said the
other gentleman (a rather elderly person), who had come with Lord

"I will see, general!" replied Mr. Martin; and then turning to
letter 'L' he read aloud--"General Leicesterfield--balance 624 18s.
9d. How will you have it?" "The six hundred in notes, and the rest in

"Our notes, general?"

"No. Bank of England."

When the money was paid to each constituent, Mr. Binkie addressed
them as follows: "I dare say you were under the impression that this
bank was not solvent, and hence the demur to pay the cheque presented
this morning without any endorsement. Such is not the case, as you
have discovered. I had my reasons for requiring the name of the person
who presented the cheque."

"The person, sir!" exclaimed Sir John Nemberpage. "You mean the
gentleman--my brother."

"Indeed, Sir John?"

"Yes, sir," interposed Lord Beckthorpe, "and my first cousin."

"Indeed, my lord? Then, why on earth should he refuse to endorse the
cheque, or give me his name and address?"

"Because you had no right to ask it, and he did not choose, I
suppose," suggested General Leicesterfield.

"Well, it is done, and it cannot, be helped," said Mr. Binkie,
wiping the glasses of his spectacles with a yellow silk pocket--
handkerchief. "But there was something so very odd--" here Mr. Binkie

"About what?" inquired Lord Beckthorpe.

"About this business, my lord."

"What the deuce do you mean, sir?"

"Nothing, my lord."

"Well, then, let me give you the same advice that Charles James Fox
once gave to a drivelling ass in the House of Commons, who told him
that he meant nothing. 'The next time that you mean nothing, say
nothing.'" And, with this insulting observation, his lordship walked
out of the banking-house, followed by his companions, Sir John
Nemberpage and General Leicesterfield.

Mr. Binkie had a brother-in-law, a Mr. Lyttlecoke, who was one of
the most eminent king's counsel of the day. Mr. Binkie visited his
brother-in--law, at his chambers, and communicated to him all the
particulars connected with the presentation of the cheque, and the
subsequent visit of his constituents. "And, to tell you the real
truth," concluded Mr. Binkie, "I am now by no means satisfied that the
man Giles was the person who robbed me on the highway."

"But it is too late to think about that now. One man has been
already tried, convicted, and transported for the offence. Take my
advice, and banish the whole affair from your mind."

"But I cannot do so. You see, I swore so positively to Giles, and
now the horrible reflection is continually haunting me that I may have
been mistaken."

"Apart from the mark on the hand (the half-moon on the ball of the
thumb), and the shape of the back of the head--does this half--brother
of Sir John Nemberpage in any way resemble the man Giles?" asked Mr.

"Not in the least!" returned Mr. Binkie. "I never beheld two faces
so unlike each other. The one (Giles) was a handsome fellow. The other
is positively ugly. He has a low forehead, jet--black eyes, a snub
nose, and long upper lip, irregular, rabbity teeth, and what is called
'underhung.' And they are, besides, so different in manners. There was
a gravity about those of Giles. This man's are uncouth and strangely
offensive. Oh! how I wish that I had not been so positive!"

"Pooh! pooh! Make your mind easy," said Mr. Lyttlecoke.

"Ah, brother! but what an awful thing if I have been the cause of
wrongfully banishing for life an innocent man! Only think of that!"


GEORGE GILES was, on the whole, what used to be termed by the
masters of convict servants, a very good man; but on several occasions
he misbehaved, and as Captain Bellamy never looked over but one
offence--namely, the first--he was several times punished; that is to
say, flogged. For five years and some months he was with Captain
Bellamy, and during that period was seen by the captain every day.
Indeed, he was almost constantly in the captain's sight; for in
addition to helping in the stables, he waited at table, cleaned the
knives, plate, boots, and shoes, and brushed the captain's clothes.
Captain Bellamy was not a married man; but he had two convict women
assigned to him, to do the washing, keep the furniture clean, attend
to the dairy, and cook. One day, Giles, while assisting these women to
move a heavy sideboard, intimated that it was his intention to destroy
himself shortly. The women laughed at Giles; but before the week was
out Giles was absent at "quarters" to which all hands wore shrilly
"piped" by the boatswain-overseer, at daylight every morning.

"Where's Giles, Jackson?" asked Captain Bellamy of the overseer, when
he missed Giles from his place in the avenue of convicts, through
which the captain walked, looking into the face of every man present.

"I don't know, sir," replied Jackson.

"Well, wind the call again: and if he doesn't tumble up, when you
have told the men off, ascertain the reason of his absence. Perhaps he
is sick."

Here Jackson "winded" (blew) the call with such force that it might
have been heard by any one (except those very deaf indeed) three miles
distant, whilst to those within fifty yards it was literally ear-
splitting. But Giles did not hear it; or if he did, he did not answer
to it.

The overseer, having assigned to every man his day's work
respectively, went to hunt up the missing Giles. He was not in his
bed, nor had his bed been slept in; nor had Giles's clothes been taken
away, except those articles of apparel which he wore when last seen.
Everything that he owned was in his deal chest.

"Very strange!" said the captain, when these matters were reported to
him. "Very strange! He cannot have turned bushranger?"

"Hardly that, sir. I don't think he was a man of that sort," said the

Here one of the convict women who was sweeping the floor of the room,
made bold to speak as follows:

"If you please, sir, he told us--me and Caroline--the other day, that
he was going to commit sooercide."

"Suicide!" said the captain; "why should he do that? He seemed very
happy here. But whether he has committed suicide or has run away, I
must, in the execution of my duty, report him to the authorities as
having absconded. Where are his lines, Jackson?"

"Here, sir," replied the overseer, taking from his pocket a greasy

"Read them out, and I'll write them down."

Jackson dictated as follows--and the captain, in a very legible hand,
transcribed his words on a sheet of foolscap:--Name, George Giles.
Ship, Ploenix. Height, 5 feet 9 7/8. Weight, on the first of last
month, 10st. 21b. 2oz. Hair, chesnut. Eyes, dark blue. Nose, beaky.
Teeth, regular and white. Complexion fair, but rather sunburnt. Marks,
scar on ball of right thumb, resembling a half-moon; large black mole
on left chest, the letters 'L. N.' pricked into the right arm, just
above the elbowjoint, and over them a dolphin.

"Has he ever been in the Navy, Jackson?" said the captain, on
hearing of the dolphin and the letters.

"Lord bless your honour! no, sir," replied Jackson. "He does not know
a marlinspike from a maintupbowlin. Had 'em done by some of the
convicts coming out, I suspect, in token of some sweetheart as he left
behind him, when he'd the herring-pond to come across, sir."

The description of the missing convict was forwarded to Sydney, and
ere long appeared in that portion of the Government "Gazette" which
was devoted to the description of convicts who had absconded from
their masters.

Ten years had elapsed, and nothing had been heard of Giles. Captain
Bellamy had, after a while, begun to think that the man had committed
suicide by throwing himself into the River Hawkesbury, which flowed
through his estate; and, by degrees, had ceased to think any more
about him. Mr. Binkie, the prosecutor of Giles, had departed this
life; Mr. Martin also had paid the debt of nature; so had Sir John
Nemberpage, if nature will accept as payment of her debt a life
sacrificed in a duel, arising out of a disreputable quarrel over a
card--table. What had become of Sir John's brother (Charles), whose
person and character, to some small extent, have been described in
these pages, no one knew. He had disappeared very mysteriously in the
latter part of the year 1820, and in 1823 the title and the estates
devolved upon Lucius, the youngest son of the late Sir Jasper
Nemberpage. In 1824, this youngest son, who had been travelling abroad
(with his brother Charles, it was said), returned to England, and
claimed, and was at once invested with his rights. He became, of
course, Sir Lucius Nemberpage, and went to reside at the family seat,
Nemberpage Hall, in the county of Huntingdon; and shortly after
succeeding to his title and estates, he married the only daughter and
heiress of Sir Charles Limbersault, by whom, in the course of seven
years, he became the father of four children, three boys and a girl.
It was said, or rather rumoured, that in early life Sir Lucius had
been very wild and very gay; but no one could now complain of him on
that score. He was a good husband, a good father, and a good landlord;
in short, in every respect and relation of life, Sir Lucius Nemberpage
was an excellent and exemplary member of society. He was always the
first man in the county to befriend the poor, relieve the oppressed,
and comfort the sorrowful. His popularity was unbounded, and
deservedly so. Lady Nemberpage, who, by hearsay, was really beautiful
woman, was likewise greatly respected and beloved by all who had the
good fortune to know her. The children also of Sir Lucius and Lady
Nemberpage were objects of admiration and regard in the county; they
were so handsome, so healthy, so well-behaved, and so prettily
mannered, and yet so natural in all their sayings and doings. In fact,
they were well--educated, but not over-educated, children.

In the year 1836, Captain Bellamy, R.N., of Bellamy Castle, New South
Wales, revisited his native land. His object in coming to England was
to induce the Government to appoint him governor of New Zealand, Swan
River, Port Phillip, or some other settlement at the Antipodes. The
old gentleman was an uncle of mine (I must now speak in the first
person), my late father having married his only sister. My mother and
myself at the time of my uncle's arrival were living on a little
ancestral estate, or piece of land containing some sixty or seventy
acres. My uncle had not corresponded with my mother for many years;
but somehow or other, soon after he landed in England, he discovered
her address, and wrote to inform her of his arrival. She invited him
to spend as much of his time as possible with us; and he came,
accompanied by his boatswain-overseer, Mr. Jackson, who acted as his
valet, toady, and shadow, and whom my uncle would, I am perfectly
satisfied, have recommended as his colonial secretary, had the
Government fallen in with his views. I could not help liking my uncle,
his features were so like those of my mother and of my grandfather,
whose portrait occupied the place of honour in our snug but
unpretentious dining-room. At the same time, I must confess that my
uncle's manners and habits were extremely distasteful to me. The truth
is, that he had lived so long in the wilds of Australia, cut off from
the world, as it were, and moving only amongst, or rather soaring
above, men whom, to use his own words "he fed well, clothed well,
worked well, and flogged well," that he had become utterly forgetful
or regardless of most of the amenities of civilized society. For
instance, he would sometimes take the charge of our small
establishment entirely out of the hands of my mother and myself, and
tell the man-servant who waited at table, that if he had him at
Bellamy Castle he would give him seventy-five as "sure as he had a
shirt to strip, or a back to bleed." And for what? For some
awkwardness, or other venial offence, of which very few people in this
country would have taken any notice. To the women servants, if he were
displeased with them, he would not unfrequently say, "If you belonged
to me, I'd have all that hair of yours cut of in the Paramatta
factory, where they don't use a comb and scissors, but a gridiron and
sheep-shears." He was, besides, so positive and so overbearing in his
manners to myself, that if any one had guaranteed to me the possession
at his death, of all the wealth which he was supposed to possess--and
really did possess, on the condition that I would live in the same
house for a year with him, I would not have been a party to the
agreement. As for Mr. Jackson, I should have hated him, so much was he
in the way, had it not been for his extraordinary devotion to his
master, and a quaintness and sagacity which marked his every speech
and action. Nevertheless, he must have been a man devoid of every
moral principle, for he had not been a week at Penfield (the name of
our little estate) before he had proposed marriage to every female in
the establishment, and for aught I know to every female in the
neighbourhood, albeit my uncle had more than once told me that Mr.
Jackson had left behind him a wife and two children at Bellamy Castle!
Happily for himself, perhaps, and, to my idea, happily for those to
whom he paid his abrupt addresses, they were uniformly rejected.

It often occurred to me that my uncle, although he had for so many
years been a settler, was under the impression that the whole world
was a man--of-war, and that the particular part of it on which he
happened to tread was the quarter-deck; and that Mr. Jackson also
believed the earth to be a man--of-war, and that he was the boatswain
of her.

My poor mother, who was one of the gentlest of beings, was afraid of
my uncle, whom she had not seen since the days of her childhood.
Indeed, she could hardly remember him; for he was not more than twelve
years of age when he was sent to sea, and she was several years
younger than he was. During the whole period of his naval career, he
had never set foot on English soil. He had either been in South
America, or on the African station, or cruising about New Zealand and
Bass's Straits, taking bearings and chartt-making. The last vessel
that he commanded was a small sloop--of-war with a roving commission.

Mr. Jackson, whose constant theme of conversation was "his excellency
the captain," informed me that he was "an awfully smart man on board
of ship--with the eye of a hawk, but terrible strict, and always
acting up to that one motter (motto), 'Feed well, work well, and (if
required) flog well.'."

In consequence of my mother's dread of him, I used to keep my uncle
as much away from the house as possible, by taking him for a drive, or
a ride, or a walk. I could not prevail upon him to visit any of the
gentry in our neighbourhood, for he said he was "not wishful to make
any acquaintances in England." He had "simply come home for a certain
purpose, and, that accomplished, he was of again to the south." One
fine morning in the spring, I asked him to accompany me to Newmarket
to witness a match of pigeon--shooting. He expressed his readiness,
and we set out for the scene of action.

There was a great gathering in the field, which lay at the back of
the Rutland Arms, for the match was between two of the most renowned
shots in the county, if not in the kingdom. From all parts had
gentlemen and others come to witness the contest--from Cambridge, from
Bury, from Lynn, from Ely, from Royston, and very many from London. I
should say that there were not less than four or five thousand persons
on the ground, and amongst them were many individuals of high rank.

When the match was about half over, my uncle seized me suddenly by
the wrist, held me in iron grip, looked steadfastly into my eyes, and
in a deep, sonorous, but subdued voice, exclaimed--GILES! AS I LIVE!

I could not comprehend him, and asked, with a smile, what he meant.

"William," he whispered, mysteriously, "there is Giles overthere! I
see him, and I'll have him!" And releasing his hold of my wrist, he
made his bony fingers and thumb the shape of an eagle's claw.

"Whom?" I inquired; "have whom? Who's your friend? where is he? what
has he done?"

"I wish Jackson had come with us."


"He would soon seize and muzzle him. As it is, I shall have to do it
myself, if a constable cannot be found."

"Do, my dear uncle, be more explicit."

"You see that man over there."

"I see a great many; but which man?"

"That man dressed in a suit of blue cloth, with a white hat."

"Yes; and I know him."

"Do you? what is his name?"

"Sir Lucius Nemberpage."

"Sir Lucius fiddlestick! It is Giles--George Giles!"

"I assure you, you are mistaken, uncle. But who may Giles be?"

"My assigned servant, who ran away from me, and who was never heard
of afterwards."

Here I laughed.

"You may laugh," said my uncle, "but it will not he a laughing matter
for that man. He will be hanged as sure as he is alive. That is the
penalty, you know, for returning from transportation."

"Let me repeat, my dear uncle, that you are labouring under a

"A mistake, sir? Do you mean to tell me that I, who have served on
board of ships of war in every grade, from midshipman up to
commander--I, who have so vast a memory for persons and things, that I
can call up, at any moment, the faces of a whole ship's company,
including even the boys and the marines--do you mean to tell me that I
cannot identify a man who, for five years, was a servant of mine; who
attended to my horses, waited at my table, cleaned my boots, and
brushed my clothes? What do you mean, sir?"

"Be not so angry and excited, uncle; and remember we are in a crowd,
and not alone. You shall see Sir Lucius at a closer view presently,
and then I am satisfied you will acknowledge your error. If you will
allow me, I will introduce you to Sir Lucius, as soon as the match is

"Introduce me! Introduce me to my own servant! Egad, I'll introduce
myself!" and again he made his right hand into the shape of an eagle's

"I implore you not to commit yourself to any unseemly conduct, nor
place me in a painfully unpleasant position. If you were to molest or
insult Sir Lucius on this ground, the people here assembled would have
you seized and conveyed to prison; indeed, the chances are that you
would be beaten to death."

"Bah! that's Giles! The more I look at him the more am I convinced.
Why, he's bowing in this direction!"

"Yes, and I have returned his bow. Pray be quiet; for I can see that
he is coming to speak to me as soon as an opportunity presents itself.
Shall I introduce you, or shall I not?"

"Very well, you may."

Sure enough, as soon as an opportunity presented itself, Sir Lucius
did approach, shook hands with me, and inquired after the health of my
mother, of which I gave a true report.

I then inquired after the health of Lady Nemberpage, and the
children, and was rejoiced to hear they were "quite well." These
compliments over, I said--"Will you allow me, Sir Lucius to introduce
my uncle, Captain Bellamy, of the Royal Navy?"

The old gentleman, who up to that moment had been unnoticed by Sir
Lucius, took off his hat, and made a very profound bow. He then drew
himself up to his full height (six feet), and remained uncovered. I
could not help observing that Sir Lucius became very pale and
agitated, albeit he strove hard to maintain his wonted composure.

"Are you living in this part of the world, Captain Bellamy?" asked
Sir Lucius, confusedly.

"No, Sir Lucius," was the reply; "my home is in Botany Bay, and I am
only a visitor in Europe. My lodgings are in the neighbourhood of St.

"Indeed!" said Sir Lucius, whose face now became crimson-coloured.

"Yes," said my uncle, taking from his pocket his old silver snuff-
box, from which he took a pinch, and then held it forth to the
baronet. "You take snuff, Sir Lucius?"

The baronet declined, with many thanks.

"But you were addicted to the vice of taking it formerly, were you
not, Sir Lucius?"

"Occasionally I used to take a pinch."

"I thought so. Yes!" and here my uncle thrust his hands into his
trousers--pockets, and shrugged up his shoulders so high that any one,
standing behind him at that moment, would have supposed that he had no
neck whatever.

Uncomfortable as Sir Lucius appeared in the presence of my uncle, and
anxious as he seemed to get away, yet he lingered near us and with us.
He was a man who doubts either his liberty to move, or the prudence of
absenting himself, lest he should be talked of to his prejudice. This
struck me as so very strange that I hardly know what to think of the
statements made by my uncle. I involuntarily shuddered from head to
foot, and hoped in my heart that there was no real foundation for
those statements.

The sporting match over, the crowd had dispersed. But Sir Lucius, my
uncle, and myself remained in the field, Why, I knew not. A servant, a
groom of Sir Lucius', came up, touched his hat, and was about to
speak, when Sir Lucius waved him off, saying, "By-and-by; by-and-by.
Go home and say I am coming."

After an extremely awkward silence, my uncle exclaimed--"Well, it is
time to move," and stepped out in the direction of the hotel. Sir
Lucius and myself followed, or rather walked on either side of him.

"Will you take luncheon at the hotel?" I inquired of my uncle.

"Yes," he answered, snappishly.

"Well, I will run on ahead, and order it."

"Ah! not a bad idea. Run away, my boy. Run away! Run away! Run away!"
And then, turning to Sir Lucius, he said--"And you may run with him,
if you like, sir."

"Thank you, sir," replied Sir Lucius, not impudently, but
respectfully and gratefully--more in the tone of a school-boy who has
obtained permission to go fishing, or play at cricket.

After luncheon had been ordered at the hotel, Sir Lucius Nemberpage,
trembling from head to foot, laid his hand upon my shoulder, and in a
broken voice hurriedly said,--"Will you be my friend? May I give you
my confidence?"

"I would do anything in the world for you, Sir Lucius," I replied.

"Protect me from your uncle! Let him not speak of me. My heart tells
me that he has already been communicative to you. Is it not so?"

I made no reply.

"Protect me from your uncle! You have given me a promise that you
will be my friend, and I am certain that you will do all in your
power; but it will not be an easy matter, for he is a hard, strict,
unbending, and--forgive me for saying so--a very vindictive old man. I
know him alas! too well. I know him!"

"But you have never done him any wrong, Sir Lucius?"

"Ah, my dear sir, if you only knew my history, you would pity me from
the very bottom of your heart. But hush! Here comes the old gentleman.
That is his foot-step on the stairs--measured, soft, but audible."

Another moment, and my uncle entered the room. There was at once a
dead silence. The waiter ere long came in, bearing on a tray hissing-
hot beefsteaks, and a dish of mealy potatoes.

"I have no appetite for food," said my uncle, pacing the room; "and I
would advise you, William, not to spoil yours for your dinner. It will
afford me, however, very great pleasure," he added, sarcastically, "to
stand behind Sir Lucius's chair, and, as I am not a proud man, to wait
upon him."

Sir Lucius buried his face in his hands, and groaned heavily.

"I was mistaken, sir, was I?" said my uncle, turning to me. "I should
have been beaten by the mob, and have been carried off to prison, if I
had claimed my own property in that field--or, rather, the King's
property--for when he left the island to which he was sent for his
life, he escheated to the Crown. I was wrong, was I?--wrong about a
man whose lines are still in my possession, whose lines would at once
establish his identity, even if there could be any doubt about my
recognition of his person? But how the deuce he has become Sir Lucius
Nemberpage is to me the most mysterious part of the affair. It must
have been by some diabolical false representation, which justice
demands should be brought to light--justice to some rightful heir to
the property and the title of which he has possessed himself. The name
of this man is George Giles, and he has upon his right arm the letters
'L. N.' with a dolphin over them, and so pricked in were they, that
the devil himself could not get rid of them without cutting off the

"It is perfectly true that I have upon my right arm the initials of
my name, and over them the crest of my family," said Sir Lucius,
looking up, meekly, at my uncle. "These initials are the initials of
Lucius Nemberpage."

"Worn upon the arm of George Giles! I will swear to you as George
Giles in any court of justice; and so will Jackson, as soon as he sees
you." Then turning to me, my uncle said--"William, I wish to go home."

He was about to leave the room, but Sir Lucius sprang from his chair,
rushed to the door, locked it, and put the key in his pocket.

"Villain! Convict villain!" cried my uncle; "dare you make your own
master a prisoner in a public-house?" And with these words he rushed
towards the bell-rope; but I intercepted him, and laying my hands upon
him with just the force that was required, I begged him to be quiet
for a few minutes.

Thwarted in his purpose, whatever it might have been, my uncle's rage
knew no bounds. Unable to leave the room, or ring the bell, he
stamped, swore, and shouted at the top of his voice--"Fire! murder!
thieves!" and then fell senseless on the floor.

The hotel servants, with the landlord at their head, came flocking to
the door, which Sir Lucius, in great trepidation, opened, and then
requested that surgical assistance might be instantly procured. After
a few minutes a doctor came; and on looking at my uncle, informed us
that he was dying. He had ruptured, in his rage, a large blood-vessel,
and the fluid was issuing copiously from his mouth and nostrils. We
removed the old gentleman to a bed in an adjoining apartment, and
there, at nine o'clock, he breathed his last.

My mother was much too nervous, and in health far too delicate, to
admit of having my uncle's body removed to our home; and arrangements
were accordingly made that the corpse should be taken from the hotel
to its last restingplace--the family vault of the Nemberpage family,
Sir Lucius having begged, with tears in his eyes, that I would consent
to this, after making me promise him that I would never mention the
facts in my possession, so long as he or his wife and children were in
existence. Sir Lucius could not attend the funeral; for Mr. Jackson,
whom the baronet was very anxious to avoid, claimed a right to be one
of my uncle's pall--bearers--and it was a right which no one could
reasonably dispute, considering the premises upon which the claim was
based. Mr. Jackson alleged that he "had been with the late captain for
upwards of forty-four years, and during that time had never been out
of his sight for more than a few hours together; that he had attended,
and had been faithful, unto him, in sickness and in health; and
whether he (Captain Bellamy) had gone up above or down below, he (John
Jackson) hoped that, when he died, he should go to the same place,
where he would never fail to salute him respectfully as a smart
officer, a good man, and a perfect gentleman in every sense of the

A few days after my uncle's funeral, and when Jackson had gone to
London, en route to Sydney, I received a note from Sir Lucius
Nemberpage, in these words:--Dear--,--Come and see me. Lady N. and the
children have gone to Ackridge House, to spend the day. You will find
me all alone, in the library. Yours ever, L.N.

I ordered my horse, and in less than half an hour was at Nemberpage
Hall. Sir Lucius looked jaded, ill, and half distracted.

"You have heard only half of a secret," he began, "which has been,
and is still, preying on my very soul. It is but fair to you, and to
myself especially, that you should know the whole of the secret; and
here, in the most solemn manner, I call the Almighty to witness the
truth of what I am about to relate. I was tried, convicted, found
guilty, and sentenced to be transported for the term of my natural
life, and became the convict-servant of your uncle, the late Captain

"For what offence, Sir Lucius?"

"No criminal offence. No offence whatever. But the offence which was
'proved' against me was that of a highway robbery. But hear me out.
You are aware, as is everybody in the county, that my father had three
sons, the late Sir John, my brother Charles, and myself. John was four
years old when I was born, and Charley two years. We were all wild
when we grew towards manhood; and gave my father a great deal of
anxiety and trouble. No wonder that he thrashed us so unmercifully
when we were boys--and struck us even when we were young men--although
I think a milder course of treatment might have been more effectual;
and I think it would have been more to our advantage had he taken some
pains with our education, instead of not caring, or seeming not to
care, whether we learned anything or not. And then he kept us very
short of money; even John was stinted frightfully. But, wild as we all
then were, John and I were not, by many degrees, so wild as Charley.
He was, indeed, something more than wild. It pains me to say so;--but
he was a perfect demon. Heaven only knows what crimes he may or may
not have to answer for in another world. John and myself were both
frightened of Charles, and yet we loved him. He was such a strange
admixture of gentleness and ferocity. In the days to which I now
refer, our family did not live in this county, but on a small estate
in Oxfordshire. This estate on which I now live was rented to a
nobleman. My father being a member of parliament for a borough in the
neighbourhood, was frequently absent for weeks together in London, and
my mother on all occasions accompanied him. Left alone in the house,
we three young men placed no sort of restraint upon our passions and
inclinations: we gambled, we drank, and, I am shocked to add, we kept
very low company. At this time John was five-and-twenty, Charles
twenty--three, and I just of age. Such a den as was that part of the
large house which we young men inhabited it would be difficult to
describe to you. Suddenly, my brother Charles was never in want of
money. He had not only sufficient for his own wants, but his purse was
always open to John and myself, when we were destitute of that
valuable commodity. There was another young gentleman, the eldest son
of a wealthy but penurious squire in the neighbourhood, who also
became, suddenly, what is vulgarly called 'flush of money.' Charles
and the young squire were very great friends; and often, when they
produced their well-filled purses, would John and I remark:--'Why, you
must have been upon the highway,' little thinking of the old proverb,
'There's many a true word spoke in jest.' We led this kind of life for
more than two years, when Charles became indisposed; and the doctors
recommended that he should have change of air and scene. He begged of
me to accompany him, and I most willingly assented. We left home for
London, and thence journeyed in a post-chaise to Bath. On the road
thither, Charles (wherefore I knew not) suggested that we should
travel under false names. I was to be Mr. George Giles, of Eagle
Lodge, Devonshire--and he Mr. Francis Preston, of Honiton, in the same
county. I was, morever, appointed the treasurer during the excursion,
and had charge of the general purse. After staying at Bath for a few
days, we went into Cornwall, where we remained a fortnight with a
relation of ours, and then returned to our home. Some two years
afterwards I was seized in Piccadilly." (The reader knows what

"But why, Sir Lucius," I asked, "did you not, when apprehended, give
your own name?"

"Because that might not have cleared me of the imputation; and,
besides, I was afraid of endangering the safety of Charles, who
confessed to me afterwards, in New South Wales, that it was he who
robbed Mr. Binkie on the highway, and what is more, he showed me the
silver coin of the reign of Charles I., about which the old banker was
so very anxious."

"In New South Wales, Sir Lucius? How came your brother Charles there?
Was he also transported?"

"Oh dear, no. I had been some four years in Australia before I made
Charles acquainted with my fate. My father and mother, thank heaven,
never knew what it had been for they died shortly after I left
England. And, if I may believe, as I think I may, what Charles told
me, my brother John, also, was ignorant of my fate. The moment Charles
received my letter he took a passage in a ship to Sydney, contrived to
have several interviews with me, and with him I made my escape from
the colony in a vessel bound for Calcutta; thence we came to Havre in
a French vessel. It was then that we heard of my brother John's
untimely death; and it was there, and not in Rome, as rumour has it,
that my brother Charles died and was buried."

"But, Sir Lucius," said I, "you have told me that you were
identified--I mean falsely identified--by that mark on the ball of
your right thumb. Had your brother Charles that mark?"

"Yes. And I will tell you how both of us came to have it. My mother,
who was as kind and as gentle a being as your own mother, was,
nevertheless, a very weak and superstitious woman, and was one day
told by a gipsy-woman, who came into the yard, that we boys, Charley
and myself--our ages were then, respectively, six and four years, and
we were sickly--would never thrive, or be fortunate in life, unless we
were branded. And the hag was permitted to perform the operation with
a silver instrument, which she carried with her for the purpose. It
was applied when nearly red-hot, and left this cursed mark upon me."

"And something was said about a mark upon your arm--some letters."

"Yes, they are my initials. See?" (Sir Lucius bared his right arm.)
"And this is our crest. When children, my father was afraid that one
or other of us might be stolen by the gipsies, who in those days, and
especially in Oxfordshire, often carried off the children of rich
people; and so he caused us all to be thus marked--disfigured. John
had 'J. N.,' Charley 'C. N.,'and I 'L. N.,' with the dolphin above. It
was done with Indian ink, gunpowder, and some fine needles, and I can
just remember roaring loudly during the operation. And now, I would
put one question to you, which I hope you will answer candidly and
from your heart. Do you doubt the truth of any of the statements I
have made to you in respect to my unfortunate self?"

"No, Sir Lucius," I replied. "I believe them all most implicitly."

"Then I would ask you a great favour."

"What is it?"

"Will you correspond with me when we have gone abroad?"

"Yes; but I hope you will not leave this part of the oountry."

"I feel," said Sir Lucius, "that I have no right to remain in
England, whence I was banished--whether wrongly or rightly it matters
not. If I dared, I would settle in Australia; but that is out of the
question. There I should be a prisoner of the Crown, or ignominiously
hanged, if it were known that I had left the colony. As it is, I and
all my family will embark next month for America, where I shall retain
the name of my ancestors, but fling away the title."

And Sir Lucius Nemberpage and Lady Nemberpage and their children did
embark for America; but they never arrived there. The vessel in which
they had taken their passage foundered; and save one seaman, who was
saved to tell the tale, all on board perished in the ocean!


A STOCKMAN in my employment was, not many years ago missing from a
cattle-station, distant from Sydney about two hundred and thirty
miles. The man had gone one afternoon in search of a horse that had
strayed. Not having returned at night or the next morning, the natural
conclusion was that he had been lost in the bash. I at once called in
the aid of the blacks, and, attended by two European servants
(stockmen), headed the expedition. The chief difficulty lay in getting
on the man's track; and several hours were spent before this important
object was accomplished. The savages exhibited some ingenuity even in
this. They described large circles round the hut whence the man had
taken his departure, and kept on extending them until they were
satisfied they had the proper foot-prints. The track once found, half
a dozen of the blacks went off like a pack of hounds. Now and then, in
the dense forest through which we wandered in our search, there was a
check, in consequence of the extreme dryness of the ground; or the
wind had blown about the fallen leaves of the gigantic gum--trees,
which abound in those regions; but, for the most part, the course was
straight on end.

We had provided ourselves with flour, salt beef, tea, sugar,
blankets, and other personal comforts. These were carried on a horse
which a small black boy, of about fourteen years of age, rode in the

On the first day we continued our search until the sun had gone down,
and then pitched our camp and waited for daylight. With their
tomahawks the blacks stripped off large sheets of bark from the gum-
trees, and cut down a few saplings. With these we made a hut; at the
opening of which we lighted a fire, partly for boiling the water for
tea, and partly for the purpose of keeping off the mosquitoes. During
the night we had a very heavy storm of lightning and thunder,
accompanied by torrents of rain This, I fancied, would render the
tracking even more difficult, as the rain was sufficiently heavy to
wash out the footprints of a man, had any such footprints been
previously perceptible. When the sun arose, however, the blacks,
seemingly without difficulty, took up the track and followed it at the
rate of two and a half miles an hour until noon, when we halted to
take some rest and refreshments.

The foot of civilized man had never before trodden in that wild
region: which was peopled only with the kangaroo, the emu, the
opossum, and wild cat. The stillness was awful; and, ever and anon,
the blacks would cooey (a hail peculiar to the savages of New Holland,
which maybe heard several miles off), but--and we listened each time
with intense anxiety--there was no response.

At about half-past three in the afternoon of the second day we came
to a spot where the blacks expressed, by gestures, that the missing
stockman had sat down; and in confirmation of their statement they
pointed to a stone, which had evidently been lately removed from its
original place. I inquired by gestures whether we were near the lost
man; but the blacks shook their heads and held up two fingers, from
which I gleaned that two days had elapsed since the man had been
there. At five we came to another spot where the missing stockman had
lain down, and here we found his short pipe broken. It would be
difficult to describe the satisfaction with which I eyed this piece of
man's handiwork. It refreshed my confidence in the natives' power of
tracking, and made me the more eager to pursue the search with
rapidity. By promises of large rewards, I quickened their movements,
and we travelled at the rate of four miles an hour. We now came upon a
soil covered with immense boulders. This, I fancied, would impede, if
not destroy the track; but this was not the case. It is true we could
not travel so fast over these large round stones; but the blacks never
once halted, except when they came to a spot where they satisfied me
the stockman himself had rested. None but those who have been in
search of a fellow-creature under similar circumstances can conceive
the anxiety which such a search creates. I could not help placing
myself in the position of the unhappy man, who was roaming about as
one blindfolded, and probably hoping on even in the face of despair.
Again we came a forest of huge gum-trees.

At times the gestures of the blacks, while following the footprints
of the stockman, indicated to me that he had been running. At other
times, they imitated the languid movements of a weary and footsore
traveller. They knew exactly the pace at which the poor fellow had
wandered about in those untrodden wilds; and now and then, while
following in his wake and imitating him, they would laugh merrily.
They were not a little amused that I should be angry at and rebuke
such a demonstration.

The sun went down, and our second day's search was ended. Again we
pitched our camp and lighted fires. We had now travelled about thirty
miles from the station, and the blacks, who had now got beyond the
precincts of their district, became fearful of meeting with some
strange tribe, who would destroy them and myself. Indeed, if I and my
European companions had not been armed with a gun each, and a
plentiful supply of ammunition, my sable guides would have refused to
proceed any further.

All night long I lay awake, imagining, hoping, fearing, and praying
for daylight; which at last dawned. Onward we went, through a
magnificent country, beautifully wooded, and well watered by streams
and covered with luxuriant pasture,--all waste land, in the strictest
sense of the term. At about ten we came to a valley in which grew a
number of wattle-trees. From these trees, a gum, resembling gum arabic
in all its properties, exudes in the warm season. The blacks pointed
to the branches, from which this gum had recently been stripped, and
indicated that the man had eaten of a pink grub, as large as a silk-
worm, which lives in the bark of the wattle--tree. Luckily, he had
with him a clasp-knife, with which he had contrived to dig out these
grubs, which the blacks assured me were a dainty, but I was not
tempted to try them.

On again putting the question to the blacks whether we were near the
man of whom we were in search, they shook their heads and held up two
fingers. We now came to a clear shallow stream, in which the blacks
informed me by gestures that the missing man had bathed; but he had
not crossed the stream, as his track lay on the bank we had

After travelling along this bank for about three miles, we came to a
huge swamp into which the stream flowed, and ended. Here the
footprints were plainly discernible even by myself and my European
companions. I examined them carefully, and was pained to find that
they confirmed the opinion of the blacks, namely, that they were not
fresh. Presently we found the man's boots. These had become too heavy
for him to walk in, and too inconvenient to carry, and he had cast
them off. Not far from the boots was a red cotton handkerchief, which
he had worn round his neck on leaving the station. This, too, he had
found too hot to wear in that oppressive weather, and had therefore
discarded it.

Following the track, we came to a forest of white gum-trees. The bark
of these trees is the colour of cream, and the surface is as smooth as
glass. On the rind of one of these trees the man had carved with his
knife the following words--

Oh God, have mercy upon me!--T. B.

How fervent and sincere must have been this prayer in the heart, to
admit of the hand carving it upon that tree!

Towards evening we came to a tract of country as barren as the desert
between Cairo and Suez; but the soil was not sandy, and it was covered
with stones of unequal size. Here the miraculous power of the black
man's eye astounded us more than ever. The reader must bear in mind
that the lost man was now walking barefooted and tenderfooted, and
would naturally pick his way as lightly and as cautiously as possible.
Nevertheless, the savage tracked his course with scarcely a halt.

Again the sun went down, and again we formed our little camp on the
slope of a hill, at the foot of which lay a lagoon, literally covered
with wild ducks and black swans. Some of these birds we shot for food,
as it was now a matter of prudence, if not of necessity, to husband
the flour and meat we had brought with us.

Another sunrise, and we pursued our journey. Towards noon we came to
a belt of small mountains composed chiefly of black limestone. Here
the blacks faltered; and, after a long and animated discussion amongst
themselves--not one word of which I understood--they signified to me
that they had lost the track, and could proceed no further. This I was
not disposed to believe, and imperatively signalled them to go on.
They refused. I then had recourse to promises, kind words, smiles, and
encouraging gestures. They were still recusant. I then loaded my gun
with ball, and requested the stockmen to do the like. I threatened the
blacks that I would shoot them, if they did not take up the track and
pursue it. This alarmed them; and, after another discussion amongst
themselves, they obeyed me, but reluctantly and sullenly. One of the
stockmen, with much foresight, suggested that we ought to make sure of
two out of the six black fellows; for, if they had a chance, they
would probably escape and leave us to perish in the wilds; and without
their aid we could never retrace our steps to the station. I at once
acted on this suggestion and bound two of the best of them together by
the arms, and carried the end of the cord in my right hand.

At four in the afternoon we had crossed this belt of low mountains,
and came upon a tract of country which resembled a well-kept park in
England. We were all so greatly fatigued that we were compelled to
halt for the night--great as was my longing to proceed--a longing not
a little whetted by the fact that the blacks now held up only one
finger, in order to express that the object of our search was only one
day in advance of us.

At midnight the four blacks who were not bound, and who were in a
rude hut a few yards distant, came to the opening of my tenement and
bade me listen. I did listen, and heard a sound resembling the beating
of the waves against the sea-shore. I explained to them, as well as I
possibly could, that the noise was that of the wind coming through the
leaves of the trees. This, however, they refused to believe, for there
was scarcely a breath of air stirring.

"Can it be that we are near the sea-coast?" I asked myself; and the
noise, which every moment became more distinctly audible, seemed to
reply, "Yes."

The morning dawned, and to my intense disappointment, I discovered
that the four unbound blacks had decamped. They had, no doubt,
retraced their steps by the road they had come. The remaining two were
now put upon the track, and not for a single moment did I relinquish
my hold of the cord. To a certainty they would have escaped, had we
not kept a tight hand upon them. Any attempt to reason with them would
have been absurd. Fortunately, the boy who had charge of the horse had
been faithful, and had remained.

As the day advanced, and we proceeded onward, the sound of the waves
beating against the shore became more and more distinct, and the
terror of the guides increased proportionately. We were, however, some
miles from the ocean, and did not see it until four in the afternoon.
The faces of the blacks, when they gazed on the great water, of which
they had never formed even the most remote conception, presented a
scene which would have been worthy of some great painter's

It was a clear day, not a cloud to be seen in the firmament; but the
wind was high, and the dark-blue billows were crested with a milk-
white foam. It was from an eminence of some three hundred feet that we
looked upon them. With their keen black eyes protruding from their
sockets, their nostrils distended, their huge mouths wide open, their
long matted hair in disorder, their bands held aloft, their bodies
half crouching and half struggling to maintain an erect position;
unable to move backward or forward; the perspiration streaming from
every pore of their unclothed skin; speechless, motionless, amazed,
and terrified, the two inland savages stood paralysed at what they
saw. The boy, although astounded, was not afraid.

Precious as was time, I would not disturb their reverie. For ten
minutes their eyes were riveted on the sea. By slow degrees their
countenances exhibited that the original terror was receding from
their hearts; and then they breathed hard, as men do after some
violent exertion. They then looked at each other and at us; and, as
though reconciled to the miraculous appearance of the deep, they again
contemplated the billows with a smile which gradually grew into a loud
and meaningless laugh.

On the rocky spot on which we were standing, one of the blacks
pointed to his own knees, and placed his forefinger on two spots close
to each other. Hence I concluded that the lost man had knelt down
there in prayer. I invariably carried about with me, in the bush of
Australia, a pocket--magnifying-glass for the purpose of lighting a
pipe or a fire; and with this glass I carefully examined the spots
indicated by the blacks. But I could see nothing--not the faintest
outline of an imprint on that piece of hard stone. Either they tried
to deceive us, or their powers of perception were indeed miraculous.

After a brief while we continued our search. The lost man had
wandered along the perpendicular cliffs, keeping the ocean in sight.
We followed his every step until the sun went down; then halted for
the night and secured our guides, over whom, as usual, we alternately
kept a very strict watch.

During the night we suffered severely from thirst, and when morning
dawned we were compelled to leave the track for a while, and search
for water. Providentially we were successful. A cavity in one of the
rocks had been filled by the recent rain. Out of this basin our horse
also drank his fill.

I may here mention a few peculiarities of the colonial stock-horse.
Wherever a man can make his way, so can this quadruped. He becomes, in
point of sure-footedness, like a mule, and in nimbleness like a goat,
after a few years of servitude in cattle-tending. He will walk down a
ravine as steep as the roof of a house, or up a hill that is almost
perpendicular. Through the dense brushwood he will push his way with
his head, just as the elephant does. He takes to the water like a
Newfoundland dog, and swims a river as a matter of course. To fatigue
he seems insensible, and can do with the smallest amount of provender.
The way in which the old horse which accompanied me in the expedition
I am describing got down and got up some of the places which lay in
our track would have astounded every person who, like us, had not
previously witnessed similar performances.

We pushed on at a speedy pace, and, to my great joy the blacks now
represented that the (to me invisible) foot prints were very fresh,
and the missing man not far ahead of us. Every place where he had
halted, sat down, or lain down, or stayed to drink, was pointed out.
Presently we came to an opening in the cliffs which led to the sea-
shore, where we found a beautiful bay of immense length. Here I no
longer required the aid of the savages in tracking; on the sand from
which the waves had receded a few hours previously were plainly
visible the imprints of naked feet. The blacks, who had no idea of
salt water, laid themselves down on their stomachs for the purpose of
taking a hearty draught. The first mouthful, however, satisfied them;
and they wondered as much at the taste of the ocean as they lad
wondered at the sight thereof.

After walking several miles, the rising of the tide and the bluff
character of the coast induced us to avail ourselves of the first
opening in the cliffs, and ascend to the high land. It was with
indescribable pain I reflected that the approaching waves would
obliterate the foot-prints then upon the sand, and that the thread
which we had followed up to that moment would certainly be snapped.
The faculty possessed by the blacks had defied the wind and the rain;
the earth and the rocks had been unable to conceal from the sight of
the savage the precise places where the foot of civilized man had
trod; but the ocean, even in his repose, makes all men acknowledge his
might! We wandered along the cliffs, cooeying from time to time, and
listening for a response; but none came, even upon the acutely
sensitive ears of the savages. A little before sunset, we came to
another opening, leading down to a bay; and here the track of the lost
man was again found. He had ascended and pursued his way along the
cliffs. We followed until the light failed, and we were compelled to
halt. Before doing so we cooeyed in concert, and discharged the
fowling-pieces several times, but without effect.

It rained during the night; but ceased before the day had dawned, and
we resumed our journey. After an hour's walk, we came upon another
opening, and descended to the water's edge; which was skirted by a
sandy beach, and extended as far as the eye could compass. Here, too,
I could dispense with the aid of the blacks, and followed on the track
as fast as possible. Indeed, I and my companions frequently ran.
Presently, the lost man's footsteps diverged from the sandy shore, and
took to the high land. We had proceeded more than a mile and a half,
when the black boy, who was mounted on the horse, and following close
at my heels, called, "Him! him!" and pointing to a figure, about
seventy yards distant, stretched upon the grass beneath the shade of a
wild fig-tree, and near a stream of fresh water.

I recognized at once the stockman; but the question was, Was he
living or dead? Having commanded the party to remain where they stood,
I approached the body upon tiptoe. The man was not dead, but in a
profound slumber; from which I would not awake him. His countenance
was pale and haggard, but his breathing was loud and natural. I
beckoned the party to approach, and then placed my fore-finger on my
lips, as a signal that they were to keep silence.

Within an hour the man awoke, and stared wildly around him. When he
saw us, he was under the impression that he had been lost; but that,
while searching for the horse, he had not felt weary, lain down,
slept, and had dreamed all that had really happened to him. Thus,
there was no sudden shock of unexpected good fortune; the effects of
which upon him I at first dreaded.

According to the number of days that we had been travelling, and the
pace at which we had travelled, I computed that we had walked about
one hundred and thirty-five miles; but, according to a map which I
consulted, we were not more than eighty miles distant, in a direct
line, from the station. On our way back, it was most distressing to
observe the emotions of the stockman when he came to or remembered the
places where he had rested, eaten, drunk, or slept, during his
hopeless wanderings through the wilds of the wildest country in the
known world. The wattle-trees from which he had stripped the gum, the
stream in which he had bathed, the swamp where he had discarded his
boots, the tree on which he had carved his prayer,--the spot where he
had broken his pipe,--that very spot upon which he first felt that he
was lost in the bush--these and the poignant, sufferings he had
undergone had so great an effect upon him, that by the time he
returned to the station his intellect entirely deserted him. He,
however, partly recovered; but sometimes better, sometimes worse--in a
few months it became necessary to have him removed to the government
lunatic asylum.


"ONE of those wedding-rings--one of those on the card," began Mr.
Prawnby of Shrimpington, "belonged to a very pretty young girl whose
name was Mary Warland. She was only seventeen when she married. I sold
her that ring and she paid me for it with her own hand. I little
dreamt then what terrible evidence it would one day give in a court of
justice! Unfortunately for Mary Warland, she married a worthless
fellow. He spent the whole of her savings and his own (he had been a
butler in a gentleman's family), and then deserted her. She heard
nothing of him for some years, when one morning she received a letter
in his own handwriting, and dated Sydney, October 1, 18--. It ran

'DEAR MARY,--I am alive and doing well. I am a free man, and am
earning 2. 10s. a-week as head-waiter at the Rose Inn, Castlereagh
Street. Forgive me for the past, and come to me. We will yet be happy.
I send you 20, which will enable you to get a steerage passage.

Your penitent husband.


"Now, sir," continued the old man, "many people in Shrimpington
advised her to keep the money, and stay where she was. But no. She
forgave him, and obeyed his command. She sailed for Sydney, and, after
a boisterous passage of six months, arrived in the colony. But she did
not see her husband. A few weeks before her arrival he met with a
severe accident, and died in consequence of the injuries he received.
Being a very hard--working woman, and carrying, as she did, an honest
character in her face, Mary had no difficulty in earning a living. She
used to go out washing and ironing for half-a-crown a day, and lived
in a little cottage at the back of the barrack square. After a while
she became known to the inhabitants of Sydney as 'Peggy the
washerwoman.' And she was much respected, as she ought to have been.
But we must now lose sight of Peggy for a time, and change the scene,

"One of the oldest and most influential families in this county was
cursed with a bad boy--a very bad boy. He was a thief. He was cruel--
he was malevolent, and criminally mischievous. If he entered a poor
man's orchard stealthily, to rob an apple or pear-tree, and found no
fruit thereon, he would take out his knife, sit down, and bark the
tree to the bone, near the root, and thus kill it--for the sap could
not ascend. To save him from the clutches of the law, his father, Sir
Eldred Ketchealfe, had to pay large sums of money annually to persons
who would otherwise have prosecuted him. His name was George--George
Ketchcalfe. At thirteen years of age he was sent into the Royal Navy,
as a volunteer of the first-class (his uncle was a Lord of the
Admiralty). After passing his examination as a midshipman, he was soon
gazetted as a lieutenant, and appointed to a line-of-battle ship. He
was then only nineteen years of age. Interest, no doubt, did a great
deal for him; but it would have been unjust to dispute his merit as a
sailor and an officer. A smarter and more daring man never walked a
quarter-deck. At the age of twenty-three he was appointed to command
an eighteen-gun brig--one of the prettiest and fastest vessels in the
Royal service. This was in the year 1820. The brig which he commanded
was ordered to proceed to Staten Island. The master of the brig, Mr.
John Treadwell, was not only a very skilful navigator, but a very
scientific man; and he was specially required by the Admimalty to
report concerning 'the swinging of the pendulum' (a very important
question in those days), and to his care were intrusted several
chronometers (for the purpose of testing their accuracy and value),
besides those which were required for the working of the ship.

"The 'Hecuba'--such was the name of the eighteen-gun brig--did not
reach Staten Island. When she had been only three weeks at sea,
Captain Ketchcalfe discovered that there was mutiny on board--mutiny
fostered by his first lieutenant--and one morning he suddenly gave the
order to 'put the helm up and square the yards;' and returned to the
Downs, where the 'Hecuba's' anchor was 'let go.'

"There was an investigation touching the mutiny; but it only ended in
a recommendation that the 'Hecuba' should be put out of commission and
paid off. This was done accordingly.

"In all there were seven chronometers on board the 'Hecuba,' in Mr.
Treadwell's custody; but on the day on which he was required to re-
deliver them, only six could be found. One had been abstracted from
his cabin. The old man, who was only worth his scanty pay, and who had
a wife and three daughters to support, was unable to make the loss
good; and insomuch as Captain Ketchcalfe had, when written to on the
subject, falsely represented the old master as 'a drunken fellow, on
whom no dependence could be placed,' Mr. Treadwell was dismissed the
service. Numberless were the petitions addressed to the Lords of the
Admiralty by the old man, setting forth the hardness of his case and
his extreme poverty. Voluminous the certificates signed by the various
captains with whom he had sailed during the past thirty years, each
and every certificate bearing testimony to the honesty, sobriety,
zeal, &c., of John Treadwell, late master, R.N. But they were of no
avail; and after a while the receipt, even, of a petition from John
Treadwell was not acknowledged. Nevertheless, buoyed up by hope, the
old man went on petitioning and forwarding certificates; for whenever
he chanced to meet an officer with whom he had sailed, the old man
begged his evidence in writing as to character.

"Six months after the 'Hecuba' was paid off, Captain Ketchcalfe was
appointed to a sloop of war, and took her to the Mediterranean, where
he remained for more than two years, and then came home 'sick,' in the
hope of getting a larger vessel; a hope which was on the very eve of
being fulfilled, when an accident ordained it otherwise.

"Poor old John Treadwell, in almost soleless shoes, and rusty
threadbare coat, was one morning walking down Holborn Hill thinking of
his grievances, when he stopped opposite the window of a pawnbroker's
shop, and began abstractedly to look at the various articles exposed
to view. Suddenly his eye lighted on a chronometer, which he fancied
he recognized as the one that had brought him into so much trouble--
which, in fact, had ruined him. To make sure, he entered the shop.

"'Is that chronometer for sale?' said the old man.

"'It is, sir,' was the pawnbroker's reply.

"'An unredeemed pledge?'

"'Yes, sir.'

"'Its price?'

"'120 guineas.'

"'May I inspect it?'

"'By all means, sir. You seem to know how to handlea chronometer.'

"'Yes; and have handled this one before to-day. Yes, this is the
instrument--and a very bad one it is.'


"'It belongs to the King. It was stolen from one of hip Majesty's
ships, lying at anchor in the Downs.'

"'I am sorry to hear that. It was pledged to me more than two years
ago,'by a person who said he was the captain of a ship, in bad
circumstances--and he certainly looked like a seafaring man, and not
at all like a thief. I advanced him 60 upon it.'

"'What sort of a man was he?'

"'Well, I could swear to him anywhere--for we were at least three--
quarters of an hour higgling over the sum. He wanted 75; and I
offered 50 at first, and then 55, and then 60, beyond which I would
not go. He was a short, thick-set, broad-shouldered man, rather bow--
legged. Broad flat face, black eyes--black as jet, and very sparkling;
one of them had a cast in it, which gave him a very comical expression
of countenance. His lower jaw protruded rather, and the bridge of his
nose had seemingly been broken.'

"'Good heavens!' exclaimed the old master, 'you have described
Captain Ketchcalfe!'

"'I have described the man who pawned that instrument.'

"'You must not part with it till I have seen you again. It will be
to--morrow, perhaps this evening;' and with these words the old man
left the pawnbroker's shop, and made the best of his way to the
Admiralty, where he sent up his name, and a note, to the First Lord,
whom he desired to see on 'a very serious matter.' The First Lord sent
a verbal message--that he would not see Mr. Treadwell; and the
messenger, when asked to take up a second note, refused to do so.

"'Then there is no help for it,' sighed the old man, and from the
Admiralty he wended his way to Bow Street. The presiding functionary
at the last-named institution was not so difficult of access as the
First Lord. The old man's statement was taken down; his certificates
(he always carried several about with him) carefully inspected; a note
made of the name of the pawnbroker, and the name of the famous
chronometer-maker in Cornhill; instructions given to two of the most
expert officers connected with the court, and old Mr. Treadwell
required to be in attendance on the following day at noon precisely.

"By what means the Bow Street officers obtained Captain Ketchcalfe's
address; how, where, and when they found him; how they placed him face
to face with the man to whom he pawned the chronometer, and who
identified him--it signifies nothing. But the next day when old Mr.
Treadwell made his appearance in Bow Street, he was informed that the
prisoner was in custody, and that as soon as the night charges were
disposed of, the case would be called on. And it was called on--at ten
minutes to one, and at half-past two George Ketchcalfe, captain R.N.,
was committed to take his trial at the Old Bailey.

"It was now too late for the First Lord to think of devising means
for averting from a scion of his ancient house a felon's doom. The
press had made the case known to the world; a reporter's quill had
done this 'mischief;' and the British public, as one man, rose and
sympathized with the poor old master, who was not to be 'bought out of
the way;' for the insult which he received at the Admiralty, when he
last sought an interview, rankled in his breast.

"Captain Ketchcalfe was convicted and sentenced to be transported for
fourteen years, and in 'due course' was landed in the colony of New
South Wales. His career in Botany Bay, if transcribed with minute
fidelity, would warrant, perhaps, the assumption that it was the most
extravagant fiction ever penned. There was scarcely a crime of which
he was not guilty in Australia, and of which he was not convicted.
Petty theft, burglary, forgery (he once forged the name of Sir James
Dowling, one of the judges, and was transported to Norfolk Island for
life), and piracy--piracy on the high seas, and the most extraordinary
case that ever was heard of in this world. When he was on his way to
Norfolk Island, in a chartered brig called the 'Wellington,' under
sentence of transportation for life, for forging the signature of Sir
James Dowling, he, one dark night, in a fearful gale of wind,
contrived, having muffled his irons (his naval experience never
deserted him), to get upon the deck, and unobserved entered the
doctor's cabin, whence he abstracted from the medicine-chest a
quantity of arsenic, which he threw into the large copper vessel in
which was made the soup for the ship's company, the convicts, fifty in
number, and the guard, consisting of twenty-five men of the regiment
of foot then quartered in the colony of New South Wales. On the
following day, shortly after dinner--time (1 P.M.) nearly every soul
on board the 'Wellington' was seized with pains so violent that they
became perfectly helpless; whereupon Captain Ketchcalfe, and nine
men--who, at his bidding, abstained from tasting the soup--in the most
quiet and deliberate manner imaginable took possession of the vessel.
The guard were thrown overboard alive, but most probably dying. The
master, officers, and seamen belonging to the vessel shared the same
fate. And then the remaining forty convicts were brought up in their
irons, and with equal remorselessness were committed to the deep. In
absolute command of the brig, Captain Ketchcalfe--than whom no one
knew better how to work and navigate a vessel--resolved upon steering
for North America, via Cape Horn; but inasmuch as there was not
sufficient water on board for so long a passage, he bore up for Cloudy
Bay, New Zealand, in order to fill up his casks. But previous to
entering Cloudy Bay, in which were always to be found two or more
whaling-ships, he employed himself and his convict crew in disfiguring
the 'Wellington.' He chopped off her 'figure-head'--that of the Great
Duke--and in lieu thereof, put up a piece of wood resembling a huge
fish. He painted out the name of the vessel from the stern, and
painted in the words--'Shark, of Boston.' He painted out her (sham)
port-holes, and gave her a broad streak of red. He made with his own
hands an American flag, and enjoined all on board to speak with a
Yankee accent, of which he was himself a perfect master.

"When the 'Wellington,' now the 'Shark,' dropped her anchor in Cloudy
Bay, there happened to be lying there a vessel called the 'Harriet,'
and belonging to the merchant, who had chartered the 'Wellington' to
the Government. The 'Harriet' was commanded by a Mr. Dyke, who for
three years had been chief mate of the 'Wellington,' and, much as she
was disfigured, he recognized her.

"Captain (let us give him the title) Captain Dyke had a boat
lowered, and visited the new arrival. He was received very courteously
by Captain Ketchcalfe; but, while walking round the decks of the brig,
his suspicions were completely confirmed. And on that night Captain
Dyke and several of his crew, followed by fifty New Zealanders, all
armed, boarded the 'Wellington,' and recaptured her. Captain
Ketchcalfe and his crew were conveyed to Sydney, where he became
king's evidence, avowing that the part he had taken in the capture of
the vessel was by compulsion. The nine convicts were hanged one Monday
morning on the same gallows in the jail at Sydney. Captain Ketchcalfe
was of course pardoned, and further, instead of being re-shipped for
Norfolk Island, he was suffered to remain in Sydney, where he was
employed as a workman in the Government dockyard. Strange to say,
Captain Nicholson, of the Royal Navy, who was at the time the
superintendent of the dockyard, had been Ketchcalfe's first--
lieutenant in the 'Hecuba!'

"In the year 185--was committed in Sydney one of the most foul
murders that the human ear ever heard of. The victim was Mary
Warland--or 'Peggy the washerwoman,' as she was called. It was not
till two days afterwards that the murder was discovered, and then only
by an accident. A police-officer, passing the back part of the
premises occupied by Peggy, observed some linen on the drying-ground,
and fearful that it might be stolen, he went to apprise the poor woman
of her indiscretion, as he deemed it. The back-door of the cottage was
shut, but not bolted; and, on lifting the latch, he found himself in
the kitchen. He was surprised to find no fire burning, as usual; no
candle, by the light of which she used to iron until eleven or twelve
o'clock at night. He called aloud several times. "'Peggy, are you at
home?' Receiving no answer, he ignited a match with his own tinder-
box, and lighted a tallow candle that stood upon the dresser. What was
his horror to behold poor Peggy stretched upon the kitchen--floor, her
head literally cleft in two! Beside her was the axe with which the
blow had been struck, and a sharp knife, with which had been cut off
the third finger of Peggy's left hand. The murderer had been unable to
get the wedding-ring over the joint, and therefore had recourse to
this violent proceeding. It was for the sake of that wedding-ring that
the murder was committed--for it was well known she was very poor--and
none of her small stock of furniture and clothes was removed from the
cottage--not even any of the linen belonging to other people. The
sensation created by this murder in the town of Sydney may be easily

"Now, sir, on the morning of the day on which the murder was
discovered, a man went into the shop of a Polish Jew, who had recently
arrived in Sydney, and set up a pawnbroker's shop in Hunter Street,
and pawned a wedding-ring for four-and-sixpence. The money was paid
across the counter, and the ring, wrapped up in paper, was deposited
with other pledges of the same description. As soon as the particulars
of the murder became known, the Polish Jew was tempted to look at the
ring that had been pawned to him. With the aid of a magnifying-glass,
he observed upon it stains of blood. The ring had been wiped, but not
washed. He (the Jew) went at once to the police-office, and had an
interview with the chief--constable of Sydney; and, when asked to
'describe the man,' he took a piece of charcoal, and on the white-
washed wall of the room in which the interview was held (having an
immense talent for taking rough likenesses), drew not only the full
face and side face, but a three-quarter face; and then gave a sketch
of the man's figure, dressed as he was in a pair of canvas trousers,
canvas smock-frock with turned-down collar, black Scotch cap, and
high-low shoes. The likeness to Ketchcalfe was so perfect, that as
soon as seen, he was recognized, and apprehended in the dockyard. And
now, sir, to be brief--for it is getting late--Ketchcalfe was tried,
convicted, and sentenced to suffer death. And he was hanged (it was
that ring that hanged him) in the presence of the largest concourse of
people that ever was seen in those days in the colony of New South


A FEW years ago I made the acquaintance of a an elderly lady, whose
husband, so far back as 1799, held an official position, both civil
and military, in the colony of New South Wales. Many anecdotes she
told me of celebrated characters who had, in the words of one of them,
"left their country for their country's good." With most, if not with
all, of these celebrities the old lady had come in contact personally.

"One morning," she began, "I was sitting in my drawing-room with my
two little children, who are now middle-aged men with large families,
when a gentleman was announced. I gave the order for his admission;
and on his entering the door of the apartment, I rose from my chair,
and greeted him with a bow, which he returned in the most graceful and
courtly manner imaginable. His dress was that of a man of fashion, and
his bearing that of a person who had moved in the highest circles of
society. A vessel had arrived from England a few days previously with
passengers, and I fancied that this gentleman was one of them. I asked
him to be seated. He took a chair, opposite to me, and at once entered
into conversation, making the first topic the extreme warmth of the
day, and the second the healthful appearance of my charming children--
as he was pleased to speak of them. Apart from a mother liking to hear
her children praised, there was such a refinement in the stranger's
manner, such a seeming sincerity in all he said, added to such a
marvellous neatness of expression, that I could not help thinking he
would form a very valuable acquisition to our list of acquaintances,
provided he intended remaining in Sydney, instead of settling in the
interior of the colony.

"I expressed my regret that the major (my husband) was from home; but
I mentioned that I expected him at one o'clock, at which hour we took
luncheon; and I further expressed a hope that our visitor would remain
and partake of the meal. With a very pretty smile (which I afterwards
discovered had more meaning in it than I was at the time aware of), he
feared he could not have the pleasure of partaking of the
hospitalities of my table, but, with my permission, he would wait till
the appointed hour, which was then near at hand. Our conversation was
resumed; and presently he asked my little ones to go to him. They
obeyed at once, albeit they were rather shy children. This satisfied
me that the stranger was a man of a kind and gentle disposition. He
took the children, seated them on his knees, and began to tell them a
fairy story (evidently of his own invention, and extemporized), to
which they listened with profound attention. Indeed, I could not help
being interested in the story, so fanciful were the ideas, and so
poetical the language in which they were expressed.

"The story ended, the stranger replaced the children on the carpet,
and approached the table on which stood, in a porcelain vase, a
bouquet of flowers. These he admired, and began a discourse of
floriculture. I listened with intense earnestness; so profound were
all his observations. We were standing at the table for at least eight
or ten minutes; my boys hanging on to the skirt of my dress, and every
now and then compelling me to beg of them to be silent.

"One o'clock came, but not the major. I received, however, a note
from him, written in pencil on a slip of paper. He would be detained
at Government House until half-past two.

"Again I requested the fascinating stranger to partake of luncheon,
which was now on table in the next room; and again, with the same
winning smile, he declined. As he was about, as I thought, to depart,
I extended my hand; but, to my astonishment, he stepped back, made a
low bow, and declined taking it.

"For a gentleman to have his hand refused when he extends it to
another is embarrassing enough. But for a lady! Who can possibly
describe what were my feelings? Had he been the heir to the British
throne, visiting that penal settlement in disguise (and from the
stranger's manners and conversation he might have been that
illustrious personage), he could scarcely have, under the
circumstances, treated me in such an extraordinary manner. I scarcely
knew what to think. Observing, as the stranger must have done, the
blood rush to my cheeks, and being cognizant evidently of what was
passing through my mind, he spoke as follows:--

"'Madam, I am afraid you will never forgive me the liberty I have
taken already. But the truth is, the passion suddenly stole over me,
and I could not resist the temptation of satisfying myself that the
skill which made me so conspicuous in the mother-country still
remained to me in this convict land.'

"I stared at him, but did not speak.

"'Madam,' he continued, 'the penalty of sitting at table with you, or
taking the hand you paid me the compliment to proffer me--yourself in
ignorance of the fact I am about to disclose--would have been the
forfeiture of my ticket-of-leave, a hundred lashes, and employment on
the roads in irons. As it is, I dread the major's wrath; but I cherish
a hope that you will endeavour to appease it, if your advocacy be only
a return for the brief amusement I afforded your beautiful children.'

"'You are a convict!' I said, indignantly, my hand on the bell-rope.

"'Madam,' he said, with an expression of countenance which moved me
to pity, in spite of my indignation, 'hear me for one moment.'

"'A convicted felon, how dared you enter my drawing-room as a
visitor?' I asked him, my anger again getting the better of all my
other feelings.

"'The major, madam,' said the stranger, 'requested me to be at his
house at the hour when I presented myself; and he bade me wait if he
were from home when I called. The major wishes to know who was the
person who received from me a diamond necklace which belonged to the
Marchioness of Dorrington, and came into my possession at a state ball
some four or five years ago--a state ball at which I had the honour of
being present. Now, madam, when the orderly who opened the front door
informed me that the major was not at home, but that you were, that
indomitable impudence which so often carried me into the drawing-rooms
of the aristocracy of our country, took possession of me; and, warmed
as I was with generous wine--just sufficiently to give me courage--I
determined to tread once more on a lady's carpet, and enter into
conversation with her. That much I felt the major would forgive me;
and, therefore, I requested the orderly to announce a gentleman.
Indeed, madam, I shall make the forgiveness of the liberties I have
taken in this room the condition of my giving that information which
shall restore to the Marchioness of Dorrington the gem of which I
deprived her--a gem which is still unpledged, and in the possession of
one who will restore it on an application, accompanied by a letter in
my handwriting.'

"Again I kept silence.

"'Madam!' he exclaimed, somewhat impassionedly, and rather proudly,
'I am no other man than Barrington, the illustrious pickpocket; and
this is the hand which in its day has gently plucked, from ladies of
rank and wealth, jewels which realized, in all, upwards of thirty-five
thousand pounds, irrespective of those which were in my possession,
under lock and key, when fortune turned her back upon me.'

"'Barrington, the pickpocket!' Having heard so much of this man and
of his exploits (although, of course, I had never seen him), I could
not help regarding him with curiosity; so much so, that I could
scarcely be angry with him any longer.

"'Madam,' he continued, 'I have told you that I longed to satisfy
myself whether that skill which rendered me so illustrious in Europe
still remained to me, in this country, after five years of desuetude?
I can conscientiously say that I am just as perfect in the art; that
the touch is just as soft, and the nerve as steady as when I sat in
the dress-circle at Drury Lane or Covent Garden.'

"'I do not comprehend you, Mr. Barrington,' I replied, (I could not
help saying Mister.)

"'But you will, madam, in one moment. Where are your keys?'

"I felt my pocket, in which I fancied they were, and discovered that
they were gone.

"'And your thimble and pencil-case, and your smelling-salts? They
are here!' (He drew them from his coat-pocket.)

"My anger was again aroused. It was indeed, I thought, a frightful
liberty for a convict to practise his skill upon me, and put his hand
into the pocket of my dress. But, before I could request him to leave
the room and the house, he spoke again; and, as soon as I heard his
voice and looked in his face, I was mollified, and against my will, as
it were, obliged to listen to him.

"'Ah, madam,' he sighed, 'such is the change that often comes over
the affairs of men! There was a time when ladies boasted of having
been robbed by Barrington. Many whom I had never robbed gave it out
that I had done so, simply that they might be talked about. Alas! such
is the weakness of poor human nature that some people care not by what
means they associate their names with the name of any celebrity. I was
in power then, not in bondage. 'Barrington has my diamond ear-rings!'
Once exclaimed the old Countess of Kettlebank, clasping her bands. Her
ladyship's statement was not true. Her diamonds were paste, and she
knew it, and I caused them to be returned to her. Had you not a pair
of very small pearl-drops in your ears this morning, madam?'

"I placed my bands to my ears, and discovered that the drops were
gone. Again my anger returned, and I said, 'How dared you, sir, place
your fingers on my face?'

"'Upon my sacred word and honour, madam,' he replied, placing his
hand over his left, breast, and bowing. 'I did nothing of the kind!
The ear is the most sensitive part of the human body to the touch of
another person. Had I touched your ear my hope of having these drops
in my waistcoat--pocket would have been gone. It was the springs only
that I touched, and the drops fell into the palm of my left-hand.' He
placed the ear-rings on the table, and made me another very low bow.

"'And when did you deprive me of them?' I asked him.

"'When I was discoursing on floriculture, you had occasion several
times to incline your head towards your charming children, and gently
reprove them for interrupting me. It was on one of those occasions
that the deed was quickly done. The dear children were the unconscious
confederates in my crime--if crime you still consider it--since I have
told you, and I spoke the truth; that it was not for the sake of gain,
but simply to satisfy a passionate curiosity. It was as delicate and
as difficult an operation as any I ever performed in the whole course
of my professional career.'

"There was a peculiar quaintness of humour and of action thrown into
this speech; I could not refrain from laughing. But, to my great
satisfaction, the illustrious pickpocket did not join in the laugh. He
regarded me with a look of extreme humility, and maintained a
respectful silence, which was shortly broken by a loud knocking at the
outer door. It was the major, who, suddenly remembering his
appointment with Barrington, had contrived to make his escape from
Government House, in order to keep it. The major seemed rather
surprised to find Barrington in my drawing-room; but he was in such a
hurry, and so anxious, that he said nothing on the subject.

"I withdrew to the passage, whence I could overhear all that took

"'Now, look here, Barrington,' said my husband, impetuously, 'I will
have no more nonsense. As for a free pardon, or even a conditional
pardon, at present, it is out of the question. In getting you a
ticket-of-leave, I have done all that I possibly can; and as I am a
living man, I give you fair warning that if you do not keep faith with
me, I will undo what I have already done. A free pardon! What! Let you
loose upon the society of England again? The Colonial Secretary would
scout the idea, and severely censure the Governor for recommending
such a thing. You know, as well as I do, that if you returned to
England to-morrow, and had an income of five thousand a-year, you
would never be able to keep those fingers of yours quiet.'

"'Well, I think you are right, major,' said the illustrious

"'Then you will write that letter at once?'

"'I will. But on one condition.'

"'Another condition?'


"'Well, what is that condition? You have so many conditions that I
begin to think the necklace will not be forthcoming after all. And, if
it be not, by--'

"'Do not excite yourself to anger, major. I give you my honour--'

"'Your honour! Nonsense! What I want is, the jewel restored to its

"'And it shall be, on condition that you will not be offended,
grievously offended, with me for what I have done this day!'

"'What is that?'

"'Summon your good lady, and let her bear witness both for and
against me.'

"My husband opened the drawing-room door, and called out, 'Bessie!'

"I As soon as I had made my appearance, Barrington stated the case
all that had transpired--with minute accuracy; nay, more, he acted the
entire scene in such a way that it became a little comedy in itself;
the characters being himself, myself, and the children, all of which
characters he represented with such humour that my husband and myself
were several times in fits of laughter. Barrington, however, did not
even smile. He affected to regard the little drama (and this made it
the more amusing) as a very serious business.

"This play over, my husband again put to Barrington the question,
'Will you write that letter at once?'

"'Yes,' he replied, 'I will; for I see that I am forgiven the liberty
I was tempted to take.' And seating himself at the table he wrote:

"'MR. Barrington presents his compliments to Mr.--, and requests
that a sealed packet, marked DN. No. 27, be immediately delivered to
the bearer of this note. In the event of this request not being
complied with, Mr. Barrington will have an opportunity ere long of
explaining to Mr.--, in Sydney, New South Wales, that he (Mr.--) has
been guilty of an act of egregious folly.'

"Fourteen months passed away, when, one morning, my husband received
a letter from a gentleman in the Colonial Office. He clapped his
hands, cried 'Bravo!' and then read as follows:--

"'MY DEAR MAJOR,--The great pickpocket has been as good as his word.
My lady is again in possession of her brilliants. Do whatever you can
for Barrington in the Colony, but keep a sharp eye upon him, lest he
should come back and once more get hold of that necklace.'

"My husband sent for Barrington to inform him of the result of his
letter, and he took an opportunity of asking the illustrious man if
there were any other valuables which he would like to restore to the
original owners.

"'Thank you--no!' was the reply. 'There are, it is true, sundry
little articles in safe custody at home; but, as it is impossible to
say what may be in the future, they had better for the present stand
in my own name.'"


"Fox, Pitt, and Burke were," said my informant (an old lady who had
been the wife of a Government official in New South Wales), "low
London thieves, who were transported under the names of the three most
celebrated orators and statesmen of their time. Their offence was
picking pockets at a fair, and their sentences fourteen years. Charles
James Fox was assigned to my husband, and we employed him in household
duties. He was a slight young man of about twenty-four years of age,
and far from ill-looking, when he first came into our service. For a
few months he conducted himself remarkably well; but subsequently he
became idle, negligent, and addicted to speaking the most flagrant
untruths; so much so, that the major on several occasions had him
flogged. On the last occasion he never returned to us. He watched his
opportunity, and made his escape from the constable who had him in
charge. He was, of course, gazetted as a runaway, and a reward of ten
pounds offered for his apprehension. A few days afterwards the Gazette
contained the names of William Pitt and Edmund Burke. They, too (most
probably at the instigation of Charles James Fox), had ran away from
their respective masters. It was rather droll to see those three great
names placarded in all directions, and the persons who then bore them
in the colony minutely describil Pitt's master was a Doctor Wylde,
whom we knew very intimately. He described Pitt to us as a short, and
rather determined character. Edmund Burke, having been originally a
compositor, was employed in the Government printing-office, which was
then superintended by George Howe, who was afterwards permitted to
publish a newspaper in Sydney, subject to the censorship of the
Colonial Secretary. Burke, according to Mr. Howe's account, was a man
of good natural ability, but of violent and, when excited, ferocious

"The career of these men, who took to the bush (considering that it
extended over a period of eight years), was a very remarkable one.
There was not a road in the colony, not even a cross-road or bush-
road, upon which they had not stopped and robbed travellers. And it is
a mistake to suppose that the police was an inefficient body in those
days. It was more efficient than they are likely to be again. Some of
the police had been highwaymen, poachers, gamekeepers; men who bad
been pardoned for capturing bushrangers guilty of great crimes, and
who had received their appointments in consequence of the proofs they
had given that confidence might be placed in them. Their pay was
small, and the rewards for the apprehension of desperate characters
were large. The pay of the great George Lewis, the most renowned of
all Australian thief-takers and bushrangers, was only four dollars
(one pound currency) per week, and as he kept two horses, and maize
was commonly two dollars a bushel, you may readily imagine that he had
to look to the walls, and not to his pay, for a livelihood."

"What do you mean by looking to the walls, my dear madam?" I said.

"All runaway convicts and bushrangers," she replied, "were placarded
on the walls and gate-posts, as well as advertised in the Government
Gazette. I have seen the walls of the police-office in Sydney
literally covered with these handbills, headed 10 Reward! 25 Reward!
50 Reward! 100 Reward! The great thief-takers, men of George Lewis's
stamp--and they were all men of prowess, courage, and sagacity--never
hunted in couples. They always went forth alone. They were not only
too greedy for the gain, but too jealous of each other to admit of
their combining to effect the capture. They depended upon strategy and
individual valour, rather than upon numbers, to accomplish the ends
they had in view. It was a curious sight to see a group of these
thief-takers (bloodhounds they were called) coolly spelling a fresh
placard on the walls of the police-office, and then observe the
speculation which was stamped upon their various countenances. My
husband, of course, knew all these men, and so did I, for that matter;
and when Charles James Fox became such a very distinguished man in his
way, all of them, not in a body, but separately, came to make certain
inquiries touching his habits and peculiarities. The major was from
home when Mr. George Lewis called, and I received him in the breakfast
parlour, and answered aU the questions he put to me, 'Did Charles
James Fox drink? Could he read and write? Was he a talkative or silent
sort of a man?' I answered that Charles James Fox did not drink; he
could not read or write, and that he was a silent sort of a person.
'Burke can read,' said Mr. Lewis, 'but he is not much of a hand at
writing; and as for Billy Pitt, he doesn't know a pothook from a
hanger.' He then went on to say that he had had great hopes of taking,
or bringing in dead, two out of the three lately, but that such hopes
had been blighted; that he had hired a horse and cart, and had gone up
the Paramatta Road, dressed as a farmer, in an old White top-coat,
leather leggings, and a round hat; that on the first occasion, he went
and returned unmolested; but that, on the second occasion, he was
stopped by two men armed with fowling--pieces, near the Iron Cove
Creek, Ashfield; that they demanded his money or his life; that he
said they should have it; that dropping the reins, and putting his
hands into the hind pockets of the old top-coat, he discharged,
through the pockets, a brace of loaded pistols, within a yard of each
man's breast, and brought them both down as dead as hammers; that,
what with the five pounds ten shillings ready money that he paid for
the top-coat, the hire of the horse and cart at one pound a day, the
bother and trouble of bringing the corpses to Sydney, and the loss of
time, the job did not pay him, for they had only been at large three
weeks, and the reward for them was a paltry ten pounds a head; that he
felt quite sure at the time that they were two of the three he was
angling after; and that he never felt so disgusted in the whole course
of his life as when he had them looked at, at Hyde Park Barracks, and
found out his mistake. Mr. Lewis spoke so very feelingly on the
subject, that, horrible as was the theme, I could not help pitying
him, albeit I was constrained to smile--especially when he remarked,
quietly and seriously, 'It was a thousand pities that I shot them,
mum; for in six or seven months from this time they would have been
really worth having.'

"One beautiful afternoon, in the month of October, I was on my way to
the factory at Paramatta to select a female (convict) servant. I had a
friend, a Mrs. Stellman, with me in the phaeton; and on the box was a
groom as well as the coachman. My friend and myself were chatting away
very cozily, and were approaching Homebush--an estate some ten or
twelve miles from Sydney--when three voices called out 'Stop;' and
presently from the thick brush-wood that skirted the road there
emerged three men, one of whom I immediately recognized as our late
servant, Charles James Fox, who, at the same moment, recognized my
features. The three men were all armed, and Pitt and Burke had their
fowling-pieces levelled at the men on the box. At first Fox was
startled, and I fancied I saw the man blush; but, speedily recovering
himself, he hoped I was quite well, and that the major and the
children also had their health. Had I been alone, I should certainly
have read Mr. Fox a lecture, and have advised him to throw down his
gun, and to give himself up to me. But as Mrs. Stellman was a good
deal alarmed, I deemed it prudent to get away from the trio as quickly
as possible. Touching his straw hat in the most respectful manner
imaginable, Mr. Fox said, 'I didn't know this turn-out, mum. It is new
since I left, or I should never have thought of stopping you, mum. Be
so good, mum, as to assure the major that he has nothing to fear from
me and my companions here.' This speech was very pleasing to my ears;
and with a slight inclination of my head towards Mr. Fox, I ordered
the coachman to proceed. Fox had then been a bushranger for upwards of
twelve months. As soon as I arrived at Paramatta, I reported to Mr.
Kherwin, the chief constable, all that had taken place, and he at once
took horse, accompanied by several of his myrmidons, and went in
pursuit of Fox, Pitt, and Burke. But to no purpose. They had such
secure hiding-places in the various localities they frequented, that
they baffled every effort to discover them. And they were so cunning
in their movements, that even the aborigines--the blacks--could not
track them down. These strangely-gifted people--so far as sight is
concerned--discovered several of their dens; but the birds had always
flown. After a while, by the way, the blacks declined to track
bushrangers; and if pressed to do so, would put the police on the
wrong scent. The tribes in the vicinity of Sydney, Paramatta, and the
other infant towns, had been intimidated, and several of their number
shot by those lawless men.

"As you appeared to take some interest in my friend Mr. Barrington,
I may mention that I met that illustrious personage on that afternoon
at the factory in Paramatta, where he then held the situation of
under--superintendent of convicts. He seemed very much amused when I
recounted my adventure on the road, and observed, with his wonted
humour and quaintness, 'Well, madam, it was an act of gallantry and of
generosity--considering how often the major had caused him to be
flogged--which could scarcely have been expected at the hands of a
plebeian thief--a contemptible London pickpocket.' Mr. Barrington did
not even smile when he said this; but assumed an air of extreme
seriousness--emphasizing the words plebeian and contemptible with
marvellous dexterity, so as to convey to me that he did not, at that
moment, intend to allude to the eminent and aristocratic position
which he had formerly held in his profession. Unintentionally, I
wounded his feelings; or else his look was a consummate piece of
acting, when, in answer to the question I put to him, 'Why do you not
consult your ingenuity, and capture these three men?' he replied, 'Ah!
madam, in my leisure hours I pursue literature, not bushrangers. I am,
at this present time, writing a play--a comedy in five acts, and
founded on an incident in my own life.'

"I could not help saying, 'I beg your pardon, Mr. Barrington,' and
then expressed a hope that I should have an opportunity of seeing his
piece performed.

"'It is for the London boards,' he replied; 'but I shall be proud to
submit it to your judgment, previously to transmitting it to the
committee at Drury Lane.'"

"Did he keep his promise?" I inquired.

"Yes," said the old lady, "and a clever play it was. In some scenes
it was very pathetic, in others comical in the extreme. There was not,
however, a single coarse word in it, nor an allusion that could offend
the most fastidious prude in Christendom. The title of the piece was,
'All the World's a Swindle.'"

"And the plot?"

"Of that I have only an indistinct recollection, but the story is
something of this kind. On the Doncaster racecourse, the great
pickpocket, as Mr. Shenstone, meets a nobleman in the betting-ring,
and loses to him a hundred guineas, which he pays in gold. Mr.
Shenstone's manners and his dress are those of a gentleman, and his
equipage that of a man of fashion and of fortune. The nobleman is
charmed with Mr. Shenstone, and the next day, when he meets him on the
course, he greets him with a polite bow, which is returned by one
equally polite. They speak; they make another bet for another hundred
guineas; Mr. Shenstone loses, and with very great good-humour, pays
his money to the nobleman, partly in gold and partly in bank-notes.
That evening he calls at the hotel where the nobleman is staying, with
his wife and daughter, a very handsome girl of eighteen years of age,
and represents that a man from whom he had won a bet--a farmer-looking
person, but evidently a sharper--had paid him in forged bank-notes,
and as he had parted with some of these notes before he was aware of
the fraud that had been committed, he was anxious to discover into
whose possession they had come, in order that he might receive them
back, and give good notes or gold in return. The nobleman and Mr.
Shenstore carefully examine the notes which the former received; but
amongst them no forgeries are found; they are all genuine. This
examination lasts for some time, and, during its continuance, the lady
and her daughter enter the sitting-room. Mr. Shenstone rises from his
chair, and is thereupon introduced to the ladies, who become as much
fascinated by the polished manners and discourse of the stranger as my
lord is himself. Mr. Shenstone is invited to stay tea, which is about
to be served. He accepts. And thus (what the great pickpocket desires)
an acquaintance is established--an acquaintance which is renewed in
London, some weeks afterwards, at the theatre, much to the great
pickpocket's advantage, for he contrives to despoil his friend's
friends of jewels worth five times the amount he lost on the race-
course. When informed of this, he observes, with great truth, 'That
thief Barrington! Who else?' My lord gambles very deeply, falls into
serious difficulties, secretly purloins his wife's diamond bracelets,
has a paste set made to resemble them, and sells the real brilliants
to a jeweller, who disposes of them to an old duchess, from whose
person the great pickpocket steals them, and at once proceeds to the
box of the lady, who is sitting decked out in her paste'. He informs
her that Barrington is in the house, and advises her to place her
jewels in her pocket. She does so. He then abstracts the paste gems,
places the real diamonds in their stead, revisits the old duchess,
who, intent on the play, has not yet discovered her loss, and around
her aged wrists clasps the mockeries! Partly love for the young girl,
and partly respect for her mother, form the motives for this action."

"Was the piece ever played?"

"The captain of the vessel to whom Barrington had intrusted it lost
it on the voyage to England. But let me continue my story of Fox,
Pitt, and Burke. I was on another occasion doomed to see their faces.
The major and myself were returning from the farm at George's River.
We had been on a visit to old Baron Wald, and had driven out in the
gig. It was a beautiful moonlight night, and when we neared a place
called the Iron Bark Forest, some thirteen miles from Sydney, we were
commanded to stop by three men, two of whom presented their fowling-
pieces at us, whilst the third said--

"'Now, then, what have you got?'

"'Is that you, sir?' said my husband, who recognized the man's
voice, for it was Fox who spoke.

"'God bless me, major!' was the response. 'I beg you many pardons.'

"'Rob him!' cried out one of the others. 'If he had been my master,
and had flogged me, I'd shoot him!'

"'No! No!' said Fox. 'It was agreed that old masters were to go
free, and when we wanted to rob old Howe, the other day, being very
badly off for money, you reminded me of our agreement, and I now wish
you to be reminded of it.'

"The major parleyed with them for at least a quarter of an hour, and
reproved them for shooting a constable a few weeks back. They replied,
that the constable had insisted on capturing them, and that they had
acted only in self-defence. Their capture, eventually, was curiously

"During the fifth year they had been at large they suddenly
disappeared from the roads. They had not been seen or heard of for so
long that it was imagined they had either made their escape from the
colony, by some extraordinary means, or that they had, like some other
bushrangers whose remains were found, been lost in the bush, and
perished of hunger. Such, however, was not the case. They had
penetrated the interior to a distance of fifty miles from Sydney, and
had located themselves at a place not very far distant from a lofty
mountain called Razorback, in consequence of its peculiar shape. Here
they established themselves, built a log-house, enclosed several acres
of land, which they cropped, and made a rather extensive garden for
the growth of vegetables. They also built stock-yards and out-
buildings for the cattle and the horses of which they possessed
themselves. The luxuries of convict life--such as tea, sugar, tobacco,
spirits, &c.--they had, previous to their retirement from business,
stored up in very large quantities. They had, moreover, taken with
them to their farm three convict women, whom they had (nothing loth)
carried away from the services, respectively, of the persons to whom
they paid marauding visits.

"They had taken away with them, from the house of a settler whom they
had plundered, a large black Newfoundland dog. Three years and seven
months after the dog was stolen, he, one morning, to the astonishment
of his Master, returned, jumped about, and barked in an ecstasy of
delight. The master of the dog (a Mr. Sutter) was afraid that the
bushrangers, Fox, Pitt, and Burke, were about to pay him a second
visit; and, summoning his servants, and arming them, he lay in wait
and in ambush for their approach, determined to take them under any
circumstances, dead or alive. But the bushrangers came not. From an
examination of the dog's neck, it was quite evident that he had been
kept continually on the chain, and that he must have broken his
collar, and made his escape. Mr. Sutter, who lived within five or six
miles of Paramatta in the branch road to Liverpool, mounted his horse,
and had an interview with Mr. Kherwin, the chief constable.

"There could be no question that the dog had broken loose, and found
his old master; but, then, by what road had he come back? There was
then no regular road beyond Liverpool. Those who had settled further
in the interior had only their own bush tracks, as they were called.
If the dog, they thought, could be put upon this track by his master,
no doubt he could be coaxed to show the way to the abode of the
bushrangers. It suddenly occurred to Mr. Kherwin that the blacks,
having no idea of the end in view, would have no scruples in pointing
out the direction whence the dog had come, and tracking him for five
or six miles. This was determined upon; and taking with him a strong
force, well armed, Mr. Kherwin returned with Mr. Sutter to his farm,
and early on the following morning the expedition set out. The blacks
were not long in finding the foot-prints of the dog, at some distance
from the house and began to run down the track at the rate of three or
four miles an hour. Mr. Sutter and the dog accompanied the expedition.
At noon there was a halt for refreshment, and then the pursuit was
continued till evening, when the camp was formed, fires lighted, and
the arms piled in readiness for any attack--not that there was any
danger of such a thing in that lonely and untravelled region of the
new world. The dog, strange to say, appeared to be very sulky, and
showed no disposition to render the slightest assistance. On the
following afternoon the blacks came upon the imprint of a man's boot.
They now began to suspect the truth, but they had gone too far. It was
now a matter of compulsion, and not of choice. Towards evening one of
the blacks from a considerable eminence pointed to some smoke which
was issuing from a valley in the distance--a valley which was
completely shut in on three sides by small mountains, and bounded on
the fourth side by a clear and broad stream of water. An enchanting
nook, as Mr. Kherwin described it to me. After proceeding a few
hundred yards in the direction of the smoke, the barking of dogs was
audible, and the lowing of cattle; and, ere long, a house and out-
buildings became visible. Mr. Kherwin and Mr. Sutter then deliberated
as to whether they should descend and commence the attack at once; or
whether they should defer the operation until after nightfall, when
they would most probably have retired to rest; or whether the attack
should be delayed until the following morning just before daybreak. It
was resolved, eventually, that while the daylight remained they should
creep down to the edge of the valley, and there conceal themselves
until ten or eleven o'clock, when they would march upon the abode,
surround it, and call to the inmates to come out and surrender.

"This resolution was acted upon; but the bushrangers' dogs had kept
up such a loud and incessant barking during the advance of the
invaders, that the trio had arisen from their heels, lighted a candle,
armed themselves, and come outside the door. Fox, Pitt, and Burke
could be seen by the light of the candle in the house; but they could
not see their enemy, for the night was dark. Nothing could have been
easier than for Mr. Kherwin and his party to have fired a volley and
shot them as they stood; but the chief constable could not make up his
mind to this, nor would Mr. Sutter have seconded such a proposal. At
length Mr. Kherwin, when within only twenty yards of them, called out,
in a very loud voice, 'We are twelve in number: lay down your arms
this instant, or you are dead men. Our pieces are levelled at you.'
They threw down their arms, retired within the house, and barred the
door. Fortunately for Mr. Kherwin's party, they had no lantern or
candle with them; for, had they shown a light, some of the party would
have fallen to a certainty. What was now to be done?

"The besiegers approached the door of the house, and desired the
bushrangers to come out; but they returned no answer. To break in upon
them was impossible, for there were no crowbars, pickaxes, or other
such weapons at hand; while the numerous dogs on the premises became
so vehement and desperate, it was necessary to shoot and bayonet
several of them. Matters remained thus until the morning, when the
besiegers withdrew to a distance of about sixty yards from the house,
and there took up a position in a stock-yard. The besieged, however,
opened fire from loop-holes, and in less than a quarter of a minute
twelve rounds of ball--cartridge were discharged from as many
firelocks. Fortunately, none of the shots took effect. It was
therefore deemed prudent to withdraw for the present to a distance of
one hundred yards, and stand behind a clump of large gum-trees.
Nevertheless, the besieged, whenever they saw a head or a hand, or a
foot, had a shot at it. From the number of shots with which they were
simultaneously greeted, Mr. Kherwin believed that there were at least
nine bushrangers in the house; and he was unprepared for an encounter
of this character--each of his party having only twenty rounds of
ammunition--he was compelled to reserve his fire. The house, thickly
coated as it was with mud, was bullet-proof. Mr. Sutter, therefore, at
Mr. Kherwin's instigation, rode into Paramatta for reinforcements,
taking with him several of the blacks as guides. The commandant at
Paramatta sent a sergeant and ten private soldiers to Mr. Kherwin's

"It was not until the third day, however, that they arrived at the
scene of action; for they had to take with them two light field-
pieces, six-pounders, and a variety of implements for effecting an
entrance in case the mud--casing to the house should resist the
cannon-shot for any length of time. The news soon arrived in Sydney,
and numbers of officers and gentlemen, many of whom had been robbed on
the road by Fox, Pitt, and Burke, hastened to the spot.

"On the morning of the second day after the arrival of the military,
one of the shots from a field-piece happened to strike the door of the
stronghold, and shivered it to atoms; whereupon a woman, with her hair
streaming down her back, and holding in her hand a large white rag at
the end of a stick, came out of the house, and approaching the
besiegers, cried out, 'We surrender!' The firing ceased, and the woman
was permitted to return and communicate to the bushrangers that only
ten minutes would be allowed them to come out, unarmed, and give
themselves up. This they did, and were forthwith ironed and

"The women, it seems, had aided them in firing at the authorities,
Fox, Pitt, and Burke having trained them to the use of fire-arms, and
made them expert markswomen. In the house were found no less than
thirty fowling--pieces, twelve pairs of pistols, powder and shot in
large quantities, lead for casting bullets, and several swords and
cutlasses. The abode itself had been cleanly kept. Everything was in
the neatest order; while the land, considering that the bushrangers
were but amateur agriculturists, was very well tilled. In the dairy
were found both butter and cheese of their own making; in the store-
house salted beef and pickled pork of their own curing. In short,
there were very few farms in the colony better stocked. They had
abundance of poultry and pigeons.

"Fox, Pitt, and Burke were hanged in the Paramatta jail. The women
pleaded that they had been taken away by force; and as the plea was
accepted, they were placed in the factory. These were all under
sentence of transportation for life; but a few years afterwards they
obtained tickets of leave, became the wives of expirees, and led
tolerably respectable lives.

"Several officers made applications to the Governor to have the
bush--rangers' farm granted to them, and one of them had the good
fortune to obtain it."


"WHAT led to the old gentleman's misfortune," said theold lady, who
told me the story one afternoon, "that is to say, what crime he had
committed, I am not quite sure; but I think my husband said the
baron's offence was following to England a countryman of his own, and
shooting him in the streets of London, in order to avenge the wrong
which the victim had inflicted on a member of his ancient family. As
the offence was committed on British soil, he became amenable to
British laws, which punish murder with death, except in those cases
where the sovereign exercises his prerogative--as George the Third did
in the case of the baron, who, immediately on his arrival, was
provided with separate apartments in the prisoners' barracks, and
informed that he might employ his time as he pleased. There could be
no question that the baron was a person of some importance in Germany;
for I happen to know that special instructions were forwarded from
home to the Colonial Government, and periodical reports required as to
his state of health and the nature of his occupations. It was, in
short, evident that, although the old baron had grossly violated our
laws, and had paid, or was paying, the modified penalty thereof, he
was still regarded by some of the loftiest in the mother--country as
an object of sympathy and commiseration.

"My husband had a grant of land about seventeen or eighteen miles
from Sydney. Through this land the river--called George's River--runs.
There are several very pretty sites for houses; but there is one in
particular, where the river bends itself very fantastically, and tall
Australian oak-trees grow upon the very edge of the banks. The river
is not very broad, not broader, perhaps, than the Thames at Eton.

"It was not my husband's intention to build on this property. He
merely wanted it as a place where he might keep a few brood mares; and
a few cows--just sufficient to supply us every week with butter. The
land was fenced in, and a hut erected thereon; but nothing further was
laid out upon this grant of three hundred and twenty acres, to which
no name even had yet been given. It was usually alluded to as the
George's River farm. You must know that, in those days, officers
connected with the administration of affairs had farms in all
directions. Many were grants, many were purchases. Land was of very
little value then. This very place of which I am speaking was not
worth more than sixty pounds. No one would have given fifty pounds for
it. Why, four acres and a half in George Street, nearly opposite to
the barrack gates, my husband sold to a man who had been a regimental
tailor, for the following articles:"

Twelve dozens of port wine.
Six gallons of Hollands.
Two pieces of broadcloth.
Twenty-five pounds of American tobacco
One chest of tea.
Two bags of sugar.
One set of harness for gig.
One saddle and bridle.
One single-barrelled fowling-piece.
Two canisters of powder, and
Four bags of shot.

"And a noble bargain it was considered by every one; though I have
lived to see that same allotment sold in little pieces, and realize
upwards of fifty thousand pounds. Where the Post-Office now stands was
the boundary of our paddock. But never mind these stupid statistics,
which have really nothing to do with the old baron.

"One day the major was driving out in his gig to visit this George's
River farm, and give some instructions to the servant in charge of it,
when he overtook the baron, about four miles from Sydney, walking
along the Paramatta Road. The major pulled up, and inquired the
destination of the old gentleman.

"'I am going,' said he, 'to George's River, to see Colonel Johnstone,
from whom I wish to ask a favour. I called at Annandale, and they told
me that the colonel had ridden to the farm, and I am now in pursuit of

"The baron had made himself a perfect master of the English language,
though he spoke with a foreign accent.

"'Jump in, baron,' said the major; 'I, too am going to George's

"They had not driven far before they overtook the colonel. He was
talking to an elderly man in the road--a man whom my husband
recognized as one who had been a sergeant in the regiment when Colonel
Johnstone marched it to Government House, deposed Governor Bligh, and
placed himself at the head of affairs."

"Did you know Colonel Johnstone?" I asked.

"My husband," replied the old lady, "was a captain in the regiment;
but, fortunately for him, he was not at the head of his company when
it proceeded to enforce that strong measure. Colonel Johnstone was the
godfather of my eldest boy. I can remember his giving an account of
what took place on that memorable occasion of his deposing Governor
Bligh. 'We could not find him for a long time,' said he, 'and at last
discovered him under a bed. We had to pull him out by the legs, for he
would not come out of his own accord, nor when I commanded him.' The
colonel was sentenced by the court-martial that was held upon him in
England to be shot. But his interest was too powerful to admit of the
sentence being carried out, and be was suffered to return to and end
his days in the colony.

"My husband, who knew the colonel's temperament so well, saw that he
was in anything but a good humour; and, whispering to the baron to
forego his request for the present, they bade the colonel 'Good-day!'
and drove on at a rapid pace.

"'The favour that I wished to ask Colonel Johnstone is this,' said
the baron, 'to permit me to occupy a small piece of land on this farm
of his; and in return I will take care that his fences shall not be
destroyed, and his cattle stray away. I do not like the locality of
Sydney. I care not for ocean scenery. I wish to be in a lonely place,
and live on the banks of a pretty river.'

"'I have just such a place on this farm of mine which we are
approaching,' said the major; 'and if you approve of it, we shall have
no difficulty in agreeing about the terms, baron.'

"A few minutes afterwards the major and the baron were standing on
the site I have already described to you. The latter was in ecstasies;
and, clasping his hands, exclaimed.

"'Wie herrlich! wie friedlich!' (How charming! how peaceful!)

"The terms were very soon settled. The baron was to rent that piece
of land in the centre of the grant, containing in all about ten acres,
and henceforward to be known as Waldsthal, on a lease for twenty-one
years, at one dollar per year, paid quarterly. Spanish dollars and
cents were the currency in those days.

"There was an abundance of timber of all kinds, and available for
building purposes, on the land; and the major could at all times
command as much convict labour as he pleased, including artisans of
every class. He drafted from the barracks, sawyers, carpenters,
blacksmiths, plasterers, labourers, and subsequently painters and
glaziers. These men were sent to the farm, and placed at the disposal
of the baron. They were previously informed that any disobedience or
disrespect towards the baron would be visited by summary corporal
punishment at Liverpool (then a little out--settlement three miles
from the farm), and a transfer to an iron-gang. Inasmuch as the major,
though far from being a cruel man or a hard master, invariably kept
his word with the felonry of the colony, there was not the least
occasion for him to repeat the admonition; and at the end of three
months there was erected on Waldsthal one of the prettiest little
weather--boarded cottages that the imagination can conceive. The baron
was his own architect, and had combined comfort with good taste. There
was his little dining-room, about thirteen feet by twelve; his little
drawing-room, of the same dimensions; his little library; his store-
room; and his cellar and larder; and his hall. The bedroom and
dressing-room were the only large rooms in the cottage. The flower and
kitchen gardens were also very prettily laid out, and proportioned
exactly in size to that of the cottage. On the whole, it was a perfect
gem of a cottage residence; and it was furnished with a neatness and a
simplicity which were really touching.

"Now and then--say half a dozen times in the year--the major and
myself used to visit the baron, and spend the day with him. Upon all
occasions, while walking round the grounds with him, the old gentleman
was to me very communicative. Amongst other things, he told me that he
had never been married; but that he had a sister who was the mother of
three sons and two daughters; that he had served in the army of his
native country, and that the military decorations which were suspended
over his fireplace in the drawing-room were the rewards for his
services in various fields of battle. These little matters, together
with his sword, he said, had been forwarded to him through the
kindness and consideration of a distinguished military man of rank in
the service of the King of England.

"Generally, we gave the baron notice of our intention to visit him;
but on several occasions, when we had suddenly made up our minds for
the excursion, we omitted this little formality, and took our chance
of finding him ready to receive us. It would not have been strange had
a gentleman living, like the baron, in almost utter seclusion in the
Bush, been negligent of his personal appearance. But it was not so. Go
when we would--with notice or without notice--we found him invariably
as cleanly in person, and as neat in his attire, as though he had been
a resident of any capital in Europe, and in the habit of daily mixing
in its society. One Saturday afternoon, when we invaded him
unexpectedly, we found him in the farm--yard, superintending the
feeding of his poultry; but dressed, as usual,  la Frederick the
Great, in Hessian boots, a brown velvet coat, elaborate frills and
ruffles, a pigtail, and a three-cornered hat. His establishment
consisted of two men servants (convicts assigned to the major) and an
old woman who had been transported, but emancipated shortly after her
arrival in the colony, for giving timely notice of an intended rise
and general revolt amongst the convicts in Sydney and its vicinity.
This old woman did the washing and the cooking, and kept the cottage
in that very good order on which the baron doubtless insisted. He was
not a witty man by any means; but he had an inexhaustible stock of
entertaining anecdotes, which he told remarkably well, and at the
proper moment. He was, moreover, an excellent musician, and played
upon the violin with the skill of a professor. Moreover, he took
likenesses with a facility and faithfulness which were truly

"A few years after he had first taken up his abode in the cottage,
the baron was presented with a free pardon, which bore the autograph
of his Majesty George the Third; and he was informed that, if he
desired to return to Germany, the Colonial Government were instructed
to provide him a passage in any vessel in which he might think proper
to select a cabin. It was painful to witness, as I did, the emotion of
the old baron, when the major Communicated to him this piece of
information. The king's pardon he was compelled to accept, and he did
so in the most graceful manner; but he expressed a wish to remain at
his 'little paradise' on the George's River farm so long as he lived,
and on his death that he might be buried there.

"In all, the baron lived at Waldsthal for eleven years; and during
that period had several visits from those pests called bushrangers. On
the first occasion, they handcuffed the baron and the old woman
together, and locked them up in the stables, whence they were unable
to effect an escape. The men servants they tied separately to trees,
and bound them so tightly that they could not extricate themselves.
For upwards of forty hours they did not taste food or drink. When
discovered, by the merest accident, they were all nearly famished. The
culprits were captured several months afterwards, and were hanged in
the jail at Sydney for a series of robberies on the highway. (The old
baron, by the bye, declined to give evidence against them.) The major
asked for the dead bodies, and they were given up to him. He caused
them to be suspended in chains from the bough of a large tree on the
Liverpool Road, and nearly opposite, though half a mile distant from,
the old baron's cottage. This, however, did not operate as an example
or terror to the desperate criminals with whom we had to deal, for the
next party, four in number, who went to rob the baron, cut down the
dead bodies; and, locking the baron and his household up in the same
room with them, rifled the premises, and took their departure. These
men were also captured and hanged. At the baron's request the major
did not ask for their bodies. He (the baron) said they were very
disagreeable people to come in contact with when living; but, if
possible, worse when they had been dead some time.

"The major's turn came for doing duty at Norfolk Island as
Commandant, and we went to that terrestrial paradise; where the
clanking of chains and the fall of the lash rang in the ear from
daylight till dark--these sounds accompanied occasionally by the
report of a discharged musket, and the shriek of some wretch who had
fallen mortally wounded. These shots became so frequent that, at last,
they ceased to disturb us, even at our meals. Our house was behind a
rampart, surmounted by a battery of guns, loaded to the muzzles with
bullets, bits of iron, tenpenny-nails, and tenter--hooks. By day and
night sentries guarded the doors with loaded muskets and fixed
bayonets. 'Kill the commandant!' was always the first article of the
agreement these desperate monsters came to when they entertained an
idea of escape. In the morning when they were brought out, heavily
ironed, to go to work, the guard that had been on duty all night was
drawn up opposite to them. The relieving guard then came from the
barracks; and, in the presence of the commandant, obeyed the order
'Prime and load.' Then came the ringing of the iron ramrod in the
barrel. Then the order 'Fix bayonets;' followed by the flashing of the
bright steel in the sun's rays. Many a time have I, from my window,
seen these incorrigibles smile and grin during this ceremony, albeit
they knew that, upon very slight provocation, they would receive the
bullet or taste the steel.

"During the twelve months that we were on the island, one hundred and
nine were shot by the sentries in self-defence, and sixty-three
bayoneted to death, while the average number of lashes administered
every day was six hundred. Yet, to my certain knowledge, almost every
officer who acted as commandant at Norfolk Island tried to be as
lenient as possible, but soon discovered that, instead of making
matters better, they made them worse, and they were, in consequence,
compelled to resort, for security's sake, to the ready use of the
bullet and bayonet, and the constant use of the lash. That part of the
punishment which galled these wretched prisoners most was the
perpetual silence that was insisted upon. They were not allowed to
speak a word to each other. One day when the major was inspecting
them, they addressed him through a spokesman, who had been originally
a surgeon, and who had been transported for a most diabolical offence.
He was a very plausible man, and made a most ingenious speech, which
he finished thus:--

"'Double, if you will, the weight of our irons and our arm-chains,
reduce the amount of the food we now receive by way of ration: but, in
the name of humanity, permit us the use of our tongues and our ears,
that we may have at least the consolation of confessing to each other
the justice of the punishment we have to undergo!'

"The major turned a deaf ear to this harangue, and when he related it
to me laughed at it. I, however, very foolishly took a different view
of the case, and teased him into trying the effect of such indulgence.
What was the result? The use they made of their tongues was to concoct
a plan for butchering the garrison, and every free man, and seizing
the next vessel that brought a fresh cargo of convicts to the island.
There would have been a frightful encounter and awful bloodshed, and
it is impossible to say which side would have gained the mastery. It
was a Jew who betrayed his fellow-criminals, and gave my husband the
information just in time; for on the morning following the expected
vessel hove in sight. The convicts, however, were all safely locked
up, and had their bread and water handed in to them through the strong
iron bars of the small windows of their cells. My husband called a
council of war, and it was resolved that several of the ringleaders
should be shot. For doing this, by the way, he received a severe
reprimand from the Governor of New South Wales who informed him that
it was his duty to send them to Sydney to be tried and hanged. This,
next to effecting an escape, would have been precisely what the
culprits most desired. The Jew who gave the information was sent to
Sydney (his life would have been taken on the island); a ticket-of-
leave was granted to him, and he became a street hawker. Subsequently,
he was emancipated, and became an innkeeper and money-lender.
Eventually, he obtained a free pardon, visited England, bought a ship
and cargo, and became a merchant. He is now in possession of landed
and other property of enormous worth. The first time I saw that man he
was a manacled felon, working on Norfolk Island amongst his compeers
in infamy. The last time I saw him he was lolling in a handsome
carriage, dressed in what he conceived the acm of fashion, and was
drawn by two thoroughbred-horses.

"In talking of Norfolk Island I have lost sight of the dear old
baron. While we were away, we received a letter from him, in which he
stated that he had been visited for a third time by bushrangers, but
that they had not robbed him, they had only been guilty of a mauvaise
plaisanterie. They had merely made him and the old woman exchange
garments, and dance for them while they drank some spirits and water,
and smoked their short clay pipes. It was very humiliating to him, he
remarked, but to them it was, no doubt, very funny.

"Eventually the old baron became very ill. Several military surgeons
went to see him; but they all declared to my husband that his case was
a hopeless one. And so it proved to be; for he lingered on until he
died. Amongst his papers was found a will--a very short one--by which
he bequeathed to my husband (whom he appointed his sole executor), all
that he might die possessed of in the colony of New South Wales. His
effects, as may be supposed, were not very valuable intrinsically; but
we prized them very highly in remembrance of the old gentleman. He was
buried at Waldsthal, and his tombstone is still there. The cottage was
accidentally burnt down, and the place has since become a ruin."


"SIR HENRY HAYES," said the old lady, one day to me, "was what was
called in Sydney 'a Special.' Specials were gentlemen by birth and
education, who had been convicted of offences which, however heinous
in a legal point of view, did not involve any particular degree of
baseness. For instance, Major B., who, in a violent fit of passion,
stabbed his footman for accidentally spilling some soup and soiling
the king's livery, which the major was then wearing--was a Special: so
was the old German baron, whose history I gave you on another
occasion: and so were those Irish gentlemen who took a prominent part
in the rebellion, and escaped the fate that awaited Mr. Emmett--
Specials. All those kinds of criminals, up to the departure of General
Macquarrie, and the arrival of Sir Thomas Brisbane, were not treated
like common thieves and receivers of stolen property, but with great
consideration. If they were not emancipated immediately on their
arrival, they were suffered to be at large without the formality of a
ticket-of-leave. They were, in short, treated rather as prisoners of
war on their parole than as prisoners of the Crown in a penal
settlement. Grants of land were not given to them while they were in
actual bondage, but they were permitted to locate themselves on any
unoccupied piece of land in the vicinity of Sydney. The greater number
of them were well supplied with funds by their relations in England,
Ireland, or Scotland, and erected very comfortable, if not
particularly handsome, abodes, and laid out gardens and grounds.
General Macquarrie went a little too far, perhaps. He not only
admitted them to his table as soon as they were emancipated, but he
elevated some of them to the magisterial bench.

"Sir Henry built a very pretty little cottage on the estate known as
Vaucluse, and upon which the house of Mr. William Charles Wentworth
now stands. There is not a lovelier site in the known world.
Beautifully wooded with evergreens, the land covered with every
description of heath, which is in bloom nearly all the year round; a
lovely bay of semicircular shape, and forming one of the inlets of the
magnificent harbour of Port Jackson, spread out before the lawn, its
dark-blue waters laying the milk--white sand, some black rocks in the
distance (known as 'the Bottle and Glass'), standing out sufficiently
far to cause the spray to beat continually over them, the north shore
plainly visible across the broad expanse of water,--travel where you
will, the eye will not rest upon any spot more favoured by Nature than
that exquisite valley which was called Vancluse, in consequence of its
resemblance in one or two respects to the Vallis Clausus, where
Petrarch, in the words of Lord Byron.

"'With his melodious tears gave himself to fame."

"To put his crime out of the question, Sir Henry was a man of very
great taste, and an Irish gentleman of the old school."

"What was his crime?" I asked, in my then ignorance of this colonial

"He carried off by force and violence a young lady with whom he was
passionately in love, and who had several times refused his offers of
marriage. The penalty of the offence was transportation for life. I am
not quite sure that he was not, in the first instance, sentenced to be
hanged. My husband, in common with many officers, was partial to
Hayes, who could be very witty and amusing, and who, whatever may have
been his habits in early life, led a most temperate and exemplary life
in the colony of New South Wales. He was surrounded by every comfort
that money could purchase, and he was always glad to see persons of
whom he was in the habit of speaking as 'those of my own order.' The
only defect in his manner was, that his air was too patronizing.

"That Hayes was perfectly mad on the crime that led to his banishment
there could not be the slightest question; but upon all other points
no one could be more rational. That his statements with reference to
his case were untrue, no one who read the report of his trial could
doubt for a single moment; but that Hayes himself believed his own
version to be the correct one, was equally certain. I never saw Sir
Henry but twice, and I must do him the justice to say, that on neither
occasion did he speak of his case. He was by far too well bred to
think of making the faintest allusion to it. By the way, he did once
say in my presence, on the occasion of his killing a fly with the
handle of a carving-fork, 'That's how I should like to crush John
Philpot Curran;' but upon my husband remarking to him, 'My wife never
heard of that person, Hayes,' Sir Henry made me a very low bow, begged
me a million pardons, and instantly changed the theme."

"Why was he so inveterate with regard to Mr. Curran?" I inquired.

"It was Mr. Curran, my husband told me, who prosecuted Sir Henry
Hayes," was the old lady's reply. "I told you that I only saw Sir
Henry twice," she continued. "On the first occasion he called at our
house, in a state of great nervous excitement. After being introduced
to me, and speaking for a while on various subjects, he thus addressed
my husband: 'My dear major, for the last eleven days I have suffered
agonies of mind, and have been praying, from early dawn to dusky
night, almost without intermission, to my favourite saint, Saint
Patrick. But he seems to take no more notice of me, nor of my prayers,
than if I were some wretched thief in a road-gang, with manacles on my
leg, and a stone-breaking hammer in my hand.'

"'What is the matter, that you require the aid of Saint Patrick?'
said my husband.

"'The matter!' replied Sir Henry. 'You are aware, perhaps, that that
part of the country where I live literally swarms with venomous
serpents; there are black snakes, brown snakes, gray snakes, yellow
snakes, diamond snakes, carpet snakes--in short, every species of
snake in the known world. Now, so long as they confined themselves to
the lawn and the garden, I did not so much mind. It was bad enough to
have them there, but, with caution I could avoid them. The brutes,
however, have lately taken to invade the house. We have killed them in
the verandah, and in every room, including the kitchen. Now, it was in
consequence of this that I addressed my prayers to Saint Patrick, and
suggested that he might whisper to them to go into other people's
houses, and not mine, in order to gratify their curiosity concerning
the habits of civilized man; but to no purpose. Last night I found a
gentleman, six feet long, and as black as a coal, coiled up on my
white counterpane; and another of the same dimensions underneath the
bed. However, I am determined they shall not banish me from that
abode, but that I will banish them; or, at all events, keep them at a
proper distance--say a distance of at least fifty yards from any part
of the house. And what I want you to do, my dear major, is to render
me some assistance in the matter.'

"'What do you propose doing?' my husband inquired.

"'You know perfectly well, my excellent friend,' continued Sir Henry,
'that Saint Patrick so managed matters that no snake could ever live
on or near Irish soil. The very smell of it is more than enough for
them. It will be a matter of time and of money; but to carry out my
project I am most firmly resolved.'

"'What do you propose doing? and how can I aid you?' said the major.

"'Hark ye! returned Sir Henry.' I intend to import to this country
about five hundred tons of genuine Irish bog, which shall be dug from
the estate of a friend of mine. It shall come out in large biscuit
barrels. I shall then have a trench dug round my premises, six feet
wide and two feet deep; and this trench the Irish earth shall fill.'

"'And do you really believe that Australian snakes will be kept away
by your Irish soil, Sir Henry?' said the major.

"'Believe! Of course, I do. I am quite certain of it,' responded
Hayes. This very day I have written to my friend in Ireland, and told
him to employ an agent to carry out my wishes, and have the bog-earth
taken down to Cork for shipment. Now, the favour I have to ask of you
is this: to write, in your official capacity, a letter to my agent,
which I will enclose to him--such a letter as will lead the captains
and doctors of the ships that touch at Cork, to fill up the complement
of convicts for these shores, to suppose that the soil is for
Government, and required for botanical purposes; and further, I want
you to allow it to be consigned to yourself or the Colonial Secretary.
Each ship might remove a quantity of its stone ballast and put the
casks of bog in its stead, By these means I should get it all the

"My husband endeavoured to laugh Sir Henry out of his idea; but in
vain. He was firm, and said:

"'If you won't assist me, I must instruct them to charter a ship for
the especial purpose, and that would cost a very serious sum of

"My husband, of course, could not think of acting in the matter
without previously obtaining the consent of the Governor, who was so
amused at the superstitious character of Hayes's enterprise, that his
excellency caused the required letter to be written, and handed to

"About a year afterwards, the first instalment of the soil arrived--
some forty barrels--and was conveyed from Sydney to Vaucluse (a
distance of six miles) by water; and within the next year the entire
quantity had reached its destination. The trench, in the mean time,
had been dug, and all was now ready for 'circumventing,' as Sir Henry
expressed it, 'the premises and the vipers at one blow.'

"My husband and myself and a large party of ladies and gentlemen went
down to Vaucluse in the Government barges to witness the operation of
filling in the trench. The superintendent of convicts--a countryman of
Hayes', and who believed as implicitly as Hayes himself did in the
virtue of Irish soil with regard to vipers--lent Sir Henry barrows and
shovels and a gang consisting of seventy-five men--all of them
Irishmen--in order to complete the work as rapidly as possible. Sir
Henry, in person, superintended, and was alternately pathetic and
jocular. Some of his running commentaries on Saint Patrick and his
wonderful powers, and some snatches of song that he sang in honour of
the saint, convulsed with laughter all who those stood around him. The
work over, one or two of the men asked for a small quantity of the
sacred earth, and Sir Henry said--

"'Well, take it and welcome; but I would rather have given you its
weight in gold.'

"Strange to say, from that time forward, Sir Henry Hayes was not
visited by snakes. They did not vacate the grounds in the vicinity of
Vaucluse, but none were ever seen within the magic circle formed of
the Irish earth. Whether the charm is worn out, and whether the
Wentworths are invaded as was Sir Henry, I know not. But this I know,
that Captain Piper, who held the appointment of naval officer in the
colony, to whom Vaucluse was subsequently granted, and from whom Mr.
Wentworth purchased it, assured me that, during the many years he
lived there with his family, no venomous reptile had ever been killed
or observed within Hayes's enclosures, notwithstanding they were
plentiful enough beyond it."

I wish the reader to understand that I have simply related the above
story as it was told to me, and that I do not offer any opinion as to
the efficacy or otherwise of Irish soil in keeping away Australian
snakes from any spot upon which it may be placed.

After a pause, the old lady resumed.

"I ought to have mentioned that it was on the seventeenth of March,
Saint Patrick's Day, that this curious ceremony was performed, and
that at its conclusion, at half-past four in the afternoon, we dined
with Sir Henry in a large tent formed of the old sails of a ship,
which were lent to him for the occasion by the captain of the vessel
then lying in the harbour. Sir Henry was in excellent spirits, and,
when the evening closed in, he sang several Irish melodies with great
sweetness and pathos. To every one present he made himself extremely
agreeable, and, on the whole, I never spent a happier day in my life,
albeit I was the guest of a Special convict."


"WE had several female Specials," said the old lady; "but the most
remarkable of them was Kate Crawford, Beautiful Kitty, as she used to
be called. She was very handsome, certainly, and not more than
nineteen when she arrived in the colony."

"What had been her condition in life?" I asked.

"She was the daughter of a Yorkshire squire. In short, she was a lady
by birth," was the reply, "and had received the education of persons
in her father's position and circumstances, and she was accomplished,
according to the standard of that day."

"And what was her crime?"



"Yes. That was the offence of which she was convicted, and, in those
barbaric days, sentenced to be hanged. That sentence, however, was
commuted to transportation for fourteen years."

"Rather a strange offence for a young lady to commit," I remarked.

"Very true; but you must hear the particulars, just as she related
them to me, and to several other ladies who took a very great interest
in her. And remember, that all she told us--I mean all the facts she
stated--corresponded exactly with those detailed in the report of her
trial, which was subsequently, at her request, obtained from England.
In one sense of the word, Kate was a very bold girl; in another sense,
she was the very reverse of bold. Her manners were in perfect harmony
with her person--soft, gentle, and feminine; but, if she were resolved
upon carrying out any project, great indeed must have been the
obstacle she would not surmount. Her story, as she told it, was

"'My father, Squire Crawford, and one Squire Pack, lived within a
mile of each other. Their estates adjoined. Squire Pack had a son,
John Pack, of about twenty--four years of age. I was then between
seventeen and eighteen. John Pack was an only son, and I was an only
daughter. Both Squire Pack and my father were widowers, and had
housekeepers. The old people, over their bowls of punch one night,
settled that John Pack should be my husband. Now, it so happened that
John Pack--whom I liked very much, he was such a good--natured
goosey--was already in love, and secretly engaged to a farmer's
daughter, a stout, tall, red--haired girl, with blue eyes, and a very
florid, but clear, complexion. Just the girl, in short, to captivate
poor John, whose taste was not particularly refined. She had, besides,
the exact amount of learning to suit poor John, who was not an erudite
person by any means. I, too, had a secret engagement with a younger
son of Sir Francis Bowman, and who was a lieutenant in a regiment of
foot. Squire Pack and my father were both great tyrants, and to have
offered the slightest opposition to their plans would possibly have
led to their putting into execution, respectively, that threat which
was constantly on the lips of either of them: I'll turn you out of
doors, and cut you off with a shilling! John Pack and I therefore,
came to an understanding. We were to be lovers in the presence of the
old people; but to every other intent and purpose, we were to assist
each other in corresponding with our true loves--trusting, as we did,
to some accident or some quarrel between our fathers to annul the
marriage contract they had entered into on our behalf. Matters went on
this way for several months, and nothing could be more satisfactory to
us young people. John Pack frequently carried letters and messages for
me, and I as frequently did the same for him. Squire Pack and my
father used to quarrel once in every year, and for a month or two were
the most implacable enemies; but, at the end of such term, the one or
the other would give way, make an advance (which was always met),
shake hands, and become as good friends as ever. The truth was, that
when the evenings drew in, they missed their game of cribbage; for
John Pack was a very sleepy person over cards, and, as for myself, I
could never play at any game except beggar--my--neighbour.

"'One morning in the month of December the hounds met a few miles
from our house. Squire Pack and my father rode to cover together. John
Pack, who had brought me a letter from my lover, accompanied them, and
joined the meet. The moment they were out, of the gate, I broke the
seal, and read as follows:--"

'DEAREST KATE,--If you possibly can, meet me on the Halifax road,
near the Hen and Chickens. I will be there at eleven, and will wait
till two in the hope of seeing you. I have something very important to
communicate. My father intends having an interview with your father
the day after to--morrow. I would have ridden over to the Hatch, only
you gave me such good reasons for not doing so, or even coming near
the place at present. In haste. "'Ever affectionately yours, "'George

"The Hen and Chickens, a roadside inn, was distant from the Hatch
(the name of my father's house) about six miles; and, when I received
my lover's letter, it was nearly half--past ten o'clock. I flew to the
stables, and ordered the groom to saddle my horse. To my disgust, he
informed me that the animal was as lame as a cat. I then ordered him
to put my saddle on Marlborough, a second hunter of my father's. The
groom told me that the horse had been taken to a point called
Milebush, where the squire expected to pick him up fresh. I then said,
'Saddle the old mare,' and was given to understand that she had gone
to the farrier's to be shod. What was to be done? I deliberated for a
few minutes, and then ordered the groom to take my side-saddle and
bridle, and follow me to Squire Pack's, and hastily attiring myself in
my riding-habit and hat, I ran across the fields as fast as I could,
and made for the stables of our neighbour. The only saddle-horse in
the squire's stables at the time was a magnificent thoroughbred colt,
which had just been broken in; and this colt the squire's groom was
not disposed to saddle for me without the squire's personal order.
Becoming very impatient, for it then wanted only three minutes to
eleven, I shook my whip at the groom, and said: 'Saddle him this
instant. Refuse at your peril! You shall be discharged this very
night!' All Squire Pack's servants, as well as our own, believed that
I was to be John Pack's wife, and the groom, fearful of that
gentleman's wrath, no longer hesitated to obey my instructions. The
colt was saddled and brought out. I mounted him, and laid him along
the road at the very top of his speed, perfectly satisfied that John
Pack would take care that my father never heard of my adventure, and
that his father would say nothing about it--determined, as I was, to
have a note for John, to be delivered on his return from the chase.

"'It was exactly nineteen minutes past eleven when I arrived at the
Hen and Chickens, and found George Bowman waiting for me. He had
walked over from his father's house. The colt I had ridden was so
bathed in perspiration that I alighted, and caused him to be taken
into a shed and rubbed down. While the stable--boys were so enganged,
George and I walked along the road, and discoursed intently on our
affairs for more than an hour and a half. We then returned to the inn,
and I gave orders for the colt to be saddled. But, alas! the colt was
not in the stable wherein he had been placed after he had been rubbed
down, nor was a traveller, who was dressed like a gentleman, and who
had come to the inn to bait his jaded horse shortly after my arrival,
to be found on the premises, though his horse was in one of the
stalls--a horse that must have been a very swift and valuable creature
in his day, but then rather old and broken--winded. There could be no
doubt that this person, whoever he might be, had made the exchange,
and ridden away unseen while the stable--boys were taking their
dinner. A well--dressed man had ridden swiftly past George and myself
whilst we were walking on the road; but we were far too much engrossed
in conversation to take any particular notice of himself or the steed
he was riding. Under these awkward and distressing circumstances, I
scarcely knew what to do. It was now past two o'clock, and I was
anxious to return to my home. I, therefore (accompanied by George
Bowman to the very edge of our grounds), proceeded on foot. As soon as
I was in my own room I divested myself of my riding--habit, and wrote
a letter to John Pack, requesting him to see me at the earliest moment
possible. It was past four o'clock when my father returned, and the
moment I saw him I discovered that he was much the worse for the
refreshment he had taken while absent from home. He told me, and it
was quite true, that Jack Pack had had a bad fall in the field, had
broken his thigh and smashed his head, and that he was then lying in a
dangerous state at a public--house not far from Bradford. I begged of
him to let me go and see the sufferer. But he said No! and then
informed me that he had had such violent quarrel with Squire Pack,
that they could never be on speaking terms again. It was all about the
settlements he said; that the old thief wanted to hold off coming down
with any money till his death; that he (Squire Pack) had broken his
word; that he (my father) had given him a good bellyful of his mind;
that he told the squire that neither he nor his father before him were
born in wedlock; and that, after all, it would be a disgrace for a
Crawford to have a Pack for a husband. All this distressed me very
much; but I still hoped that this, like their other quarrels, would be
made up ere long, and that, in the mean time, poor John Pack would
recover, and Sir Francis Bowman tempt my father to listen to the
liberal proposals he was about to make to him with respect to my union
with George. It was, however, a frightfully anxious night that which I
passed. My sleep, when it at last stole over me, was a troubled one,
and my dreams a succession of horror upon horror. When I awoke, I
fancied that all was a dream--the accident to John Pack, the quarrel
between my father and the squire, the meeting between myself and
George Bowman, and the loss of the colt at the Hen and Chickens.

"But, alas! I was speedily awakened to the reality, by my father
calling out 'Kate! Kate! Come here! What have you been about? Here are
the officers of justice come to take you before the magistrate!' I ran
down stairs, confessed everything, and entreated him to forgive me.
Like most of the old squires, he was a very violent and head--strong
man, and on this occasion his answer was terrific. 'Take her!' he
cried to the officers. 'Take her away! Let her be hanged, for all I
care! She deserves it for deceiving me!'"

"'It seems that as soon as Squire Pack heard of my taking the colt
away, he vowed that he would have me tried for horse-stealing, and
thus would he disgrace the man who had called him such vile names and
said such bitter things to him. And, in fulfilment of this vow, he
went to the nearest magistrate, accompanied by his groom and another
servant, and made a deposition upon oath. The magistrate was an old
clergyman, to whom Squire Pack had given the 'living,' and who was in
the habit of responding the words 'of course,' to every sentence the
squire uttered. A warrant for my apprehension was immediately issued,
and I was taken into custody. What happened before the clerical
magistrate I cannot recollect; but I can remember being asked several
times, 'What has become of the colt?' and replying, 'I don't know.'
The consequence was, I was committed to take my trial at the
forthcoming assizes, and was meanwhile sent to prison."

"'Whilst I was in those cold and dismal cells, my father never came
near me; nor did he write to me, or even send me a message. The only
person whom I saw--and that was in the presence of the jailer--was
George Bowman, who did all in his power to console me, although, poor
boy, his face and shrunken form plainly betrayed that he was bordering
on insanity caused by grief. George told me that Sir Francis Bowman
had spoken to Squire Pack; but the squire would not listen to him, and
that he had declined to receive the value, or double the value, of the
colt which had been 'stolen' by me--swearing that 'the law should take
its course.'"

"'The day of trial came, and I was arraigned. George Bowman had
retained an able lawyer to defend me, but his advocacy was of no
avail. He urged that I had not taken the colt with the intention of
stealing it, but of returning it after I had ridden it. To this the
other counsel replied, 'Why didn't she return it?' 'Because it was
stolen from her at the inn,' was the rejoinder. This the jury regarded
a very fond (foolish) tale, and found me guilty; whereupon the judge
put on the black cap, and sentenced me to be hanged by the neck until
I was dead!"

"What happened afterwards--whom I saw, or what they said--I know not.
I was in a perfect lethargy, and did not recover my senses until more
than half of the voyage to the colony was completed.'"

Here the old lady paused for a brief while, and then resumed.

"What Kate's sufferings must have been, when she was conscious of
what was passing around her, it would, indeed, be difficult to
describe. She had not only to bear the companionship of the three
hundred degraded wretches who were her fellow--passengers, but to
withstand the unseemly attentions of the Navy surgeon, who had charge
of the convicts, and who had become enamoured of her extreme beauty.
The captain of the vessel, also, fell desperately in love with her,
and on several occasions proposed to marry her, abandon the sea, and
settle in the colony. The surgeon having heard of this, quarrelled
with the captain, and threatened Kate that if she ever spoke or
listened to the captain again, he would have her hair cut off, and
that she should be publicly flogged. (He had the power, you know, of
inflicting such punishment upon any female convict who incurred his
displeasure.) The captain being informed by one of his officers of
this threat, thrashed the surgeon on the quarter--deck, to the delight
of the women, who looked on and cried 'Bravo!' The surgeon called the
guard--fifty soldiers (recruits). But as each man had his sweetheart
on board, and as the cause was regarded as the 'women's cause,' the
guard declined to interfere in the matter. This was a sad state of
affairs, no doubt, so far as discipline was concerned; but it tended
very materially to Kate Crawford's advantage. Amidst the strife and
contending passions of the two men, she was safe in that sense of the
word most desirable to herself. When the ship arrived in the harbour,
the surgeon preferred a complaint against the captain and his
officers. There was an investigation, which resulted in a manner
rather prejudicial to the surgeon, and the Governor gave an order that
he was not to be permitted to depart the colony until the pleasure of
his Majesty's Government was known. Such pleasure was known about a
year afterwards. It was to the effect that the surgeon was to be sent
to England, under an arrest, in the first man--of--war that touched at
Port Jackson. He had made several statements and admissions at the
investigation to warrant and insure his dismissal from the service of
the State.

"Soon after her arrival, Kate had to undergo fresh persecutions. She
was 'applied for' by at least twenty unmarried officers, each of whom
was anxious to have her 'assigned' to him as a servant. It was not
uncommon in those days for officers to marry their assigned servants,
and make them sell rum at the back doors of their private houses, or
quarters, to private soldiers and convicts at a dump (fifteenpence) a
glass. It was by these means that many of them amassed their large
wealth in ready money."

"Did the Government know of this?" I asked.

"That is a question I decline to answer," replied the old lady. "But
this I know, that when the duty was taken off rum imported to the
colony, very few people were licensed to keep public-houses. However,
none of these gentlemen were destined to be the master of Kate
Crawford. The statement she made at the investigation aroused the
sympathy of Mrs. Macquarie (the Governor's wife), who enlisted the
respect and affection of all who know her. Mrs. Macquarie was driven
in her private carriage to the factory at Paramatta--an institution to
which all unassigned convicts were taken on their arrival in Sydney--
and had an interview with the unfortunate girl. I accompanied Mrs.
Macquarie on that occasion.

"When Kate was brought by the matron--superintendent into the little
room in which Mrs. Macquarie and myself were seated, she was dressed
in the uniform garb of females under sentence of transportation; the
commonest calico print gown, a white apron, white cap without frills
or strings, thickly--soled shoes, and no stockings. The dresses were
made short, so that the ankles and the lower part of the legs were
visible, while the arms were perfectly bare from the elbow--joint.
Nevertheless, in those hideous garments, Kate still preserved the
bearing of a well--bred gentlewoman. There was no low curtsey--no 'May
it please your ladyship'--no folding of the hands; but there was a
gentle inclination of the head and of the body, and an honest, modest
look, which would at once have satisfied the most suspicious person in
the world that the girl was incapable of committing any crime. And
when Mrs. Macquarie, with a graceful movement of the hand, requested
her to be seated, she thanked and obliged the old lady,

"'I have not come to see you out of mere curiosity,' said Mrs.
Macquarie, 'nor have I come to gloat over the sight of a young lady in
such a position as that in which you are now placed. I simply come,
armed with the authority of the Governor, to know by what means your
sojourn in this colony may be rendered the least painful.'

"On hearing these words of unexpected kindness, the poor girl burst
into passionate tears, and Mrs. Macquarie and myself followed her

"When she was calmed, and in a condition to listen, Mrs. Macquarie
again put the question to her, and the poor girl replied, in broken
accents--'Do with me, or for me, whatever your kind heart may

"'Then you shall live,' said Mrs. Macquarie, 'in private apartments,
in the house of Mr. Kherwin, the chief constable of Paramatta, whose
wife shall make you as comfortable as circumstances will admit of.
Under that roof you will be perfectly safe, and protected from every
species of annoyance. And if you will allow me, I will send you the
means of providing yourself with more suitable apparel than that you
are now wearing.'

"Poor Kate expressed her gratitude in becoming terms, and we took our
departure. Mrs. Macquarie then ordered the coachman to drive to the
house of the chief constable, and expressed to that functionary her
wishes, which were tantamount to orders; and that very night Kate
Crawford occupied a room in the small but cleanly cottage of the
Kherwins. They were very respectable people, the Kherwins; and Mrs.
Macquarie arranged that Kate was to board with them. I don't know
whether Kherwin and his wife were recompensed by a payment of money,
or a grant of land, but I am quite satisfied that they lost nothing by
the attentions they showed to their unhappy charge.

"Whenever the major and myself went to Paramatta, we never failed to
pay Kate a visit, and have a long chat with her. On one occasion she
told us that she had received a reply to a letter she had written to a
friend in England. Her old lover, George Bowman, she said, had,
shortly after her conviction, become insane, and was a hopeless
lunatic in an asylum. Her father had married a young damsel, and had
by her an infant son. John Pack, when he recovered, and came to know
of the cruel course of conduct his father had pursued, quarrelled with
the old man, flogged him in his passion, and then married Peggy, and
became a farmer on his own account. Squire Pack, too, had married a
young maiden, and had made up his quarrel with Squire Crawford.

"Kate was only three years a prisoner of the Crown, or (to speak in
the coarser phrase) a convict. General Macquarie, one morning,
accompanied by Mrs. Macquarie, all the chief officials, and their
wives, journeyed from Sydney to Paramatta. The cortge drew up
opposite to the chief constable's cottage. The general and Mrs.
Macquarie were the only persons who alighted. After a brief absence
they returned, bringing with them poor Kate Crawford, whom the general
handed into his carriage, and then ordered the postilion to go to
Government House. (There is a Government House in Paramatta.) There,
in the presence of all assembled, the dear old general presented Kate
with the king's pardon, and at the same time handed to her a piece of
parchment, sealed with the seal of the colony, and bearing the
general's own signature. It was the title--deed of a grant of land, of
two thousand acres, within forty miles of Sydney, and situated in one
of the best and most alluvial districts. This ceremony over, the old
general led her to the dining--room, where luncheon was ready. The
poor girl--she was then only twenly--three--was evidently much
overcome by her feelings: but she struggled hard to subdue them, and

"And what became of her?" I asked.

"You shall hear," said the old lady. "While she was under the
protection of the chief constable, Kate was not idle. She assisted
Mrs. Kherwin in all matters connected with the household. The cows,
the pigs, the poultry, &c., had each and all some share of her
attention. And she kept the accounts--for the Kherwins sold the
product of the animals which they reared. In short, although she did
not cease to be what the vulgar call a 'fine lady,' she made herself a
woman of business, and a shrewd one too,--not that she ever took an
advantage of those with whom she dealt.

"Now free to do what she pleased, and with a grant of land in her
possession, Kate resolved upon remaining in the colony, and devoting
herself to farming and the rearing of cattle. Both the general and
Mrs. Macquarie were so fond of her, that any favour she asked was at
once accorded. She applied for fifteen convicts; they were assigned to
her. She then engaged a very respectable overseer--a man of firmness
and integrity. She borrowed 300, wherewith to commence operations,
and build a house. At the end of two years she paid off this debt, and
had a considerable balance in hand. The wheat and the Indian maize
grown upon her farm always brought the highest prices in the market,
and she was equally fortunate with her live stock. Many offers of
marriage were made to her, year after year, by persons in eligible
positions and circumstances; but Mrs. Crawford, as she now called
herself, had determined on remaining single. She had built for herself
a vehicle called a sulky, a gig which had a seat for the accommodation
of one person only, and in this she used to drive to Sydney once in
every year. Upon all these occasions she was a guest at Government
House. In 1823, she was the owner of 12,000 in money, which was
invested on mortgage of landed property in the town of Sydney; and in
1837, when I last saw her, and laughingly said--'You must be
frightfully rich by this time, Kitty,' she replied--'Well, if I were
to die now, there would be about 120,000 to be divided amongst those
who are mentioned in my will. Your boys are down for a few pounds--not
that I fancy they will ever want them.'"

"Is she still alive?" I asked.

"Yes," replied the old lady, "and likely to live for the next twenty
years; for although she had many days of sorrow, she never had one of
sickness, to my knowledge."

[Since the history of Mrs. Crawford was related to me, she has
departed this life. The gentleman who gave me this information lived
many years in Australia. On asking him what she died possessed of, he
answered--"The value of her estate, real and personal, was as nearly
as possible half a million sterling."]


"SHE was not handsome; but she was very, very pretty--the prettiest
little Irish girl that I ever beheld!" said the old lady. "She had
golden hair and dark--blue eyes, a compact and elastic figure, and the
tiniest feet and hands. She was not more than eighteen when she landed
in Sydney as a convict, under sentence of transportation for life. She
did not arrive till 1827 or 1828; and during the administration of Sir
Ralph Darling. The Special system was now utterly defunct, and all
convicts were to be treated alike, without the least reference to what
had been their former condition.

"In point of strictness, this was, no doubt, very proper and very
just; but to those who remembered the lenient administration of
General Macquarie and Sir Thomas Brisbane, it appeared harsh in the

"The major and myself left Sydney shortly after the departure of
General Macquarie from the colony, and went to live on an estate,
which had been granted to us, in the vicinity of Campbell Town. The
major sold his commission, and had now nothing further to do with
public life. He was still in the commission of the peace; but that was

"The girl, Annie Saint Felix, whom I have mentioned, was assigned to
some neighbours of ours (our nearest neighbours, for they lived only
six miles off), the Prestons, and very nice people they were. Captain
Preston early in life had held a commission in the Foot Guards, and
inherited a considerable fortune; but having run through his money, he
sold his commission, and retired with the proceeds to the wilds of
Australia, and became a settler. Mrs. Preston, who was a lady of
aristocratic birth and breeding, was one of the kindest--hearted
beings in existence, and their sons and daughters, a goodly number of
each, ranging from fourteen to three years of age, were, without any
exception, remarkably fine and well--behaved children. The eldest was
a daughter.

"One morning I had a visit from Mrs. Preston. She wanted to ask my
advice, she said, on a very delicate matter, that she scarcely liked
to act upon her own judgment, and Captain Preston had declared himself
incompetent to assist her. On asking her what was her difficulty, the
following dialogue took place between us:--

"'You are aware,' she began, 'that I applied for a needlewoman?'

"'Yes,' I replied. 'Have you got one?'

"'No; but a young girl has been assigned to us who can do

"'Then, that is all you require of her?'

"'True. But she happens to be a young lady by birth, and is,
moreover, a highly--educated girl.'

"'Well, she is none the worse for those qualities, as you only want
her for needlework. What was her crime? Did you ask her?'

"'Yes,' and she replied, 'Murder, madam! My brother was hanged; but I
am sorry to say they spared my life!'"

"'Murder! Dear me. Did you question her further?'

"'No,' said Mrs. Preston. 'When she pronounced the word murder, my
blood ran cold, and I trembled from head to foot. Now, what I wish to
ask you is, Wouldyoukeep a girl under your roof who had been guilty of
such a crime?'

"'What sort of a disposition has she?'

"'She is as gentle, seemingly, as she is pretty and graceful. It was,
indeed, her kind and gentle manner towards the children, and her
well--selected language, that induced me to say to her, on the third
day she had been with us yesterday, in fact--when we were alone in the
nursery, 'Dear me! Annie, what could have brought a girl of your stamp
and education to this colony?' Of course, as soon as she pronounced
the word 'Murder!' I lost all power of speech, and have scarcely
spoken to her since. To tell you the truth, I feel rather afraid of

"'Pretty girls have often a wicked expression of countenance. Has she

"'On the contrary, and she has a voice like that of a bird. I wish
you would come over, see her, talk to her, and tell me what you think
of her. You can stay the night, you know.'

"Mrs. Preston had aroused my curiosity. When I was one of the lady
visiting matrons of the factory at Paramatta, I had discoursed with
several women who had committed murder in England, Ireland, or
Scotland; but they were all women of a very inferior station in life.
I agreed to accompany my friend, and as soon as the major had
completed his (unpaid) magisterial duties on the bench, and had
returned home, we all three set out together; Mrs. Preston driving me
in her gig, and the major riding on the right--hand side, on

"When I first saw the girl, I was very much struck with her
appearance. Her hair was brushed back off her forehead, and arranged
as plainly as possible. On her head was a little white three--cornered
cap, such as all maidservants wore in those days; her dress was of
common drugget, of a dark chocolate colour, and around her slender
waist was tied a gingham apron, which Mrs. Preston had given to her.
She was then sewing and talking to the little children, who were
playing around her knees. When we left the nursery, I exclaimed to
Mrs. Preston--

"'That a murderess! I do not believe her.'

"'But,' urged Mrs. Preston, 'she says she is; and why should she
confess to having committed so diabolical a crime if it be untrue?'

"While Captain Preston and the major were drinking their claret after
dinner, and were talking about their crops and their cattle, Mrs.
Preston and myself paid another visit to the nursery. By the light of
the woodfire and the candle, the girl looked even prettier than by
daylight. After Mrs. Preston had put several questions to her,
concerning the children and the work she had in hand, and had received
the girl's replies, I said--

"'Your mistress has told me that which I can scarcely credit. She
tells me you were convicted of murder.'

"'It is quite true, madam,' said the girl, blushing almost crimson.

"'What could have prompted a girl like you,' I said, 'to think, even,
of taking the life of a fellow--creature?'

"'I will tell you, madam,' she sighed.

"'Sit down, Annie; you must be tired after your day's labours,' said
Mrs. Preston, taking a chair near the fire (an example which I

"The girl obeyed--sat down opposite to us, and gazing steadfastly at
the blazing logs on the hearth, in the following words told her

"'My brother (who was five years my senior) and myself were orphans,
and were living under the roof of an uncle (my father's eldest
brother), on an island in the north of Ireland. We had a cousin, one
of the loveliest and most amiable girls that ever lived, and she was
engaged to be married to a Mr. Kennedy, a gentleman of large property,
who lived on the same island, and within a few miles of my uncle's
house. When all was prepared for the wedding, this gentleman--if he
deserves the title of gentleman--broke off the match. That was cruel
enough, seeing that our cousin loved him devotedly; but he had the
wickedness to express, as a reason for his baseness, a suspicion
which, if true, would have blasted not only, my cousin's character,
but that also of my brother. The horrible nature of this accusation,
and its utter falsity, added to her disappointment, so preyed upon the
girl's mind, that, after pining in hopeless grief for a month, she
sank into her grave: dying of a broken heart. On the night of her
burial, my brother, frantic with rage and grief, vowed that on the
first opportunity that presented itself, he would take Mr. Kennedy's
life. I knelt beside him, and vowed that I would share in his

"'For weeks and months Mr. Kennedy, who knew the determined character
of my brother, and of the vow that he had made, kept within the
boundaries of his own estate. This, however, did not calm our
passionate feelings. On the contrary, it exasperated them, and our
purpose had become the more settled. Often and often would my brother
say to me, and I to him, 'Are you steadfast in Your vow?' And the
answer we invariably gave each other was 'Yes.' One afternoon--about
four months after the death of our cousin--one of the servants
informed my brother that Mr. Kennedy had been seen riding in the
direction of a little fishing--town. He immediately orderedhis own
horse and mine to be saddled; and arming him--self with a brace of
pistols, we both galloped in pursuit of Mr. Kennedy. We had not ridden
more than three miles when we saw him. As we galloped on the turf, and
not on the hard road, he did not hear the sound of our horses' hoofs
until we were close upon him. As soon as he recognized us, he put
spurs to his horse; but his steed was not so swift of foot as were
ours, and, just as we were entering the town, we overtook him. He then
became deadly pale, and begged for mercy. But in vain. I seized his
horse's bridle, and said, 'Now, Francis,' whereupon my brother put his
pistol to Mr. Kennedy's left breast, and drew the trigger. Mr. Kennedy
fell from his horse--a dead man! Such was the crime for which my
brother lost his life on the scaffold, and for which I was sent to
this colony for the term of my natural life. I wished to die with my
brother; but it was willed otherwise.'

"'And do you not repent?' I asked.

"'Yes,' the girl sighed. 'I try to think of my cousin's sufferings,
and of her death, and of the pain, the agony of mind which my uncle
and every member of our family endured, when Mr. Kennedy falsely
branded us with dishonour; but the deep dye of my crime weakens oven
those recollections, and my life is a life of remorse and mental
expiation.' Here she paused; and, hiding her face with her hands, she
shed tears.

"At this moment Mrs. Preston's eldest son, a boy of twelve years of
age, came into the nursery, and said, 'Papa wants some more wine,
mamma. Will you send him the keys of the cellarette?' On observing the
girl shedding tears, he approached her; and, placing his hand gently
on her shoulder, he said, in a very gentle tone of voice, which
touched both his mother and myself--What is the matter, Annie? I hope
mamma has not been scolding you?'

"'No, Master Charles,' she replied. 'Your mamma has been very kind to

"'Then why do you cry?' the boy demanded.

"Mrs. Preston and myself rejoined our husbands, leaving Master
Charles with the girl, to whom, in common with all his brothers and
sisters, he was already very much attached. Even before we left the
room, he patted her upon the head, and begged her to dry her eyes.

"Captain Preston and the major were both much moved, when we
recounted to them what we had just heard. Had it been previous to
1820, which was about the date of General Macquarie's departure from
Sydney, we should have had very little difficulty in doing for Annie
St. Felix what had been done for Kate Crawford; or, at all events, we
could have obtained for her a conditional pardon, which would have
rendered her a free woman in the colony and its dependencies. But with
the then Governor, so far from having any interest, the major and
Captain Preston were such objects of dislike that they were never
invited to the Government House. This was in consequence of the
opinions they had openly expressed of the Governor's conduct, in
having two private soldiers flogged in the barrack--square, and
drummed out of the regiment, after they had been sentenced to be
transported by the civil tribunal. The fact was that the men died of
the severe flogging they had received--the one in the jail, and the
other in the general hospital, to which institution he was removed in
his last moments. The names of these men were Sadds and Thompson.

"So far as my husband was concerned, an order was secretly passed
that no more convict--servants were to be assigned to him; but to
Captain Preston this order bad not yet been extended, inasmuch as he
had been less emphatic in his denunciations. Into the merits of this
question I have no wish to enter. No doubt too much leniency had been
shown during the two preceding administrations; but I am,
nevertheless, disposed to think that Sir Ralph Darling rushed into the
opposite extreme, and by the adoption of so severe a code led to those
dissensions between the governed and the governing which convulsed the
colony till the arrival of his successor, Sir Richard Bourke."

"But what became of Annie St. Felix?" I asked.

"She remained with the Prestons for five years. She was to them a
perfect treasure--acting, as she did, as housekeeper, nurse, and
governess. Go whenever you would into the house, you found Annie
always busily engaged, and yet always in demand. From morning till
night, from one quarter or the other, there was a call for Annie! So
patiently, and so quietly, too, did she perform her multifarious
duties, that it was really a pleasure to watch her movements. Captain
and Mrs. Preston respected her; their children loved her tenderly; the
male convicts on the estate obeyed her orders with cheerfulness, and
the female convicts (this was, perhaps, the highest testimonial in her
favour) abstained from reminding her that she was only their equal. As
for the guests who were entertained by the Prestons, they not only
admired Annie's pretty person and most decorous demeanour, but they
envied the lady of the house and her extraordinary good fortunes. I
need scarcely say that she was treated as a gentlewoman, who, when a
young girl, had assisted in the commission of the greatest of all
crimes under very peculiar if not extenuating circumstances, and whose
conduct, apart from her crime, was entirely blameless. She did not, of
course, sit at the same table with her employers [I cannot speak of
them as master and mistress], but she had a room to herself, and
seemingly comprehended her position so completely, that she was never
guilty of the slightest encroachment.

"After the birth of her eleventh child, Mrs. Preston had a very
serious and painful illness. Annie tended her with all that care and
affection of which her gentle nature was so capable; and at the same
time, kept the house quiet, the establishment in order, and Captain
Preston's wants [he was selfish and exacting, though a well--bred man,
and a perfect gentleman] ministered unto in every respect. But Mrs.
Preston sank under her grievous malady--and died, to the great sorrow
of every one who had enjoyed her acquaintance.

"For a year after his wife's death, Captain Preston never left his
home--never went beyond the precincts of his new domain. But at the
expiration of that period, he paid us a visit, and as it was near our
dinner--hour, six o'clock, we invited him to stay and partake of the
meal with us. He assented. We offered to send over a groom to his
house to make known that he might not be expected until after ten or
eleven. He replied that we need not do so, as he had intimated to
Annie that he intended to stay the night at Macquarie Dale [such was
the name of our estate]. We were rejoiced to hear this, albeit there
was something in Captain Preston's manner and discourse which
betokened that he was very unquiet and unsettled in his mind.

"During dinner, and for some time afterwards, the captain was not
only absent, silent, or incoherent when he spoke but he glared
occasionally at the major and myself after a very odd and suspicious
fashion. The dinner over, the cloth removed, and the dessert placed
upon the table, our guest said that his object in paying us a visit
that day was to impart some information, and that he hoped all (I
trusted the course he was about to pursue would not involve the
forfeiture of our friendship). 'You are aware,' proceeded Captain
Preston, 'of the situation in which I was placed, when I had the
misfortune to lose my wife, notwithstanding I could command the
services of one on whom such implicit confidence could be placed. I
allude, of course, to Annie St. Felix. To all of my children, from my
daughter, who is now verging into womanhood, down to the little one,
which can scarcely walk alone, her behaviour has been such that my
esteem and regard for her has at length resolved itself into an ardent
affection. I love Annie St. Felix, and if she will accept the offer I
am about to make her, she shall become my wife. Yes, I will marry my
bondswoman, for in strictness that is her title. Whatever may be the
opinion of the world, I will brave it.'

"'She is a worthy creature,' said the major, heartily; and with such
a partner there would be no particular valour in braving the opinion
of the world. In the presence of my own wife, I desire to tell you,
Preston, that if I were in your position, my own feelings should be my
sole counsellor.'

"'You are silent,' said the captain, addressing me, and placing his
elbow on the table, he rested his head on the palm of his hand, his
long brown hair standing out between his white and tapered fingers. He
gazed at me very intently when he uttered those three words--'You are

"'I was thinking,' I replied to him, in a solemn tone of voice, and
meeting his gaze with one of equal intensity, 'of a scene which I
should never have mentioned, or alluded to, had it not been for what
you have just stated.'

"'What scene?' he demanded, rather abruptly.

"'A scene that occurred on the night which preceded that of your
wife's death. I was with her, if you remember. Annie St. Felix, worn
out and exhausted by continual watching, had fallen asleep in the
arm--chair. Your wife motioned me to place my ear to her lips. I did
so. With an effort she raised her head from the pillow, fixed her eyes
on the sleeping girl, and whispered to me, 'If my husband should ever
think of marrying again, I hope that she will be his choice.'

"Captain Preston rose passionately from his chair, and grasped my
hand. 'You have plucked from my mind the most anxious doubt that for
several weeks past has literally haunted it. I have asked myself over
and over again--What would she have said?'

"'Have you put the question to Miss Saint Felix?' the major inquired.

"'No,' said Captain Preston; 'but I will do so to--morrow.'

"Annie at first objected to become the wife of Captain Preston,
although she was very much attached to him. She was afraid that his
union with her would prejudice his position in the colony, and
eventually make him unhappy. But at last her scruples were overcome,
and on one lovely winter's morning in the month of June, Captain
Preston led Annie to the altar, where their hands were joined. The
major and myself, as well as those neighbours with whom we associated,
were present; and, albeit the church in point of structure bore a very
strong resemblance to an English barn, and there were no merry peals
of bells, still there were joyous faces to greet the newly--wedded
pair when the ceremony concluded. They lived very happily together,
and Annie became the mother of a little boy.

"About eighteen months after this event Captain Preston unexpectedly
inherited a large property in England. The amount of income may have
been exaggerated; but rumour put it down at fifteen thousand pounds a
year. The captain's presence was required in England, but he would not
leave the colony until he could be accompanied by his wife. Remember
that she was still a convict under sentence of transportation for the
term of her natural life, though the most debased and brutal person in
existence would never have dreamt of reminding her of that frightful

"It must have been a bitterly painful interview that which Captain
Preston had with the Governor of the colony; but it resulted in the
removal of the obstacle which lay in the way of Annie's returning to
Europe, and they left New South Wales, to the very great regret of my
husband and myself, and of many others.

"The last time I saw Annie before she left the colony was in the
streets of Sydney. She was leaning on the arm of her step--son,
Charles Preston, who was then a tall youth of twenty years of age, and
an ensign in a regiment of foot. He regarded his mother (as he always
spoke of her) with a look so replete with filial affection--spoke to
her so kindly and so gently--seemed so proud of her (for she was still
a very pretty woman), that my liking for him was far in excess of what
it had been when he was only a boy."


A FRIEND of mine had a sheep "run" at a place called Booreea,
distant from Sydney about 190 miles in the Bathurst direction; and on
one occasion, when he was about to visit the "run," in order to
witness the washing and shearing, I agreed to accompany him. On the
day appointed we set out on horseback, and travelled as lightly as
possible. In my cloak I had two shirts, two pairs of socks, a comb,
and tooth-brush, two silk pocket--handkerchiefs, and a cake of Windsor
soap. My friend's luggage was uniform with my own; and, like mine, was
strapped across the pommel of his saddle. Our attire was colonial to
the last degree: dark corduroy trousers, fitting loosely, except at
the knees; shooting-coat and waistcoat, of coarse dark-blue cloth; and
Leghorn hats, with very wide brims. In those days it signified very
little how we attired ourselves, every-body knew us, and all about us,
and our affairs. The colony even then--in 1835--was, to all intents
and purposes, a monopoly, and in the hands of a comparatively few
people; the assignment system was still in vogue; my friend "owned"
about eighty-five convicts, and I, too, had a limited number. We
little dreamt in those days, that ere long so many millions of tons of
"free flesh" would be landed alive on those shores.

Onward we rode to Paramatta, fifteen miles distant, from Sydney,
where we refreshed our horses and ourselves; and then pushed on to
Penrith, where we stayed for the night, under the hospitable roof of
Sir John Jamieson. We had only ridden forty miles, but as we intended
to ride sixty on the following day, we deemed it prudent to give the
horses a long rest. Sir John Jamieson was a member of the council, and
with other members of the council (all large land and stock holders)
opposed the petition of those colonists (not large land and stock
holders) to the throne to have transportation to Sydney abolished. The
reader must know that the abolition of transportation to New South
Wales affected all the large holders of convict servants, just us the
abolition of slavery in the West Indies affected the great sugar-
planters. It well-nigh ruined the whole of them. Many, indeed, were
completely ruined, men holding thousands of head of cattle and tens of
thousands of sheep. To carry on such concerns with "free labour" was
out of the question. The emigrants, when they began to pour in,
demanded and held out for high wages. The man who said he was a
shepherd, or a stockman, required from twenty to twenty-five shillings
a week, a full ration, two suits of slop clothing a year, and a
blanket. Knowing nothing of the pursuit for which he hired himself,
but labouring under the false impression that anybody could be a
stockman or a shepherd, he was in most cases worse than useless.
Having no dread of the lash; no dread of having his tea, sugar, rum,
tobacco, and soap stopped; and being put on government allowance,
namely, nine pounds of coarse flour, and seven pounds of salt--
verysalt--beef, or five of pork--very salt pork--he was in most cases
careless, idle, and if spoken to on the subject, insolent and
aggravating. Many of my friends cut the throats of their sheep, flocks
of eight and ten thousand, for the sake of their fat; and slaughtered
whole herds of cattle--fat oxen, milch cows, and young calves, for the
sake of their hides! In many cases, where the stations were very far
distant, even the hides and the tallow were not taken from the
animals. The expense of conveying such commodities to Sydney would
have exceeded the amount they would have realized in the market, and
the sheep and the cattle were left to rot on the abandoned station. I
have often since put to myself the question--"Why not have suffered
them to live, and go wherever they listed?" There was no lack of
pasture for their maintenance. It is true that the sheep would have
been scattered and gradually devoured by the aboriginal dogs; but not
so with the cattle, the breed of which, however, would have
deteriorated, and by this time would have been as small as the oxen on
the Malabar coast.

Some large holders--only a few--did suffer their stock to go free;
but the majority immolated them, as sacrifices on the shrine of
departed prosperity. A ruined man in his wrath and despair is rarely
in a condition to reason. None, save the lords of Leadenhall Street on
the 1st of September, 1858, can comprehend the feelings of the lords
of Botany Bay when that fatal fiat went forth--"No more convicts!"
Yes. None save those who were awakened to the reflection--"No more
East India Company," can entertain even a glimmer of the rancour which
swelled each stockholder's breast against the man who moved "that
horrible resolution" in the House of Commons. Not even the advocacy of
the late Charles Buller, M.P., to whom we paid by subscription 500 a
year for his advocacy of our "interests" in the House, could prevail;
and we lost that cause which he took in hand for us, although he
afterwards gained another cause for us, namely, an "Elective
Representative Assembly." You may frown, Mr. Roebuck. You may smile,
Mr. Isaac Butt; but what I have stated is the truth; I know it, not
from hearsay, but of my own personal knowledge; for the hand that
traces these lines scaled and addressed two of the letters to "Charles
Buller, Esq., M.P.," enclosing the money, in all 1,000. But I am

On the following morning we resumed our journey, and crossed the Blue
Mountains. By the way, the friend with whom I was travelling had been
one of the three gentlemen who first explored that region, crossed
those mountains, and discovered the glorious plains of Bathurst that
lie beyond them. The scenery in these mountains is neither grand nor
imposing. Here and there you meet with a pretty view; but upon the
whole the panorama is dull, flat, monotonous, and uninteresting--at
all events, in comparison with mountain scenery in every other part of
the known world that I have visited.

At noon it began to rain very heavily, and we were drenched to the
skin. We did not mind that, for the morning had been close and hot,
and this bath from the clouds was extremely refreshing. Moreover, the
earth panted for moisture, as did the trees, and the shrubs, and the
plants. Nor did the rain impede our progress. We were mounted on good
cattle, which dashed over the ground without requiring either whip or
spur; all we had to do was to hold them, and keep them on the track.
We did not, however, reach Bathurst that night. An adventure on the
road detained us for more than an hour. We met a woman without bonnet
or shoes, travelling towards Sydney. She was a good-looking woman, of
about six-and-twenty years of age, and of a slim figure. She was
Irish. At first we thought she was insane, and parleyed with her in
that wild spot where we espied her. She told us a rather plausible
story, in order to account for her whereabouts and pitiable condition;
but in cross-examination she broke down, and confessed that she was an
assigned servant, and had run away from her master, "because the
mistress had ill-treated her." She had been seven days in the bush,
she said, and had endured every species of hardship. We knew the
family from which she had run away, and we promised her that if she
would return with us to Bathurst we would guarantee that her offence
would be forgiven. She hesitated; whereupon we reminded her that she
would be captured, to a certainty, ere long, and placed in the factory
at Paramatta, where they would cut off all her beautiful black hair.
She still hesitated, whereupon I gave her a draught of brandy out of a
flask which I carried in my pocket. This appeal was all-powerful. She
blessed us very fervently, and expressed her readiness to act upon our
advice. I then placed her on my saddle, and loosening the "off"
stirrup-leather threw it over the pommel, and contrived to give her a
safe seat. I then got behind her, and, while she held on by the
horse's mane, I fed her with some ham sandwiches, which she devoured

Night was coming on, and we agreed to stay at a roadside inn, about
twelve miles from Bathurst, and remain till daybreak. The inn was a
slab hut, roofed with sheets of bark, and containing three apartments.
One was occupied by the landlord, his wife, and seven children;
another was "the public room," and the third apartment was the bedroom
for travellers. The only refreshment that the inn could afford
consisted of salt beef and "damper" (unleavened bread baked in ashes).
The only liquor to be had there was rum, which was watered, and
otherwise adulterated by Chili pods, to make it (as Falstaff says of
ginger), "hot i' the mouth." There were no windows in the inn. They
were not required, since the interstices between the slabs suffered
the wind, the rain, and the light of day to penetrate simultaneously.
The signboard, which was nailed to a tree near the abode, was rather
an ambitious one--"The Royal Arms." The furniture was of the most
primitive description imaginable; a table made out of some old beer-
casks, benches of the iron-bark tree, and for stools, small blocks of
limestone did duty. The bedsteads consisted of two benches placed
crossways, one at the head, the other at the feet; on these were
placed slabs of wood, then a layer of straw, and over that a blanket
not particularly clean. Sheets and counterpanes were dispensed with.
The house was lighted by the large wood fire in the broad fireplace.
We asked for candles, but there was "only half a one in the house,"
the remnant of a tallow-dip, and that was stuck into the neck of an
empty ginger-beer bottle. The bedroom we resigned to the unfortunate
woman, and my friend and myself spread our cloaks on some fresh straw,
threw ourselves down thereon, and slept as soundly as though we had
been reposing upon beds of down, and velvet pillows.

At daylight the children of the landlord awakened us by the noise
they made while dressing. We arose, shook ourselves, washed in a
bucket of water, combed our hair, and thus completed our toilet. I
ought not to omit to mention, perhaps, that the landlord's wife rubbed
our boots over, whilst they were on our feet, with a greasy cloth.

The unfortunate woman, whom we were taking back to her master and
mistress, having breakfasted on the salt beef and damper, and some
very weak brandy-and-water (the brandy from my flask)--for there was
no tea, coffee, or milk to be had--we resumed our journey, and arrived
at the inn at Bathurst at a quarter to nine o'clock. Here we had the
good fortune to meet with the master of the fugitive, who promised us
that he would respect the guarantee we had given to her: and he kept
his word; for on our return we paid him a visit, and saw our late
charge waiting at table.

Insomuch as neither my friend nor myself were at all fatigued, and as
our horses were very fresh, we resolved on proceeding as soon as we
had breakfasted. The inn at Bathurst was admirably found in all that
travellers require, and the accommodation for man and horse
comparatively excellent. The charges were high, but, under the
circumstances, anything but exorbitant: a fowl, 5s.; eggs, 6d. each; a
bottle of ale, 5s.; a glass of sherry, half-a-crown; a cup of tea, 1s.
6d. At the period of which I am speaking no one would have thought of
killing sheep. Just then the wool mania was at its height, and an ewe
was worth from 2 to 2 10s. Some persons who foresaw that it would
not last long sold off, and realized enormous fortunes. Only those
were ruined who held on till the crash came and convulsed the colony.
Had my friend sold his sheep in 1837--and he had some half-dozen
runs--he would have netted some 300,000. In 1841-42 he was barely
solvent! Such was the fluctuation in the value of colonial property.

It was much the same with land. In 1838 land near Sydney, or within
seven miles, was worth 100 an acre. In 1842, it was not worth 10 an
acre; in fact, it was unsaleable at any price.

But let us hasten to Booreea. After travelling all day through a
variegated and picturesque country--for instance, at times the road
passed through forests of gigantic trees; at times, the road passed
through, or wound round, huge rocks of gray limestone; at times we
might have fancied we were riding through downs which had been
cultivated, albeit we knew they were as they had been left by the hand
of the Creator--we arrived at a roadside inn, precisely such a one as
I have already described, and found in stores equally well, or rather
equally badly. This was the only halting place on the road between
Bathurst and Booreea and other sheep stations, the roads to which
branched off from this point. The consequence was, that this little
inn, the "General Macquarie," was, if not much frequented, seldom
without a traveller.

As we had done on the previous night, my friend and myself made our
beds on the floor of the hut with some straw, and turned in all
standing. Previously to doing so, however, we ate, with a keen
appetite and relish, a hearty supper of damper and pork. Never shall I
forget the terrible night I passed, pursued as I was by every species
of monster that the imagination of man conjures up in his brain during
that troubled sleep, commonly called "nightmare".

At six o'clock on the following morning we started, and at four P.M.
arrived at our destination; having accomplished the fifty miles in ten
hours, without in the least fatiguing our horses.

The hut of the superintendent at Booreea--a nighly respectable young
man of colonial extraction--was a tolerably comfortable abode. It was
built of wooden slabs, but was "mudded" on the outside, and lime-
whited, so that its appearance was rather cheerful as we approached
it. In this hut there were apertures, the shape of windows, to let in
the light, and shutters to keep put the cold, and wind, and rain,
during the night. The furniture, too, though far from elegant, wore a
comparatively civilized air. There were six strong chairs in the
sitting-room, and a substantial cedar table, and there was a
mantelpiece over the huge fireplace, on which were ranged crockery,
plates, and tea-cups and saucers, instead of those tin utensils of the
kind we had found at the roadside inns. On the floor was a thick layer
of limestone, so pounded down as to make it resemble white slabs of
marble. The ceiling--for the hut had a roof--was also lime-whited, and
from it were suspended several sides of bacon, pigs' faces, and huge
pieces of smoked beef. There were also poultry of every kind in the
yard--and a flock of pigeons and several cows and calves in an
adjacent paddock. In short, as far as eatables were concerned, we were
now "in clover;" and what was of equal importance, the straw
mattrasses and blankets upon which we had to sleep were as clean as
possible. The superintendent did not expect a visit from his master,
and when he came home, and found us in possession of his abode, he was
not a little surprised. His kangaroo dogs, eight in number, had
accompanied him in his rounds that day, and had killed a forester (a
large species of kangaroo), the tail of which he brought home with him
for soup. The tail of a kangaroo is a mass of sinews, and the reader
who has not tasted of the soup can have no idea how delicious it is,
especially when flavoured with Harvey's sauce, or mushroom catsup,
both of which were "in store;" for the superintendent (my friend and
myself were happy to reflect) was one of those men who liked good
living, even in the distant interior. The hut-keeper, moreover (a
convict who had been originally a waiter at a London tavern), was an
excellent cook, and, on the first evening of our arrival (as well as
on subsequent evenings), gave us a most unexceptionable dinner, and
served it up in a truly artistic style. There was the kangaroo-tail
soup, a boiled leg of fresh pork, with peas--pudding, two pairs of
very young and tender pigeons, maccaroni, and cheese, and a pumpkin
tart. The only liquor which the superintendent could afford to keep
for his stray guests was some excellent Jamaica rum; and this, well
diluted with water, we found extremely palatable.

Let me describe Mr. Warner, the superintendent of the sheep station.
I do so chiefly to show what effect change of climate and of
occupation has upon the human race, so far as offspring is concerned.
Mr. Warner stood about six feet two, and weighed about twelve stone.
He was strong active, lithe, and graceful in his movements. Neither
the Life Guards nor the Blues could exhibit a handsomer or better-
built or more erect specimen of a man. He was one of thirteen
children. He had seven brothers, all of whom were as tall as, if not
taller than, himself; and five sisters, whose average height was five
feet eleven and a half. Mr. Warner's father was one of the most
miserable--looking little men I ever beheld, and his mother
proportionately diminutive. The former had been a clerk--in a
mercantile house in the city of London, and at twenty-two years of age
had become "unfortunate," that is to say, he was convicted of
embezzlement, and transported for seven years. His young wife followed
him to the colony, succeeded in getting him "assigned" to her, and
they became farmers in the interior. Thrifty to the last degree, they
were very prosperous, and reared their large family in the most
respectable and praiseworthy manner. The old man was reputed to be
worth 40,000; but as soon as his sons were old enough he invariably
sent them abroad in the colony to earn their own living, and make
their own way in the world.

I had seen so much of sheep-washing and sheep-shearing in my life,
that I had little or no interest in the operations; and after my third
day at Booreea, I determined on having a day or two with the blacks in
the bush, in order that I might have an opportunity of observing their
habits, customs, and mode of living in their thoroughly wild state.
There happened to be a tribe encamped some four miles off, and I sent
a shepherd to summon several of the leading men to attend upon me.
They came. I made known to them my desire, and they seemed perfectly
willing to gratify it. That afternoon, I caused to be stowed in a bag
a damper, weighing ten pounds; and a piece of salt beef, weighing five
pounds; and a piece of salt pork, weighing four pounds; some tea and
brown sugar, two tin pannikins, a knife and fork, and iron spoon, a
wooden platter, and a bottle of rum. Thus provisioned, I had my
blanket wrapped up; and, armed with a double--barrelled fowling-piece,
and a plentiful supply of powder and shot, I walked forth, at the head
of the tribe, which consisted of about twenty men, nine women, and
sixteen children, of various ages, from thirteen years to three weeks

The men were, for the most part, well-built and muscular; and so were
the women. The only clothing that they wore was that which Nature
dictates, even to the savage, ought not to be dispensed with. It was
formed of a number of strips of opossum skin, about a foot and four
inches long, and was fastened to a girdle tied round the loins. The
girdle is a cord, which the black women ("gins," as they are called)
make with their fingers out of the inner and stringy barks of the
trees. They also make nets, for carrying their light burdens in, out
of this bark. The black man seldom or never carries any burden, save
his spear and boomerang,--or a shield and a waddy (a club of about
fifteen inches long, and made of very heavy and very hard wood). The
whole of the tribe with which I was roving in the wilds were thus
armed, and one or two of them had small tomahawks of European, or
rather colonial, manufacture. The tomahawk, which a black fellow
prizes, is an instrument about five inches long, two inches wide, and
three--quarters of an inch thick. With the aid of this weapon he will
rapidly ascend a tree twelve yards in circumference, and whose first
branches are fifty feet from the ground. He can perform this feat with
the aid of a sharp--pointed stone, fastened to the end of a short
stick; but it takes him a longer time than with a tomahawk.

At sundown we were some five miles distant from the station, and in
the heart of as beautiful a forest as ever was seen. Here we halted,
and the camp was formed. The first thing that a black man does is to
light a fire. He finds two pieces of dry wood, and rubs them together
so rapidly that, in less than ten minutes, ignition takes place. Some
dry leaves, dry grass, and a few rotten sticks feed the flame, and ere
long there are fires in all directions. The next thing is to form a
shelter. With the tomahawk they strip, from the gigantic trees, sheets
of bark eight feet long by six feet wide, and with three of these
sheets of bark a hut is formed. Food is the next consideration. Where
we then were, the opossum and the flying squirrel were the only
animals within reach. To procure these, two savages ascended a lofty
tree--an old tree--with hollow branches, broken at the outer ends. In
these branches the animals abide. The one savage stations himself at
the end of the hollow branch, tomahawk in hand, but so concealed that
the opossum cannot see him. The other savage, with his tomahawk,
strikes the other end of the branch, and goes on tapping and hammering
till the affrighted animals attempt to escape, when they are killed
and fall to the earth. A sufficient number procured, they are
equitably apportioned, and each mess (generally three men and their
wives and children) proceed to cook their food. The animals are thrown
upon the fire, hair and all. Skinning is considered not only
unnecessary, but a waste. When the opossum or other animal bursts, or
"pops," with the heat of the fire, he is "done," and pulled off. The
men then sit down and eat him, throwing over their shoulders, every
now and then, a morsel for their wives and children. From this, the
reader will glean that the savage of New Holland is not a particularly
gallant person.

Before composing themselves to sleep, the black fellows like their
song, in which they all join in the chorus--men, women, and children.
In fact, they sing themselves to sleep. To the civilized ear, there is
not so much of melody as of vigour and sameness in their compositions,
which relate chiefly to war and women.

The male savage--the adult--when asleep, is a perfect study. Albeit
he has a bark hut to shelter him, he prefers lying near the fire on
the bare earth. He lies on the broad of his back, his arms extended
above his head, and his legs stretched out to their extremest length.
His slumber, if I may be permitted to use the phrase, is truly
rhapsodical. He does not snore, and his breathing is as light as that
of an infant. The women, on the contrary, sleep in a sitting position,
their arms enfolding their ankles, and their heads resting on their
knees. The children lie with their stomachs on the earth. I have seen
the adult males sleeping profoundly in the manner above described,
with a burning sun shining on their faces, and countless mosquitoes
and ants settled on their carcases, and deriving aliment from their
skins, without disturbing them. I have also seen them thus sleep on
during a terrific thunderstorm and a very heavy downfall of rain.

Some of the tribes in Australia will not search for food till driven
to do so by the direst hunger, and when gorged will sleep for several
days and nights consecutively; but many tribes--and the tribe I was
roaming with was one of them--eat and sleep at something approaching
regular intervals.

It was past ten o'clock. All the camp was now wrapped in repose, and,
enveloping myself in my blanket, I threw myself on a sheet of bark,
and with my jacket spread over a small log of wood for a pillow, I
dropped off, and slept as soundly as possible.

And thus ended the first day of my sojourn with the blacks.

          *   *   *   *   *

The savage of New Holland is not addicted to early rising. Like the
author of the essays, "Elia," he does not appreciate the maxim that we
should go to sleep with the lamb, and rise with the lark. The sun is
well up in the heavens before he opens his eyes, sits on his haunches,
runs his fingers through his long hair, and stares around him with a
vacant expression of countenance.

It was nine o'clock on the morning of my second day before my black
companions were all awakened from their slumbers, and then they began
to chatter--men, women, and children--like so many magpies. I did not
understand what they said, but their language was wonderfully musical;
it was so full of vowels. Their voices also were of a sweet tone. In
his savage state, the native of New Holland never keeps any provender
in store, and is indifferent about breakfast. Indeed, he rarely eats
until long past twelve o'clock, and prefers the evening as the time to
take his one meal per diem.

I was bent upon travelling due south, and shaped my course by
consulting occasionally a small compass which I carried in my
waistcoat pocket. It was a quarter past ten before we were fairly on
the march, and we travelled at the rate of about three miles an hour,
the women carrying the young children on their backs. We had not
journeyed far when one of the blacks pointed to a spot upon the
ground, and gave me to understand that it was the fresh imprint of a
kangaroo's foot. I signified a desire to go in pursuit of the animal.
A signal for silence was then made, and we proceeded cautiously, some
of the blacks tracking the kangaroo, others keeping a look-out ahead.
Presently one of the party espied the animal quietly feeding near a
patch of brushwood. I had often heard of the blacks spearing a
kangaroo, but I had never witnessed it. Their mode of proceeding was
this:--They surrounded and hemmed in the prey, each man with his spear
poised. The kangaroo--the most timid of creatures--as soon as he
caught sight of one of his pursuers bounded off in the opposite
direction, and came down towards where I was standing with a small
party of the tribe. When he came within sixty yards of us, and was on
the bound, three spears were thrown at him. One missed him; the other
two went through his body and killed him on the spot. One of the women
wanted the skin, and it was stripped off and given to her. The only
fat upon the kangaroo--and that seldom weighs more than two ounces--is
found upon the root of the tail. With this the blacks greased their
foreheads and hair. I signified to them by gestures that they should
take some of the flesh; but they answered, by gestures, that there was
no occasion for so doing, as there were more to be had. And in this
they were correct, for we came across no less than eleven within the
next two hours; but as I was anxious to push on, and get into regions
where the foot of civilized man had never trod, we did not go in
pursuit of them.

We now came upon the most beautiful scenery imaginable. It was not
grand, but picturesque. Here and there were purling streams of very
clear water meandering over pebbles, and through little rocks of
limestone. The trees which skirted the valley were not lofty, but
beautifully shaped, and their foliage of the richest, darkest green.
In their branches were parrots of every size and plumage. It is no
exaggeration to say I might have shot thousands of them; but I was
reserving my ammunition for other game--the bronze-winged pigeon, the
wild duck and the swan. But beautiful as was the scene, its sameness--
like that of the lower range of the Himalaya mountains--began to pall
upon me. Every hill, every bend in the stream, every valley, every
clump of trees--the one was so like the other; and I was not sorry
when we came upon a scene of a very different character.

We were now steering due south over gray limestone rocks. In some of
these rocks were caverns of incalculable extent. I had brought with me
several pieces of candle, in order that if I could not sleep at night
I might read the only book I carried--namely, a duodecimo volume,
containing all the stories in the Arabian Nights. There was not a
particle of vegetation in the region we were then exploring, not a dry
stick to be had, and I was obliged to have recourse to my gun for the
purpose of procuring a light. This I effected by drawing the charge of
shot from one of the barrels, ramming down over the powder a piece of
rag and then discharging the piece. The candle lighted, I entered one
of these caverns with several of the blacks, and looked around me.
From the smoothness of the walls, the level of the floors, and the
arched roofs, one might almost fancy they had been excavated by the
hand of man. We penetrated the cavern with extreme caution, for in
some, if not all of them, there are openings in the floor which lead
to caverns beneath. An enterprising traveller once, with the aid of
lanterns and a rope ladder, went down to a third tier, and declared
that there were other tiers beneath. In a word, these caverns may be
mentioned as amongst the wonders of the world. They resemble in some
respects the catacombs of Malta, only they are on a grander scale, and
are the work of nature, not of art. I did not penetrate more than
thirty or forty yards. I confess I was too nervous to lose sight of
the aperture or opening, through which in the distance glimmered the
light of day; for had a vampyre or a bat, the sole occupants of these
miraculous abodes, extinguished the flame, as they did in the case of
the traveller who was compelled to use lanterns, most probably the
ingenuity of the savage could not have rescued me from that awful
darkness which prevailed beyond the spot on which I then stood. Never
shall I forget the scene in that cavern: the five naked savages, each
armed with his spear and boomerang, myself in thoroughly bush-attire,
holding in my hand that piece of bullock-fat candle; the stillness,
the darkness which the light had but feebly dispelled! Oh! how
gratifying to my sight was the glorious glaring light of day, and the
sun's scorching rays, when I left the damp cold air of that mysterious

Onward we went. It was now three o'clock, and I was becoming rather
fatigued and anxious--anxious lest we should not cross the limestone
ridge before nightfall. The monotony of these rocks, which were all
alike in shape and colour, palled upon my sight even more than the
monotony which, in the first instance, they had relieved. At five
o'clock, however, we came upon a plain, or extensive valley skirted by
gigantic gum-trees in full flower--a whitish, sweet-smelling flower,
filled with honey, upon which the parrots and other birds feed. At the
further end of the plain was a large sheet of water, or lagoon, upon
which there were myriads of wild ducks and black swans. Gun in hand,
and followed by the blacks, who had their boomerangs ready to throw on
the flight of the birds, I approached the edge of the water; but
before I could get within 150 yards of them they were all on the wing,
and after flying for at least a quarter of an hour, very high in the
air, they at last settled down in the centre of the lagoon, and far
beyond the reach of my fowling-piece.

I pointed to the ducks, and then in dumb show went through the
operation of eating. They comprehended my meaning immediately, and
without being indebted to Colonel Hawker, or any other great
sportsman, for the idea, they at once devised the means of putting me
within gunshot of the game. They stripped from one of the gigantic
trees two sheets of bark, each twenty feet long by ten wide. These
they constructed into canoes, and lashed them together with strips of
the kangaroo skin. In the bows of the canoes, and in fact all round
them, they placed small branches of trees and leafy boughs, so that I
might be concealed, and the moving mass, taken for a tree, inspire the
birds with no alarm. The wind happen ed to blow lightly from the spot
where we stood, and as soon as the rude bark was launched it began to
glide across the lagoon at the rate of about two miles an hour. In
about ten minutes I was within fifty yards of the ducks, which covered
a space of at least one acre. They rose. Such a mass! I discharged
first one barrel and then the other. Nine birds fell, four killed and
five wounded, all of which we picked up. That was the first time these
ducks had ever heard the report of a gun, or had been disturbed. As we
could not pull back, we suffered the flotilla to cross the lagoon, and
landed on the opposite side. Forasmuch as numbers of ducks uprose at
our approach, I conjectured that there were nests in the vicinity; and
I was right in my conjecture, for I might have brought away a cart-
load of eggs instead of a couple of dozens. We then left the flotilla,
and walked round to the point whence we had started. By the time we
arrived, the camp was formed, and the fires lighted. One of the ducks
I skinned and grilled on some very live coals for my own dinner, and
excellent eating it was. The remainder I gave to the blacks, who
cooked them and ate them in the same way as they had cooked and eaten
the opossums. They throw them on the fire, feathers and all, and when
they "popped" they took them off and devoured every morsel of them.

Weary with the day's journey, I retired to rest at an early hour--
half--past nine--and slept till daylight, when I arose and determined
on walking round the lake in search of a swan. I did my best to waken
one of the men, but to no purpose; he was much too fast asleep. I
poked him in the chest with a stick; I kicked him in the ribs, and
shouted out his name--"Kooldaree;" I placed a piece of burning rag
close to his nostrils; I pulled his hair with my fore-finger and
thumb; I made a noose with a piece of string, placed it round his
great toe, and tugged at it. All was useless. Had he been under the
influence of chloroform, or in a mesmeric trance, he could not have
slept on more profoundly. I was therefore compelled to go alone in my
ramble. There was no chance of my being lost, for even had I lost
sight of the smoke issuing from the camp, the blacks, on missing me,
would soon have "tracked" me up and found me. (With their wonderful
power of tracking, the reader is of course acquainted.) I saw several
swans, but they were so fearfully shy that I could not get within gun-
shot of them. The ducks which I had seen on the previous evening were
again settled in the centre of the lagoon; but without assistance I
was unable to launch the "bark;" and had I done so, I question whether
a second expedition in that quarter would have been attended with
success. I fell in with a brace of emus, and might have shot them
easily; but it was not worth my while to do so, and I returned empty

Having breakfasted on hard-boiled ducks' eggs, a crust of damper, and
some weak rum-and-water, and the camp being in readiness to start, off
we went--"due south." After travelling for about three hours, we came
upon the most dense forest I ever beheld, and so thick was the
brushwood in some parts that it was almost impenetrable. The forest
swarmed with quail and wild pigeon, chiefly of the bronze-wing
species. The former got up in such numbers, close to our feet, that
the blacks for awhile amused themselves by throwing their waddies in
every covey and killing numbers of them. In this forest also there
were the largest ant-hills, or ant-houses, that I have ever beheld.
Some of them were seven or eight feet high, and built of mud, which
had become as hard as stone. The ants were at least an inch long, and
resembled in shape the large black ant of the upper provinces of the
East Indies. Out of curiosity I caused one of these edifices, which
had been deserted, to be broken into, and was amazed at the ingenuity
and skill displayed in its construction. The blacks gave me to
understand that it would have been very dangerous to have molested an
inhabited hill, as the occupants would attack us in swarms, pursue us
for miles, and, if they caught us, destroy us. Here and there in the
forest were to be seen small patches of sunlight, but, as a whole, it
may be faithfully described as being in perpetual shade. Nearly all
the wild trees in Australia are evergreens. Once more I was oppressed
with the monotony of the scene, and panted for a change. It was not,
however, until past four o'clock that we came into a different line of
country, and found ourselves at the foot of a long and low belt of
rocky mountains, some two thousand feet above the level of the forest.
These mountains were wooded, but not thickly, and the trees were not
very tall. At an altitude of about eight hundred feet, I resolved on
halting for the night upon a piece of table-land comprising some four
or five acres. The scenery was "very pretty," but that is all that
could be said of it. For me its charm, in those days, was the
reflection--This spot the eye of civilized man has never seen. His
steps were never on thy sward. Yet, apart from the scenery, there was
much food for contemplation around me. How came those pieces of
crystal, sparkling like huge diamonds in the sun's rays, to be
scattered about in all directions? What is the meaning of these shells
on these rocks several hundred miles from the coast? Has the sea ever
been here? And was that dense forest once a bed of the ocean? Were
there once shoals of fish where the quail now build their nests? While
busied in these [not very original] reflections, the blacks were
providing the means of shelter for me and for themselves. There were
no sheets of bark in that region; but they cut down some saplings,
with prongs at the ends, and with these and some boughs they
constructed a tenement, resembling a summer-house or arbour, capable
of keeping out the wind and the dew; and upon the rocks they lighted
the fires. Meanwhile, the women and some of the elder children went in
search of water, and returned with it. That for me they brought in the
tin pannikin; that for themselves in bags made out of the skins of
kangaroos. We were in no difficulty in respect to food: with pigeons
and large parrots the place abounded, and in twenty minutes I shot
more than would have sufficed for a much larger number of people. The
blacks, too, did considerable execution amongst them with their
boomerangs and waddies. Upon the rock on which my fire was lighted,
having brushed away the coals, I roasted my tender pigeon, and never
devoured a more delicious morsel in my life.

Just before the camp retired to rest that night, there arose a
quarrel between two of the men. The horrible cause of the strife was
jealousy touching one of the women. The savage of New Holland is--

"One not easily jealous.
But being wroth, perplex'd i' the extreme."

At first their warfare was merely of a wordy nature; but at length
one of the disputants--the aggrieved party--sprang up, handed his
waddy to the supposed evil-doer, and then bent his head forward,
placing his hands over his knees--putting himself, in short, in the
attitude of a man giving a "back" at the game of leap-frog. The other
party seized the waddy, and dealt the aggrieved party such a blow on
the top of the head, that had his skull not been twice as thick as
that of a European, his brains would have been battered in. As it was,
he only reeled a little--he was stunned for a minute or so. By-the-
way, the blood flowed freely down his face, and rendered him a ghastly
spectacle. As soon as the other party delivered his blow he threw the
waddy on the ground, and presented his cranium to his antagonist, in
the posture already described. "Whack!" descended the waddy, with
awful force, producing the effect which a reporter of a prize--fight
would describe in the columns of "Bell's Life" as "groggy," while the
blood flowed in several small streams, and saturated his bushy hair.
He was not long, however, before he came to time, seized the waddy,
and gave his second blow another stunner; but not sufficient to finish
the fight, which continued until each party had received no less than
seven blows, and the supposed evil-doer had fallen to the earth, and
was unable to pick up the waddy. He lay on the flat of his back, his
arms and legs extended as in his sleep. I thought he was dead, but I
was mistaken. In less than two hours he revived, sat up, drank some
water, and ate his supper. And what struck me as the strangest part of
the whole proceeding, the late foes seemed perfectly reconciled to
each other, and, if possible, better friends than ever.

I had seen the miserable blacks, in the vicinity of Sydney and
Paramatta, when maddened by ardent spirits--administered to them by
European blackguards--kick, bite, scratch, and tear each other's hair,
screaming like demons all the while; but this was the first really
aboriginal duel that I had witnessed. I cannot say that the sight
afforded me any satisfaction; on the contrary. But I could not help
admiring the extreme fairness which characterized the encounter; while
the chivalrous cessation of every hostile feeling when the battle was
over inspired me with some respect for this phase of savage nature.

That night there was a birth in the camp. I had no idea that such an
event was so near at hand, and knew nothing about it until next
morning, when I saw the child--a little boy--at his mother's breast.
Fearing that she would be too fatigued to travel, I suggested a halt,
but the blacks only laughed and shook their heads; and at ten o'clock
we were again on the move--the woman carrying her new-born and
perfectly naked babe in a net, which was fastened round her neck, and
hung half--way down her back. There it lay--coiled up like a little
squirrel. From inquiries which I made subsequently, I learnt that the
aboriginal women very rarely die in childbirth, and that the ravages
of death amongst the children are nothing like so great as amongst the
children of civilized people. They have none of those contagious
diseases to which our children are subject. No whooping-cough, no
measles, no "thrush," no scarlet fever, no cow, chicken, or small-
pox--no over-anxious mothers, no attentive medical men (not that I
intend to speak disparagingly of the profession); and from my own
personal knowledge I am enabled to state that they cut their teeth
without having their gums lanced, and without any medicine to assist
Nature in that painful, but simple, operation.


MY recollections of Australia relate to some years back, long before
the colony had a legislative assembly or a free press; long before
emigration had carried to its shores shoals of men and women
"unconnected with the crown;" long before gold was discovered in the
district of Bathurst, or Sir Thomas Mitchell had explored that vast
tract of country called by him "Australia Felix." I write, indeed, of
those times still spoken of by some as "those good old times," when
the assignment system prevailed, and Government were glad to get rid
of their convicts to masters who would feed, clothe, and work them;
when "summary punishments" were the order of the day, and every
gentleman was his own magistrate; when the quartern loaf sold for
half-a-crown, and beef and mutton for three-halfpence a pound; when
the value of a hogshead of rum was 200, and an acre of land five
shillings; when money could not be borrowed, even upon good security,
for less than thirty per cent. per annum.

In those good old times, I had, in partnership with a gentleman who
managed it, a cattle station about 120 miles from Sydney, at a place
called Bong-Bong. My partner had formerly held an ensign's commission
in the 73rd regiment of his late Majesty George III.; but shortly
after his arrival in the colony he had fallen in love with a very
handsome girl of humble birth, whom he married, and then retired from
the army, took a grant of land, and "settled" permanently in New South

My friend and partner, Mr. Romer, was blessed with a numerous
offspring--seven sons and four daughters. The eldest was a boy of
fourteen, and the youngest a baby "in arms." They were all remarkably
fine children, strong, healthy, and intelligent; but they were
uncultivated, of course--like the wilds in the midst of which they had
been born and bred. The only white people whom they had ever seen were
their parents, the convict servants (some twenty in number), and
sundry stray visitors and stockmen who happened occasionally to pass
the station and require shelter for the night. Nor had their children
ever seen any buildings beyond the mud and slab house in which they
lived, and the bark huts occupied by the servants. Nor had they seen
pictures or prints save those to be found in the old-fashioned
spelling-books, by the aid of which Mrs. Romer, in her few leisure
moments, had taught the elder children to read. The only music they
had ever heard was that which a very rude fife discoursed, when played
upon by a hut-keeper; and the only airs that he could compass were
"God Save the King," "Rule Britannia," and "Poor Mary Anne." Neither
Romer nor his wife had much "ear" for melody, and never did more than
hum the words of some old song.

It was my wont to visit the cattle station once a year, and upon
every occasion I used to take with me a variety of presents for my
young friends in the bush. Toys, such as tin-barrelled guns, brass
watches, Dutch dolls, various wooden animals in deal boxes, &c.: of
these they had grown tired, and it, now became with me a matter of
great difficulty to get anything likely to please and amuse them. One
morning while walking up George Street, Sydney [the houses in George
Street were in those days all detached residences, standing in their
own grounds], I observed an unusually large crowd in front of the
auction mart. Curiosity prompted me to ascertain what was the object
of attraction. It was nothing short of "A piano--to be sold by auction
to the highest bidder. Terms, cash; or an approved bill at three
months, bearing interest at 25 per cent."

There was not at that time more than five pianos in the colony, and
this piano was considered by far the best, inasmuch as it had once
belonged to Mrs. Macquarie, the wife of Major-General Lauchlan
Macquarie, Governor of New South Wales and its dependencies. At the
sale of the general's effects, when he was going home, it had been
purchased by the provost--marshal, whose necessities subsequently
compelled him to part with it to a Jew, who exchanged it with an
officer who particularly desired it for an allotment of land
containing eleven acres on the Surrey hills, near the old race-course,
a part of which allotment of land has since realized upwards of
20,000. To trace the old piano through the different hands into which
it afterwards fell would be no easy matter. Let it suffice that is was
now the property of a butcher, with whom I had frequent dealings, and
who bought periodically the fat bullocks which we reared at the cattle
station under Captain Romer's superintendence [I say Captain, because
every one called him Captain Romer].

It may be as well to describe the instrument now about to be
submitted to public competition. It was three feet two inches long,
and two feet wide. Its mahogany case had become almost black, and its
once white keys were now as yellow as the claws of a kite. The legs
were rather rickety; and constant use and frequent removal had greatly
impaired and weakened the tone, which, in the infancy of the
instrument, had never been very powerful. However, it was a piano,
nevertheless; and there was "all Sydney" waiting to see it sold, and
half of those present ready to bid for it.

An auction-room--like love and death--levels all ranks; and on that
day were to be seen government officials, merchants who had come out
"free," merchants who had originally come out "bond" [emancipist],
traders, wealthy farmers, Jews, et hoc genus omne, straining and
jostling to get a sight of, and close to, this (in the words of the
auctioneer) "eligible opportunity of introducing 'armony in the buzzim
of a family circle."

Amongst the crowd was a Frenchman, whose ignorance of the English law
relating to chattels (he had "taken" some valuables belonging to
another person) had led to his being furnished with a passage to
Botany Bay. This Frenchman had been a teacher of music in London, and,
at the request of the auctioneer, he "favoured the company" with a few
pieces of music, and thus spared the auctioneer--so he said--the
trouble of "hewlogizing the instrument--since it could speak for
itself." Had pianos been common in New South Wales, silence on the
part of this one would have been more prudent, so far as the interests
of the owner were concerned.

No sooner did I witness the delight which the cracked tones of that
old piano afforded to so many of the bystanders, than I made up my
mind--was determined--to become its purchaser. I was certain that I
should be vehemently opposed on all sides; but I did not care about
that, especially as I knew that my friend, the butcher, would have no
objection to be paid in cattle instead of coin. I need scarcely say
that it was not for myself that I wanted the old piano, although I
could play a little; it was for the children of my friend and partner,
Romer--whose surprise I longed to witness, when they saw me touch the
keys and produce a sound--that I craved for the ownership of that
antique instrument.

After a brief while, when the Frenchman had ceased to edify the
throng, the bidding commenced. "What shall we say gentlemen, for this
elegant instrument?" the auctioneer enquired. "Start it at what you
please; 150 if you like."

"Fifty!" said a voice in the crowd.

A roar of laughter followed this ridiculous appreciation of an
instrument--a piano--that once belonged to Mrs. Macquarie, while the
auctioneer, with an expression of face which plainly betokened how
deeply his feelings had been hurt, remarked, very solemnly: "Those
people who come here to joke had better wait till the sale's over, and
not interrupt business." Eventually, it was "started" at 100, but it
was very soon run up to 130. Here it stopped for a while, and I
nodded my head. "140--140!" cried the auctioneer, who refused to
take any bid under 10. A very brisk competition now ensued between
several individuals, and I remained silent, though unshaken in my

The piano was now "going for 175.--going for 175,--once--twice--
third, and the--." I nodded my head.

"185--185!" said the auctioneer.

There was "no advance" for some minutes, and I was in hopes that I
should get it for that last bid of mine, but I was mistaken. A
gentleman known as Billy Hatcherson--an expatriated highwayman--a very
wealthy man, wanted it for one of his daughters, who was about to be
married, and he roared out, in a very defiant manner, "200--there!"
and confident that it would be his, he left the room triumphantly, and
went "over the way" to refresh himself with a glass of grog.

Another spirited competition now took place, and eventually the piano
became my property at 250.

I was quite right in my conjecture that the butcher would be glad to
take cattle in payment, and, before leaving the auction, we concluded
a bargain. I was to deliver to him within three months from that date,
seventy fat oxen, such as I had previously sold to him.

In the days of which I am writing there were no post-offices in New
South Wales, much less public carriers, and I had to wait several
weeks before I could find a dray going to any station within forty
miles of Captain Romer's abode (settlers usually accommodated each
other by carrying packages to and from the interior), and it was not
until after I had myself arrived at the station, that Romer received
the news of "a large box for him at the station of Major Belrington,"
another retired officer who had settled in the wilds of Australia.

The despatch of the piano I had kept a secret, and when Romer heard
of this "large box," he could not comprehend it, for he had ordered
nothing, and expected nothing, from Sydney. He sent off, however, a
cart drawn by a pair of bullocks, and on the third day the large box
arrived. "With great care," was painted on the lid; and with very
great care it was removed from the cart and placed in the verandah.

The advent of a package, and the opening thereof, was always a great
event at the station, even when it was expected. There would be seen
Romer, with a mallet and chisel in his hands, ready to break into it,
no matter whether it was a cask of sugar, a chest of tea, or a case
full of slop clothing for the men, while Mrs. Romer, with the youngest
child in her arms, might be seen dividing her anxiety touching the
condition of the stores with her fears for the children's safety--for
they would all flock round their father, and frequently go much too
close to the implements in his hands. But here was a special case--a
most mysterious box. Romer said he had dreamt that some of his
relations in England had sent him an assortment of saddlery, which
would have been particularly acceptable; and he was hoping in his
heart that "saddlery," it would turn out. Mrs. Romer had also a
dream--that her father had sent a large box of clothing for herself
and the children, and she was hoping for the realization of her dream.
It would be in vain to attempt a description of the surprise and
disgust of Romer and his excellent wife when they beheld the old

"Such a useless thing!" said Romer.

"Who could have sent it?" said his wife.

While they were thus expressing themselves, the whole of their
children, each in a different key, were shouting out--

"Papa! Ma! What's a piano? what's a piano?"

I laughed so heartily at the scene, that both Romer and his wife
were perfectly satisfied that I had something to do with "the joke"--
for as such they regarded the appearance of a piano in that Australian
wilderness; and at last I confessed to them that I had bought the
instrument for the amusement and instruction of their young ones.

The piano, which was locked and the key in my waistcoat pocket, had
withstood all the attempts of the children to open it, in order to see
what was inside; and Romer and myself carefully carried it into the
room wherein the family were accustomed to dine. (It may be needless,
perhaps, to inform the reader that in those remote regions where
Captain Romer resided "drawing-rooms" were dispensed with.)

I was just as impatient to witness the effect of music (such as the
old piano was capable of) upon the children as were the children to
see "What's inside!" I therefore hastily unlocked it, and, placing my
foot upon the pedal, swept the chords as vigorously as was prudent,
considering the shaky state of the piano.

Alas! instead of delighting the children, I terrfied them. Some ran
out of the room, shrieking, "It's alive! it's alive!" others stood
aghast with their mouths wide open. One of the little boys fancied the
keys were a row of huge teeth, which would bite me if I continued to
touch them; whilst a little girl of four years of age begged of her
mamma not to let the baby go near it. The eldest girl, observing that
the instrument was perfectly harmless, was approaching my side, but
was violently pulled back by two of her brothers. Presently, those who
had run away returned to the door, and finding that there was no real
danger, re-entered the room. By degrees the whole of them were not
only reconciled to the belief that the piano was inanimate, but vastly
pleased with the tunes which I played upon it. Ere long they became
both bold and familiar, and, approaching the old instrument, they
dealt it several blows with their clenched fists, which, had they been
repeated, would soon have silenced it for ever.

          *   *   *   *   *

When the children had gone to bed--and it was a rather difficult
matter to prevail upon them to retire, so maddened had they become
with the sound of the music--I played several airs which in former
days had been very familiar to the ears of Romer and his wife, but
which they had not heard for upwards of sixteen years. Amongst others
was "The Girl I left behind me," an air which the band of Romer's old
regiment, the 73rd, used to play constantly on parade, when the
regiment was marching past the colours.

When I had finished playing the air, I turned round, and said to
Romer, "You remember that, don't you?"

What was my astonishment to find my friend in tears. The large drops
were rolling down his sunburnt cheeks.

"What is the matter?" I inquired of him.

"Ah, sir!" he replied, "you have brought back to me the morning when
I embarked for this country and, when, for the last time, I saw my
mother and sisters. That old piano makes it seem as though it were
only yesterday that I parted from them."

And Mrs. Romer was crying. Why?--Because when she knew that Charley
really loved her, and they were engaged to be married, she used to go
every morning to see the old 73rd paraded, and kept her eyes upon the
colours, which Charley, as junior ensign, used to carry when the
regiment marched past them and played that old tune "The Girl I left
behind me." And a very happy air it was, and sweet to her ears; for
shortly after it had ceased, Charley and herself had their morning
meeting, and used to walk round the spot which was called "the
Government domain." The tears that were shed by Romer and his wife
were not tears of unhappiness; for, although they were not musical,
their domestic life had never known a single discord.

"Play it again!" said Romer and his wife simultaneously--the latter
now sitting on her husband's knees, her arm encircling his neck--"oh!
play it again. Do, please!"

I obeyed them, but was soon interrupted by the children, who rushed
from their beds to the dining-room, and began to dance, or rather to
"jump about," in imitation of the gestures of the aborigines in the
act of choral exercises. The boys were clothed only in their night-
shirts; the girls in their bed-gowns; and to the best of their ability
they followed the air I was playing with their voices. Such a scene!
Had the old piano cost me double the number of the fat oxen I had
contracted to give for it, I could not have grudged the price.

One of the house-dogs began to bark fiercely, and Romer went to the
door, whence he saw the whole of the servants, attracted by the sound
of the pianoforte, drawn up in line, and listening most attentively to
the music. Romer, who was one of the most kind--hearted men that the
world ever produced, entered completely into their feelings, and
invited them to sit down in the verandah; and he sent them out two
bottles of rum and several ounces of tobacco, where with to regale
themselves, while the music was gladdening their souls, and carrying
them back to scenes in the land which, in all probability, they would
never again behold.

It was long after eleven o'clock before we retired to rest that
night; and even then the children were frantic for "more noise," as
they called it.

          *   *   *   *   *

The next morning, soon after daylight, Romer came into my apartment,
and, with a smile upon his face, said, "This old piano, it occurs to
me, may be turned to very profitable account."

"How?" I inquired.

"We may make it an instrument of terror to the blacks. Of late they
have become awfully troublesome in the matter of spearing the cattle,
merely for the fat wherewith to grease themselves, and only last week
we lost in this way a very valuable cow. I will send for some of the
tribe and frighten them, or rather you must, by playing on the bass

I liked the idea vastly. Besides, I was very curious to see the
expression of a savage's face when, for the first time, he heard

The encampment of the blacks was only three or four miles distant,
and a stockman was sent to bring several of them; and at noon, about
eight or nine of them, in all their nudity, made their appearance.
Mrs. Romer had a strong objection to admit them in or near the house,
and so Romer and I carried the old piano out into the open space in
front of the dwelling.

The aboriginal native of New Holland--just like the native of
India--cannot help touching and examining everything that is strange
to him; and no sooner did "the blacks" whom we summoned observe the
old piano, than they moved towards and examined it very attentively.
One of them at last opened the instrument, and touched the keys rather
heavily, and (like, Fear in the "Ode to the Passions"), terrified at
the sound he had produced, recoiled backwards, his spear poised ready
to be thrown, and his brilliant black eye firmly fixed on the demon,
for as such he regarded the old piano. His companions also poised
their long spears, and retreated cautiously step by step.

Romer now begged of them not to be alarmed, and with some little
difficulty brought them back to the piano, where he represented to
them that inside was a fearful demon, who would eat up the whole of
their tribe if he wore told to do so; but that, if they did nothing to
offend or annoy him [Romer], they had nothing whatever to fear.

I corroborated this statement by nodding my head; and, advancing to
the instrument, I touched the keys and began to play as loudly as
possible. Who shall describe their faces and their attitudes? Some of
them grasped their boomerangs, others poised their spears ready to
repel any sudden attack that the demon might make upon them. It was a
scene such as I would not have missed on any account.

When I had ceased playing, Romer explained to them that I had been
telling the demon what he was to do, on the next occasion of a
bullock, a cow, or a calf being speared on the run; and they must have
believed every word he said, for from that day forward the nuisance
abated, and the tribe very rarely came near the forest where our
cattle used to graze; so that the old piano, after all, was by no
means dear at the price I paid for it, to say nothing of the amusement
which it afforded to Romer's children.

The old piano is still extant. Not long ago I had a letter from
Romer, who is now both old and rich, in which he said: "There are
thousands of pianos in the colony now, of all sorts, sizes, and
prices, from 25 up to 100; but not for any one of them would we
exchange our old friend here, which has a place of honour in one of
our drawing-rooms, and reposes its tottering legs on a Turkey carpet."


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