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Title: Sally: The Tale of a Currency Lass
Author: J H M Abbott
* A Project Gutenberg Australia eBook *
eBook No.: 1306031.txt
Language: English
Date first posted: November 2013
Date most recently updated: November 2013

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------------------------------------------------------------------------

Title: Sally: The Tale of a Currency Lass
Author: J H M Abbott

*

SALLY:
The Tale of a Currency Lass

By

J. H. M. ABBOTT

Author of

"Tommy Cornstalk," "Letters from Queer Street," "The Sign of the
Serpent," &c.

Cover Design by Norman Lindsay.

N.S.W. BOOKSTALL CO., LTD.
SYDNEY
1919.

============================================

Originally published in The World's News, Sydney, N.S.W. in serial form
commencing Saturday, 9 March, 1918.

============================================

To
The Memory of
My Mother--
"A Currency Lass"

============================================

PREFACE.

While this story was running serially in The World's News, of Sydney,
it became apparent to the author that the meaning of the old term which
serves as its title was not altogether clear to the present generation
of readers. Some remembered it as the name of an old song, and some as
that of a vanished public-house which once held a license in Sydney.
The explanation of the term is this: In the early days, when coin as
a medium of exchange was scarce in Australia, a paper money currency
for large and small amounts was issued by many merchants and traders.
People who had been born in Britain took to referring to themselves
as Sterling, whilst, a little contemptuously, they dubbed the Native
Born Currency. But there were never--and are not to-day, any Currency
Lads or Lasses who had, or who have, any reason to be ashamed of being
"Currency."

The author's thanks are due to the Editor and the Proprietors of The
World's News for permission to re-publish the tale in its present form.

Sydney, 1918. J. H. M. A.

============================================

AUTHOR'S NOTE.

From "The World's News" 9 March, 1918.

Readers of "The World's News" will have noticed, in the announcements
of this story during the last two issues of the paper, some
extraordinary discrepancies as to its title. The explanation is this:
The author wrote the story with the intention of calling it "The
Currency Lass." At the last moment, when the opening chapters were
already in type, it was brought to his notice that a serial story by
"Alex. Wethered"--the nom-de-plume of a well-known and gifted Sydney
journalist--had appeared last year, in the "Watchman," under the same
title. A new name, of course, became necessary, and, with little time
for consideration, owing to the exigencies of the composing-room the
author altered his title to "Captain Crossthwaite: A Tale of a Currency
Lass." Further consideration decided him to adopt the present one, as
being more suitable to the story. But the first alternative, in the
course of a few hours, had by that time already been printed in last
week's issue. The author sincerely trusts that no one has ever written
a novel named "Sally," for these coincidences, though singular and
diverting to anyone who is not personally concerned with them, are
unmitigated nuisances to those who are. The present one is all the
more extraordinary, for the reason that the author has to confess,
regretfully and apologetically, that he has never opened the pages of
the "Watchman," and only knows that excellent journal from its contents
bills.--J.H.M.A.

============================================

CONTENTS.

Chapter:

I.............The Great Flood

II............The Currency Lass

III...........The Five of Hearts

IV............The Secret

V.............Captain Crossthwaite

VI............The Bushrangers

VII...........Governor Macquarie

VIII..........The Attack

IX............Held by the Bushrangers

X.............The Battle of Prospect Hill

XI............Father and Daughter

XII...........The Moon Calf Tavern

XIII..........Mr. Mainwaring

XIV...........New Dartmoor

XV............The Little Sally

XVI...........Captain Crossthwaite's Claim

XVII..........Grandfather

XVIII.........Pistols for Two

XIX...........Exit Crossthwaite

XX............The Duel

XXI...........Off Hunter's River


*


CHAPTER I.--THE GREAT FLOOD.

THE rain came pelting down in drenching sheets, and a cold, bleak wind
scurried the grey waves of driving clouds across the great wall of the
Blue Mountains, until, from the high ground at the Green Hills--where
the old town of Windsor, in New South Wales, has stood since Governor
Macquarie's day--it sometimes became impossible to tell whether they
existed, or were merely the water-laden shapes of blacker and wetter
clouds that were bursting down from the moisture swollen Heavens in
overwhelming destructiveness upon the settlement at the Hawkesbury.

It was the time of the Great Flood of March, 1806, which devastated
the granary of New South Wales, and brought ruin and disaster to so
many of the settlers upon the rich flats and fertile meadows that lie
between Emu Plains and the Lower Hawkesbury. There are people in sleepy
old Windsor to-day who remember hearing of it first-hand from their
grandparents, and to whose childhood the possibilities of a Big Flood,
like THE Big Flood, were curiously blended with the story of Noah's
Ark, and the problematical future destruction of the world. They have
not forgotten the inundations they themselves have seen, but nothing
that has happened since has ever been worthy of mention in the same
breath with the flood of 1806, which the old people told them all about
when they were little. The fine faculty of memory which is peculiar to
any ancient Australian--the faculty of remembering things that did not
happen--has done much to enhance the value of the reminiscences which
those old Hawkesbury pioneers handed down to the Hawkesbury natives of
the second generation. Many things that never took place will never be
forgotten in the traditions of 1806--in Windsor and Richmond, and down
by Sackville Reach.

It had rained at the beginning of the month, and on the 1st of March
Surgeon Thomas Arndell begged leave to inform His Excellency, Captain
Philip Gidley King, that "the river has risen as high as at any time
since I have been at the Hawkesbury River." And on the next day he
wrote, "I have the pleasure to inform your Excellency that the waters
are abating. Though not a general deluge, much corn is lost on all the
low lands." On the 9th, Mr. Arndell informed the Governor that he was
engaged in estimating the damage done by the late floods. But on the
23rd he has to inform His Excellency of the "dreadful damage" inflicted
on the district by such a flood as was never before known, even by the
black men.

It was on that flood that the heroine of this story came floating into
historical record. It was because March, 1806, was such a wet month
that this story comes to be told. Because of that, and one or two other
circumstances.

It was on Thursday when the wet weather recommenced. There were several
heavy showers during the day, and by nightfall the rain seemed to have
set in. All day Friday the downpour was incessant. The whole watershed
of the Hawkesbury collected the deluge, and poured it into the river.
Every little gully and every dark gorge in the mountains sent its
stream of muddy water down towards the sea. All the creeks running into
the eastern side of the river were "bankers" on Friday night. When the
grey daylight came on Saturday, the Big Flood was in full being.

The "Sydney Gazette" of March 30--four pages of foolscap size--devoted
three columns to the letter of its Hawkesbury correspondent, and here
follows some of it. A contemporary account is worth quoting, for that
quaint little parent of the Australian press is not easily accessible
to every reader of this veracious narrative.


"In the course of this dreadful day upwards of 200 wheat stacks were
swept into the stream, and carried down the river with incredible
velocity; stock of all descriptions were seen floating about, and on
the tops of the stacks, but could not be saved for want of boats, those
of Messrs. Thompson, Biggers and others being constantly employed
taking the settlers' families from the roofs and ridges of the houses,
where many had for whole hours clung despairing of assistance, and
expecting to be shortly washed into the watery waste. Towards Richmond
Hill it seemed to abate on Saturday evening; down the River it still
rose--the distress and horror of that evening can neither be described
or imagined. The day heavy and gloomy, the night fast approaching,
torrents of rain pouring with unabating fury; and not a house except
at the Green Hills to be seen, the roofs of one or two on the opposite
side of the water being then only visible. Muskets were discharged
by the settlers from trees and roofs all day, and great numbers had
been taken up and left in safety on the higher grounds; but many were
compelled to undergo a night of horror the most inexpressible; in the
evening the dismal cries from distant quarters, the report of firearms
dangerously charged in order to increase the noise of the explosion;
the howling of dogs that had by swimming got into trees, all concurred
to shock the feelings of the few that were out of the reach, but were
sorrowful spectators of the calamity they could not relieve. On Sunday
morning the rigor of the weather abated; and in the course of the day
the water on the high lands showed a disposition to run off. Nearly
300 persons, saved from the deluge by the humane perseverance and
incredible exertion of their rescuers were released from a state of
actual famine by a supply sent from the Green Hills in consequence of
His Excellency's request to Mr. Arndell to afford the sufferers every
assistance and relief."


Our story opens on the Saturday afternoon, and its opening scene is set
on the top of the hill upon which, a year or two subsequently, Governor
Macquarie built the cottage, still standing in ruinous condition, which
did duty as Government House for so many years, whenever the Vice-Regal
court betook itself to Windsor.

Old Isaiah Tillotson stood near the top of the little island in the
rain, and gazed across the wide yellow sea that stretched towards the
mountains. Below him huddled a damp and unhappy flock of sheep, with
their backs to the pelting rain, and in their patient, foolish faces a
look of dull, uncomprehending pessimism that was startlingly similar
to the expression of melancholy manifested by the countenance of
Isaiah himself. They looked as if they knew that nothing worse could
happen to them. Isaiah looked like that, too, with an additional air
of being fully prepared for any further miracle of disaster that might
accentuate the miseries of that disastrous day. Near by stood a man and
a woman, who were deeply interested in the welfare of two calves, five
pigs of assorted sizes, and some fowls. With them was an abnormally wet
sheep-dog, whose drooping appearance indicated a state of dejection
that was altogether in keeping with the involuntarily dejected bearing
of his human associates. The day and the deluge were sufficiently
depressing to make any dog dull.

"It be a proper flood, bean't it?" observed the old man, squeezing his
dripping beard in a gnarled fist. "So like th' flood in th' Good Book,
as ever was, I'll go bail."

"Happen the Ark'd coom a-sailin' by," laughed the woman softly, "with
all them pairs of animals in it, an' Father Noah a-steerin' like a old
Dawlish skipper."

Her wet garments clung to her strong, rounded form, and her black hair
blew out in the wind. She had a rosy, comely face, and might have been
thirty years old, and that was about what she was.

The younger man--a great, red, deep-chested fellow--turned and looked
at her admiringly. The inflection of her brave humour touched him. He
grunted a deep kind of laugh that echoed her own.

"Doan't 'ee be fulish, 'Lizbeth. How can Father Noah coom a-sailin' by
when he be a-standin' here on the hill with me? If Uncle Issy bain't
Father Noah, I be a black feller."

He pointed up at the old man, who indeed might well have stood for the
patriarchal navigator of the Deluge, after a wet night on the upper
deck of his strange ship.

"You uns oughter be thankfuller than what ye be," grumbled old
Tillotson; "'stead of jestin' an' makin' merry over th' Good Book,
an' thishyer visitation, and all. Happen it hadn't been for my little
place, y'd had no shelter this night, no roof for to keep th' rain
often ye. Ain't ye best coom up along now, my dears, outen this
a'mighty down pourin' of Heaven's wrath?"

"'Tes all raight, Uncle Issy," said the woman. "We be main thankful
to ye, an' all th' marcy of God. We'm lost our whoam, 'tes true, an'
'tes true that ye've give us shelter an' fire, an' 'tes true ye be a
good old man, an' main comfortin' to such castaways as we uns. Iss, I'm
thinkin' we'd be better inside your hut than out here in th' cold an'
wet. Joe, laad, do'ee see th' boat's safe, an' coom indoors. We can do
no more for these poor creatures that what we have. 'Tes not much, but
it might be less. We've saved zummat, howsomever. Our two lives, an'
these dumb beasts. Come, Roarer," she patted the dog's wet head, and he
wagged his dripping tail, and licked her hand. "We'll do as Uncle Issy
says."

They followed the old man up to the crest of the hill, and over it, and
came to a little hut, made of wattle and daub, and roofed with sheets
of bark, kept in place by heavy saplings. Down below it, one aide of a
brush sheep fold stood just above the yellow flood water, whilst the
other two sides ran down a few yards and disappeared in the almost
motionless tide of devastation that covered the fourth.

They came to the door, and the old man had his hand upon the
fastenings, when suddenly the woman uttered a quick cry. The two men
turned, to see her, with outstretched arm, pointing down to the little
fold.

"See there, Joe! Uncle Issy! Down in the sheep-fold--see it floating
there! 'Tes a woman--a woman in th' water. God ha' mercy--how did she
coom there?"

She ran down to the waterside, her hair streaming behind her, and
the men followed. Gathering up her skirts, and displaying a pair of
substantial, shapely, and stockingless legs, she took the low fence in
a flying leap, and, as her companions reached it, was stooping over a
prostrate female form that lay half in and half out of the water.

"What now! 'Lizbeth?" said the red man, as he came beside her. "Be she
alive?"

"No life there, lad," murmured old Tillotson, shaking his grey head.
"But pick her up, an' carry her into my place--then we'll see for
sartain. But what be this here?" He pointed a horny forefinger at a
black box, something like a small sea-chest, that was grounded a foot
or so from the water's edge, and close beside the woman's body.

"Pick her up, Joe, and carry her in--th' poor creature. Oh, but she be
a beautiful one--th' poor dead dear," said the woman.

Stooping, the man took the limp form--so light and so water sodden--in
his strong arms, and lifted her up as if she had been a child.

"Come ye an' tend to her," said he. "She may have some life in her yet."

"Glory be!" exclaimed Isaiah, "look what's here! Glory be, glory be!
Look i' th' box! Dang my buttons--look-ee here!"

He had unfastened the simple catch, and opened the lid. Inside, almost
quite dry, and warmly wrapped up in a blanket, lay a fat and healthy
baby, fast asleep. It woke, as the cold rain beat down upon it when
the lid was opened, and set up a lusty crying that sounded strangely
cheerful in that desolate, drenched place.

"Give it to me!" cried the woman, snatching the baby out of the box,
blanket and all, and pressing it to her sheltering bosom. "Bring th'
chest, Uncle Issy. Come, Joe, quickly--in out of the wet."

She ran up the hill, and was already seated by the fireside, when the
red man laid his burden down upon the hearth, and old Isaiah came
bumping in through the door with the square box in his arms.

"Shet th' door. An' make the fire blaze, Joe, lad," she cried, as she
took the wrappings from the child. "We must see if there is life in
th' poor woman. Strip her, strip her, Joe. 'Tes no shame where life's
consarned. An' make ready your bed, Uncle Issy. Move yourselves. Oh,
you men! Set th' fire blazing first."

Clumsily, the red man tore off the dripping garments from the inanimate
body, and held her, white and naked, before the fire. The old man
busied himself with the bed, and they laid her between his blankets. He
lit a tallow candle and held it to her face. He sighed and shook his
head.

"No use, Joe Garledge, no use. See, her eyes are half-open, an' her
lips are blue. She be dead, 'Lizbeth. She be as dead as ever she'll be."

Pressing the baby to her breast, the woman came to look. "Ah me!" she
murmured softly. "Iss, Uncle Issy--she be gone. An' her so pretty an'
sweet. 'Tes cruel, cruel. Cover her up. But stay a moment. Here, Joe,
hold ye th' babby."

The red man awkwardly received the child in his great arms, whilst
'Lizbeth closed the eyes of the dead woman, folded her limp hands
across her breast, and drew the blanket up over the white and lovely
face.

"God rest th' poor soul of her," she murmured softly, turning to nurse
the baby before the fire. Tears ran down her rosy cheeks--and big red
Joe blubbered in a corner.

Outside, the rain pelted and hissed, the grey evening faded, and the
terrible black night came down over the black Blue Mountains, and over
the sea of muddy waters that stretched across the rich Hawkesbury flats
below them. It was a fearful, memorable night for many of the river
settlers--but before daylight came the flood was abating. The ebbing of
the destroying tide was almost imperceptible--but about three in the
morning it did begin to ebb, and the worst was over.




CHAPTER II.--THE CURRENCY LASS.

THE splendid beauty of the morning charmed and soothed the rugged soul
of that rugged apostle, Samuel Marsden, as he rode from Parramatta to
the Hawkesbury. It was a March morning, towards the end of the month,
when the fierce blaze of summer gives place to the gentle freshness and
crisp exhilaration of the Australian autumn. And the country looked its
best--which is saying a great deal, when it is said about the country
along the Old River.

As he came out of the forest on to the lands above the rich and fertile
flats, the Senior Chaplain of His Majesty's Territory of New South
Wales felt that his lot was cast in a goodly land, a land flowing
with milk and honey, a land that was strangely unlike his own stern
Yorkshire wolds--and yet always brought his thoughts back to them, and
to the rugged childhood that had made of him the rugged, indomitable,
stern and kindly man that he was, and the valiant Christian he knew
himself to be. Involuntarily he drew rein, and worshipped the God of
the wondrous land that stretched before his eyes.

The wall of purple mountains, stretching north and south, limited his
view to the westward. High and forbidding, never yet crossed in all
the quarter century of the Colony's existence as British territory,
always repulsing and baffling, as he well knew, the efforts of those
who had essayed the task of seeking out the mysterious problematical
region that might lie towards the setting sun--this morning they only
looked like softly-shaded glowing hills, clad densely in verdure, and
inviting enough to any man who might seek to ride up their spurs, and
over their even skyline, to enjoy a glimpse of what might lie beyond.
They slumbered so peacefully in the sunshine, were so warm and soft and
gentle-seeming, that no man might realise from their look the stern
denial that they had always given to those who sought to solve their
secrets and their mysteries. Over them, and over him, and over all the
visible world was stretched a blue canopy of sky that seemed fixed and
changeless, and never more to be clouded or darkened.

But the Reverend Samuel Marsden smiled grimly when he remembered how,
almost seven years ago to a day, he had forced a determined way to the
rain swept coast of a wide area of flood-waters that lay between where
he now sat upon his horse and those same glorious, smiling mountains
that looked so alluring, and inviting, and welcoming. He remembered the
miles of yellow water, with the roofs of the houses but just showing
here and there above their surface, and the hayricks floating down
towards the sea, and half drowned people in trees, and pouring torrents
of rain, and roaring cataracts that rushed out of gullies and gorges in
those same gracious hillsides across the river. He remembered March,
1806, very distinctly and vividly, and he shook his round head, and
touched his horse's flank gently with his whip, and moved forward upon
his way, muttering to the morning:

"Ah, yes--ye look very fine and lovely to-day, but I've seen ye when ye
were not so!"

And presently he came upon a white farm house, a neat, well ordered
place, with a garden in front of it, and a young orchard behind it, and
a bare legged little girl seated upon the doorstep, and white linen
garments and bed-sheets gleaming in the sunlight behind the buildings,
as they dried upon a clothes line. And he roared out to the little girl
in his great voice:

"Good morning to ye, Sally Garledge, and is your mother at home? And
have ye any breakfast for me--for I'm main hungry?"

As he dismounted outside the neat picket fence, the little girl came
running to the gate. Mr. Marsden opened it, and stood in the pathway,
and she dropped a curtsey to him. They were a strange contrast--the
burly, bull-necked, red-faced parson, and the lovely, laughing
child--all health, and smiles, and pretty dimples, and bright eyes, and
red-gold hair.

"Good morning, Mr. Marsden," she laughed up at him, a little shyly,
putting out her hand. There was no fear of him in those bright eyes, he
noticed; and it was not everyone in the districts of Parramatta and the
Hawkesbury who did not fear the Chaplain-Magistrate. Many a grateful
heart prayed for his welfare in the first capacity. Not a few lacerated
backs had filled their owners with hatred of him in the second. He
stooped and patted her head.

"Well, my pretty maid," he said kindly, "have ye ought else for your
old friend than this little hand?"

She held up her rosy, sun-browned face.

"A kiss, Mr. Marsden," she laughed. He kissed her gently, and taking
the child's hand in his great red one, walked up to the white house.

Like so many of the old colonial dwellings, it was verandahless. There
was a narrow porch of lattice work before the front door, however, on
which roses climbed. As they came up to it, Mrs. Joe Garledge--a little
plumper, a little more matronly, but still as comely and strong looking
as when we met her last, seven years ago--came and stood in the doorway.

"Welcome to ye, Mr. Marsden," she smiled. "An' who'd ha' thought o'
seein' y'r Honor so early in the day! 'Tes a timely start ye'll have
been makin' from Parramatta?"

"A good start, Mrs. Joe--an' early one, I'll promise ye," said the
Chaplain, shaking her warmly by the hand. "And if ye've a bite to
eat and a cup of tea, I'm the man to do them justice. 'Twas not yet
sunrise when I rode away this morning. I've a rare empty space below my
waistband, I'll promise ye."

"Do'ee coom in then, an' sit ye down and rest, whiles I get ye
something for it. We've broken fast these two hours gone. My Joe, he's
off up-along to South Creek to Mr. Blaxland's. Uncle Issy!" she called.
"Uncle Issy! Do 'ee take Passon's horse an' give un a drink, an' a feed
of hay. Where be to, Uncle Issy?"

"Comin', 'Lizbeth--comin'," came a voice from the kitchen, and the old
man appeared, hat in hand, in the living room of the house. He raised
a bony forefinger to his bald head in salute to Mr. Marsden. He was a
trifle thinner, and a shade more patriarchal, than on the day when Joe
Garledge had likened him to Father Noah at the Green Hills, when he
tended the salved remnant of Joe Garledge's flock.

"How d'ye do, Prophet, how d'ye do?" roared the parson. It was always
his humour to compare the old man's personal appearance with that of
his ancient Hebrew namesake. "And how's the rheumatics?"

"Fairish, Parson, fairish. But 'tis th' cold weather will start 'em
into life again--so bad they be in th' winters!"

He went out to attend to the horse, and Mrs. Garledge betook herself to
the kitchen in order to see to the horse's master's needs. The latter
sat himself down on a chair, and proceeded to beguile the time in
conversation with the child.

"And how old are ye now, Sally?"

"Seven and a half, if you please, Mr. Marsden," answered the child,
coming close beside his knee.

"And ye're a good girl--always?"

She looked up, and laughed in his face roguishly.

"Oh, no, Mr. Marsden, if you please--not always."

"What! If I please, ye're not good always. But I'm not pleased, Sally,
to hear such a thing. Why the devil aren't ye always good? Don't ye
know ye should be so?"

Sally hesitated, and looked at the great man for a moment or two in a
sort of wistful perplexity, her head on one side. Then she answered him.

"If you please, Mr. Marsden--if I was good always, I'd never be bad."

"Well, child--well? Isn't it a good thing never to be bad?"

"Please--if I was never bad I couldn't be good--sometimes."

The Chaplain roared with laughter. To Mrs. Garledge, bearing a dish of
eggs and bacon, he waved a stubby forefinger.

"Oh, ho, ho--a casuist! Damme, a casuist, Mrs. Joe. A little
she-philosopher, by gad! 'Tis as good as I've heard this long time.
So you've got to be a little bad, Sally, to show, how good you can
be--what!"

"If you please, yes, Mr. Marsden."

"Good! The child's good as gold, y'r honor!" laughed Mrs. Garledge,
setting down her dishes. "'Bain't no better girlie all along the river.
Now Sally, you run out an' feed th' chickens, an' I'll talk to Passon.
I've summat to say to 'ee, zur, as maybe she oughtn't to hear it said.
Run along, Sally girl."

"Come and give me another kiss first, little maiden. Sure, that pretty
face was made for kissing." The Chaplain put his strong arm about her,
and drew her to his side. He looked long into her clear, fearless eyes,
as she smiled up at him. Then he kissed her gravely.

"God bless you, little maid," he said gently, "and keep that pretty
face from ever doing you any harm." He released her, and she ran out
laughing. The Chaplain turned his attention to breakfast, making
vigorous onslaught upon the eggs and bacon. Mrs. Garledge seated
herself and poured out his tea.

"Mr. Marsden, zur," she said, as she handed him his cup, "I be main
glad ye've coom to-day, as my Joe's away. 'Tes summat as I must ask
someone about, an' I know none I'd better like to ask than yourself.
'Tes raight an' proper th' clergy should be asked such things."

"That's so, Mistress Joe," said the Chaplain with his mouth full. "And
pray what is it that's troubling ye? Let me hear it. Has Joe taken to
evil courses?"

The woman laughed at the idea of such a thing.

"My Joe do evil! 'Tes not in him, Passon. No--'tes of the child I wish
to speak with ye. Of the little maid. I am troubled about her."

"Go on, Mrs. Garledge. Go on. I can eat and listen. 'Tis the best
breakfast I've eaten this many a day. Because I've earned it, I
suppose."

She leaned across the table and looked intently at her guest.

"Mr. Marsden," she said, a little anxiously. "Can I trust ye?"

"Well, damme, my good woman, that's a question to ask me!"

"Oh, I know I can trust your word, zur--what I mean is, can I trust ye
as between me and Joe?"

"Between you and your husband! Why should I come between you and Joe
Garledge? How should I?"

"No, no--I don't mean that. What I mean, y'r honor, there's summat
I've not told Joe that I want to tell you. Zummat I can't tell him
now--'twould be better not to--and yet what I must tell to someone."

He looked at her a little doubtfully. Was it some confession of sordid
unfaithfulness that she wished to pour into his ears? He had heard many
such--but he did not look for one in this household. He spoke a little
sternly, laying down his knife and fork and looking at her intently.

"Mistress Garledge--listen to me. If what you have to say related to
any wrong you've done to the good man ye've wedded to, maybe I'd best
not hear it. Tell it to him, woman--and trust him. He's a good man.
He's a just man."

"Oh, no, no, Passon--you are mistaken. There's naught like that, thank
th' good God, betwixt my Joe and me. 'Tisn't possible there'd be! We'm
a happy couple, I do glory to say. But 'tes zummat about th' lil maid
that I do fear for to tell him--because it might upset his peaceful
mind, it might make him so mad as he might do zummat rash like--might
make trouble for himself, and for Sally, and for all of us. He'd not
see it like I do. He'm a slow one to anger, is my Joe, but I know his
breed--them red Garledges--an' they're devils when they'm roused.
'Twere better not to tell him--for a few years, at any rate. But I'd
like to tell you, and for you to tell me, zur, what ye may think of it.
Ye'll promise me to say naught to Joe, until I give the word. Ye'll
promise, y'r Honor?"

"Well, well--yes, I'll promise. But tell me what it is. If it is
anything that affects the welfare of that little maid--that little
English maid, whom God sent into your kind hands--I'll promise. She is
English born, isn't she?"

"Nay, nay--how could she be? But six months old when she came to us
on the flood waters over yonder at the Green Hills, as you know, with
her dead mother. Sally be a proper Currency Lass. She was born in the
country.

"I found something in her mother's clothes, and something on her little
body that I've shown no one--not even Joe. But the secret's too big for
me. Will ye please to have some more tea, and I'll go get the paper and
the ring. There's a story to tell ye, Passon."

"Thank you, Mrs. Joe--half a cup. Well, I will hear it. Get these
things. I must be riding on before long. But I want to hear. I may be
able to help the little maid."

Mrs. Garledge rose from the table and went into an adjoining room. When
she came hack she carried a small black wooden box in her hands. She
laid it on the table, unlocked it with a key, and took out a folded
paper, stained, and yellow, and water-marked.

Mr. Marsden leaned back in his chair, prepared to listen.




CHAPTER III.--THE FIVE OF HEARTS.

"'TES a queer thing I'm a-goin' to show ye, Mr. Marsden," said Mrs.
Garledge thoughtfully, as she unfolded the paper. "'Tes like a faery
tale. 'Tes so queer it makes me to think about it."

She paused for a few moments, while she scanned the faded,
weather-marked document. Then she spread it out upon the table, holding
it down with the outspread fingers of one work-roughened hand. Mr.
Marsden had pushed back his chair from the table, and, with crossed
knees, regarded his hostess attentively.

"Ye'll remember, zur, how we came by th' lil maid--Sally? The big
flood, ye remember, and the woman's body, and th' box wi' th' babby in
it?"

"Yes, yes--of course. I shall not soon forget that disastrous time,
Mrs. Garledge, or any of the strange things that happened. And the
endurance of the people! And the great, courage of all the settlers,
both bond and free. Do ye recall the Leesons? There was Will Leeson,
his wife, his mother, his two children, and three men who went to sea
on the flood water, with a barley-mow for a ship. Consider it--those
eight souls adrift upon a haystack! And they sailed in the dark. Never
was there such a deed. Never! And do ye remember----"

But she interrupted his flood of recollections. With a hand raised to
check them, she broke in, a little impatiently:

"Yes, yes, Passon--but I want to speak of our lil maid, and the message
her mother left. You remember how we found them, come ashore in the
sheep-fold--the woman dead, and the babby so strong and hearty?"

"Yes, yes--I was told of it a day or so after, by you and Joe."

"Well, when I came to look at the clothes we had I taken off the poor
woman, I found this paper stitched in her bodice. It was folded up in a
wrapping of oiled silk, and not so much of the water had got at it as
to make it impossible to read the writing. It was damaged, as you can
see, but I dried it carefully--and when I had read it, I took an' hid
it."

"Hid it! Why?"

"I could see at once that I must not show it to my Joe. You will see
yourself why, when you have read it. And I believe, Mr. Marsden, you
will agree I acted rightly. When I came to undress the babby, I found
this tied about its lil neck by a leather thong. Look!"

She took from the box a massive gold ring, of the solidity and weight
of a signet ring, and stepped forward to hand it to the Chaplain.
He stretched out his hand, and took it from her, bending over it to
examine it, and holding it to the light that came through the open
doorway.

It was a band of solid gold--a man's ring, obviously--and one side was
flattened out, as though to make space for the signet part of it. But
instead of some heraldic device, a white oblong of enamel was let into
the gold matrix, and in this were set, as in mosaic work, five small
hearts, in the fashion of a playing card.

"The Five of Hearts!"

"Yes. 'Tes th' five o' hearts, sure enough. What it means, I dunno--but
'tes mentioned in th' paper, Passon. Will ye not read it for yourself?"

She handed him the yellow document, with its stain of muddy water. It
was a little blurred in places, as though the ink had run, but it was
plain enough to decipher.

Mr. Marsden took it, turned it over wonderingly two or three times, and
then read it slowly aloud, whilst Mrs. Garledge stood and looked at
him, nodding her head now and again, as if to confirm some part of it,
or as if in sad sympathy with its unhappy author:


"I write this more for the protection of my innocent child, in case
anything should happen to me--and I have a premonition that before
long I shall be somehow separated from her--than in any spirit of
justification of myself. While I live I know that we will not be
parted, but in this country it is likely enough that anything may
happen to a lonely woman, even things that are worse than death itself.
I know that, for I have seen it, and have only narrowly been saved
from it. If such things are inevitable as I see them, I shall prefer
death itself. And then my dear baby will be left with nothing but my
imploring prayer, to whomsoever may find her, to care for her out of
charity and humanity, for the blessed Christ's sake."


"Indeed, her prayer was answered," said Mr. Marsden, interrupting
his reading. "God delivered ye the child, Elizabeth Garledge, in a
marvellous fashion. And well, indeed, have ye listened to the poor
woman's appeal!"

He resumed his reading:


"If she should fall into the hands of people of this country, they will
have an Australian to care for, for she was born in Sydney in 1805, on
the 20th day of October, at a house on the Rocks. Should she come into
the keeping of those who may have hope of returning to England, I would
beg them to take her there, away from this land of sin, and sorrow, and
the prison taint."


"It is not that altogether. It has a good future," Mr. Marsden again
interrupted his reading of the document to observe. He went on:


"I shall set down here only the bare facts relating to the series of
misfortunes which have brought me to this country and have left me an
abandoned, unhappy, and despairing woman. I have no comment to make
upon them, save this---that my troubles are due to none but myself.
What I mean is that I blame none of my own people for them. To the
man to whom they are most due will, in time, come God's own judgment,
which, it is not for me to invoke or anticipate, and which, indeed,
I still cannot but pray may be averted from him. That I should still
love him, and still pray for his welfare, after the manner in which
he has used me, cannot but seem to those who may read this other than
senseless infatuation, but so it is, and I cannot help myself.

"My name is Selina Crossthwaite, and I am a married woman. My maiden
name was Garledge----"


"What! How's this?" cried the Chaplain. "A relative of your husband's,
Mrs. Joe?"

Mrs. Garledge nodded. "Read on, Passon. 'Twill explain itself. Read on."


"My maiden name was Garledge, and I am the only daughter of John
Garledge, who kept 'The Moon Calf' Tavern in Longacre, in London, and,
if he still lives, is no doubt still its landlord. My father came from
Devonshire in his youth, and I believe that his relations are in that
county still, though I do not know where, and I have never seen, or
been in communication, with any of them. My father seldom spoke of
his own people, and I think that some quarrel or family trouble, over
which he gave hints of some bitterness of feeling, was the original
cause of his leaving his home and enlisting in the Foot Guards. He
was many years in the army, and when he retired from it with the rank
of Sergeant-Major, he was enabled by the generosity of some of his
officers to start in business as a licensed victualler in 'The Moon
Calf,' which was an old-established house, fallen upon evil days, and
which my father brought again to a prosperous condition, mainly by
reason of his army connection. He made it a place of popular resort
for officers of the Household troops. Besides, he was a keen man of
business.

"My father did not marry until he had left the army, and had succeeded
in establishing his business upon a sound footing. I never knew my
mother, for she died in giving me birth, and my childhood was spent
with nurses and governesses. My mother, of whom I know absolutely
nothing, had been, my father said, a lady, and he constantly asserted
that he meant to make one of me. I am afraid that in some respects he
spoiled me. However, I had as a child the best of everything--except
a mother's loving care--and, when I was twelve years old, he sent me
to a boarding-school for young ladies, at the village of Hammersmith,
near London, a where I remained until I was eighteen, only coming home
twice a year for my holidays. When I left school he sent me to an
establishment at Brighton, where I was instructed for six months in
those accomplishments with which young ladies moving in good society
are expected to be conversant.

"When I came home, it was with an expectation that I would take up
housekeeping duties at 'The Moon Calf,' and have some hand in the
domestic side of the business--but my father would allow nothing of
the sort. He had furnished a suite of apartments for me, and expressed
it to be his desire that I should live in them as though I had nothing
whatever to do with the tavern. His own rooms were on the ground floor
behind the bar and coffee-room, and when he came to mine he used to say
that 'The Moon Calf' was tied up outside, and must never be permitted
to enter them. None of the patrons of the place ever came into my
drawing-room, unless they were expressly invited to do so by himself.

"He made no secret of the fact that he intended by every possible
means to bring it about that I should marry one or other of the
young officers who frequented his house--preferably one from his own
regiment, providing that his means were suitable to provide me with a
rich establishment. He continually impressed it upon me that, though
he was not a poor man, it was my face that was my fortune, and that,
since I was very beautiful, and well educated, and was not a fool,
any station in life might be mine through a suitable marriage. I knew
myself that it was quite true as to my beauty----"


"So it was--the poor dead woman!" murmured Mrs. Garledge, her soft eyes
filling with tears. "So it was. She was the most beautiful woman I've
ever seen."

"Indeed! And was she?" observed Mr. Marsden, a little impatient of the
interruption, for the story was claiming his interest.


"quite true as to my beauty, and I think his plans and ideas turned
my head a little. He began by introducing a couple of gentlemen at a
time, and I must say that they all treated me with great deference
and respect. Much of this was due to the way in which my father was
regarded by the officers of his old regiment. He had been a notable
character in it--its champion boxer, its swiftest runner, its most
generally accomplished soldier. But I never encouraged any familiarity
on the part of any of them, or never held myself cheap, or permitted
any one lightly to make love to me. In a little time it became a
privilege eagerly sought after--an invitation from John Garledge to
take a dish of tea in his daughter's apartments. I became, I heard, a
popular toast--'the beautiful Miss Garledge'--in the coffee-houses, and
at the regimental messes. There was even a duel fought over me--one
of my visitors resenting the sneer of an acquaintance who had not the
entree to the private part of 'The Moon Calf,' to the extent of putting
a pistol ball through his shoulder. And it was that duel that sealed my
fate.

"My father was particularly pleased when he succeeded in introducing to
my circle of admirers--as I suppose I must term these young men, any
one of whom would have gladly made me his mistress, and hardly one of
whom would have married me, as I know now--Lord Arthur Wilberley, the
heir to the Earldom of Breakness. He never ceased to sound his praises
to me, or to declare how infatuated the young nobleman was with me. And
of all the ungainly fools whom I have ever met, I think Lord Arthur
was the worst. My duellist was Ensign William Crossthwaite, and him my
father looked upon with little favour. He said that he was poor, was
a gambler, was a rake, and was a liar--all of which I know now to be
true, but nevertheless I was in love with him, and am still, in love
with him--God help me!"


"The poor dear!" murmured Mrs. Joe.


"And so, one day, because I could not bear with Lord Arthur, and
because I worshipped him, I eloped with Mr. Crossthwaite. We were
married at the little Church of St. Agnes, at Hawley, in Surrey, and in
the register of that church is our wedding recorded. All my papers are
gone from me, but the record is there, and perhaps same day the fact of
its being there will be of advantage to my child."


Mr. Marsden laid the paper on his knee, and looked up frowning at Mrs.
Garledge. "William Crossthwaite!" he muttered. "By heavens, ma'am, I
know a William Crossthwaite! But can it be? Surely 'tis impossible!"

Mrs. Joe nodded gravely.

"Yes, you know him, Mr. Marsden. I know him. Joe knows him. But lil
Sally doesn't know him. Will you read on--and maybe ye'll know him
better."

Shaking his head, and with knitted brows, the Chaplain finished the
reading of the paper:


"I think my husband cared for me in his own way, but his nature is a
callous and selfish one. He was heavily in debt, and it seems that he
had expected my father, once we were married, to reconcile himself to
the situation and to provide for his needs. But my father was furious,
and being of an obstinate and determined nature, and professing himself
hurt and disappointed with me, would have nothing to do with us. My
husband was compelled to leave the country, so he exchanged into the
New South Wales Corps from his own regiment, raised a sum of money
in some fashion that was, I fear, somewhat questionable, and, two
months after our marriage we sailed for Sydney in the brig 'Caledon,'
with a draft for the regiment, of which he was in command, and female
convicts. All the ship's officers, and many of the soldiers, chose
mistresses for the voyage from amongst these vile females and, to my
horror and distress, and quite by accident, I discovered, at the Cape,
of Good Hope, that my husband had formed a connection with one of them.
My tears and protests were in vain. So infatuated was he with this
woman that when we reached Sydney, he abandoned me, and took her to
live with him."


"The infernal villain!" swore the Rev. Samuel Marsden. Mrs. Garledge's
lips tightened, but she said nothing.


"I had a little money of my own, and was enabled to secure fairly
decent lodgings on the Rocks, at the house of Nicholas Thirsk, the
boat-builder. There my child was born, and I named her after myself.
I wrote to my husband, but he made no answer to my letter, and I have
never seen him since. He took all my papers, marriage lines and all,
and I have heard that he gave it out that I was not his wife, but only
a mistress whom he had picked up in London. It seems that this was
even his tale on board the 'Caledon,' tho' I heard it not until after.
Some few trifling belongings of his remained in my possession, amongst
them the strange ring that I have fastened about my child's neck.
He has told me that it signified something, of which he did not know
the meaning, that would perhaps some day be of great advantage to the
possessor of it. So I leave it, as the only thing of value I have, to
my daughter. Three days ago, I left Sydney, and came to the Hawkesbury,
where I had learned that my husband was in command of a detachment of
troops at the Green Hills. With the last of my money I have obtained
a lodging at the house of Thomas Barker, on the western side of the
river to Richmond Hill. It is my intention to seek my husband out, and
make another appeal to him. Surely the sight of the darling child will
soften his heart. I pray God that it may. This I have written at Thomas
Barker's house, in case my premonition of death may come true. The date
of the writing is the 17th of March, 1806. O, be good to my girlie!"


Mr. Marsden laid the paper on the table when he had finished reading
it, and stood up. For a moment or two he said nothing. Then he banged
his great fist on the table, so that the dishes and mugs jumped and
rattled, and roared out in a bellow of rage:

"The d----d scoundrel!"

He began to walk heavily up and down the little room, Mrs. Garledge
crying softly, and regarding his black anger with not a little awe. In
a few moments he sat down, composing himself with difficulty.

"Listen to me, Mrs. Joe," he said. "Sit ye down and listen to me."




CHAPTER IV.--THE SECRET.

"I KNOW this Mr. William Crossthwaite," said the Chaplain. "I have
known him ever since he has been in the Colony, and though he has
prospered, 'tis little enough of good that I have ever known of
him--either as to the kind of man he is, or as to what he has done. He
is Captain Crossthwaite of----"

"Of Prospect Hill," said Mrs. Garledge, nodding her head.

"Exactly. Of Prospect Hill, near Parramatta--land owner, and Magistrate
of the Territory. I know him, Oh, I know him. A d----d bad man, ma'am,
a d----d bad man, Mrs. Joe." Mr. Marsden shook his head vigorously,
and pursed up his lips, "And so he--so this sinner--is little Sally's
father. Well, well--'tis a strange world."

"Aye--so it is, passon, so it is," Mrs. Garledge agreed with him. "To
think that th' lil maid's own father--and an' unnat'ral one though
he be--lives scarce a dozen miles away from her! And I'll make bold
to say, zur, that he's never so much as troubled his head about what
became of his poor wife--that he knows not, and doesn't care, whether
she be alive or dead this blessed minute."

"Yes, that would be William Crossthwaite's way, Mrs. Joe. He is a
selfish, hard-hearted man. A libertine, a man of sin. I could name
you half a dozen poor girls who have passed through the Factory at
Parramatta, who might lay their ruin at his door. To-day, he lives
in flaunting sin with a wanton creature who was transported hither
for murder--murder, no less. One who was little better than a London
prostitute. She poisoned her father to inherit some small competence he
had, but was found out, and only escaped the felon's death by reason,
so 'tis said, that the Prince Regent had had some traffic with her.
A fine creature! A daughter of the Devil, ma'am, a daughter of the
devil." He paused for a moment, and, with knitted brows, stared at the
floor while he considered the strange affair. Then he banged his fist
again upon the table and roared out:

"By Heaven, though, I'll see to it that he acknowledges his own child.
I'll see there's justice done--even if I have to take the tale to
Governor Macquarie himself. I do not like His Excellency, and I know
he doesn't like me; but he's a just man, and he'll see that the little
maiden has her rights. He has dealt with other men who were no better
than Captain Crossthwaite, and has put them in their places. Damme, he
can do no less by this monster, and I'll engage he will, or my name's
not Sam Marsden."

Mrs. Garledge raised her open hand in a gesture of negation, and shook
her head.

"No, no, Mr. Marsden, zur," she cried. "No, no. Ye must do nothing of
the sort. I beg of you. Nothing of the kind."

The Chaplain stared at her in amazement. He was not used to having
his plans disputed. As a law-giver, Mr. Marsden looked upon himself
as being endowed with a certain measure of infallibility. That Mrs.
Garledge should so far presume as to question his judgment was an
extraordinary thing--a thing not to be believed, far less tolerated.

"Tut, tut, my good woman. You are beside yourself. But, why, Mrs. Joe,"
he asked her indulgently, "why do you speak such nonsense?"

"'Tes not nonsense, y'r honor--'tes th' solemn truth. Think of it this
way. My Joe do be main wrapped up in th' lil maid---be so fond of her
as though she were his own darter. 'Tes God's will," she sighed, "that
him an' me be childless. A sore affliction 'tes to both of we. But he
do love th' girlie so dearly as I don't know how to say. If 'twas to
come to Joe's knowledge, th' cruel injury that Mr. Crossthwaite done
to his child, and to her mother, there's naught could hold him back.
You don't know my man's sperrit--th' bitter temper of him. Him so
quiet, an' so kind an' gentle, ye'd not believe it. But do him or his
a wrong, an' unjust thing, a wicked thing--an' Joe do be nothing else
but a ragin' mad bull. Why," she half whispered, "if so be as he was to
learn this thing that's known but to you an' me, I'd not answer for Mr.
Crossthwaite's life!"

"Hush, hush, my good Mrs. Joe--you must not say such things. Bad as the
man is, and evil as he has done, and does--if your good man were to
do him an injury he would suffer for it. He might hang for it. Do not
think of such things."

"An' that's just what I be sayin', passon. We must not think of letting
Joe know anything of this matter. Leastways, not yet awhile. Maybe,
someday 't might be safe to tell him. When Sally's a grown woman,
p'raps, an' Joe's an older man, an' not so fiery in his sperrits. Maybe
then he might be told. But not now, Mr. Marsden--not now! 'Tes too
dangerous."

"But for the child's sake?" said the Chaplain, doubtfully.

"Aye--an' for th' lil maid's sake, 'tes best let things be. Me an' Joe,
we be simple folk, but we be honest. I ask ye, Mr. Marsden, where d'ye
think she has th' best chance of growin' up into a good woman--here
with us, or at Prospect Hill, with that bad man and his trulls? He's
rich, is Mr. Crossthwaite--or so 'tes said--an' like to be richer. But
what would it be to Sally if she 'herited all he has an' lost herself,
body an' soul, in that devil's kitchen he keeps over yonder? Would me
an' Joe forgive ourselves, if we let it come about? Would you forgive
yourself, I ask ye, passon? No--we must keep close mouths, zur, you an'
me, for th' time, 't any rate. But I'm main glad I've got ye to share
my secret, zur. I be main glad o' that. 'Tes a weight from my mind."

For a long time Mr. Marsden said nothing, but sat frowning at the
floor, tapping his right boot on the boards, and seeming to puzzle
mightily over the question. Mrs. Garledge sat and looked at him--an
anxious pucker in her smooth forehead, and her mouth firmly closed,
as though with a strong determination not to yield her point of the
necessity of secrecy. The sun made a broad band of light across the
table, shining in through the open door. Suddenly the Chaplain seemed
to notice it, and to be reminded of the lapse of time, and of his
business in Windsor. He rose to his feet, and picked up his riding whip
from the table.

"Well, well, Mrs. Joe," he said, "we must think about it--you and I.
Mayhap 'tis as you say--better to keep the affair to ourselves for a
while, at any rate. One thing I can do, though, that will do no one
harm. I can write to the Rector of that Parish church in Surrey--Saint
What's-its-name?"

"St. Agnes, at Hawley, passon," murmured Mrs. Joe.

"Yes, yes--St. Agnes. Write to him and ask for a copy of the register.
That will do no harm, and 'twill remove any possible doubt as to the
poor woman's having been deceived as to the validity of her marriage
with this scoundrel Crossthwaite. I'll do that. I'll do it at once,
when I return to Parramatta. The Lord Clive sails for England next
week, and we ought to have the answer from Hawley in the twelve months.
I'll write--yes. But Lord, Lord--Mrs. Joe--I must be pressing on. I've
become so interested in little Sally's business, I've forgotten my own.
I must spin along, if I am to take my seat on the bench at 11 o'clock!
Will you ask the Prophet for my horse, Mrs. Joe? I must be moving and
thank you kindly for your good breakfast. I'm a new man."

"'Tes nothing, y'r Honor. Will you not call in to supper as you return
to-night? Joe will be back by then, an' he'd dearly like to see ye, an'
have a talk. 'Tes a moonlight night for the rest of your ride home.
Maybe ye'd stay th' night with us?" added the hospitable creature, as
an after thought.

"Thankye, thankye, Mrs. Joe. I'll call for supper, and obliged to ye.
About seven, eh? 'Twill be a heavy day at the Court House, and I doubt
whether we'll finish before six o'clock. I'll be glad to spend an hour
or so with you and your good man. We'll see about the night then.
Good-bye for the present. Yes--we must keep our secret. I can see the
force of your argument now. Good-bye."

The Chaplain rode away through the sunny forenoon to attend to his
magisterial duties in Windsor. When he dismounted again at the
Garledge's door, he had seen to the flogging of fifteen delinquents,
had committed two men for trial on capital charges, had ordered
the return of five disorderly female prisoners to the Factory at
Parramatta, and was a weary and tired man when Joe Garledge took his
bridle reins from his hand at the front gate and gave him hearty
welcome.

"'Tes raight glad I be to see 'ee, zur. Come along in. Th' missus has
supper waitin' ye this half an hour. A long day at th' Court, passon,
ye'll have been having, eh?"

"Yes, Joe--a heavy day. Fifteen floggings, no less--an' one of 'em, if
I'd made th' laws, should have been a hanging. I'm tired and hungry,
and since your good wife invited me this morning, I think I'll stay the
night with you. I'm too weary to ride back to Parramatta to-night. An
early start in the morning will do as well."

"To be sure, passon. We'm raight glad to have ye wi' us. Do ye go along
in, whiles I stable th' horse, and give 'un a bite of corn an' hay.
I'll be with 'ee soon."

Garledge--a fine figure of a man, tall, and broad shouldered,
and muscular, with red hair and blue eyes, and a handsome stead
fast-looking, clean-shaven face--led the horse round to the stable,
whilst Mr. Marsden opened the garden gate, and walked up the path.

Little Sally met him in the doorway, and held up her face for a kiss.

"Ah, 'tis good to see ye, Sally, my dear," said the Chaplain, stooping
to kiss her. "'Tis good reward after a day of sorrow. Well, Mrs. Joe,
I've come back to ye, and I'll rest here to-night, as you were so good
as to invite me. I'm a weary, tired man."

"Ye're very welcome, passon." She dropped her voice to a whisper.
"Remember--Joe must not know. Ah, me," she spoke aloud again--"Sech
a thing he's up to, ye'd not believe, Mr. Marsden--sech temptin' of
Providence I never did hear tell of! 'Twill 'maze ye, when ye hear of
it. 'Tes unbelievable. An' Mr. Blaxland, who's said to have a level
head, too! I never did--I never did!"

Joe entered with a laugh, having overheard his wife's lament.

"Fall to, Mr. Marsden, zur--fall to. No doubt ye're peckish." They
seated themselves at table, and the Chaplain said grace. Mrs. Joe had
excelled herself in the preparation of a tasty supper, in which a fat
roast turkey was the principal item.

When he had blunted the edge of his appetite--after his second
helping--Mr. Marsden turned to Joe Garledge, inquiring--"And what's
this I hear from your good wife, Joe? She seems to be under an
impression that you've taken leave of your senses, and that you and Mr.
Blaxland are contemplating going mad together. Let us hear what it is."

Mrs. Garledge took the answer out of Joe's mouth.

"'Tes th' maddest thing was ever thought of," she broke in. "Th'
craziest thing! Why, passon, they've put their heads together, an' have
made up their minds for to try to cross over th' Blue Mountains, for to
see what lies beyond. The idea of it! They're fair crazy, say I."

"What, Joe? What's this! Cross the Blue Mountains! Why, man, 'tis
impossible. It has been tried half a score of times since the Colony
was founded--to say nothing of the many attempts that runaway prisoners
have made, in their wild notion of finding a road to China. Those
ranges across the river are insurmountable. Mr. Bass--a man not easily
daunted--he was turned back. M. Barralier, the Frenchman--they were
too much for him. And Mr. Cayley. Surely ye're not in earnest over it.
Who's plan is it? Who means to make this mad attempt?"

Mr. Marsden spoke as though it had been proposed to go to the moon. Joe
Garledge laughed good humouredly, before he answered.

"Not so mad, zur--not so mad as it may seem. Mr. Blaxland thinks it can
be done, and so do I. It can never be impossible for to cross over dry
land--however hard th' road may be. I believe we'll do it. I do indeed,
zur," he said earnestly.

"And who are to form the party?"

"Mr. Blaxland, young Mr. William Wentworth, and Mr. William Lawson--him
that was Commandant at the Coal River. They've made up their minds
to it, and Mr. Blaxland sent for me yesterday to come over to South
Creek, where he did ask me to go with them. A great honor, I call it,
passon--an' one I'd not think of passin' by. I've given my promise to
go, and I mean to. Th' good wife here, says we'm crazy, but 'tes not
so, and in a few days she'll think about it as I think. We'll do it
afoot, leadin' pack horses. Mr. Blaxland have got Mr. Macquarie's leave
to make a trial, an' we're to start in six or seven week's time. Never
fear--we'll cross alright, an' be safe back in a month or two."

"And why do you want to go, Joe Garledge? Are ye not content with this
fine farm ye've got here, and the prosperity that's come to ye? Why
risk losing your life in those wild hills, and leaving Mrs. Joe and
little Sally here to wonder all their lives what may have happened to
ye."

"'Tes a duty, zur, a plain duty. So Mr. Blaxland says, an' so I agree
wi' 'un. What lies beyond must be proved some day. The Colony will grow
too small bye-an-bye, and to them that's got th' health an' strength,
an' courage for to make the attempt--why they should make it. And think
of th' good lands we may discover! If we are successful 'tes certain
sure th' Governor will make us good grants. 'Tes to make my future that
I wish to go, as much as for aught else. Never fear--it is to be done,
and we'll do it. At any rate I'm goin'."

"Well, well," grunted the Chaplain, regarding him wonderingly. "Mayhap
ye will, Joe. Your mind is made up?"

"Iss--oh, sure his mind is made up, Mr. Marsden," smiled Mrs. Joe.
"We can be sartain sure Joe's mind is made up when his mouth sets
that-a-way. Naught I can say, or naught that you can say, will stop
him. He'll go--he'll go, if Hell itself was across th' hills, an' old
Nick waitin' for him wi' his pitchfork!"




CHAPTER V.--CAPTAIN CROSSTHWAITE.

CROSSTHWAITE HALL stood on the high land that lies to the west of where
the great lake-like sheet of water of the Prospect Reservoir stretches
to-day, a few miles out of Parramatta. You will find no trace of the
house now--unless it may be that it is just possible to make out some
indication of the line of its foundations in the grass--and the fine
garden and orchard that surrounded it in 1813 are vanished and gone
likewise. A dairy farmer depastures his cows over the rounded slope of
Crossthwaite's Hill, and all that is left of the place as it stood a
century ago, is one very old, very gnarled, and very distorted English
oak, that is obviously rotting away, and will be gone for ever before
another decade has passed by. It is, to-day, as if all trace and
recollection of Captain William Crossthwaite, of the Corps of Veterans,
and late of His Majesty's Foot Guards, and of the 102nd Regiment, had
been purposely wiped out, and obliterated from the face of the earth.
It is as if the earth had wished to be free of all memory of the man.

It is strange how similar the designs, and how similar the fruition
of the designs, of many of the officers of the early garrison of New
South Wales should have been. With some very honorable exceptions, the
gentlemen who officered that singular regiment, the New South Wales
Corps, were not gentlemen at all. Some, it is true, might claim to be
such by virtue of a descent which they had done much to tarnish. But,
for the most part, they were men who had made other regimental messes
too hot to hold them, or who had scandalised not easily scandalised
garrison towns, or had come into the hands of master-financiers with
Hebrew cognomens. The further side of the Globe was a location that
suited them admirably, was, indeed, little else than a necessary
condition of continued existence. If Sydney was seven months away from
the gates of the Fleet Prison, why, all the greater recommendation for
Sydney. Sydney was just the place for them. And they did their best to
make it into, socially and morally, the sort of place that suited their
charming tastes.

They saw at once that their regimental pay was not going to be their
sole recompense for their exile. Here was a vast new territory that was
No Man's Land--rich, unlimited in its resources, and to be had in large
quantities almost for the mere asking. And it speedily showed itself
to be a place admirably adapted to that species of trading which has
been well named "huckstering." The distance of the new Colony from the
centres of manufacturing was frequently the cause of shortages in one
or other of those commodities which were necessaries of life. Here were
noble opportunities for the creation of "corners" in such much needed
commodities. A man might do well, for instance, in buying up a shipment
of saucepans, or shirtings, or hats, and retailing them at any fancy
figure he pleased, being well assured that such things could not be
manufactured locally, and that it would be many months before any more
of them arrived in Port Jackson. With some amount of good fortune, and
dependent upon the position of the individual, even Government stores
might be utilised to turn a questionable penny. There was a variety of
ways by which a poor but dishonest officer might better his position.
And not the least of these were those which had to do with ministering
to the inherent viciousness of the prison population.

With the prospect of prosperity always before them, it was usual for
the more far seeing of these gentlemen to dream dreams. And the dreams
almost invariably had to do with the foundation of Families. They might
be outcast from their own in the Old World. What matter--they would be
themselves the creators of fresh ones in the New. So they built houses,
and laid out gardens, and established studs, and imagined themselves
to be very much in the way of becoming something analagous to county
magnates at home. You may find the remains of a hundred of these
country seats in the districts of Parramatta, Windsor, Emu Plains, and
the Lower Hunter, but you will find many of them roofless and ruinous,
and, in hardly any will the name of the present tenant be the name of
the tenant of a hundred years ago.

Captain William Crossthwaite, of Crossthwaite Hall, near Prospect
Hill, was a very typical example of these gentlemen--and the present
condition of his manor is very similar to the condition of many another
of the same ill-begotten sort. But in the year of our Lord one thousand
eight hundred and thirteen, this was not a contingency that gave any
exercise to the mental processes of Captain William Crossthwaite.

It is unfortunate that our introduction to him should take place
upon an occasion when he does not appear in a light that is either
creditable to himself, or to the undoubtedly very handsome lady who
presided over his establishment, and whom his convict servants--with
their tongues in their cheeks--were always careful to address as "Mrs.
Crossthwaite."

In front of the house--a stoutly built one of stone, with an upper
storey, and a wide verandah running round three sides of it--a well
kept garden extended down the slope. In it was walking this sunny
morning a very elegant lady, very becomingly dressed, of a good figure
and graceful carriage, and undeniable beauty of feature. It is no
exaggeration to say that Fanny Martin, at the age of thirty, was one of
the handsomest women in all Australia. Indeed, you might have searched
Pall Mall, for an hour or more, before you would find a handsomer.

Not too busily engaged in rooting weeds out of a pathway, as he
squatted on his hams, was a very hideous old man, clad in old and
tattered convict clothing. The lady, holding a silk sunshade over her
shoulders, sauntered down towards him. As she approached, the old man
looked up, and scowled at her, spat on the ground in a contemptuous
fashion, and went on with his work, taking not the slightest notice
of the lady or her elegance. He muttered a filthy curse to himself as
she drew nigh to him--but she did not hear this--and the absence of
any form of salute on the prisoner's part caused a look that was a
combination of sneer and malevolence to harden her beautiful face. She
stopped a yard or two from him, and looked down at his back, which he
had swung towards her as she approached.

"O'Neill!" she said sharply. "O'Neill!"

No answer. The old man went on tearing up his weeds with a rusty dinner
knife. The lady prepared for action by closing her sunshade. She took a
step towards the convict, and prodded him, not very gently, in the back.

Instantly, he spun round on his heels, and crouched, glaring up at
her from under the frayed brim of his hat, all the hate and contempt
that it was possible to convey in the black scowl that distorted his
wrinkled features. He was strangely like a baboon.

"Well?" he grunted, "what is it now?"

"Stand up, you old devil!" imperiously commanded the lady.

The old man shuffled to his full height, which was only some five and a
half feet, and stood sulkily facing her. She was tall, for a woman, and
still looked down on him. Smiling sneeringly, she said to him:

"Don't you know what to do when a lady addresses you, O'Neill. I had
thought that the flogger had taught you better manners. Don't you know?"

"Sure, thin, I do," he answered hoarsely, "whin a lady does be
addressin' me."

"Well, why don't you do it, then, my good man? Must you be sent into
Parramatta, to the magistrates, to learn your lesson again! Why do you
not remove your hat?"

With the quick wit of his race, the old man's answer came, sharp and
terse:

"I ain't bin addressed by a lady!"

"O'Neill!"

"Aw--rt' hell wid ye, ye trollope! Ye're no better thin what I
am--ye're but a lag y'silf, th' same as me. T' hell wid ye!"

The lady went white with rage, and lifted her sunshade as if to strike
him with it. With a quick grab, he snatched it from her, broke it
across his knee, and threw the silken ruin on to a flower bed. And that
was the end of his mutiny.

Captain William Crossthwaite had come on to the verandah, unobserved
by either of them, just in time to witness the old man's outburst. He
sprang into the garden, ran quickly down the few yards of pathway that
lay between, and drove his fist with a curse into his face. The convict
crumpled up, and lay in a heap in the path. Captain Crossthwaite kicked
him savagely in the body, and turned to the lady.

"Damme--'tis that old carrion again, Fanny. We'll have him skinned
alive for this."

"Thank you, Will, dear," she simpered, smiling at him. "La--I declare
you are always at hand to protect me! So opportune. The baseness of
these creatures passes all belief."

She held out her hand to him, and Captain Crossthwaite very gallantly
took the shapely member by the finger tips, delicately, and kissed it.

"Such cattle!" she murmured, smiling. "Positively--such cattle."

"I shall send him in to the Bench this afternoon. Damme, he shall have
five-hundred for this!" He glared at the inert, heap of rags and bones.

Giving his arm ceremoniously to the beautiful lady, Captain
Crossthwaite escorted her to the verandah. The old man lay unconscious
in the garden, with a broken jaw and a broken rib. At the door of the
house the lady turned to look at him, and was convulsed with merriment.

"La--Will," she laughed in a silvery tone, "you are so quick! And so
strong--so very strong, I declare! Just look at the fellow! 'Tis very
amusing. You may kiss me, William. My brave deliverer!"

It was breakfast time, and they seated themselves at table in a room
that opened into the verandah. Captain Crossthwaite's butler--a real
butler, from a ducal establishment, who had come to New South Wales
because of horse racing, silver spoons, and a pawn shop in Covent
Garden--waited on them, with that tacit skill of anticipation which is
the distinguishing accomplishment of the good butler. A silent, swift,
and dexterous man was Thomas Hardy, and nearly as great a scoundrel as
his present master.

"Hardy," said Captain Crossthwaite, "after breakfast, send two men
down into the garden, and have them carry indoors that old blackguard
O'Neill. Lock him up. I am sending him into Parramatta to the
Magistrates this afternoon. I was obliged to knock him down, and he is
unconscious. He attempted to assault Mrs. Crossthwaite."

"Yessir," answered the butler, uninterestedly and decorously, and went
on handing dishes.

"My love," said the master of the house, "I am going to Sydney
to-morrow. Business. Is there anything----"

She interrupted him eagerly.

"Oh--take me with you, Will. I do so want to go. You will take me,
won't you?"

He paused, and shook his head. A handsome man was Captain
Crossthwaite--in his own unpleasing way. Tall, well-built, athletic,
not more than thirty-five, he was one who would have attracted
attention anywhere. But his frown seemed to darken his somewhat swarthy
countenance, and, in an indescribable way, to write up a sign that
indicated the kind of man that dwelt behind the regular features with
the dark eyes on which it was written.

"No--I cannot do that. Not this time, at any rate. I have to call upon
His Excellency--over a certain matter--and I shall only remain a day,
and ride back here on the following one. Perhaps another time."

Fanny threw herself back in her chair, and looked at him petulantly.
Something of the same hardness came into her beautiful face that had
come into it when the old convict had insulted her in the garden. He
saw it, and his face hardened also. She said nothing for the moment.
With her fork, she scored little patterns of curved lines in the snowy
tablecloth.

"I do not want to go particularly," he went on. "But there is an
appointment going begging that I rather fancy would suit me very
well--that might turn out to be a rather profitable one. It would fit
in very well with the accomplishment of one or two designs of mine, if
the Governor were to nominate me for it."

"What is it?" she asked.

"Naval Officer of the port. I would have the supervision of the
shipping--and such supervision would prove vastly useful to me, with
respect to cargoes of certain--well, forbidden things that would be
immensely profitable if they could only be brought into the colony."

"But you would need to live in Sydney to carry out your duties?"

"Yes. But it would be twelve months before the appointment would be
filled."

"And to live with me in Sydney--it would be necessary to marry me,
wouldn't it?"

She leaned forward, and looked across the table eagerly into his
frowning eyes.

And then the man's brutality--never very much below the surface--showed
itself unmistakably. He smiled as he spoke.

"Listen!" he said. "You forget. You are a prisoner of the Crown--and
my assigned servant. You have not even a conditional pardon. You are
here as my--housekeeper. A man does not marry his housekeeper. It is
not done. It is not good form. More especially when she is his assigned
servant--and," he added cruelly, "when she is his mistress. No, Fanny,
my love, we will do very well as we are. We will not discuss marriage."

"You devil!" she hissed at him, as she rose, and swept from the room
with crimson cheeks.

He laughed as she went, and turned to his butler, who had come in in
his noiseless fashion by another door, and evidently wished to speak to
him.

"Well, Hardy?"

"If you please, y'r honor, O'Neill's gone. The cowboy saw him making
into the bush."

"Gone, is he! Well, d----n you, have him brought back. He can't have
gone far. Send after him."

"Yes, y'r honor."

As he left the room, he murmured gently to himself, so that his master
could not hear.

"He'll come back--and for you, ye swine! Ye drove a nail into your
coffin with your fist, my boy. He'll come back--but 'twill be a bad
moment for you. Captain Crossthwaite."

And Mr. Hardy set himself, painstakingly, not to capture the
absconder, Daniel O'Neill, per ship Hereford.




CHAPTER VI.--THE BUSHRANGERS.

THE butler Hardy had seen the whole affair between Fanny Martin and the
old convict O'Neill in the garden before breakfast. He had seen, too,
the smashing blow with which Captain Crossthwaite had laid the old man
out. Mainly because he hated his master, rather than from any feeling
of sympathy and pity for old Danny, he had whispered to his pantryman:

"Take this flask of brandy, and sneak down into the garden and give
it to old Dan. The cove give 'im a dinnyaiser on th' jaw just now,
an' spread 'im out. Tell 'im for Gawd's sake to clear into th' bush.
Crossthwaite's goin' to' send 'im into Par'matta to be skinned alive.
Tell 'im we'll send 'im some grub later on, if 'e says w'ere 'e'll be.
'Urry now, an' don't let 'em see you from the dinin'-room. Old Dan'd do
best to take to th' bush altogether. We'll not trouble to find 'im."

"Wots 'e done?" asked the man.

"Oh, on'y sauced that----baggage in there, d----n 'er. She 'ad 'im
flogged last week--a 'undred--for not touchin' 'is 'at w'en she went
by. 'E'll do th' both of 'em in for this--an' a good job, too."

And so the old man, recovering consciousness after a couple of
mouthfuls of Captain Crossthwaite's best French brandy--specially
selected by Mr. Hardy for his own consumption--had crawled out of the
garden and into the scrub with his broken jaw and his broken ribs, and,
after tying the former up with his grimy neckcloth, and refreshing
himself with several copious pulls at the flask, had started a career
as a bushranger, which was destined to attain to some amount of
notoriety.

Although he was old--he was a "first fleeter"--and had endured
twenty-five years of toil, hardship, and suffering, Danny O'Neill was
still a strong man, with muscles that were like whipcord, a heart of
iron, and nerves of steel. Nor was he really altogether deserving
of the title of "old Danny." He was only fifty. But the unsparing
brutality under which half his life had been lived had silvered his
hair, bent his back, and furrowed his countenance, so that any casual
acquaintance would readily have guessed that he would never again
celebrate his seventy-fifth birthday.

Creeping out of the garden on hands and knees, he quickly gained the
cover of a field of maize, whose tall, dried stalks afforded him ample
shelter and concealment from the house. Beyond the cornfield lay the
virgin bush, which stretched away to the Hawkesbury to the west and
north, and to Port Phillip to the south--only broken here and there by
the infrequent clearings of pioneer settlement. Danny had all Australia
for his city of refuge--and a poor and hard enough refuge it was for
such as he.

His head ached, and his broken jaw throbbed and hurt, whilst every now
and then the rib which Captain Crossthwaite's cruel kick had fractured
caused him a spasm of sharp pain. His back was still unhealed from
the flogging which he had endured the week before. But so scarred and
toughened had his hide become, by reason of the constant flagellation
it had undergone, that the scars were neither so deep nor so numerous
as they would have been on one who had suffered the torture of the
lash for the first time. He thought nothing of his back. It was the
stabbing pain in his side, and the pulsing ache of his head, that drew
occasional outbursts of filthy blasphemy from him.

What a life! What a hell of existence to be atoned for, so the Chaplain
told him, by a fiercer hell in the world to come! Dublin guttersnipe--a
foundling, a bastard--pickpocket, sneak thief, gaolbird, highway
robber, and transported at the age of twenty-four for being supposed to
know more about the death of a watchman than he would admit, or could
be proved against him--he had come to New South Wales with the only
fortune his unknown parents had bestowed upon him--vigorous, healthy
manhood. And, for a quarter of a century, his gaolers had striven to
beat the manhood out of him. In part they had succeeded. The "System"
had made him into something only a little better, and sometimes
a little lower, than a beast. But the foundations of his manhood
remained--his fierce, indomitable spirit, his obstinate refusal to
admit decrepitude and servility into the list of his characteristics.
They had bent him and bled him, but they had not broken him.

He was doing to day what he had done before, half a dozen times. From
Castle Hill he had run away, from Sydney, from the Green Hills, from
the Coal River, from the Derwent settlement in Van Diemen's Land--even
in tiny Norfolk Island he had snatched a few weeks, or a few days, of
dearly-to-be-paid-for liberty, that were but interludes of miserable
starvation, and cruelly hunted, incessantly harried freedom from the
gaol gang, the goads of the overseers, and the terror of the triangles.
Of late years, a sort of sullen acquiescence in things had earned,
partly on account of his appearance of senility, the privilege of
assignment of his labour, instead of its employment in gaol-gangs,
road-gangs, and iron-gangs. He was cunning enough to trade upon his
appearance, and at Crossthwaite Hall--not from pity, but because he
did not appear to be physically capable of harder toil--he had been
set to work in the comparatively easy office of gardener's assistant.
But there he had been twice flogged for insolence--on both occasions
offered--or supposed to have been offered to "Mrs." Crossthwaite. For
this last offence he knew well that he would not only have been almost,
if not altogether, lashed to the point of death, but also, failing his
demise under the cat-o'-nine-tails, would have been returned to the
gaol-gang for the rest of his days. To escape that, and with a vaguely
bitter desire for some hideous revenge, he dragged his aching body
through the bush to-day, determined on death rather than recapture.

Through the hot noon, and during the afternoon he pushed on through the
thickly-timbered country, faint from hunger, but a little sustained by
the flask which Hardy had sent out to him. He dragged his weary body
along the tall arcades of blue gums, resting sometimes for half-an-hour
or so by the banks of little forest streams. Carefully avoiding
occasional clearings round settlers' huts, he made his way steadily
towards the north-west, guiding himself by the declining sun, and by
the time it was close to the crest of the ranges in the west, he had
put a good ten miles between himself and Crossthwaite Hall. Just at
sunset, he came suddenly upon a little camp of blacks, squatting round
their tiny fire, beside a scanty shelter of boughs that were only a
break-wind. There was a man and two gins--one an old woman, and the
other young, and not so ill-looking. Two piccaninnies played with a
couple of mongrel dogs. They were broiling a scrub wallaby, hair and
all, as the convict came upon them.

The man jumped to his feet at the growl of the dogs, and picking up a
spear from the ground, threatened the white man with it. The old woman
set up a shrill screaming, but the young one only crouched by the fire
and watched.

Danny held up both hands to the big blackfellow to show that he was
unarmed, pointed to his bandaged face, rubbed his lean belly, and
groaned--in a pantomimic effort to convey to them the fact that he was
helpless, hungry and hurt. It was not without its effect. The black
lowered his lance, and stared at the newcomer.

"Where you belong?" he asked him, in good enough English.

"Belong Misser Crossthwaite--bin run away 'longa bush," explained Danny.

"Huh--baal budgeree that pfeller Cross'waite," grunted the native.
"D----n bad pfeller that one. Him be do dat?" pointing to Danny's face.

Danny nodded, and squatted down. The blackfellow dropped his spear in
the grass, and also squatted. He tore with his fingers some half raw
meat from the smoking wallaby, and offered it to Danny. The latter took
it, rent it into as small fragments as he could, and swallowed them
whole. He could not chew the meat, but knew that his iron digestive
apparatus would assimilate it well enough.

When he had stuffed a pound or so into himself--while the blacks gorged
themselves greedily--he asked the native a question.

"You bin know Barky Jack?"

The blackfellow nodded.

"Where Barky Jack belong now?"

His host waved his arm towards the crimson west.

"Close up this place?"

"Close up."

The black nodded vigorously.

"S'pose you show me--Jack bin give 'em plenty flour, sugar, baccy. You
bin show this pfeller?"

"Yes--me bin show 'em. Plenty big pfeller feed--plour, tsugar--plenty
baccy?"

"My word--big feller feed--rum."

The native jumped up, and, without picking up his spear, signed to
Danny to follow him. The convict hobbled after, and in ten minutes or
so they came to the bank of a steep creek, densely wooded over, and
almost hidden in vines and creepers that climbed amongst the roofing
branches. There was a smell of smoke, and the gleam of a fire shone up
from the creek-bed.

"Jacky!" cried the black.

"Hello!" roared a great voice. "That you Boolong?"

"Pfeller lookin' for you, Jacky. All same convic'--run away,
Cross'waite."

"D----n his soul! Come down, then. Any one's welcome to me that's run
off from that swine. Come down."

The black led the way, and presently they were in the creek-bed. It was
a tiny rivulet, and on the other side, in a wide, open cave, formed by
a projecting ledge of rock, two men were seated beside a bright fire.
Leaning against its walls were two muskets, and a plentiful supply of
stores littered the floor of the cave.

One of these men was a huge creature, a black-bearded giant with a
shaggy mane of hair, who reclined, smoking, against the back of the
cave. The other--a weedy, wizen-faced, sharp-featured little man who
looked, and was, the typical Cockney pickpocket, was attending to
a bubbling pot which stood on stones in the midst of the fire, and
diffused a savoury steam of stewing meats.

"By thunder," cried the big man, "'tis old Danny! What brings you here,
Danny, and how'd ye come across Boolong? Have ye tired of y'r new
mistress--or did th' Captain send ye out to ask us in to supper? An'
who's been trying to kill ye? Look at him, Peter--he's a sight for sore
eyes, ain't he?"

The man at the fire stood up and peered into Danny's muffled face.

"Vell," he said, "the old covey do look a bit chipped! Wot hails ye, me
bold Daniel? Ye ain't no better lookin' than ye was in th' hisland. Sit
down, cully, sit ye down."

Danny stretched himself on the rocky floor beside the fire. Boolong
crouched near him. The Irishman mumbled his story.

"And thin he gits this trollope, Fanny Martin. 'Missus Crossthwaite'
she's called--but she's no more his missus than me. Twice she's had me
flogged f'r ins'lence f'r not touchin' me hat to her ladyship when she
do be comin' prinkin' t'rough th' garden. Th' first time 'twas fifty.
Last, week 'twas a hundred. An' this mornin' she comes after me again.
She goes for to strike me wid her umbrelly, whin I tells her she ain't
a lady, an' some more besides, an' I pulls it out of her hand and
smashes it, and Black Billy comes tearin' down, an' hits me in th' jaw.
Th' swine must have kicked me--for me rib's broke. W'en I comes to,
young Jimmy Carmody is stoopin' over me wid a flask of brandy. He's bin
sent down be Hardy, th' butler, to tell me to clear out. Crossthwaite's
goin' to' sind me in to Par'matta for more flogging. I knew ye was
hereabouts somewhere, Barky--so I was a-lookin' fer ye. Be charnce I
meets wid Boolong here. An' here I am? Will ye not give him some flour,
an' sugar an' baccy. Mebbe a drop of rum. For I'll be useful to ye,
Barky. Ye know that. And betune us we will do for Crossthwaite, an'
his----missus. I know ye're lovin' him no better nor what I do. By
G----, we'll make him pay!"

"Amen to that," grunted the big man. "Ye're right welcome, Danny. We're
lying low for a while. 'Twill give ye a chance to mend. Is y'r face
hurt bad?"

"'Tis bruk--th' jaw of me. Bad luck t' th' ---- that done it."

"Give the nigger a drink, Peter, and some flour, and sugar, and baccy.
Boolong, you keep 'em good look out, ye black scum."

"My oat', Barky--me look out alright. You no be prightened. Me look out
well."

Peter Collier, the Cockney, served out a liberal supply of the luxuries
mentioned, and the black disappeared in the darkness, as silently as a
shadow melting into deeper shades.

The big man filled a pannikin with rum from a little keg, took a deep
swig, and passed it on to O'Neill.

"T' Hell," he roared, "t' Hell with all th' world--except ourselves.
An' deep Hell to Billy Crossthwaite! Drink hearty, Danny."




CHATTER VII.--GOVERNOR MACQUARIE.

AT ten o'clock in the morning Captain Crossthwaite, dressed in his
uniform as an officer of the Corps of Veterans--that independable
reserve which had been formed out of those officers and men of the Rum
Corps who wished to remain in the colony when it had been relieved
by the 73rd, after the readjustment of the Bligh rebellion--walked
across the bridge over the Tank Stream, and up the hill to Government
House. He had driven in from Prospect the day before, and had sent a
note to Mr. Campbell, the Secretary, requesting an interview with His
Excellency for the following morning. An answer had been received by
him as he breakfasted at his lodging in Sydney, announcing, through
Mr. Secretary Campbell, the Governor's gracious willingness to give
audience to Captain Crossthwaite at ten-thirty. So, knowing punctuality
to be one of Major-General Macquarie's firmest principles, he presented
himself at the big cottage on the hillside with an ample margin of time
to spare.

Sydney, in 1813, was a quaint village, but just blossoming into the
status of a town--as it had budded from a camp into a village. Its
crooked streets were beginning to take on the shape that they have
to-day. Macquarie had found the place in a condition of disarray that
did not accord with his orderly ideas of neatness and system, and had
thrown himself with great enthusiasm into the task of setting it in
order. He had divided it up into police districts, and had set himself
to straightening out, as far as possible, the tortuous tracks which
had done but indifferent duty as streets during the Governments of his
four predecessors--Phillip, Hunter, King, and Bligh. At the cost of
some hardship to individuals who had "squatted" as they thought fit
along the valley of the Tank Stream, and whom he found it necessary
to evict from their holdings in many instances, he had arranged the
highways on as rectangular a plan as possible. Those who could show
some title to the sites where their dwellings or business places stood
were compensated by grants elsewhere, and, as a rule, made very good
bargains for themselves. Even some who had no earthly right to their
positions found themselves better off by the rearrangement. A few, who
displayed contumacious resentment of the tidying up, were very speedily
ejected, and given to understand, in no unmistakable fashion, that
to incur the Governor's displeasure was not a trifling matter by any
means, either in the present or in the hereafter.

The thoroughfares of Sydney are crooked, and narrow, and irregular
enough even now--but had it not been for Macquarie, that part of it,
at least, which constitutes its main business centre, would have
been as curious a network of diagonal lanes, and crooked alley ways
and passages, as are to be found in London within a half-mile radius
of the Bank of England. Had he had the services at his disposal of
Mr. Surveyor Hoddle, who laid out Melbourne--and, incidentally, on
a similar plan, Grafton in New South Wales--there is no doubt that
present day Sydney would have been, with its unrivalled situation, a
perfect model for the City Beautiful.

In those days Sydney Cove extended far into the town. Government House,
standing on the south-western corner of Phillip and Bridge Streets, or
thereabouts, looked down on the blue waters of the little bay which
sheltered the scanty shipping of the new settlement. On the western
side they ran well up to where Bridge and Pitt Streets intersect
to-day. Along the valley, white and yellow in the sunlight, and with
dark-brown, shingled roofs, the little dwellings of the citizens of the
twenty-five year old metropolis of Australia clustered and straggled.
Up on the 'Rocks' were some more pretentious dwellings--for the most
part occupied by military and civil officials, and a few of the
merchant class, who were beginning to find a footing in Sydney.

The 'Rocks' was the fashionable quarter of the town in '13.
Woolloomooloo was a farming and dairying district. Brickfield Hill
was an arid expanse of clay pits. Darling Harbour was Cockle Ray, and
an excellent fishing ground, along whose shores grew geebungs and
five-corners. The Island of Mattewai in the main stream, where Fort
Denison was built in the 'Fifties--the Pinchgut of the convicts--was
a little wooded islet, standing perhaps a little higher than the top
of the martello tower of the old fort. Not so long before, it had been
ornamented by a gibbet. The North Shore was a range of forest clad
hills, such as you may see in Broken Bay to-day.

This was Sydney, as Captain Crossthwaite saw it, pausing a moment on
the gravel drive before Government House, ere he made his presence
known to the Governor's Secretary.

An orderly met him at the door, and took his card into Mr. Campbell.
Presently he returned with that gentleman's compliments, and would
Captain Crossthwaite be so good as to step into the Secretary's office?

Mr. John Thomas Campbell, Secretary to His Excellency Major-General
Lachlan Macquarie, C.B., Captain-General and Governor-in-Chief in
and over His Majesty's Territory of New South Wales, was a dry,
precise, and extremely canny Scot, who was not wanting in a sense of
somewhat saturnine humour. He rose to his feet and bowed, as Captain
Crossthwaite entered the room.

"Good morning to ye, Captain Crossthwaite," he said. "Pray be seated. I
hope I see you well. His Excellency will no be many minutes."

"Very well, thank you, Mr. Campbell," replied Captain Crossthwaite
returning the other's polite salute, and seating himself upon the chair
to which the Secretary had pointed. He was a little nervous--a state of
feeling which was not unknown to many who had been of the anti-Bligh
faction in the rebellion of 1808, when they were due to meet Bligh's
successor. He was not alone, by any means, in his sense of being under
observation, and tolerance-on-good-behaviour.

"And might I make so bold as to enquire the nature of your business
with His Excellency, Captain Crossthwaite?" insinuatingly ventured the
Secretary, rubbing the palms of his hands together, as he leaned his
elbows upon the writing table at which he had reseated himself. "It may
save time, ye ken, if ye will explain it to me."

Captain Crossthwaite stiffened.

"I beg that you will excuse me, Mr. Campbell," he said coldly--"The
affair which brings me here this morning is one for His Excellency's
ears alone. I hope you will pardon me."

"Oh, sairtainly--sairtainly," smiled Mr. Campbell, with bland
affability. "The Governor's no' in a very good humour the morn--I fear
ye may find him a little bit deeficult to-day. A little short, perhaps.
I just thocht I might give ye a word in season. A little bit deeficult,
I think. Yes--a little short, ye ken. However----"

A handbell tinkled in the next room, and the Secretary rose hurriedly,
and went to a door behind him.

"Yes, your Excellency," Captain Crossthwaite heard him answer, as
he held the door ajar. "He's here now. Will ye step in, Captain
Crossthwaite," he turned to the visitor, as he threw the door wide
open, "His Excellency will see ye th' noo."

Captain Crossthwaite rose, and marched stiffly across the
room----obviously ill at ease.

Macquarie sat behind a table that was covered with neatly arranged
papers. He acknowledged his visitor's deferential bow, by a slight
inclination of his head, but did not rise to greet him.

"Will you please be seated, Captain Crossthwaite?" The Governor
indicated a chair, and his visitor sat himself upon it, a little
uneasily. Macquarie 's fine brown eyes gazed at him steadily--gravely,
and a little sternly. His rugged, quaint face was set in lines that
did not seem to Captain Crossthwaite to be either compliant, or with
much possibility in them of a deference to his wishes. It was a face
that could be hard as steel, or kindly and benevolent. There was little
indication in it of a capacity for humour. But there was an insistence
upon the dignity of its owner that was very impressive, and never left
it. Perhaps, had you or I looked into the room that morning, we would
have come to a conclusion that a good man and a bad man faced one
another. We would have had little difficulty in deciding which of the
two was the good man.

"And to what, sir, may I ask, do I owe the honor of this visit?" the
Governor opened the interview.

Captain Crossthwaite cleared his throat nervously. He felt that he
had entered upon a task which was not altogether an easy one to carry
out--the convincing of His Excellency that he was an eminently fit and
proper person to undertake the administration of an important office
under the Government.

"I have learned, your Excellency," he began, "that there is likely to
be a vacancy before long in the position of Naval Officer?" he spoke in
a manner that indicated deferential curiosity.

Macquarie nodded, and waited for him to continue. Captain Crossthwaite
did not find his silence stimulating. He paused for a moment or two,
as if seeking some suitable words in which to phrase his request. The
unwavering brown eyes steadily contemplated his dark countenance.

"Yes?" said Macquarie. "And if so, sir--if so?"

"Well, your Excellency--er--it has occurred to me that I should like
to offer my services to your Excellency, with a view to filling
the position. I--er--thought that perhaps your Excellency might be
disposed to consider my request with--er--with some amount of favour,
in consideration--er--of my previous service in the Guards, and in the
New South Wales Corps--and--er--because of the fact that my efforts as
a colonist in the Territory have not been without some success. May I
venture to hope that your Excellency will be pleased to consider my
suitability to the appointment? I have a very full knowledge of the
business affairs of the Colony, sir."

"Yes, Captain Crossthwaite--quite so. No doubt you have a very full
knowledge of the commercial side of this community. Pray proceed, sir."

"I--er--do not think your Excellency, that I have more to say than that
which has made my request known to you. May I hope for your favourable
consideration?"

Macquarie drummed with his fingers upon the table, and seemed to think
a little before he made his reply. All the time he continued to search
Captain Crossthwaite's countenance with his eyes. His mood seemed to be
reflective, as though he sought to recall some circumstances concerning
his visitor. At length he spoke, harshly, the visitor thought:

"You were in the Guards, Mr. Crossthwaite?"

"Yes, sir. The Coldstreams."

"And you exchanged from the Coldstreams into the New South Wales Corps?"

"Yes, your Excellency."

"Why, Sir--why did you leave the Guards for the 102nd?"

"Well, your Excellency, I was desirous of coming to this new world. I
wished to assist in the development of New South Wales."

"A worthy ambition, Captain Crossthwaite. You left, also, I am told,
because you were heavily in debt. Also, my information goes, because
you had eloped with the daughter of a worthy man--who was formerly a
non-commissioned officer in one of the Household Regiments--who would
have nothing to do with you." The brown eyes had hardened curiously,
and the Governor leaned forward across the table, picked up a quill pen
and pointed the feathered end of it at the somewhat disturbed gentleman
opposite to him.

He went on mercilessly.

"And where is your wife, Captain Crossthwaite?"

"I--I do not know, your Excellency. She abandoned me, soon after
landing in this country."

A look of contempt came into Macquarie's face. He shook the pen at
Captain Crossthwaite.

"No!" he thundered. "You abandoned her,sir--heartlessly, cruelly.
No one knows what has become of her. You made no effort to find her.
She may be alive. Or she may be dead. The fact remains, sir, that you
are living with another woman--a notorious woman--a prisoner of the
Crown. And that you know not, and make no effort to discover the fate
of the woman you have treated so badly. You offer me--as a ground for
preferment in my choice of a gentleman to fill the highly responsible
position of Naval Officer--your record of service in the 102nd. I
am not deceived in that record, sir. You took a leading part in the
deposition by the Corps of my predecessor, Captain Bligh--and that,
notwithstanding the fact that Captain Bligh had very generously--too
generously, I think--given you the grant of land which forms your
estate at Prospect Hill, the basis of your present undeserved
prosperity, sir. You were one of the foremost of the rebels who invaded
this house, and forcibly seized the person of the Governor--the
representative of His Majesty. You have traded and trafficked, sir, in
ways that do you no credit, and which were, and I regret to say still
are, peculiar to many of your brother officers of that most unworthy
regiment to which you were--translated--from the Guards. Your private
life is immoral, sir. You live in open sin with a woman whose record
is only worse than your own, in that she has placed herself within the
clutches of the law. And for what! For murder, sir--murder! Truly, Mr.
Crossthwaite, you have an excellent record to back your application
with! Ah--you are going? Very well, sir. It would have been more decent
in you not to have come. But let me tell you this, sir--that I have my
eye upon you. I have my eye upon you. I am not blind to your mode of
life, sir. Be very careful, Captain Crossthwaite--be very careful. That
is all I have to say, sir. I wish you good morning."

Speechless, Captain Crossthwaite stood upon his feet, and glared at
the Governor. His Excellency glared back at him. There was no kindness
or benevolence in the clear eyes now. They were hostile and angry. He
tinkled his little table bell, and Mr. Campbell appeared at the door.

"Show Captain Crossthwaite out, if you please Mr. Campbell," said His
Excellency.

Captain Crossthwaite was white with passion. His hands trembled, as
he picked up his cap. The paleness of his face seemed to add to its
blackness. Only with an effort did he restrain himself. But those hard
eyes were compelling eyes. He bowed stiffly, said nothing, turned on
his heel, and marched through the door which Mr. Campbell held open for
him.

Mr. Campbell did not speak, as he preceded the visitor down the hall.
But there was something about his face that might have suggested a
smirk. He bowed to Captain Crossthwaite at the door.

"A fine morning, sir," he said mildly, "a lovely morning."

"D----n the morning, sir!" Captain Crossthwaite exploded, hastening
from the house.

Mr. Campbell shook with silent laughter, as he walked back to his
office.




CHAPTER VIII.--THE ATTACK.

STILL raging with impotent fury, Captain Crossthwaite shook the dust
of Sydney from his feet after the mid-day meal, and began his journey
back to Crossthwaite Hall. He vented his wrath with the Governor upon
everyone who was a safe mark for his ill-humor. The landlord of the
inn where he had put up, the waiter, and the groom all had a share of
his evil temper, and some of the roughness of his tongue. Even old
Denis Mulcahy, a one-legged veteran of Aboukir Bay, the keeper of the
toll-bar on the Parramatta Road--a genial character, reputed to be
something of a wit--came in for a volley of abuse for his slowness in
answering the ruffled gentleman's imperious summons to open the way for
him.

"A pretty boy ye are, captain," muttered the old man, as he stooped to
pick up the coin which the scowling traveller had flung at him with a
curse. "A swate chicken! 'Tis in me mind y'r pride'll have a fall one
of these days, me lad. If 'twas mesilf was twinty years of age, an' me
two legs under me, ye'd have come off y'r horse for that."

He supped at James Larra's inn at Parramatta, and continued his journey
to Prospect Hill when the moon rose, about eight o'clock.

The road lay through tall timber, a mere bush track, as indeed most
of the colony's roads were at that time. They were few and incredibly
bad. With the moon behind them, the shadows of horse and rider danced
along in front upon the dusty surface of the dried cart ruts that made
the highway. Even now, hours after the first bitterness of his rebuff
at the Governor's hands, Captain Crossthwaite fumed, and cursed, and
muttered maledictions to himself.

"The d----d pompous old Jack-in-office," he growled to his horse's
ears; "He's evidently been spying out all he can about me--and he
seems to have found a good deal for his trouble. Someone has been
talking to him. Someone who owes me a trifle. Well, I daresay there
are a few--I've never worried myself about making enemies. But I'd
like to know who this one is, confound him! And he knew about Sergeant
Garledge's wench, too. I wonder what became of her. Heavens--that was
a mistake! I was sure the father would come down handsomely. If he
had done so things would have been very different. But for Macquarie
to cast up Fanny Martin at me! I thought that had been kept fairly
discreet. You never can tell, though--convict servants talk. Well,
well--she won't last long. I'll have to send her away, I suppose, and
settle down to real respectability. If I don't make a semblance of
it, I'll have that prying old Scot poking his nose still further into
my affairs. He's got me marked over the Bligh business. Hullo! What's
that?"

A bright glare had come into the sky, seemingly from some large
conflagration that raged two or three miles off in the direction he
was going. The feathery tops of the tall gum trees showed out darkly
against it, and now and again the leaves on their topmost branches
sparkled in the light. He drew in his rein and paused to watch it,
wonderingly.

Suddenly a thought alarmed him.

"Heavens!" he cried, "it might be Crossthwaite Hall. That's about the
position of the place. Great God! What if that infernal Fanny has set
fire to the house, and decamped? She has the temper for it."

He set spurs to his horse and urged him into a sharp canter. The glare
grew brighter as the minutes went by, and presently he could see,
against the glowing belly of a huge column of smoke high in the sky,
sparks and incandescent flotsam of burning fragments that blotted out
the stars. He urged his horse into a gallop.

Within about a mile of the scene of the fire--of whose location he had
now little doubt--a man ran out into a patch of moonlight, and waved
his arms, and shouted to the rider to stop. The latter drew a horse
pistol from his holster as he reined in his mount, and aimed it at the
white face of the bareheaded man, who danced about in front of him.

"Out of the way, you villain--or I'll put a bullet through your head!"
cried the captain.

"Stop, stop--for God's sake, stop, Captain Crossthwaite!" cried the
man, ducking his head, and shielding his face with his bent arm.
"They're after ye--they mean to have your life."

"Who's after me--and what's that fire!" Crossthwaite pressed his
frightened horse forward, still covering the man with the pistol. As
he came close to him the fellow's features showed up plainly in the
moonlight--a fat, sensual, unprepossessing face, and the face of one
who was obviously badly scared.

"Why, I know ye, don't I? You used to work for me at one time, didn't
you?"

"'Tis Casey McGirr, y'r honor, who worked in the saw-pit. For th' love
of heaven, y'r honor, don't go on. They're out to murder you. 'Tis
y'r honor's house they've set afire to--after robbin' it--an' they're
waitin' for ye to come home, as ye left word ye'd do this night.
They've planned for to flog ye to death--I heard 'em do it."

"You heard them! How came you to hear them--and who are they?"

"'Tis Barky Jack--John Williamson, and his gang, y'r honor--an' Danny
O'Neill's with them. There's a dozen or more of them, an' they're
mad, fightin' drunk with y'r honor's wines. 'Tis small mercy they'll
be showing you if they catches y'r honor. Better be makin' back to
Parramatta and gettin' th' sojers out. They won't go far this night.
They're too drunk to go far, an', besides, they 're dead set on
catchin' y'r honor. 'Tis you they want, more than th' loot out of y'r
honor's house."

"How come you to know all this, McGirr? You absconded from my service,
didn't you?"

The man fell to whining and trembling.

"Yes, if y'r honor pleases--I didn't know when I was well off. I was
with Barky Jack in th' bush, y'r honor. I was forced to do it for want
of food--forced to join in with him and his men. If they knew I'd saved
y'r honor, 'tis a dead man I'd be. Fur y'r honor will allow I've but
just saved y'r honor's life."

"Yes, I quite see that, McGirr. You were always a ---- informer when
your own skin was in danger. I believe you saved your own life in
Ireland, didn't you, by turning King's evidence, and helping to hang
your mates? 'Tis your style, isn't it? Well, I don't trust you much,
but there may be truth in what you say this time. Jump up behind me,
and I'll take you back to Parramatta. I'll get the soldiers."

"If you please, y'r honor!"

"Well, what is it? Hurry, man--hurry; we've no time to waste."

"May I wait here for y'r honor an' th' sojers, sir? I'm an
absconder--there's a warrant out for me. If y'r honor will but ask for
me pardon for what I've done for ye this night, I'll serve y'r honor
faithful th' rest of me days."

Captain Crossthwaite laughed contemptuously. Cowering in the moonlight,
McGirr looked the abject creature he was--one who would sell his
brother for his own cowardly ends.

"All right. I owe you the pardon. But you're a poor thing."

He wheeled his horse and spurred furiously back to Parramatta.

"That ought, to serve me a good turn," muttered the renegade, as he
slunk to the roadside, and sat down on a fallen tree-trunk.

Captain Crossthwaite lost no time in getting back to Parramatta. He
stretched his horse to a hand gallop, and raced into the quiet little
town with a rush and a clatter that brought many of its startled
citizen to their open doors, shading guttering candles with their
hands, whilst they stared after the wild rider. At the barrack gates he
flung himself from the saddle, threw the reins to the sentry with an
oath, and ran inside to the officers' quarters.

A company of the 73rd was stationed in the town, and he knew that
its commander was a man prompt in emergency, and well to be depended
upon in such a crisis as this. Captain Mackarness was a dour and
godly Presbyterian--a very typical officer of the old Highland Light
Infantry--but he was a man who was competent and quick in action, and
Crossthwaite was confident that his speedy assistance would be at once
forthcoming.

"D----n lucky it's not the Corps," he muttered. "Its officers would all
be drunk by this time."

He found Mackarness preparing for bed, but his wild knocking on the
door of his cottage brought him, candle in hand, to the verandah. He
did not seem effusively overjoyed when he saw who his visitor was.

"Eh, mon--'tis Captain Crossthwaite, isn't it? What's in the wind now?"

"Bushrangers!" gasped Crossthwaite. "Bushrangers, d----n their souls.
They've attacked my place at Prospect Hill, have pillaged it, and set
fire to it. They are mad drunk, and carousing there, waiting for me to
return. I've been in Sydney all day, and was nearly home, when a man
warned me of what was taking place."

"Tut, tut, Mr. Crossthwaite. The Lord will provide for their souls in
His good time. You want my assistance, and that of my men?"

"Yes, yes, Mackarness. Quickly; we may catch the dogs unexpectedly if
we hurry."

"I'll be with you in a moment--when I've dressed myself. Do ye go
inside. There's whisky on the sideboard; help yourself." He stepped out
on to the verandah. "Ser-r-geant McNab!" he bellowed, and repeated the
call. Presently it was replied to from across the little parade ground.

"Aye, sir, coming," called an answering shout, and presently the
sergeant came running into the candle-light, buttoning his jacket as he
ran. He stood to attention and saluted.

"Sergeant, turn out twenty-five men, in light marching order and fully
armed. Serve out twenty-five rounds of ball cartridge, and a ration of
biscuits to each man. Tell Peterson, my groom, to harness the horses
in the forage cart at once. Be as quick as you can. I want you to come
yourself, and detail two corporals and a drummer. Bring all the sets
of irons we have in the barracks; there may be prisoners. Now, hurry,
sergeant, hurry--'tis ur-r-gent!"

The sergeant saluted and hastened away, whilst his Commanding officer
turned inside, plucking his tasselled night-cap from his head as he
entered the cottage.

"A few minutes, Mr. Crossthwaite, and we're at your service. I'm taking
twenty-five men. Ten of them will proceed to the scene of hostilities
in a light forage cart, and the rest will march to Prospect. We should
soon settle the fellows. I will ride with you. We'll lose no time. In
a few minutes we'll be ready to start. Make yourself comfortable--have
you found the whisky? There it is. Sit ye down--I'll not be long."

Within a quarter of an hour the energetic Scot had inspected his little
contingent, stiffly drawn up on the parade ground, the red jackets,
white cross-belts, and high shakos faintly lit up by a couple of
lanterns. A light, four-wheeled cart, with two horses harnessed to it,
stood close by. Mackarness gave his orders.

"Fall out, ten men on the right, and into the cart wi' ye. Corporal
Clay, you take charge, and take the drummer with you. Sergeant McNab,
I want you to march--at your very best pace short of the double--along
the road to Prospect Hill. 'Tis a good five miles--but ye can do it
in the hour. You'll have Corporal Harness with you. Clay, you will
accompany Captain Crossthwaite and myself--and make the horses keep
up to us. We shall ride at a fast trot. When we have reconnoitred the
ground, sergeant, I will send the drummer back to tell you how to bring
your men up to the scene. Now, we're all ready. Start at once, McNab.
Come along, Crossthwaite--we'll soon give you your revenge upon the
rascals. 'Tis a fine night for our little engagement."

They mounted their horses, and the drummer, provided with an old nag of
which he seemed to stand in considerable awe, rode awkwardly after them
through the gateway.

The glare in the sky had died down somewhat, but was still sufficiently
bright to indicate the objective of the little force.

"No doubt the villains will have burned ye out, Captain Crossthwaite!"
observed Mackarness, as they crossed the high ground to the westward
of Parramatta, "I fear ye'll find little of your place spared to ye.
There's one thing, though, they can't destroy your land."

"D----n them, no. 'Tis one small satisfaction. But there was a good
deal of valuable property in Crossthwaite Hall--not easily to be
replaced on this side of the world. D----n them, I say, d----n them!"

"Captain Crossthwaite, ye'd oblige me greatly by not making use of bad
language. 'Tis of no use, and is offensive to my men--who, I rejoice
exceedingly to say, are mostly earnest men, and pillars of the kirk."

Crossthwaite repressed a contemptuous laugh. If these Highland Light
Infantrymen were such as their commander claimed them to be, they were,
indeed, a new sort of soldier to him. But he remembered that he had
heard some laughing reference or other to Captain Mackarness's company,
which had been nicknamed the Saints. Before the night was over, he was
to learn that the Saints were none the worse soldiers for the holiness
which their leader claimed for them. They could both march and fight.

They proceeded at a fast trot, and the cart kept up with them well.
For the most part, he and his companion rode in silence. They were
not men who were congenial company for one another, in any sense.
The reputation of Captain Crossthwaite was not unknown to Captain
Mackarness, and the latter, though he could find no fault with him
on the score of his promptitude this evening, Crossthwaite mentally
classified as "a Bible-thumping Nonconformist." He, of course, was an
orthodox ornament of the Established Church.

"And is there anyone in your house whom the bushrangers would be likely
to harm, Mr. Crossthwaite?" inquired his companion.

For the first time, in his selfish callousness, Crossthwaite gave a
thought to his mistress.

"By heavens, yes," he exclaimed. "My--my housekeeper, Fanny--Mrs.
Martin. But she is a prisoner. They'll not be likely to hurt her."

"No woman is safe with those ruffians," said Mackarness. "Even the men
might tremble at the thought of falling into the clutches of such wild
beasts. God help her! I hope we will be able to rescue her from them.
But did I hear you speak of Fanny Martin?"

"Yes--she is my housekeeper."

"Oh!"--and Captain Mackarness preserved a discreet silence. He knew all
about the notorious Fanny Martin.




CHAPTER IX.--HELD BY THE BUSHRANGERS.

IT was a great day for the Currency Lass, as Mr. Marsden insisted upon
calling her, for, with Joe and her foster mother, she made glorious
holiday in Parramatta. This was her birthday treat, a splendid episode
eagerly looked forward to for weeks, and almost as joyously anticipated
by Mrs. Joe and her husband as by the child herself. Her birthday was
always celebrated upon that day of the year that was the anniversary of
her floating with her dead mother into the lives of the two honest West
Country folk--that fearful day when they had been surrounded on Uncle
Issy's hill-top at the Green Hills by the yellow waters of the Big
Flood. It had fallen on the 22nd of the previous month of March.

They made an early start from Dartmoor Farm--as Joe had named his
property--and the sun was not very high above the tree-tops when they
were riding through the fragrant bush, all wet and fresh with dew, in
the early morning. They were on horseback--little Sally riding on a
cushion in front of Garledge, her happy laughter echoing down the long
aisles of the blue gums. Everything made Sally laugh. She laughed in
her joys, and laughed at her childish sorrows. She laughed when she
woke in the morning, and smiled herself to sleep at night. She had
eyes that were made for laughter, so Parson Marsden said, and little
flitting dimples about her pretty chin that needed laughter for their
preservation.

It was the day on which Sally's father was making his futile
application to Governor Macquarie--a day that was disastrous in his
annals--but he was still asleep at his inn in Sydney when his unknown
daughter was setting out on her travels through a day that she, too,
was never likely to forget. It was a long day before it was done--the
longest day of her young life. Years afterwards she remembered it as a
day of months, rather than of hours. It seemed to her that from that
day she almost ceased to be a child.

Everything was smiling and lovely when they rode by the convict
stockade on Castle Hill, and came into sight of Parramatta. It is one
of the loveliest of views now that you may find anywhere, when you look
down from the heights to the north of the old town across that smiling
valley with the white houses that are the furthest limit of Sydney's
western suburbs. It was no suburban dwelling place in 1813. It was the
second town in all Australia and in all the South Seas, the alternative
seat of government with Sydney, and a place of much importance. A
garrison town, a farming centre, a port for shipping, that came up on
the tides, and drifted back with them, from and to Port Jackson. It had
the finest church in the colony, with its quaint twin steeples that
still are standing--though the body of the building is a few years
more modern than they are--and there were good inns in it, as good as
Sydney's best. It was the greatest place that little Sally had ever
seen. She had never been to Sydney, and had not seen the sea yet.

"Oh, big Joe," she cried, "isn't it lovely! Look at all the
houses"--she clapped her hands with delight--"'tis the biggest town in
all the world, isn't it, mummy?"

Mrs. Joe's comely face lit up with laughter as she looked at the happy
little maiden. Joe roared with pleasure.

"Why, lil Sally," he shouted, "'tes but a little place, is Par'matta,
a lil, tiny place. Wait till ye see Sydney, wait till ye see Plymouth,
lookin' up from th' Hoe--wait till ye see Lunnon Town!"

"Are they bigger than Par'matta, daddy?" the child asked wonderingly.

'"A thousand times, lil maid--ten thousand times."

"My goodness," she sighed, with wide open eyes, "I'd like to see them,
big Joe."

"An' so ye shall, my sweetheart, so ye shall--when you're a big maid,
an' we've made our fortins. We'll go sailin' across them salt seas, an'
you'll see the Cape, an' you'll see Rio, an' you'll sail right into
Plymouth Sound. An' by-and-by you'll see Lunnon Town, an' th' King
goin' about with his gold crown on his head, an' th' Lord Mayor, an' I
dunno what else. You'll surely see 'em, Sally!"

"Oo, Joe--oh!" she laughed, and fell silent as they rode down into
the little village, wondering and dreaming of all these mighty places
and "ever so far" things and people. She was not quite sure whether
the Lord Mayor was a person or a thing. But Parramatta was here, and
Parramatta was very vast and wonderful.

They went to Mr. Marsden's house, and were heartily received by the
parson-magistrate in his bluff Yorkshire fashion.

"Welcome to ye, Joe Garledge, and to you, Mrs. Joe--and, I declare,
my little sweetheart! Come and give me a kiss Sally. So 'tis your
birthday, is it? Well, well--we don't count ours now, do we, Mrs. Joe?"

Mrs. Joe turned her head and laughed.

"Oh, doan't I, passon! Speak for yourself, if ye please, Mr. Marsden.
'Twas but yest'day Joe here was tellin' how I looked so young as when
he first came a-courtin' me, to home in Devon."

"Tut, tut! What's this I hear, Joe Garledge? Have ye been encouraging
the woman in her sinful vanities?"

Joe laughed and winked.

"A man's got to say such things, y'r Honor, for the sake of a quiet
life and gettin' his meals reg'lar."

"All right, Joe," laughed his wife; "you wait, my man. But, Mr.
Marsden, zur, after I've paid my respects to Mrs. Marsden and the young
ladies, I must down into the town, an' do my shopping. Joe's got some
business to do at Prospect Hill, and we'll need to make an early start
back in the afternoon."

"Good, Mrs. Joe, very good; do as you will. But ye must dine with us
here before ye set out. At Prospect Hill, eh? Not at Crossthwaite Hall,
is it?"

"'Tis there, indeed, zur," answered Joe Garledge. "Cap'n Cross'waite's
got a couple of rare good pack-horses, an' Mr. Blaxland, over to South
Creek, he's sent me for to look 'em over, an' maybe buy 'em for him. He
needs them for th' journey over the Blue Mountains."

"What! D'ye mean to say you madmen still persist in that wild plan? I
thought 'twas but a crack-brained dream--a sort of midsummer's madness
that wiser counsels would cause ye to abandon."

"No," said Joe seriously. "'Tes no madness, y'r honor. We set out
next month, and we'll conquer they black ranges before another month
be past. See ye, now, if my words doan't come true! A year from now,
Australia will be a bigger place than what it is to-day. Bain't no
knowing what good lands we'll find over yonder."

"Well, well, I hope for your success. But I fear ye'll but add your own
bones to those that already whiten in those black gullies. So you're
going to Crossthwaite Hall! And are you taking Mrs. Joe and Sally?"

Mrs. Garledge looked at the chaplain meaningly, and put her fingers to
her lips to remind him of the secret thing that must be kept from her
good man's knowledge. He gave her a little nod, unobserved by Joe, and
went on.

"Then ye'll be the guest of Captain Crossthwaite and of Mrs. Martin,
his housekeeper." He stressed the last word a little.

"Indeed, no--not I, passon. I'm for having no doings with that
hussy--handsome though she may be. I'm an honest woman, and have no
dealing with such as Fanny Martin." Mrs. Joe spoke a little heatedly.
"Joe will do his business with the Captain, and Sally and me, we'll
boil th' billy in th' woods, an' eat our supper, while Joe does his
deal. I'm not going to be mixed up wi' such a one as her."

"You're right, Mrs. Joe," said the chaplain. "You 're quite right.
'Evil communications,' eh? But I must get down to the courthouse.
Will ye come with me, Joe, while your good wife goes within, and then
attends to her shopping? Ye can sit on the bench with me, for I'm alone
to-day, and if ye've naught to do, it may pass an hour or so for ye."

Joe eagerly assented to this proposition. It was no slight honor to be
invited to his court, and given a place of dignity--where perhaps he
might hope himself one day to sit in magisterial office, if the Blue
Mountains expedition should bring fame, and wealth, and the gratitude
of an enriched community--by that famous law-giver, the Rev. Samuel
Marsden.

By the time they sat at dinner in the Parsonage, Joe Garledge had
gathered an instructive amount of knowledge concerning the peculiar
procedure followed in early Australian courts of petty session. Mr.
Marsden's methods were original enough. The rough justice he dispensed
was certainly very rough, but it was mainly justice. Many of the
sentences that he imposed would not lie to-day within the province of
a Supreme Court judge, and his decisions in civil cases and disputes
would often have proved a joy and a godsend to the modern police-court
reporter--but in the main the chaplain discharged his magisterial
functions with a sort of hearty fairness that the people of those rough
times did not find very much in to complain of.

There were seventeen floggings ordered, and three men and one woman
were committed for trial on capital charges. Some others had short
terms of imprisonment allotted them, and others were fined for trifling
offences. Several women, whose employers complained of their idleness
and their dissolute habits, were sent back to the Factory, as the depot
for female prisoners was called, which was located in Parramatta.
Idleness was an unforgivable offence in Mr. Marsden's eyes. Not
infrequently he would punish it with the lash. And in the adjustment of
matrimonial disputes and differences the chaplain esteemed himself to
be a Solomon.

A man had attended the court this morning to complain of the conduct
of his wife, whom he had selected from the Factory, after the custom
of many of the lonely settlers in the neighbourhood and from further
afield. She would not bake, she would not sew, she drank too much rum,
and she nagged her better half without cessation, so he said.

"Hark ye, now, Priscilla Perkins, to what I'm saying to ye--and bear it
in mind. Here's John Perkins taken ye from the Factory, and makes ye
his wife--and ye're not so wonderfully handsome, either, let me make
so bold as to inform ye. Government gives ye a conditional pardon when
Perkins makes ye an honest woman--which ye are far from being, or ever
were before. Ye've a better home at Toongabbee than ever ye knew of in
England. Now go back to it, my lass, and be a better wife. If ye're not
so, when I call there in a few weeks' time, I'll know how to deal with
you. And mind, I do know how to deal with such as you. Be off with ye
to your home, and make your good man happy. But, remember, I've my eye
on ye, my woman, I've my eye on ye."

Joe heard the tale afterwards of how the chaplain, passing by Perkin's
farm, had alighted from his horse to inquire into the reformation,
or otherwise, of Mrs. Perkins. Finding it otherwise, he had then and
there administered a sound thrashing to the lady with his riding crop.
A few months later Perkins had called at the Parsonage with a present
of a pair of fowls, and an enthusiastic account of the highly improved
demeanour of his good lady, who had become all that a wife should
be. He was profuse in his thanks, which Mr. Marsden had waved aside,
saying, without boastfulness:

"'Tis naught, my good Jack Perkins. I but gently corrected her error,
which she was not slow to acknowledge. There is much virtue, Jack, in
gentle correction. But see that it is effective, even if 'tis gentle."

The Garledges rode away after the mid-day meal--both horses laden
heavily with the parcels and packages which were the result of Mrs.
Joe's morning shopping. The Currency Lass rejoiced in a black doll with
bead eyes, and a new shilling presented to her by Mrs. Marsden.

It was late in the afternoon before they rode away from the hospitable
Parsonage, and close up to when they came in sight of Captain
Crossthwaite's mansion.

"Surely 'tes a grand house he has built," said Mr. Garledge to her
husband. "And look at the outbuildings, and the fields of corn! How do
the wicked prosper," she sighed, "an' that poor, dead woman ----" She
checked herself hastily, and looked up to see if Joe had noticed her.
But he was engaged in pointing out the beauties of the place to little
Sally, and was not paying much attention to his wife. "To think of it,
Joe," she went on, "all this for a worthless baggage's enjoyment that
no decent woman would be seen talking to."

"She'm a fine woman, 'Lizbeth, though, for to look at--a very handsome
one, whatever else she be."

"'Tes all you brutes of men do think of--the looks of a woman. What's
good looks?"

"Nay, nay, Bessie girl--thou'rt not so bad to look upon thyself."

"Oh, tish!" Mrs. Joe shook her head, and smiled, not ill-pleased with
the compliment. Then, suddenly: "Oh, la!" she screamed. "Lord ha' mercy
on us!"

Out of the scrub by the roadside a huge man with a great black beard
had stepped, and he presented a musket at Joe's head. Others came
after him--some half dozen or so--who seized their bridle reins, and
threatened them with pistols and axes. Old Danny O'Neill was one of
them.

Quick as light Joe Garledge threw his great bulk from the saddle,
dropped little Sally on the ground, where she stood, wide-eyed and
frightened, and rushed at the black-bearded giant with clenched fists.

Barky Jack fired his musket, and missed, and the next instant the
two powerful men were rolling in the dust of the roadway in a deadly
grapple.

Mrs. Joe slipped down from her horse's back, with a white face, and
clasped up the child in her arms, just as she was roughly seized by a
couple of the men.

"Steady, mistress!" cried one of them. "We mean ye no harm." With
a mighty heave of his great back Joe gained the upper hand of the
bushranger, and was kneeling across him, his huge hands squeezing the
breath from his labouring body, as he clutched him by the throat, when,
with a wild yell, Danny O'Neill clubbed his musket and, running in
close to the struggling men, brought it down with a crash upon the back
of Joe Garledge's skull.

Joe's hold slackened, and he rolled over beside his prostrate
antagonist, unconscious.




CHAPTER X.--THE BATTLE OF PROSPECT HILL.

WHEN Captain Mackarness and the advance guard of his little force had
approached to within about half a mile of Crossthwaite Hall, he called
a halt, and, leaving the ten men who had come up in the waggon in
charge of Corporal Clay, stole forward on foot with the owner of the
pillaged desmesne to reconnoitre the situation. He took the drummer
with him.

They left the road, and made a detour through the bush, coming out
of the timber on the edge of the cleared lands, somewhat towards the
rear of the establishment. And then they saw the full extent of the
irreparable damage the convict-bushrangers had wrought.

Only the stone walls of the fine building stood, doors and windows
framing glowing oblongs of incandescent fieriness. The roof had fallen
in, and the interior woodwork was still burning fiercely, and sending
up showers of sparks into the darkness of the night, although the fire
was evidently some hours old. The cornfields had been burnt out, and
all the wooden farm buildings were gone. Captain Crossthwaite groaned,
as he contemplated the scene of devastation, and then broke out into
a volley of oaths and a hurricane of cursing that caused Captain
Mackarness to shudder.

"By ------, I'll get even with the devils for this!" he raved. "I'll
bring that fellow Williamson to the gallows for this--if I have to
spend the rest of my life in pursuit of the villain."

"Mr. Crossthwaite," said Captain Mackarness, icily, "I've already
intimated to you how distasteful such language is to myself personally,
and how it outrages the decent feelings of my men. I beg, again, that
you will desist from it."

"Oh, hell!" Captain Crossthwaite began, when Mackarness, with uplifted
hand, checked him sternly.

"That will do, sir. You are a civilian accompanying these troops in
the execution of their duty--which is the capture or destruction of
these bandits--upon sufferance, and solely by favour of my permission
as officer commanding the force. Should I hear another blasphemous,
profane, or indecent word from you, sir, I will send you to the rear.
I trust that you will not render such a course necessary on my part,
Captain Crossthwaite. But should you do so, sir,--I'll not hesitate to
take it."

Captain Crossthwaite swallowed hard, and sulkily apologised, excusing
himself by the natural exasperation of his feelings at beholding the
wanton ruin of his property. They set to work to consider their plan of
campaign.

Here and there, about the wide space illuminated by the fitful glow
from the burning house that lit up, in an unnatural fashion, the tall
trees of the forest face beyond it--making them stand out flatly, like
painted scenery in a theatre, against the darkness of the starry,
moonlit sky--they could see groups of men, and idly strolling figures,
on all sides of the clearing. There were considerably more than the
dozen of which Casey McGirr had spoken. But they would be the servants
and labourers of the establishment, who had, no doubt, Crossthwaite
reflected bitterly, made common cause with the bushrangers, and given
them passive if not active assistance in the sacking of his estate.
There were horses fastened at the edge of the forest which were packed
with goods, and which came, doubtless, from his stables. Round a wine
barrel, a noisy group sang, and danced, and shouted curses upon the
owner of the plundered property, and fragments of triumphant obscenity
that set Captain Mackarness's teeth on edge and his hair bristling.

"We must put a stop to this," he said. "What do you suggest, Mr.
Crossthwaite? You are familiar with the terrain--it is proper that we
should consider any ideas that may present themselves to you."

"I am for attacking at once, sir--for taking the ruffians by surprise,
and seeing that none escape. I should attack them immediately with the
men we have with us--and not wait until the rest of your force comes
up. The dozen of us, armed as we are, should be more than a match for
this rabble."

Mackarness shook his head.

"The latter part of what you say is no doubt true. Such a
riff-raff--and drunken at that--as we have before us could make no
stand against disciplined troops. But they could get away, unless we
are in sufficient force to throw a cordon round them. The remaining
fifteen men who are coming up with Sergeant McNab would just about give
us enough of strength for such a manoeuvre as that. We do not want
merely to kill a few of them, and scatter the rest in the bush--we want
to take as many of them alive as possible. By doing that we will break
up the band, of which this man Williamson--Barky Jack as they call
him--is the leader, and the trial and execution of those whom we make
prisoners will have a wholesome effect in discouraging this business of
bushranging amongst runaway convicts."

"Perhaps you're right, Mr. Mackarness," assented Captain Crossthwaite.
"Indeed, I think you are."

"I think so. Hilder," he addressed the drummer, "get back to your
horse, and ride as hard as you can along the Parramatta Road, until you
meet with Sergeant McNab's party. Take him my orders to come on at the
double. Give him the horse when you reach him, and tell him to join
me at once. Corporal Harness can bring his men on. Now, be off with
you--and hurry. There is not time to lose."

The drummer ran back through the trees, whilst the two officers made a
cautious and careful reconnaissance of the whole position. Keeping wide
of the clearing, they walked rapidly right round the burning house,
noting carefully the lay of the country and the best positions in which
the attacking force might be disposed, with a view of cutting off the
escape of as many of the enemy as might be possible.

This detour occupied some little time, and when they returned to the
point whence the drummer had been despatched to hasten the coming of
the main body, they found Sergeant McNab already awaiting them.

A final council-of-war was held.

"This is my idea," began Captain Mackarness--when he was interrupted by
Crossthwaite.

"Pardon me a moment, Captain Mackarness. Before you speak, I beg of you
to permit me to make a suggestion which I am sure you would not have
thought of, if you'll forgive me for saying it."

He spoke eagerly, and the other was forced to give him his attention.

"Well, sir?" demanded Mackarness, a little impatiently. "What is it? I
imagine that our only course is to draw our cordon round them, call on
them to surrender unconditionally, and shoot down those who disobey."

"Listen. Suppose that we send Sergeant McNab with the main body so
spread out as to encircle three sides of the position, whilst you and I
remain here with half a dozen men--in ambush. When everything is ready,
I will ride out from the timber near the road, as if I had but just
returned from Sydney. It is me they are waiting for. I will attract
their attention, and I have no doubt they will make a rush towards me.
When they come within easy range, your party may open fire, and in the
confusion the sergeant can close in on their rear. They will be caught
like rats in a trap."

Mackarness listened to him with interest, but a frown of distaste
wrinkled his features. It was a bold scheme, but, to the honest Scot,
it seasoned a little of treachery. He would far rather have called upon
them to lay down their arms, and so give them the alternative of being
butchered between two fires, or facing the judges and the hangman--than
to take them unawares and without a chance. Crossthwaite saw the nature
of his doubt, and urged his point.

"Captain Mackarness, I know these men. They are desperate and abandoned
ruffians, and undeserving of any consideration. See what they have done
here! They would lay the whole country waste just as readily as they
have devastated my place. Women and children would be at the mercy of
men who are more savage and ruthless than wild beasts--if we permitted
them to escape us. It is our duty, sir, to disable them as severely as
lies in our power. We must not shrink from it. Remember, they outnumber
us--the bushrangers and my servants, who, I dare swear, are with them
to a man--they outnumber us by more than two to one. Let me urge you to
adopt this method of attack. We must adopt it, if we mean to win. They
will not surrender if called upon, and it will be no hard task for them
to break through our thin cordon and escape in the forest. Remember, we
cannot pursue them."

Captain Mackarness thought for a few moments, sighed gently, and made a
sign of assent.

"Yes, I think you are right, though I hate such bloodshed. However,
so be it. McNab, take all but six men, and spread yourselves round
through the timber, as close to the edge of it as you can get without
being seen. They are keeping no sort of a watch--you should have little
difficulty. When my party opens fire, close in. Try to prevent any
escaping, and drive them towards the firelight. Take your men, now, and
get into position. I will give you half an hour."

They moved back together to the waiting soldiers, to whom their
commander outlined the plan of the operations. He made sure that they
were all prepared for the business in hand, and told them to fix
bayonets as soon as the first shots were fired--but on no account
before then, lest the gleam of the naked steel might disclose them to
the bushrangers.

It seemed a long half-hour to the little party waiting in the
timber, not far from where the road from Parramatta ran into Captain
Crossthwaite's clearing. The minutes passed slowly enough, but at last
Mackarness snapped his watch-case, and waved his hand to Crossthwaite,
who sat upon his horse close beside the marching men, a drawn pistol in
his right hand, and a look of eager expectancy upon his face. It came
into Mackarness's mind that, whatever else the man might be, Captain
Crossthwaite was no coward. This riding into the midst of bitter
enemies, who were waiting to make an end of him, was not the act of a
poltroon.

"Good luck to you, Crossthwaite," he whispered. "You may go now--we are
all ready."

The fiery furnace in the gutted house had burned low by this time,
but there was still a good deal of light from its glowing embers. And
the moon was full, and high overhead in a cloudless sky, so that the
clearing was lit up almost as brightly as if it had been daylight.

Out of the timber rode Captain Crossthwaite, sitting bolt upright in
the saddle. Almost immediately the solitary horseman was seen by the
group round the barrel. For a few moments there was silence, whilst
the bushrangers were yet uncertain as to whom it might be. Then one of
there yelled, with a curse:

"'Tis Black Bill! After him, boys! Catch th' ------ alive!"

There was a chorus of yells, shouts, and curses, and two or three shots
were fired. Captain Crossthwaite reined in his horse, and sat erect and
motionless, as though he awaited a genial welcome from the men who had
begun to run towards him. Almost at once they were all in motion, some
scrambling and lurching forward, and some stumbling drunkenly over the
ploughed ground of the cornfield. One or two measured their length on
the earth, and were too drunk to rise.

Slowly, as the leaders of the mob approached him, Captain Crossthwaite
raised his right arm, and held his pistol levelled at their ranks.
A man dropped on one knee and discharged his musket at him. He
never moved, but sat there, like an equestrian statue, in the
moonlight--cool, calm, and collected--biding his time. Captain
Mackarness, in the shadows, muttered to himself his admiration.

"Jove! He's a cool hand!"

They were within a few yards of him when his pistol spoke, and with
the spit of flame from its barrel he spurred his horse round, and rode
slowly towards where the soldiers lay hidden, but out of their line of
fire. One of the convicts had dropped on his hands and knees, and a
torrent of blood gushed from his mouth, ere he collapsed, writhing, on
the soft soil of the hilled cornfield. The rest checked for a moment,
and then--with savage yells and hideous, obscene threats--came on after
the bitter enemy for whose blood they thirsted so ferociously.

They rushed on in a bunch, utterly unsuspecting--perhaps too drunken
to reason about it--of the ambush which had been prepared. Closer and
closer they came to where the kneeling soldiers, with levelled muskets,
awaited their commander's signal. He held their fire until there was no
chance to miss.

"Fire!"

A sheet of flame leapt from the bushes at the edge of the field--and
the mob recoiled in horror. Five of them lay still, or struggled feebly
on the ground. The rest turned to run.

"Fix bayonets!" yelled Mackarness.

From the timber all round the burning house soldiers came
running--shooting and stabbing. Many more of the convicts bit the
dust. They huddled together like sheep. Only one man--their huge,
black-bearded leader--broke through the steel ring of bayonets, and,
running magnificently, with a dozen soldiers shooting at him, gained
the shelter of the bush. The rest howled and screamed for mercy, as
they saw the inexorable ring of bayonets tightening about them. Some
cast themselves on their knees, and shrieked to Captain Crossthwaite
to spare them--crying that they had been forced into the business. At
last, cornered and beaten, they permitted the soldiers to urge them
towards the light of the burning house. Some of them wept maudlin
tears, and others muttered bitter curses. They knew, many of them, that
they were already dead men.

The battle of Crossthwaite's Hill was ended. Nothing remained now but
the "Vae Victis"--woe to the vanquished.




CHAPTER XI.--FATHER AND DAUGHTER.

EIGHT of the convicts had been killed outright, and ten lay wounded
upon the ground. The dour "Saints," angered by the scene of
destruction--wanton, useless, savage vandalism, that had destroyed a
house that was one of the show places of the young colony--had struck
hard and spared not. More than one of the victims of their wrath had
been caught with the bayonet. Sergeant McNab's hard face was set in a
grim smile, as he surveyed the battlefield.

"This will teach yon wastrels no to tak' th' name o' th' Lor-rd in
vain. 'Tis but a veesitation of God's wrath upon them for their awfu'
language. Ha--whom have we here, Kennedy?" Mackarness and Crossthwaite
turned at the sergeant's exclamation, and the latter recognised in the
abject, slinking creature being driven towards them at the point of an
angry young soldier's bayonet, Casey McGirr, the man who had warned him
of the attack upon his house.

"'Tis a fellie was peekin' through th' booshes over yon, sergeant. He
cracks he's no one of th' bushranger laddies--says he is one of us.
'Tis likely! Shall I no finish th' ugly deevil off?"

"No," interposed Crossthwaite. "The fellow speaks the truth. He did
warn me, and perhaps I owe my life to him. Let him go, my man--I don't
think he often tells the truth, but he's doing so now. Where have you
been, McGirr? I thought you were to wait my return in the road."

McGirr's personal appearance was such as to inspire a feeling of
disgust in any honest man. Shiftiness and treachery seemed to ooze from
his flabby face, and though he was a stoutly-built fellow, there was
a look of cringing weakness of soul about him that suggested bodily
infirmity. Perhaps in prosperity--as a stout and well-fed being--he
might have carried off some air of coarse good-fellowship, but there
was that in his shifty, close-set, pig's eyes that would inevitably
incline a reader of character to sum him up as a liar and a sneak, with
the inclination, but not the courage, to be a bully.

"If you please, y'r honor--I fell asleep a-waitin' ye, an' did not
wake until I heard the firing. I was looking to see what was going
on when this gentleman seized me. But y'r honor'll not be forgetting
what I done for him to-night--an' y'r honor's promise of a pardon from
Gov'ment."

"Oh, I'll not forget you, McGirr--though I suspect you of lying when
you say you fell asleep. Far more likely your cowardly nature prompted
you to hide in the trees until the danger was over, and you were
certain which side had won. I know this miserable fellow, Mackarness.
I'd trust him no further than I could kick him. But I suppose he has
earned some recommendation to His Excellency. Perhaps you might make
it? Mr. Macquarie and myself are hardly upon the best of terms."

"I'll mention the man in my report to headquarters, if you like. But
very likely he can give us some information about these fellows and
their lair. 'Tis a pity we have lost Williamson. The fellow had a
charmed life. I fired a pistol at him myself, and he must have ran the
gauntlet of at least a dozen muskets."

"What has become of all the people, McGirr? Where is Mrs.--my
housekeeper, Mrs. Martin? I know where Hardy, my butler is. He's in
hell." He laughed grimly. "His body's over there--I shot him myself."

"A good thing, y'r honor--he was a bad man," assented virtuous Casey
McGirr. "He's better dead. Well, then, y'r honor, Barky Jack took Mrs.
Martin out of the house--she screamin', an' scratchin', an' bitin'--an'
tied her up to a tree. He said she'd be his woman now, an' he'd make a
she-bushranger out of her, an' how he'd tamed wild cats before--them
was his words, y'r honor."

"By heavens, Crossthwaite," said Mackarness hastily. "We must pursue
the villain at once. Whatever the woman may be, she deserves no such
fate as that!"

"Oh let her go," scoffed her late proprietor. "I'll lose her without
much sorrow. She's found her true mate at last, 'Twould take a man like
Williamson to control that she-devil. I'd leave her to him!"

"For shame, sir--for shame. She shall not be left to him. Sergeant
McNab," he called to his second-in-command--when McGirr broke in.

"There's others, too, y'r honor. A man an' his wife, an' a child--a
little girl. Joe Garledge, from Dartmoor, nigh to the Green Hills. They
came here at sun-down."

Captain Crossthwaite wheeled towards him.

"Garledge!" he whispered, and then, aloud. "What Garledge--what man of
the name of Garledge can there be in the colony?"

"It matters not, Captain Crossthwaite," said Mackarness impatiently.
"It does not matter. We must go in pursuit of them at once. At once!
Come McNab--get half a dozen men. These people must be rescued. See
that the prisoners are well guarded, sergeant. And look to the wounded.
What casualties have we?"

"Private Landry's dead, sir, an' four wounded--none of them badly."

"Poor Landry!" sighed Mackarness. "A godly man--we'll miss his voice
greatly at our Sunday service. He was strong in the Psalms. But come,
tell me off six men, McNab. I'll leave you in charge of the place,
and the prisoners. See that none escape. Are you coming, Captain
Crossthwaite?"

"Oh, I suppose so, Mackarness. These people are a nuisance, but we
cannot well leave them to their fate." He had been manifestly uneasy
since McGirr's mention of Joe Garledge's name.

Presently the party plunged into the forest, on the trail of the
escaped bushranger. It was a little darker in the timber, but the full
moon, sailing high overhead, turned midnight into the half light of
dawn, and they could see their way well enough.

They had not far to go.

Hardly had they penetrated a quarter of a mile into the forest, when
Mackarness uttered an exclamation, as he stooped to pick up something
white from the ground. It was a child's hood. Almost as he took it into
his hand, there came a roar from somewhere close by, that was half
human, half the wild, inarticulate bellow of a mad bull. There was a
musket shot, the sound of a crash, and then a medley of snarls and
yells and curses broke out that betokened some gripping contest between
two strong men.

The two officers broke into a run, and forced their way through the
undergrowth into a little open clearing, into which the moon shone
down, illuminating a strange scene. As they burst into it, a spear
whizzed past Captain Crossthwaite's head, and transfixed a soldier's
leg, through the calf, as it came to ground. Crossthwaite raised his
pistol, and fired at a tall, nearly naked blackfellow, who, uttering a
yell, leaped into the timber and was gone.

To two trees, close together, and huddled on the ground, Mrs. Joe
Garledge and little Sally--the latter fast asleep--were tightly bound.
They were gagged with dirty rags tied about their mouths. To another
tree some lashings of ropes, that had evidently been escaped from,
hung loosely. And in the open, panting, and grunting, and snarling,
two splendid specimens of manhood heaved and struggled, closely locked
together in fierce embrace, in a battle of giants. The one was a mighty
red man, and the other a dark-complexioned, blank-bearded, wild-looking
creature, who slavered at the mouth, and snarled curses perpetually.

Joe Garledge and Barky Jack, the bushranger, were matched in a struggle
to the death. Mackarness, Crossthwaite, and the soldiers paused,
instinctively, to watch the fierce contest.

They were both immense and powerful men, in the full vigor of lusty
manhood. Their shirts were torn and ripped from their backs, and
the play of their great muscles and sinews was magnificent, as they
wrestled and strove, swaying this way and that. The West Countryman's
skin, smooth and white as a woman's, gleamed in the moonlight, and the
bushranger's was covered, on back and chest, with hair that was like
fur, curly and dark. Their faces were distorted with rage, and Joe
Garledge's was streaming with blood from a cut in the scalp--which,
they afterwards learned, had been caused by the graze of a bullet from
Barky Jack's musket, fired at Garledge, as, by a superhuman effort, he
had burst his bonds asunder and leapt at the outlaw.

The two were evenly matched. Garledge perhaps was the heavier, and
he was slower in movement than the other, whose build was more wiry,
and less inclined to fleshiness. They were both endowed with a bodily
strength that was far above the average of mankind's.

"'Tis the ------ bushranger! 'Tis the villain who has destroyed my
house. Kill the ruffian! Let me shoot him!" Crossthwaite drew a pistol,
and ran towards the struggling men, but Mackarness was after him in a
moment.

"Hold!" he cried, grasping the other's arm. "Don't fire! You might
shoot the other, as likely is not. I believe the red man will beat him.
Wait a moment, and see."

Unconsciously, the spectators formed a ring, intent on the battle,
and neglectful, in the tense interest of the contest, of the woman
and child. All except Captain Mackarness--ever a gentleman of his own
dour school. He ran to Mrs. Joe, released her from her bonds, and took
the gag from her mouth, and then untied the child. Sally woke up as
he tugged at the lashings, and stared about with her wide-open eyes,
in which there was no trace of fear, but only startled surprise and
astonishment.

"Oh, thank you," she whispered to Mackarness, and held up her face
to kiss him. And that austere soldier, perhaps a little dazzled by
the beauty of the child, kissed her red lips, and blushed like a boy.
Sally ran to Mrs. Joe, and clung to her skirts, whilst the two of them,
wide-eyed and speechless, gazed mutely at the fearful struggle in which
their man fought for his life with a kind of berserk madness. And he
fought with a raging determination to wreak vengeance on the fellow who
had dared to lay rough hands on his two most precious possessions. The
bushranger had sealed his fate when he had done that.

It was as strange a sight as any of the many strange ones upon which
the Man in the Moon has looked down in all his long life. The tall
trees, rustling their graceful tops in the hardly perceptible breeze
that was too faint to be felt on the ground, walled the little clearing
like a high fence--their blue-white trunks, with the long, hanging
strips of last year's bark mottling them in a streaky fashion, standing
out against the dark shades of the forest depths behind. About their
butts stood the gaping soldiers, grasping their grounded muskets, the
bayonets gleaming coldly in the moonlight. The two officers stood,
fixed and motionless, staring at the combat. And the woman and child,
appalled into silence by the fierceness and hate of it, watched
fearfully for the fate of their battling champion. There was no sound
save the heavy breathing, the deep grunts, and the panting gurgles
of the men who fought. Now and again the dark man would shriek out a
half-strangled oath, but the red one was grimly silent always.

Once they came crashing down. Joe Garledge was underneath, and the
bushranger strove mightily to free a hand for his throat or his eyes.
Then, with a mighty heave, the red giant rolled his man over, and they
fell apart. In a second, both were on their feet again, and again they
were swaying and lurching about the arena in each other's clutch.

For five, ten, fifteen minutes they wrestled and strove, and neither
seemed to have the advantage, when--with startling swiftness--the end
came.

Garledge, somehow, freed his right hand. Then, his left arm gripping
the other below the shoulder with the hug of a bear, while one mighty
leg was twined about those of the bushranger, he got the palm of
his hand below the bearded chin. Slowly--slowly the wild head, with
starting eyeballs, was pressed back and back. Convulsively, Williamson
sought to release himself from that terrible grip and that inexorable
upward push. He bent at the knees, writhing his great trunk, whilst Joe
pressed over him, his mouth open, and horribly distorted, and the dark
blood splotching the whiteness of his face.

Suddenly, to the awed spectators, it seemed as though they heard a
crack--very sharp and faint and quick. And then the two great men came
crashing to earth again, lay there a moment, motionless--and, slowly,
weakly, Joe Garledge struggled to one knee, gained his feet, swayed
uncertainly for a second or two towards his wife, and then crumpled up,
and lay huddled, unconscious, at her feet. With a cry, his 'Lizbeth
stooped to his assistance, whilst the others rushed in upon the inert
body of the bushranger. His head was strangely, impossibly, twisted
under his right shoulder. They seized him to bind him--released their
hold, and stood up, gaping at the corpse.

"Th' Lor-rd hath smitten him!" cried a soldier. "The neck of him's
broke!"

And so it was. Joe Garledge had done with his mighty arm and huge hand
what the hangman would have done with his rope. The black-bearded
bushranger was dead, with a dislocated spine, and his great body,
so full of vigorous life but a few moments ago, was lying limp, and
unfeeling as the earth upon which it was stretched.

Captain Mackarness turned away from the dead man, and gave his
attention to the living. He stepped softly over to where Mrs. Joe
knelt, with her man's head in her lap, rubbing his hand gently, and
crying over him in a pitiful, and yet triumphant and joyous, fashion.
He felt the pulse of the unconscious giant, nodded his head assuringly
to Mrs. Joe and said, with relief to his own feelings:

"He will do well enough--he has but fainted after that fierce struggle.
Madam, you should be proud of him! He is truly a man, in body and soul."

Captain Crossthwaite drew near, and stood frowning down upon the group.
He put out his hand to draw little Sally to him, but the child, with
that aversion which most innocent little ones uncompromisingly display
towards a bad man, shrank away from him with an air of distrust.

"Who are ye, ma'am, and where do ye live?" he asked roughly.

Elizabeth looked up, and then acted in a way for which she was never
able to account to herself.

All her careful guarding of the secret of the dead woman--of which she
had been so urgent in impressing upon Mr. Marsden the necessity of
keeping to themselves--was forgotten. She did not care now whether her
husband heard or not what she had to say to the man who had wronged
his cousin so bitterly and so irrevocably. She had no thought for what
devils of vengeance she might conjure up out of the temper of the red
Garledges. She only knew that she was face to face with the man who had
done the cruel wrong to mother and child. She only felt the hatred and
anger which his presence inspired. She spoke bitterly and fiercely, and
the man heard her and recoiled, as though she had lashed him with a
whip.

"This is Joe Garledge," she said, "cousin to the woman you treated
so cruel bad, Cap'n Cross'waite. Do 'ee thank God that he'm not in's
proper senses, or maybe he'd serve 'ee as he've served yon dead carpse.
An' I'm his wife. An' this"--she drew the child to her--"this lil
maid be your own darter, you bad an' wicked man, an' cruel, cruel
murderer of that poor dear as coom to us in th' Big Flood. This be your
own lawful child, an' the child of Selina Cross'waite, your wedded
wife--who was Selina Garledge before you stole her from her father, and
wickedly left her to die, alone and friendless, in this far country.
But, by the God in heaven, you shall not have her! You shall not
have her while my man and I have the breath of life to save her from
you--you worse than a devil!"

She crushed Sally to her full bosom with both her arms, and glared
defiance at Crossthwaite. He stared at her for a few moments, livid and
speechless. Then, turning upon his heel, he strode away through the
trees, and was lost in the night, just as Joe Garledge found his way
back to consciousness.

And none of them had spared a thought for the fate of Fanny Martin.




CHAPTER XII.--THE "MOON CALF" TAVERN.

IT was the year, and the month, and the week of Waterloo, and all
London was ringing with the tidings of victory, that soon were to
spread as fast as the incredibly swift mail-coaches, starting out
from St. Martin's-le-Grand, in the City, could speed them, to all the
corners of the Kingdom. The church bells of the metropolis were pealing
out this evening the ecstasy of joy and relief, which throbbed in its
great heart, and which were soon to be echoed in all the towns and
boroughs north, south, east, and west of Britain's mighty capital. Soon
every market square and every village green in the three kingdoms would
be lit with its bonfires, and the high beacon hills with their blazing
tar-barrels, flaring out to the changeless stars England's gasping
thankfulness for this release from the terror of a Man that, day by
day, and night by night, for twenty years, had oppressed her like a
long nightmare. Bonaparte was defeated! Never had there been such news
since the days, two and a quarter centuries before--"the spacious days
of Great Elizabeth"--when word of the Devonshire sailor's harrying of
the Great Armada had spread like wildfire from hill to hill across fell
and dale, and moor, from the Lizard to John o' Groats.

And, seven months later, the little village clustered along the banks
of the Tank Stream above Sydney Cove was to echo this tremendous
joyfulness at the salvation of the world.

Captain William Crossthwaite, sitting at supper in the coffee-room
of the Golden Cross Hotel, at Charing Cross--the famous inn whence
a certain Mr. Pickwick is reputed to have set forth one morning for
Rochester, and where you may still refresh yourself after alighting at
the great railway terminus across the street--had but just renewed his
acquaintance with London after an absence of ten years, spent in His
Majesty's Territory of New South Wales. He had left his ship in the
Downs, and had landed at Deal the afternoon before, where he had rested
for the night, posting up to London and the Golden Cross through this
pleasant summer's day, and the lovely garden of Kent.

The long twilight, so strange and so delightful to any exile from
England upon his return, was just merging into darkness, when Captain
Crossthwaite put on his hat and walked out into the Strand. He had not
yet had time to become used to the atmosphere of the vast city. If you
go from Bourke, in New South Wales, to Sydney or to Melbourne, to-day,
after a term of years spent upon the banks of the Darling River, you
may realise something of the change of scene, and of the conditions of
existence, as they might present themselves to a traveller arriving in
London from Sydney in the year of our Lord 1815. But you would only
faintly realise it. There would be wanting in you the receptiveness
induced by five months of monotonous ocean voyaging, when any town,
however poor or mean, would seem to be the very limit of civilisation,
of security, of luxury, and of all desirableness. The Strand, on that
evening at the end of June, when the dim illumination of oil lamps and
candles was beginning to twinkle in the windows of shop, and tavern,
and dwelling house, was a very fairyland of enchantment to the not very
sentimental gentleman who stepped into its busy thoroughfare from the
portals of the Golden Cross.

The peculiar smell of London--that strange odour, the like of which
exists in no other place--was pleasant in his nostrils. London cries
that he had long forgotten sounded agreeably in his ears. The familiar
aspect of the seething highway that runs from West to East refreshed
eyes that, all unconsciously, had ached for such a sight for years.
Hard, and callous, and selfish as he was, William Crossthwaite
experienced an emotion of whose nature he was ignorant, and whose
beauty he neither understood nor appreciated, as he walked down to the
intersection of streets which is now Trafalgar Square. It was the sense
of home-coming--that subconscious happiness that is common to man, or
bird, or beast on returning to familiar places after long absence from
them. He lit a cigar, and felt agreeably satisfied with his situation.
He did not know why he experienced this feeling of blessedness, nor
did he ask himself why--but he set out upon the very evil, the very
deceptive, and the very fraudulent, business which he had come half-way
round the world to transact, with a pleasant feeling that it was to be
successful, and that his long voyaging, and his intricate scheming, and
his selfish contriving would not be wholly without profit and reward.

As he turned the corner and walked up past the Grecian columns of the
grey church of St. Martin's-in-the-Fields, he wondered how he would
find the place whose doors he had for so long never expected to darken
again, and what his reception might be likely to be from the man whom
he had been so bitterly cursed by a decade before. Altered, perhaps,
but not much--those old London taverns did not change very greatly from
generation to generation of proprietors. And the old man? Certainly
older. He was fifty-five, if he was a day, ten years ago, and it would
be strange if the stalwart Guardsman's back was not a little bent now
that he was in the middle sixties, and his close-cropped hair a little
greyer or a little thinner. He wondered idly if Sergeant Garledge ever
put on the gloves with any of his customers in these days, or indulged
in a bout with foils or broad-sword. And thus communing with himself,
he turned into Longacre, and, in little more than fifty yards from the
corner of that historic thoroughfare, found himself standing before the
high gables of the "Moon Calf" Tavern. He paused for a moment to survey
the building, before he entered its wide and low-set doorway.

It was little changed. The black beams that crossed its plaster front
had been recently painted, and there was a new leaden horse-trough
before the bar-room, in place of the ancient stone one that had been
there for centuries when he had known the place before. But the great
signboard still swung out over the street on its gibbet of twisted
wrought-iron, the light still shone cheerfully through warm red blinds,
and there was the same coming and going from its doors as in the old
times when he himself had come and gone so often.

He stooped his head, and entered the familiar place, by the way with
which he was formerly familiar--the entrance for favoured customers
who used the place as a club--which led by a short passage, past the
taproom and the bar, and opened into a long chamber with a saw-dusted
floor, dark old oak wainscoting, and a huge fireplace at its further
end that was framed in a richly-carved mantel, and in which, summer or
winter, a fire always burned as it was burning now.

The room was empty, but at its further end, on the right hand side
of the fireplace as he faced it, a light shone, as it always used
to shine, through the little square window in the wall that looked
out from John Garledge's private office. He hesitated for a moment,
and then, walking the length of the room, knocked lightly with
his silver-topped malacca upon the door that gave entrance to the
landlord's sanctum. In a moment or two the light shifted from the
little window, the door was opened, and a tall, old man, clean-shaven,
and with silver hair that was cut short, in opposition to the fashion
of the day, stepped into the larger room, holding the candlestick aloft
to see whom his visitor might be.

There was no infirmity in that straight figure, nor did the bright eyes
with which he critically surveyed him give any indication of rheumy
and watery old age. Save that his head was grey, and his handsome face
a trifle more lined, Crossthwaite could find little of change in the
Guardsman.

"Well, John," he said, after a moment's hesitation, "here I am at last."

He put out his hand, but the other did not seem to see it. He set the
candle down upon a table, and looked at Crossthwaite, whilst the Adam's
apple in his strong throat moved up and down as though he had swallowed
something.

"Good evening to you, sir," he said coldly, in his deep voice. "I have
been looking for ye this month past, having reckoned the time up from
the date when your last letter told me you were to leave Sydney."

"We were delayed in the Channel by contrary winds," explained
Crossthwaite. "A weary voyage--four and a half months--with no port of
call save Rio. I was glad when it ended yesterday."

"You landed yesterday?"

"Yes--at Deal. I posted up to-day and have hardly been in London two
hours. 'Tis little changed. Like yourself--you have not altered."

"I am older--and I have had my sorrows. Will ye take anything?"

"No, thank you. I have just supped," said Crossthwaite. He was not very
much impressed with a sense of warmth in his father-in-law's demeanour
towards him.

"Well, then, if it pleases you, sir, we may get to business," said John
Garledge. "Will ye not step inside?"

He held the door open, and Captain Crossthwaite passed into the little
room.

It was a tiny den, filled with a miscellaneous collection of articles
having to do with the business or the sporting tastes of its owner.
A bookshelf held a few works of reference and some account books. In
the corners were guns and fishing rods and shooting bags--on the walls
some prints of racehorses and famous ornaments of the prize-ring,
crossed foils and broad-swords, and a framed portrait of His Royal and
Disreputable Highness, the Prince Regent. Garledge pointed to a chair.

"Sit ye down, Captain Crossthwaite, and let's to business. 'Tis
business brings you here, and 'tis business makes me wish to see you.
Nothing else," he added, bluntly, "but the business connected with my
grand-daughter."

Crossthwaite sat himself down upon a rush-bottomed chair--the only one
that the room boasted--and the old man leant upon his high desk, and
looked at his visitor with hard eyes, in which there was no attempt to
veil a light of curiosity.

"I have the letters you have sent me, and those my Sally--those that
she dictated to you before she died, in your house at Sydney--praying
for my forgiveness," he paused for a moment, sighed softly, and went
on. "Well, she has that--she's had it these years past. 'Tis for you I
have none--no, not if I lay a-dying. But let that pass. I wish to know
all ye can tell me of Sally's child. How old will she be now?"

Captain Crossthwaite had to think a moment or two.

"She was born," he said, after some hesitation, "in 1805--so that
would give her ten years. She is well developed for her age--they grow
quickly in that climate. Five or six years, and she'll be fit to wed.
'Tis a famous place for developing the young."

"Pray to God that she may wed better than her mother did," said John
Garledge, in a low tone, as if thinking aloud. Crossthwaite affected
not to hear.

"Is she good looking--has she the appearance of her mother?"

"She is the most beautiful child you could possibly imagine--all her
mother's prettiness and some of her own."

"And her disposition? Does she promise well? But how should you judge
that!"

His visitor winced. John Garledge made no secret, he saw, of the
dislike and distrust he entertained for himself.

"She is a model," he said. "And I am not alone in that. The Senior
Chaplain of the Colony--the Reverend Samuel Marsden--has taken much
interest in her, and he tells me that the child's character is of such
a sort, as must give promise in her of becoming a good woman in every
sense. He is ceaseless in his praises of the child."

"Ah,"--the old man sighed. "I would that I could see her. Will ye not
send her home to me? I beg it of you. She will be at my charge for
everything. Can ye not spare her to me?"

It was almost affecting--the paternal feeling evinced by that kindest
and best of fathers--Captain William Crossthwaite. He shook his head
slowly, and tried--ineffectually, it must be confessed--to bring a tear
into his eye.

"I cannot, sir. She is all I have--since her sainted mother, my
companion and my joy in good and evil years, was taken from me by--by
an inscrutable Providence. She is my only object in life, her happiness
my sole aim, her welfare and her destiny all that I live for. You ask
too much of me. I cannot separate myself from my beloved child."

"Ye thought little enough of separating me from mine!" said the old man
with bitterness.

"I know it, John Garledge. I know it and have mourned it these many
years. The wrong I did you is the curse of my existence. I cannot
forget it. 'Twas mainly to tell you so and to implore your forgiveness
that I have made this voyage. I trust that before I set my face
south-ward again I may take with me your forgiveness--your forgiveness
and your blessing?"

"No!" thundered the old man, with such energy that Crossthwaite started
in his chair. "No--by God! Not you--not you! 'Tis not for you--my
forgiveness."

He clenched his great fists and glared at his visitor savagely. Then,
restraining himself with an effort, he went on.

"Listen to me. This shall be the last time that you and I hold any
other communication save in writing or through our lawyers. I will tell
you now what I have done. But be sure it is in no sense done with any
feeling for you, or in any trust of you." He opened his desk, and took
out some papers. "Here is my will. It leaves all I have--and I am a
rich man. I have been lucky in my speculations--it leaves everything
to my grand-daughter. And here I have a copy of an instruction to my
bankers to pay to my grand-daughter's credit the sum of two thousand
pounds per annum until she marries. Then there are settlements upon
her, also, to be paid over on her marriage. I have named you as a
trustee for the child until she comes of age--will ye undertake the
trust?"

Captain Crossthwaite nodded. He did not speak, for fear that he might
not be able to control a note of gladness in his voice. His long voyage
had been well worth while.

"You will be well watched, Captain Crossthwaite. My lawyers have agents
in the Colony to whom you will render an account--and woe betide you if
it fails. And for the rest, we will conduct our business through our
lawyers. I do not wish to see your face again." He opened the door,
and pointed to the street. "Go!" he said, "and my undying curse goes
with you. Never enter my door again--and may eternal damnation be your
portion in the world to come!"

With this good wish echoing in his ears, Captain Crossthwaite took his
departure. But he was not down-hearted.

"That is what I hoped," he muttered to himself, as he walked back to
the Golden Cross. "It has come out well--just as well as I had hoped."
He laughed pleasantly, at a thought that tickled him.

"The old fool does not know New South Wales!" he murmured aloud in his
enjoyment of the evenings business.




CHAPTER XIII.--MR. MAINWARING.

LIEUTENANT JOHN CATESBY MAINWARING, of His Majesty's 3rd Regiment,
the famous Buffs, at present on detachment duty at Hunter's River--the
noble stream that enters the Sea at Newcastle, in New South Wales, was
still spoken of, in 1823, as being some sort of a personal possession
of the good Governor of the territory who had succeeded Captain Arthur
Phillip--came riding, towards evening, to the homestead of Mr. Joseph
Garledge at the Green Hills. He was not, however, confronted by the
long wall of the Blue Mountains, cleft by the dark gorge of the Grose
River, nor did his gaze wander across the rich flats of the fertile
Hawkesbury. He was not anywhere in the neighbourhood of Windsor,
the little settlement which, until Governor Macquarie's time, had
been known by the pleasant name of Green Hills. As the crow flies,
he was almost a hundred miles from that delectable countryside. He
had ridden all day from the seaport and settlement at the mouth of
the Hunter--round great wide-spreading marshes, and through tall
forests, and across open plains--to the newer Green Hills that lay
some seventeen or eighteen miles--nearly forty by the river--inland
from Newcastle. The gently swelling ridges across which he urged his
tired horse were those higher lands on the Lower Hunter where the old,
decayed township of Morpeth, and the slightly less decayed town of East
Maitland, stand to-day. They, too, were Green Hills long ago, and were
still so designated officially on this summer evening in the third
decade of the nineteenth century, when Mr. Mainwaring felt that his
arrival at them was the best thing that had befallen him all through
the hot hours that he had spent upon his journey.

He was a pleasant person to look upon, this Jack Mainwaring, strong,
and healthy, and active, and not wanting in good looks. No more than a
quarter of a century had passed over his head, and from his appearance
his twenty-five years might have been a few less. He would just make
six feet with thick-soled boots on, and he was slim and lithe, with
a good carriage. He sat his horse with that easy grace that is only
seen in those who have been bred to the saddle since babyhood. A
couple of hounds of the new cross that had been evolved in New South
Wales--typical kangaroo dogs--followed him. They were a little weary,
for more than once during the day they had made long runs after their
fleet quarry--a couple of times with some success, as the big kangaroo
tails tied to Mainwaring's saddle testified.

New Dartmoor stood a little way back from the river, upon some high
ground that rendered the roomy homestead quite immune from floods. Joe
Garledge had not forgotten his experience on the Hawkesbury in 1806,
and his first care in selecting a site for his dwelling place, had been
to see that it was well out of reach of the waters of the Hunter when
they overflowed their banks. That they could even outdo the Hawkesbury
in this respect was a fact that was already well known to the settlers
on the river. Some of them, who came from the old colony under the Blue
Mountains, untaught by experience, had again found safety from the
waters in tall trees, whilst they watched their houses submerged, and
their hayricks making voyages to the Pacific. The spread of the waters
of the Hunter, when, assisted by the Williams and the Paterson, it sets
itself out to turn the landscape into a seascape, is very much wider
than that, of the Hawkesbury. And yet more than one settler had made
his home close to the riverside, or on low-lying country at a distance
from it, but by no means out of reach of the invading flood waters.
The existence of the town of West Maitland on Wallis's Plains, to-day,
is good evidence of this--standing as it does on the flood-stricken
area between two ranges of higher ground, about East Maitland on the
one side, and Farley on the other. Macquarie and Brisbane chose East
Maitland as the site of the settlement, but they could not prevent the
principal town of the district from growing up on the low lands, where,
periodically, it, has suffered through the century of its existence
from such watery visitations as afflicted Noah. The municipality of
West Maitland might well design its coat of arms to include an ark
floating upon a yellow ocean.

But Joe Garledge was wiser in his generation, and New Dartmoor still
stands upon the hill-top where he traced its foundations in 1817. And as
it is ten years since we last saw the big, red, West Countryman with
his head pillowed upon his wife's knee, whilst he lay unconscious after
his tremendous battle with the bushranger, "Barky" Jack Williamson,
near Crossthwaite Hall in 1813, it will be necessary for the proper
elucidation of this narrative to recount, briefly, the principal facts
of his prosperous career during that period.

Joe had accompanied Messrs. Blaxland, Wentworth and Lawson over the
Blue Mountains in the month of May, 1813. Mrs. Joe had taken leave of
him in the full expectation of never beholding him again, and Parson
Marsden, whilst invoking God's blessing upon the enterprise of the
daring explorers, had heartily condemned Joe's personal foolhardiness.
However, as all the world knows, the party succeeded in reaching the
open country to the west of the ranges, and were back at South Creek
in twenty-one days after commencing their hazardous march. It was the
greatest and most far-reaching event in the history of Australia,
and to Joe and Mrs. Joe, during the remainder of their long lives,
everything dated B.M. or A.M.--Before the Mountains or After the
Mountains.

Joe kept a journal, which still exists, although it has never been
published. It is a quaint record of the trials and adventures of the
explorers, and we will take a look into it in the succeeding chapter.
If it is not altogether as lucid or as informative as the journals of
Captain Cook, of Sir Joseph Banks, or Captain Matthew Flinders, or, as
concerns particularly the Blue Mountains, of Ensign Barralier, it is
indeed eloquent of the kind of good, honest, brave, and daring man that
the late Mr. Joseph Garledge, J.P., of New Dartmoor, near Morpeth, in
New South Wales, was. It breathes of Joe in every entry of his crabbed
and laborious writing. Mrs. Joe, next to the Bible, esteemed it the
most valuable volume in all the world. Nobody ever came to visit New
Dartmoor who went away without hearing the story of the journey from
her lips, or who did not inspect and read some portion at least of the
remarkable chronicle.

It is strange that in the journal kept by Mr. Blaxland there is no
mention whatever of Joe Garledge, who was the only free man--with the
exception of its leader, Mr. William Wentworth, and Mr. Lawson--who
took part in the expedition. Stranger still, when it is remembered that
Mr. Blaxland thought fit to petition Governor Macquarie that he should
make to Joseph Garledge some extra grant of good land in recognition of
his very valuable and vital services--I quote Mr. Blaxland--which he
might choose where he would. What these services were are modestly and
scantily indicated in the old notebook that is still preserved by the
Mainwaring family at New Dartmoor. But Mr. Blaxland is silent regarding
them. It may possibly have been that the three gentlemen who were the
principals in the undertaking were a little jealous of the privilege of
handing their names down to posterity as the pioneers of the interior
of Australia, and that no mention of the sturdy yeoman who was the
main prop of the party in danger and difficulty is recorded. However,
Joe got his land, and the questions as to why he did not get his due
share of the fame of the business is one that would not be unworthy of
the critical investigation of that erudite body, the Royal Historical
Society of N.S. Wales.

Joe had chosen his grant on the banks of the Hunter River, and what
a wise choice he made is evidenced by the condition of steadily
increasing prosperity that was his until the end of his life. He died,
in 1860, a very wealthy man indeed, and one of the best known and most
respected of the inhabitants of the Lower Hunter valley.

Mr. Mainwaring's first sight of his destination was obtained as he
emerged from a belt of timber that ended at the foot of the hill upon
which the New Dartmoor homestead stood. The road which had brought him
thither--little more than an infrequently used dray track--came to an
end at the rough log fence, which surrounded the home paddock, and he
alighted from his horse to open the double gate that gave entrance to
the enclosure. As he did so, some dogs on the other side of the house
set up a noisy barking, and presently three or four of assorted breeds
came racing down the slope, with the air of hostility which recognises,
in the canine world, an enemy in every stranger.

The house faced the river, and the approach to it by land led the
traveller up to its back door. It was not the square stone structure
that stands on the same site to-day--that was not built until about
1830--but a roomy cottage, constructed of roughly hewn-slabs, and
surrounded by a wide verandah, on which was trained a luxuriant growth
of creepers. The sun was just setting as the young officer led his
horse up the hill.

As he approached the verandah the attention of the dogs redoubled
itself, and there seemed to be every prospect of a scrimmage between
his own coursers and the local pack. He had just called his dogs to
heel, and was advancing through the yelping deputation that had come to
meet him, with propitiatory word and gesture, when a girl came running
on to the verandah, and busied herself with calling them off.

"Come here, Bluey--come here, sir. Towser, Towser!" she cried. "Come
here at once, you bad dogs. Come up here, Billy! I'll have to take the
whip to you, sir, if you don't behave yourself better."

Mr. Mainwaring halted, and stood staring at her in astonishment and
appreciation for a good ten seconds, before he remembered his manners
sufficiently to remove his hat and bow. He had certainly not expected
such a vision of beauty as this in what were then what we would call
now the Australian back-blocks. As a matter of fact, he had not
supposed that he would be likely to find it anywhere in Australia.

Sally Garledge--as she still was called--was just eighteen, and in
the first flush of her lovely womanhood. To the sunburnt youth who
stood gazing at her, she looked, in this raw and new land of primal
forests, and the rough beginnings of civilisation, some visitor from
another world. Her glorious red-gold hair was piled in a mass above her
white brow, and her splendid eyes danced with laughter, as she noted
his embarrassment. Her eyes were darker now than they had been as a
child, when we were last acquainted with her, and had rather a tinge
of violet in their clear depths than the deep blue that had captivated
Parson Marsden. And the lovely face of the child had formed itself
into the face of a most beautiful woman--full of laughter and full of
tenderness. But the dimples still played about the corners of the red
lips parting over white and even teeth that looked like two rows of
little pearls.

She came down to meet him, with outstretched hand. He took it in his,
and bowed low over it.

"You must be Mr. Mainwaring," she said, smiling at him. She pronounced
his name as it is spelt--and Jack Mainwaring was instantly of opinion
that this usually disgusting version of his patronymic sounded
infinitely better than the proper 'Mannering.' "We have been looking
for you all the afternoon. Won't you come in? Father is down at the
river on the schooner, but he'll be up soon. Come in and have some
refreshment--you must be tired after your journey. If you'll hang
your horse up to that post I'll send one of the men to take it to the
stables. Do come in. We are all delighted that you were able to come."

Her frank welcome put the young man at his ease at once, and he
followed her into the house, mumbling some remark about an honor that
was his.




CHAPTER XIV.--NEW DARTMOOR.

SHE led the way into a long, dark room, that ran the whole length
of the house--evidently the living apartment of the establishment.
Two windows--of real glass, and the only ones at that time in the
neighborhood of the Green Hills--looked out on to a magnificent view,
that was better revealed through the wide-open door. Down below the
hill the Hunter flowed, broad and placid, through its verdant flats,
and far away stretched the level lands that were of the richest in the
colony. In the distance blue mountains rose above the tree-tops.

They passed through the room and out on to the front of the house.

"'Tis Mr. Mainwaring, Mummy," cried Sally, as they came on to the
verandah. "Those dogs! One would think they had never seen a stranger
before!"

Mrs. Joe rose from her chair, putting down her sewing, and came forward
to greet her guest.

"Welcome to New Dartmoor, Mr. Mainwaring," she cried, with her old
heartiness and her pleasant laugh. "We'm main glad to see you, Sally,
lass, do 'ee bring some wine and some cake for Mr. Mainwaring. I be
certain sure he'll be glad of it, after his hot ride from King's Town.
Sit ye down, sir, do. 'Tes a pleasant evening, but it has been a warm
day. Make yourself to home. Joe--Mr. Garledge--will be in soon."

Mrs. Joe was a little plumper--indeed she might almost be described
inelegantly as "stout"--than when we saw her last, but the ten years
had dealt kindly with her comely face, and the smile of welcome that
she gave him caused Jack Mainwaring to feel that he had known her
for years, and that he was indeed at home. He sat down, and his eyes
followed Sally as she went indoors to see to his refreshment. He had
not yet recovered himself from the effect of the first sight of her
sweet loveliness.

You must not suppose that Jack Mainwaring was an extraordinarily
sentimental young man, or given to losing his heart whenever he
came across a pretty girl. He had had his "affairs"--respectable
and otherwise--like most young men, but he was far from being an
impressionable and callow youth of the sort who is ever ready to go
into raptures over a muslin garment wrapped around any attractive piece
of femininity. The truth was, he was so unaccustomed to seeing other
females than convict women, soldiers' wives, or the wives of those of
his brother officers who were benedicts, that a young, and good-looking
and charming girl was altogether a novelty to him. In Sydney, it is
true, there were ladies, and some not altogether unpleasing young
ones, but he had spent little of his time at headquarters since the
regiment had come to Australia. He had been on detachment duty at Port
Dalrymple--as Launceston, in Tasmania, was then called--and at Norfolk
Island; and now, after but two months in Sydney, he had been sent to
the Coal River in charge of the half company of the 46th, that was in
garrison at that not altogether delightful penal settlement. So our
Currency Lass was a rare delicacy to his rather epicurean taste in
womankind.

He found himself replying a little absently to Mrs. Joe's inquiries for
news of the outer world, and made an effort to rouse himself.

"Oh, yes, Mrs. Garledge," he was saying, "King's Town is much as usual.
Last month the packet brought a new chaplain--a Roman Catholic--Father
Reaney, and he seems a very good fellow. A distinct acquisition."

"You'm a Carth'lic yourself, Mr. Mainwaring?"

"Oh, no," he laughed, "my good father would take a fit if he heard you
ask me that. He's a Bishop, you know. Church of England. Bishop of
Sodor and Man. I don't think he'd approve of my knowing good Father
Reaney--I'm sure he wouldn't. But I like him immensely--he's one of the
best men I've ever come across."

"You'm quite raight, Mr. Mainwaring. There's good in every Church.
Strictly speakin', Joe--my husband--an' I, we be Plymouth Brethren, but
we've had so much to do with Passon Marsden, of Par'matta, that I think
we be real Church folk now."

Sally arrived with a tray, on which were a bottle of sherry, a glass,
and some cake. She put it down on a little table beside the guest, and
immediately excused herself on the ground of household duties and the
preparation of the evening meal. The sun was going down in a glory of
crimson and orange, over behind the distant mountains to the westward.
Mr. Mainwaring helped himself to the wine and cake, of which, indeed,
he was very glad, having fasted during his ride.

Whilst he was still engaged with the refreshments, and in replying,
as well as he could, to Mrs. Joe's thirst for news, the dogs outside
set up a frenzied yelping of greeting to the master of the house, who
was coming up from the wharf, where lay the schooner he had bought to
enable him to carry on a direct trade with Sydney. He stepped on to the
verandah, and greeted his guest with unassuming heartiness. Mainwaring
winced a little under the grip of his great hand.

"Welcome, welcome, Mr. Mainwaring," he cried delightedly. "'Tes raight
glad I be to see 'ee, zur. You'm surely very welcome. Ye found your
way all right, eh--didn't get bushed? 'Tes not so good a road, nor so
plain a one, as we'll have some day. But we'm far away from Easy Town
up to New Dartymoor. Bain't many folk so far out in th' wilds as us
be. I dare say ye'll not have been so far out into the country before,
Mr. Mainwaring--unless 'twas to the Oxberry. But that's old, settled
country. We be all up in the bush proper, here."

"Thank you, Mr. Garledge. Oh, yes, I've been across the Blue Mountains
to the new settlement at Bathurst. But I was not alone then. 'Tis a
fine country over there--and the colony has to thank yourself, and the
others with whom you sought it out, for giving it to her."

"Oh, 'twas a joy to me to make that journey. 'Twas fine to prove 'em
all wrong who said we'd never come back. The good wife, here, was one
of the worst of 'em--she and Passon Marsden. I'll say this for her,
though--'tes the on'y time I've ever been able to prove her in the
wrong since we were wed."

He laughed heartily, and the younger man felt himself greatly drawn
to this splendid specimen of a human being. Joe was as straight and
muscular as when he had crossed the ranges, and looked fit and ready
to undertake a similar expedition to-day. He was a tremendous worker,
and clean living and honest dealing had kept him strong, and fresh, and
active as a man of twenty-five. He was in his shirtsleeves, and his
great neck stood out of his open collar like a tower. There was not a
grey hair in his red head, his face was as jolly and as unlined as a
boy's, and the blue eyes looked out from beneath their shaggy brows as
clearly and pleasantly as a young girl's.

After supper--to which Mainwaring did full justice, and appreciated the
better since he knew it was the outcome of Sally's culinary skill--they
sat out on the verandah, and watched the pale radiance from the rising
moon stealing across the flats, whilst the two men smoked and talked,
and the women listened, joining occasionally in the conversation.
Mainwaring had prevailed upon his host to give him a first-hand account
of his journey over the Mountains, and big Joe was nothing loth to
recount the great event of his life to so appreciative a listener.

"'Tes no very great thing, after all, though," he concluded modestly.
"Someone was bound to do it some day. Ye may say we had luck in
striking the main ridge and sticking to it, right along to Mount York.
But, Lord, how often did we try to get off it! An' we would have, too,
if it hadn't been for them gert gullies an' prec'pices, that always
turned us back. 'Twas like walkin' along the top of a wall. Our only
way of goin' was to go forrard. Our only chance to miss our way was to
fall down into them deep places. But there was something ter'ble lonely
in them dark forests, an' something that frightened a man in the look
o' them gert gullies--all deep, an' blue, an' dark, with th' lil creeks
pourin' along their bottoms, away out o' sight below the tops o' th'
trees, thousands o' feet down. 'Twas easy to understand why all them
poor prisoners who had started out to walk to Chiny seldom came back to
the settled lands, and when they did were so starved and famished that
they welcomed flogging for the crust o' bread an' the bite o' meat that
went with it. 'Tes a starved, empty country on th' tops--on'y fit to
look at an' to wonder at. But the promised land--'twas worth it all to
see them rich plains, stretchin' out o' sight towards th' sunset!"

"Ye must read his book, Mr. Mainwaring," interposed Mrs. Joe. "Go, get
the book, Sally. Mr. Mainwaring can read it by candle-light when he
goes to bed, if so be he'm not too tired, for to do so."

And this is an extract from the single literary lapse of Joe's life.
Mainwaring read the book through when bed-time came, with difficulty
and deep interest, for, like all who came to know him, he had fallen
under the spell of esteem and liking which the big Devon man cast over
all good men with whom he came in contact--and, more often than not,
over the bad ones, too. To this latter fact may be credited, perhaps,
the success with which the system of the assignment of convict labour
worked at New Dartmoor. It was a very bad man, a very hopeless man, who
would not deal as fairly as in him lay with the hearty, lovable, and
simple manliness of good Joe Garledge. Thus it went:--


"Ye Fift Day we was up betimes an made up ye fire to boyle ye pot an
broke our fast with thankfulness. A very cold night an frost upon ye
trees an ye grass. Ye pack horses looked miserable an ye Forest was
very Thicke an Wet, an hard for to foorce our way. Mr. Wentworth and I
did goe Forward of the rest for to find ye easy Way, but 'twas hard to
find where was None, an wee had much Labor an made but poor Prograss up
to middaye. As it was on ye first Days of ye Journey, ye Dewy grasse
and shrubbes drinched us to ye Skin, an we were sopping wet ontil ye
cloathes dryed upon us. At noon we halted for to rest an to bait ye
Horses. Here is but little Natural erbage for ye fower-footed Cretures,
an that very poor an a gorse wiry grass having littel sustnince. Wee
continued on slowly thru ye Afternoon, passing under great Trees an in
very thicke undergrowth. One of ye men straying away was nearly lost to
us an to find him when we cooeyed was not so Easy. But I found him and
boxed his Ears for his trubble. This night it rained miserably, but we
found Shelter for all in a wide Cave, but ye horses had to endure ye
Wether without any shelter. Five miles do be ye Estimit of Mr. Blaxland
for ye dayes journey. Mr. Lawson a litel footsore. Myself wel an
Strong, an doe hartily thank God for His mercie in giding us thus far.
Raining hard as I rite an but litel dri Wood for ye Fire."


When Mrs. Garledge and Sally had said goodnight, about eight o'clock,
Joe and his guest continued a little longer on the verandah, smoking,
and Joe recounted his experiences in settling upon his present location.

"A man from Devizes told me of this country on Hunter's River, at
the time I was casting about where I would go for to select the two
thousand acres Mr. Macquarie had granted to me, an' so I awaited my
chance to come an' see it for myself. Mr. Macquarie was very kind. He
gave me a letter to Captain Wallis, the commandant at King's Town, an'
ordered me a free passage to the Coal River in the Lady Nelson. When I
came there, I was able to obtain the use of a boat, an' the assistance
of two men, an' we rowed up the river. All the land is good along both
banks, but I was frightened of floods. I'd seen them on th' Oxberry in
eighteen-six, in eighteen-nine, an' in 'sixteen, and unless I could
find some high land to make my station on, I rackoned 'twas little use
a-settling down on them flats. Ye may have years of prosperity, an' all
things be raight an' fine,' an' them coomes a flood, an' 'tes all labor
in vain. But on the third day I came to this place, an' 'twas goon
enough for me. So I went back an' sold my farm near Windsor, and bought
breeding stock with the money, an' hired one of Andrew Thompson's lil
ships, an' sailed raight round from the old Green Hills to the new, an'
we took a day over the fortnight on the v'yage. 'Twas slow work comin'
down th' Oxberry, and we met with contra-airy winds outside Broken Bay,
so that we were five days beating up to th' Coal River, an' beating in
round th' Coal Island. An' 'twas a slow business drifting up the river
on the tides, an' we had to warp the little ship off th' mud banks half
a score of times. But we got here at a good last, an' here we be, doing
so well. I've no cause to regret having gone across the Mountains with
Mr. Blaxland. But 'tes ter'ble late--'tes nine o'clock, no less--an' we
be early folk. To-morrow I'll show ye my land. I think New Dartymoor be
worth a glance or two--though 'tes me that sez it!"




CHAPTER XV.--THE LITTLE SALLY.

EARLY in the morning Mainwaring was awakened by the clucking and
squawking of fowls and ducks, and, jumping out of bed, put his head
through the open window for a breath of the fresh air and a glimpse
of the newly-risen sun. The house was built on piles, and his bedroom
window-sill was some twelve feet above the ground. He was startled by a
merry laugh below him.

"Good morning, Mr. Mainwaring," Sally smiled up at him from the
recesses of a pink hood. "You don't keep very early hours, I can see.
Aren't you ever going to get up? Come and help me with my chickens."

"In half of thirty seconds, Miss Garledge," he laughed back. "Chickens
are my weakness."

"Broiled, I expect," she flung up at him as he withdrew his towsled
head.

In the half of thirty minutes he stood beside her--freshly shaven,
clean-looking, and neatly attired. He was in mufti, and the
fawn-colored riding garments he had arrived in fitted him like a glove
and showed off his fine figure to perfection. Sally decided that
there was little that was wanting in this young man's appearance, at
any rate, even if he was one of those roystering blades of subaltern
officers, of whose wicked ways she had read in novels. She gave him her
hand with a smile, and he raised it gallantly to his lips, rather to
the confusion and the heightening of the color of our Currency Lass,
who was little used to such Continental politeness.

"Oh!" she said; "do you always do that when people bid you good
morning?"

"Well--er--not exactly always," he replied, coloring a little, too.
And then they both laughed, and she led him off, with an expressed
intention of making use of him, and a dish of chicken food in his
hands, towards an enclosure where her turkeys lived and had their
nurseries.

Breakfast was at seven, and Sally, Mrs. Garledge, and Mainwaring
awaited the coming of the master of the house, who had betaken himself
early to the schooner. The big bell in the yard, that summoned the
convict servants to their morning meal, had been silent a good five
minutes before he made his appearance.

At once, from the subdued manner of his greetings to the three of
them, it was apparent that something was wrong. Something had occurred
that had clouded Joe's genial countenance, and made his step a little
heavier and slower than was customary. He carried some papers in
his hand, and he placed them on the table beside his plate with a
preoccupied air, as he bent his head and said grace.

"What's th' matter, Joe, my man?" asked his wife softly, as they sat
down. "You're bothered, seeming. Is aught wrong with th' lil ship?"

Joe shook his head.

"Nay--th' Lil Sally's alraight--an' 'tes well she be so, for ye must
both pack y'r boxes after breakfast, and make ready for th' voyage to
Sydney Town. We must sail upon th' turn of th' tide at one o'clock."

"Lud ha' mercy!" exclaimed Mrs. Joe in tragic tones, astounded at this
sudden announcement by her good man. "Hark to th' man, Sally girl, what
does he mean?"

"What is it, father?" asked Sally, wonderingly.

"Ye'll excuse me, Mr. Mainwaring, if we discuss our affairs afore ye,
won't ye now?" said Joe, turning to their guest.

"Oh, yes, yes--Mr. Garledge. But would it not be better if I left the
room. I'll sit in the verandah----"

"No, no--not at all, zur, 'tes no harm you hearin'. Well, Sally, 'tes
that good father of yours again. He'm surely persistent--he'm not to be
set aside."

"Why, what now, father--you are the only man I will ever call
that--what has he done now?"

Mrs. Joe stared anxiously at her husband, consternation written plainly
all over her plump features.

Joe took up his papers, and opened one of them, which he spread out on
the table.

"A man came up the river in a boat last night from King's Town--he was
stuck on a sunken tree five miles below here, and only reached th'
place at sunrise--who brought me a mail from Sydney. There be a letter
for each of you, but keep 'em until I tell ye. This be a letter from
lawyer Sims. He has to tell of Cap'n Cross'waite's latest movement--an'
it be a main serious one." He shook his head, and looked up at Sally,
who paled a little.

"What is it, father?" she faltered. "Has he made some fresh move?"

He nodded.

"Yes. Mr. Sims writes to say that Cap'n Cross'waite be a-goin' to th'
Supreme Court--to Mr. Justice Field--fer to get him to make an order
for you to be handed over to 'un. Th' hearin' of his argyment is to
come off this day week, an' Sam Sims, he does most strongly advise that
I do coom to Sydney to oppose it, an' that I bring you an' th' missus
wi' me. So that be the strong of it, an' 'tes fair lucky th' schooner
be here, an' all trim an' ready for sea. We must start at once. After
breakfast, do'ee pack up, an' see to the providin' o' Sunday toggery,
'Lizbeth. I have no love for it, as ye know, but 'twill be necessary, I
s'pose--in the court, 'tanyrate."

He turned to his guest.

"Mr. Mainwaring, I do be truly sorrowful--but I must ask ye for to
grant me y'r pardon. I had hoped to have ye wi' us for the week, at
least, an' for to give ye some kind of spoort after th' kangaroos an'
th' wild duck. But it cannot be, I be main sorry to say. We must away
to Sydney. 'Tes no help for it. If ye'll come to King's Town in the
schooner with us, I'll have your horse sent down to th' settlement.
Unless," he added hospitably, "maybe ye'd stay here, an' do some
huntin' an' shootin' on y'r own account? My overseer, Jim Biggs, would
look after ye well enough."

"Oh, thank you, Mr. Garledge--I think I'll go down the river with you.
If you'll have me some other time, perhaps I might come again?"

"Yes, yes--ye'll he always welcome, zur," said Joe heartily. "I be more
than sorry that we must fly away in so sudden a fashion. But 'tes a
business will brook no delay. 'Tes th' welfare of our lil girl be at
stake."

"Some legal business, I presume?"

Joe looked at his wife, and she nodded her head.

"'Tes no harm ye should know it. Sally here's not our child--she be th'
darter of Cap'n William Cross'waite, o' Prospect Hill, and he'm main
anxious to get our lil girl into his guardianship--all on account of
some money that be a-comin' to her. But th' missus here'll tell 'ee. I
must gulp some breakfast, and be about a bit. There's a main lot to be
seen to before we start. Have your breakfast--an' they'll tell it all
to ye. 'Tes an interestin' story, I think ye'll find."

Joe made a hasty meal, and hurried out. Whilst they sat over their
cups, Mrs. Joe outlined Sally's story to her interested visitor.

"I have met this Captain Crossthwaite," he said, looking at Sally with
something of sympathy in his clear eyes. "If I may ask Miss--Miss
Crossthwaite----"

"Oh, don't call me that--please," hastily interrupted Sally. "I have no
feeling for him that I suppose I ought to have. He was cruelly wicked
and horrid to my poor mother, and sometimes I almost believe I hate
him, and wish he was dead. Dear Joe and dear mummy have been the only
father and mother I've ever known, and I'd rather be their daughter,
and bear their name, than anything." There were tears in her eyes, as
she took Mrs. Joe's hand, and squeezed it affectionately.

"Of course," said Mainwaring, "I understand, Miss Garledge. I was going
to say that I know this Captain Crossthwaite, and if half the tales one
hears of him are true, he is a very bad lot, indeed."

"Indeed--there's naught could be too bad for him," said Mrs. Joe
indignantly. "'Twas many years before I dared to tell my man all I
knew. Passon Marsden an' me, we kept it to ourselves, for fear of th'
wild temper of them Red Garledges. If Joe'd known then, I do believe
he'd have sought him out and killed him. But come, Sally, my dear,
we must hasten wi' our packing--for we'll have to be aboard th' Lil
Sally by half after twelve, for her to catch the turn o' th' tide at
one o'clock. Mr. Mainwaring--we must leave you to yourself, if so be
ye'd excuse us. We'm greatly pressed for time, as ye can see."

"Oh, I'll be quite alright, Mrs. Garledge. Don't worry about me. I'll
take a stroll about the place until 'tis time to start."

The Little Sally was a trim schooner of some seventy tons' burthen,
and her skipper was an old Dawlish fisherman, who had been transported
many years before for the virtuous and righteous act of smuggling--as
it was held to be along the Channel shores. He was a fine old sea-dog,
and knew every inch of the coast of New South Wales. Particularly was
he a master-pilot of Port Stephens, the Hunter River, the Hawkesbury,
and Port Jackson. When, at five minutes after one o'clock, his pretty
little craft running out into the stream--being given a shove off with
long poles by the servants of New Dartmoor, under the supervision of
the irascible Jim Biggs--a shock-headed nugget of a man and once a
lightweight boxer--Cap'n Sammy Toop stood proudly at the wheel beside
his owner, and swore that he'd have them into Newcastle on a single
tide. But it was not to be, for in the reach where the colliers load
to-day at Hexham, she fouled a sunken tree, and lost the tide, so that
it was noon of the following day before they dropped anchor off the
King's Wharf at Newcastle.

Jack Mainwaring found it mighty pleasant drifting down the broad bosom
of the Hunter, under light sail, and in the company of the Currency
Lass. The nor'-easter was generally favourable to their progress, and
sometimes, in the longer reaches of the river, the schooner logged
quite a respectable pace. It was just at sunset when they fouled the
branches of a big gum tree that had been brought down by the last
flood, and, greatly to the chagrin of Captain Toop, they were forced
to make up their minds to spending the night there. It was a pleasant
enough night--except for the mosquitoes, the famous "Hexham Greys,"
whose feats are still proverbial on the Lower Hunter--but none were
sorry when at daylight the schooner was once more in motion upon her
voyage.

There is hardly any prettier or more peaceful scenery anywhere than
along that forty miles of the old Hunter. If you travel that way to-day
in one of the steamers of the Newcastle and Hunter River Company, you
will agree that the three or four hours voyage is well worth making.
Long flats stretching back from the low, rich, chocolate banks make
a verdant plain of cultivation on either bank, and the distant hills
and blue ranges, rising behind the nearer forests of eucalyptus and
mangrove, complete a picture, or a series of pictures, altogether
charming with a certain fresh loveliness and pastoral peacefulness.

When they anchored, Joe, Captain Toop, and Mr. Mainwaring--the latter
taking regretful leave of Mrs. Garledge and Sally, but especially of
Sally--went ashore in the schooner's boat. Clearance papers were to be
made out, the Commandant's mails respectfully solicited, and maybe a
passenger or two to be embarked.

When they came back about four o'clock, Sally was surprised
to see Lieutenant Mainwaring, in uniform, seated in the stern
sheets--surprised, but not ill pleased. Beside him was a ruddy-faced
gentleman in clerical dress, whom Joe introduced as the Rev. Father
Reaney, Roman Catholic Chaplain at King's Town, who had begged, and
been made welcome to, a passage to Port Jackson.

"It is good of you to have come to say good-bye to us, Mr. Mainwaring,"
said Sally, smiling her welcome to the young officer.

"Oh, but I haven't, Miss Garledge," he laughingly replied. "The
Commandant, Major Morisett, has sent me to Sydney with some particular
despatches for Sir Thomas Brisbane, and Mr. Garledge has been good
enough to give me a passage in the Little Sally."

"Oh, that's delightful," laughed Sally, "I'm so glad. Indeed I am. We
were just beginning to know you."

The elation of the despatch-bearer at this frank declaration almost
caused him a sleepless night.

An hour or so before sunset they crossed out over the bar, rounded the
high, castle-like rock known then as Coal Island, and now as Nobby's,
and headed south-ward. The nor'-easter blew freshly all through a
glorious moonlight night, and by sunrise they were abreast of Manly
Beach. By ten o'clock the Little Sally was snugly at anchor in
Sydney Cove.




CHAPTER XVI.--CAPTAIN CROSSTHWAITE'S CLAIM.

JOB GARLEDGE lost no time in going to interview his lawyer about the
matter that had brought New Dartmoor so hurriedly to Sydney. After
seeing his wife and foster-daughter safely installed in the new King's
Hotel in George Street--the most pretentious establishment that Sydney
could boast in '23, and a really first-class hostelry of the days of
the Regency, either in Australia or the Old Country--he hurried round
to the office of Sims & Hayes, which was also the dwelling place of Mr.
Samuel Sims, and was established in a neat cottage, with a garden round
it, close to the intersection of King and Pitt Streets.

Mr. Sims--a little, dry, scrupulous, exact man, of the sort that has
been so traditionally portrayed as the "stage lawyer"--received him
with great respect. The wealthy squatter of '23 was a very much more
important personage in the community than had been the humble free
settler of 1806, whom we first met that year, shivering on the island
hill top at the Hawkesbury in the Big Flood. The ceremoniousness of
Mr. Sims's bow was a measure of his importance--and it was a very
ceremonious bow, indeed.

"Good morning to you, Mr. Garledge," he greeted him with a dignified
urbanity that he reserved for his best clients. "Ah--you have lost no
time in getting from Hunter's River, I perceive. Excellent, excellent!
The matter is one of some--ahem--some urgency, my dear sir. Some
urgency. Urgency. Urgency."

He handed Mr. Garledge a chair, and begged him to be seated. Joe sat
down, and wiped his brow. He was extremely uncomfortable in the blue
broadcloth tail coat with brass buttons, the top boots with yellow
tops, and the stove-pipe hat--which were the main features of the
shining raiment that his good wife insisted upon when they came to
Sydney.

"Well, well, Sammy." Mr. Sims winced, but pretended to enjoy the
familiar form of address, which, indeed, was almost universally
accorded him, and never resented, save from such as might be supposed
to be incapable of paying costs. "Well, well--'tes a serious enough
business to make me hurry--anything that does have to do wi' th'
welfare of our Sally. Lucky I was to have th' schooner ready for sea,
an' just on th' pint o' sailin', when your letter came to New Dartmoor.
We'm anxious to know what th' trouble is now--th' missus an' me."

"I trust, my dear sir, that your charming and accomplished lady is
in the enjoyment of good health. A great blessing, Mr. Garledge. A
blessing. A blessing."

"Oh, yes, 'Lizbeth's sprightly, thank'ee, Sammy. An' Sally, too. But
let's come at the business. What's this d---d fellow up to now? I can
see myself screwing the varmint's neck, before 'tes finished wi' un,"
growled Joe, with a dangerous look in the steadfast blue eyes. "He'm
Hell's own son, for sure, is William Crossthwaite."

"Calm yourself, my good sir. Calmness is what we want. Calmness.
Calmness. Captain Crossthwaite is, as you observe, a very diabolical
character. Diabolical. Diabolical. But he is also a very astute and
thoroughly unprincipled person, and we must be very wary in our choice
of weapons with which to fight him--and our employment of them, sir.
Our employment. Employment."

Joe was growing impatient.

"Sammy," he said, "if ye doan't come to th' point, I'll go straight an'
find this fellow Cross'waite myself, an' have it out wi' un in good
West Country fashion."

"No, no--my dear Mr. Garledge. No, no." Mr. Sims raised his open hands
in protest against this proposal of summary, and, possibly, violent,
procedure. "One moment, sir--one moment, and I will make you acquainted
with this latest piece of villainy. Villainy. Villainy."

He got up and went to a case of pigeon-holes at the back of the room,
returning to his table with some papers, neatly docketed, and fastened
together with the red tape out of which had been woven the web of Sammy
Sims's existence. He carefully unfolded them, and spread them upon the
table.

"I have received a letter, which I have here, Mr. Garledge, from
Captain Crossthwaite's attorney, in which, to be short, he informs me
that his client intends, unless you see fit within a fortnight--which
leaves at this date only a week--to fall in with his demands as to
surrendering the guardianship of Miss Crossthwaite."

"Garledge," interrupted Joe, "Garledge, dammit!"

"Yes, yes, my dear sir--but, but we must not forget that your adopted
daughter is legally Miss Selina Crossthwaite. Legally, my dear sir.
Legally. Legally."

"Aye," said Joe reflectively. "That be true enough. Parson Marsden,
he wrote home to th' parish where her mother was wed to this dam'
scoundrel, an' got a 'tested copy of th' entry in th' mar'ge register
o' th' church--to Hawley in Surrey, I think 'twas. Ye have th' papers
here, Sammy?"

"Yes, yes. I recollect perfectly. Perfectly. So she is undoubtedly
Selina Crossthwaite, the legitimate offspring of Captain William
Crossthwaite and Selina, his wife. Legitimate. Legitimate. He has his
claims, sir. He has his claims. Claims. We must be circumspect in the
business. Circumspect. Circumspect."

Joe found this reiteration of any phrase that tickled the ear of its
inventor extremely irritating.

"Well, well--get on, Sammy, get on," he said impatiently.

"In good time, Mr. Garledge. In good time. We must consider the matter
in its entirety, sir. In its entirety. Now, since she is his daughter,
and a minor, it is not to be denied that Captain Crossthwaite is quite
within his rights in demanding that he shall have the custody of his
child until she either comes of age, or marries. There is no denying
that, Mr. Garledge. No denying it. He has a just claim, sir. A just
claim."

"But 'tes not right an honest girl, an innocent girl, like our Sally,
should go to live in th' home of a man who keeps mistresses--common,
dirty strumpets, they are--an' who has lived in sin all his life. She'd
be better dead than that. An', anyway, short of keeping her behind
bolts an' bars, like a prisoner, he'd never get her to stop with him."

"Quite so, Mr. Garledge. Quite so. And it is in Captain Crossthwaite's
evil reputation that the strength of our side lies. I am sure that
Mr. Justice Field, when he has seen Miss Selina, would regard it as
preposterous that such a young lady should be handed over to the care
of so notorious an evil-liver as her father. He would look upon it as
preposterous. Pre--posterous, sir. Preposterous."

"Then we need have no fear----"

"A moment, Mr. Garledge. A moment, sir," the lawyer interrupted him.
"There is this to be considered, and it is of some moment. Some moment.
We might demonstrate to his Honour that Captain Crossthwaite was an
entirely unworthy person to have charge of the young lady. That would
be a task of no difficulty whatever. Whatever. But the fact remains
that he is a trustee, appointed by her grandfather to supervise certain
settlements of an annual sort that have been made by the latter
gentleman. Suppose that Captain Crossthwaite was to admit that his mode
of life was not--ahem--sufficiently regular to permit of a reasonable
expectation that he should be entrusted with her personal custody? Well
then, he might admit, that, and at the same time raise objections to
her remaining in the care of two people--such as yourself and your good
lady, Mrs. Garledge--who were prejudiced against him to such an extent
that their influence might be supposed to inculcate sentiments, in the
young lady's mind, of an unfilial nature towards himself. The Judge
would be bound to consider this point of view, if he raised it. And
then, if his Honour decided to remove the young lady from your care----"

"God forbid!" said Joe, appalled at the mention of such a prospect.
"Now, God forbid!"

"Quite so, Mr. Garledge--God forbid. God forbid. But if he so decided,
he would naturally invite Captain Crossthwaite to suggest the name of
some person who might undertake the charge of the young lady agreeably
to his view."

"Why shouldn't he invite me to have a say?"

"Because you do not count, Mr. Garledge--you have no legal status in
the matter whatsoever. None whatever. None whatever. I regret it,
I assure you--but the fact that you saved the child's life in the
great flood of 1806, and have since brought her up and educated her,
gives you no sort of legal claim to her. No legal claim. Legal claim.
He would not consider you at all. That is a fact, sir--though very
lamentable. Lamentable. Lamentable. But it is a fact."

"An' who would this ruffian be likely to say--for to look after our lil
Sally?"

"Ah, I was coming to that, Mr. Garledge. Coming to that. I have not the
slightest doubt, my good sir, that he would nominate that fraudulent,
pettifogging time-serving disgrace to our profession, sir--our
profession--a man who ought never to have been admitted to the roll of
solicitors of the Supreme Court of the Territory--Timothy Robinson.
A scoundrel, sir. A scoundrel. Scoundrel. Captain Crossthwaite's
attorney, sir--Mr. Timothy Robinson."

"I've heard of him. Is he so bad as that?"

"Bad, sir. Bad is not the word. The superlative of bad is the word,
sir! The superlative. There is none worse. He is the very worst. The
very worst. The worst."

"Well--an' then?" asked Joe.

"The young lady's unworthy father would have it all his own way. All
his own way. Entirely. Entirely. Her income would be in Robinson's
charge. She would live in his house--since she would have to live
somewhere. His detestable influence would direct her affairs.
Crossthwaite might even, through him, bring about the young lady's
marriage with some creature of his own, and thereby obtain control of
the ultimate fortune that is to come to her from her grandfather. He
might do anything. A young girl, Mr. Garledge, is only a young girl.
Inexperienced. Inexperienced. Possibly susceptible to affairs of the
heart. Anything might happen. 'Tis a very serious consideration, Mr.
Garledge. Very serious. Serious."

The little man of parchment leant back in his chair, and regarded
his big client with great solemnity. Joe thought for a little while,
staring at the floor between his feet. He looked up at Mr. Sims.

"Well, then, Sammy," he said slowly, "what'd us better be doin'? We
can't sit still and see this brought about."

Mr. Sims rubbed his hands together, and regarded Joe with a look that
was meant to express great astuteness, great cunning, much knowledge of
the world.

"The Americans, my dear Mr. Garledge--our trans-Atlantic kinsmen--have
a word to express the course of action I would advise, which is very
expressive and effective. Expressive and effective. Effective. I would
most strongly urge that we take this course."

"An' what's that?"

"Bluff, sir--bluff!"

"Bluff?"

"That is the word, sir. It means to overcome with impudence. To induce
a belief in the mind of an opponent that one is better and more
effectively prepared to overcome him than one really is. To terrify
him, sir, by--ahem--false pretences of a sort. But not really. Not
really. In the employment of true bluff, sir, the opponent is induced
to make his own false pretences--to deceive himself, sir. Deceive
himself."

"An' do'ee think, Sammy Sims, as you can do this here 'bluff' wi' Cap'n
Cross'waite. He is a wily one--wily an' dang'rous."

"Possibly, sir--possibly with Captain Crossthwaite. Possibly. But very
certainly, sir, with his attorney. I know enough of Timothy Robinson,
almost, to send him to the care of our estimable friend at the Coal
River, Major Morisett."

"Do 'ee, then?" said Joe.

"Yen, Mr. Garledge, I do. And I propose to bluff Mr. Robinson, and
through him, indirectly, to bluff Captain Crossthwaite. Indirectly.
Indirectly."

"How, then?"

"Leave it to me, sir, I beg--and you will see how, in due course.
Give me your authority to propose a meeting of the parties concerned,
at your hotel. That is to say, on the one side, Mrs. Garledge and
yourself, and your adopted daughter, with their trusty--I think I
may say--legal adviser. On the other, Captain Crossthwaite, and the
miserable and discreditable wretch whom he employs as his business
agent. Shall we say, for the day after to-morrow--at the King's Hotel?
The King's Hotel?"

"Very well, Sammy," said Joe, a little doubtfully. "But remember
this. Supreme Court--Judge Field an' all--or no Supreme Court, that
blackguard Cross'waite doesn't get our lil Sally. I'd crack his skull,
an' drop him in th' harbour first!"

"My good sir--you really mustn't. Mustn't. Good gracious--'tis almost a
felony to think such a thing!"

"Very well--you do your bluff proper, then, Sammy!"




CHAPTER XVII.--GRANDFATHER.

MR.. SAMUEL SIMS lost no time in communicating with his despised
brother of the law, Mr. Timothy Robinson, Solicitor and Notary.


"My dear Sir," he wrote, having headed his short epistle
"Without Prejudice," "with reference to your letter of the 10th
instant, concerning the question of Captain William Crossthwaite's
guardianship of Miss Selina Crossthwaite, I beg to inform you that
I have this day submitted same to the consideration of my esteemed
client, Mr. Joseph Garledge, of New Dartmoor, Hunter's River, who
happens to be at present in Sydney. Without admitting that Captain
Crossthwaite has any just claim to the society of the lady in question,
Mr. Garledge has instructed me to propose a meeting of the parties
involved in the matter, at which the business may be discussed in
a fashion satisfactory to all. I have, therefore, to suggest that
Captain Crossthwaite, with yourself as his attorney, meet with Mr.
and Mrs. Garledge, with myself in a similar capacity, and Miss Selina
Crossthwaite, as the person most directly interested, at the King's
Hotel, in George Street, on Friday, the 12th instant, at 4 o'clock
p.m. This should give you time to summon Captain Crossthwaite from his
residency at Prospect Hill--if he is not at present in Sydney, as I
understand him to be. Trusting that I may be informed of your immediate
acceptance of this invitation.

I have the honour to be, Sir,

Your obedient Servant,

Samuel Sims."


"Obedient servant be d---d!" muttered Mr. Sims, as he signed this
document. "Polite fiction. Fiction. Fiction. I'll show the low-lived
blackguard!"

The low-lived blackguard had duly replied, accepting Mr. Sims's
proposal. And so the matter stood, until the day after to-morrow.

On the day following the arrival of the Garledges in Sydney Mr. John
Mainwaring, arrayed in his best uniform after a visit, on the business
of the Commandant at Newcastle, to His Excellency, Lieutenant-General
Sir Thomas Brisbane, at Government House, did himself the honour of
calling upon Mrs. Garledge at her hotel. It may be added that he also
did himself the pleasure--the very great and eagerly sought after
pleasure--of calling upon Miss Selina Garledge, as she preferred to be
known.

He found them at home, but Mrs. Garledge deputed Sally to be the bearer
of her compliments, and her regrets that she was unable to see him this
morning, as she was engaged with the dressmaker.

"Oh dear, and do you know why, Mr. Mainwaring?" Sally exclaimed with
an air of tragedy. "We had hardly got settled into our room, when
an orderly came down from Government House with an invitation to
dinner from Sir Thomas Brisbane. It was for Mr. and Mrs. Garledge and
Miss Garledge. Do you know, I feel so shy that I think I'll be Miss
Crossthwaite for once in a way, and have no knowledge of this Miss
Garledge. I suppose I am entitled to do that, aren't I?"

"Of course," he laughed, "you needn't know who Miss Garledge is, Miss
Sally. But I don't think I'd be frightened of the Governor. He's one
of the kindest and the best of men, and I'm certain you'd be able to
number him amongst your conquests in half an hour."

"Oh, dear--I haven't any conquests, as you call them, sir."

"I'm not so sure about that," he said gallantly, with a smile and a
bow, and she blushed prettily, for it was hard to mistake his meaning.

"Do let us go out for a walk somewhere," she said hastily. "Do you
mind? I'm such a country bumpkin, that the mere sight of the streets
excite me. Are you doing anything?"

"Delighted!" he exclaimed, jumping up. "I came here with the intention
of begging you to honor me with your company for an hour or two. Let
us go at once. It is a glorious morning. We'll look at the shops, and
stroll round by the Cove, and admire the shipping and the harbour."

"Just a minute, until I run and tell Mummy," she cried delightedly,
and hastened from the drawing-room of the hotel. In ten minutes she
was back, with her 'coal-scuttle' bonnet on, out of which hideous
head-dress her sweet face looked, Mainwaring thought, more sweetly than
ever. She had on a white muslin dress, and a pink sash, high up under
the bust, as was the fashion in the "twenties" of the last century, set
off the costume wonderfully--so that she looked the fresh, wholesome,
happy daughter of the sunny south that she was.

They were a good looking couple, as they walked down the sunlit street
towards the harbour, and more than one pair of eyes turned to gaze
after the handsome, manly young officer and his beautiful companion.
Soldiers of his regiment saluted him with great respect--and Sally
didn't know that more than half of it was meant for her. Brother
officers went out of their way to greet him, so as to obtain an
introduction to Johnny Mainwaring's new beauty, and by the time that
they had come to the waterside, she had smiled graciously upon, and
conquered the hearts of, half a dozen susceptible members of the
Mess of the Buffs. Even old Tom Halliday, the Senior Major, and
second-in-command--a notorious woman-hater--had stopped his junior with
a word of apology, on the hastily invented pretext of some regimental
business, and obtained an introduction to the smiling beauty.

"Huh--like Mainwaring's d----d impudence to be seen about with such a
pretty girl," he muttered, as he passed on. "Damme if it isn't!"

Sydney in 1823 was a truly marvellous place, when its age was taken
into consideration, and the tremendous distance that parted it from
the rest of the world. It was only thirty-five years--a single
generation--since Captain Phillip had read his commission to the
convicts, under tall gum trees, somewhere about where Macquarie Place
is situated to-day. And the place had far outgrown the status of
camp and village, and was already become a town of quite respectable
dimensions, and not altogether mean architectural pretensions. Some of
the shops were quite equal to anything that you might find in the older
county seats of England that were not manufacturing towns. Indeed, the
place was strangely like a smaller seaport on the south or west coasts
of Britain. There was always, it is true, a hideous reminder that the
colony was still a penal settlement, in the marching of gangs of yellow
jacketed prisoners through the streets, and the working parties that
laboured on the roads and about the wharves. But it was also beginning
to make itself evident that Sydney was the capital, the administrative
and commercial centre, of a vast and rich territory that was just
beginning to respond with results to the efforts of the pioneers of
civilisation and prosperity. The recently concluded Macquarie regime
had been a period of enormous expansion, comparatively. That good man,
and wise pro-consul, has left it on record that this province of the
Empire, over which he had been called to rule in 1810, had trebled
its population in eleven years, had widened its lands a hundredfold
and more, and had increased its trade to an extent that had bettered
his most sanguine hopes. It was no mean outpost of Empire through
which our Currency Lass went her light-hearted way that sunny morning
in February, 1823, leaning upon the arm of her gallant and delighted
escort.

They crossed the bridge over the Tank Stream--which still flowed into
a wide estuary of Sydney Cove, rather on its western side--and walked
down towards the water.

A ship, with half furled sails, was lying at anchor at the mouth of the
Cove, with many boats coming and going from her, and rows of people
leaning over her poop rails, and clambering into the lower rigging to
view the town. Obviously, a recent arrival.

"By Jove!" said Mainwaring. "A ship just in. I saw the flags flying at
Fort Phillip this morning, as I went across to Government House from
the Barracks. Why, I do believe 'tis the Andromache, the ship that
I came out in. Mails to-day, Miss Garledge--newspapers, new faces.
Hooray!" he exclaimed in boyish delight.

"Is she a convict transport?" asked Sally.

"No--oh, no. The Andromache has never been in the transport service.
She always carries free immigrants and cabin passengers. She's an old
East Indiaman. But, she must have been in an hour, at least. See how
the people are beginning to come ashore, and look how the lodging-house
runners and baggage touts are on to them already! They don't get much
time to look round before those gentry are after them. But 'tis the
same everywhere."

"Let us go and see them," said Sally. "You know, we don't see many new
faces up at the Green Hills. I'd love to look at them. I wonder what
they think of the place? I do hope they'll come to love it, as I do.
But they are far away from home, poor things--and it's home to me.
You sterling people, you know," she laughed, "never quite realise how
currency lads and lasses love our dear country."

"Well, at any rate, some of us can love it for its lasses," he said
softly, and she turned her head away to hide her change of colour from
him in the depths of the poke bonnet.

They strolled down to the wharf, where the boats were landing
passengers from the ship, with their lighter baggage, and stood on the
edge of the crowd gazing curiously at the newcomers, and Sally revelled
in the animated scene.

They were a mixed assortment of "Johnny-come-Latelys," who were landing
in Sydney with their wives and families. Ruddy faced countrymen and
rosy women, with healthy looking children, who shouted their joy at
being once more on dry land, and ran about excitedly, in and out
amongst the bystanders. Artisans and tradesmen from London and the
provincial cities. A few who looked as if they had come to seek renewed
health in the genial climate of the south--and one or two who seemed as
if they had only come to leave the bones that supported their emaciated
frames in graves that were far away from all that they held dear and
precious.

Sally took a lively interest in them, and commented softly to her
companion upon individuals amongst the strangers.

"Oh, do look at that pretty woman--what a complexion she has! They can
beat us there, I must admit. And her baby! Did you ever see such a fat
baby! And look--look at that splendid looking old man--so tall, and
straight, and handsome!"

Mainwaring turned to look in the direction she indicated, and saw a
tall, erect, clean shaven man with silvery, close cropped hair, who
appeared to be about seventy years of age. He stood a little apart from
the crowd, a small handbag in his grasp, and seemed to be surveying the
aspect of the sunlit town over the heads of the people--which he well
might do, for he was six feet three, if he stood an inch in height.

Mainwaring started, and uttered an exclamation of surprise.

"By Jove!" he said. "'Tis old--old John What's-his-name, who keeps a
tavern in Longacre. I've seen him often, but I can't recall his name
for the moment."

As he spoke, the old man looked towards them, and his eyes met Sally's.
She saw his lips part, and he started violently. Involuntarily he
dropped his bag, and when he had stooped to pick it up, and looked at
them again, there was such a look of amazement in his face, such an air
of startled and incredulous surprise, that she was startled too.

"Oh--he's coming to speak to us!" she whispered. "He must remember you,
too."

Pushing his way through the crowd, the old man forced a passage to
where they stood, and halted before them, staring strangely and
intensely into Sally's face--not rudely, but with a look of blank
astonishment.

He took his hat from his head and bent his tall form closer, so as to
look into her eyes.

"My God!" he muttered hoarsely. "My God--'tis my little girl! 'Tis
my own darling Sally. Now God be praised--what has happened to the
years! Am I going mad! 'Tis nigh a score of years since she left me,"
he whispered, "and yet here she is. Speak, girl! Who are ye? Merciful
heavens--ye cannot be my lass Sally--and yet every look of ye is her's.
O, my God!"

Sally trembled under the spell of his emotion. Mainwaring was stricken
dumb. The girl lifted her eyes to the old man's, and suddenly, with the
quick and miraculous intuition that women have, she whispered, as she
put out her hand:

"Grandfather!"

In a moment the old man, utterly unconscious of the crowd, had clasped
her to him, his white head bent over hers, and unchecked tears rolling
down his handsome face.

"My God!" he whispered huskily. "'Tis my little Sally--my own little
girl--after all these years. There is no death--there is no
death."




CHAPTER XVIII.--PISTOLS FOR TWO.

WHEN the first amazing excitement of this strange encounter had a
little abated, Sally introduced her companion to her Grandfather. The
old man looked at him intently, as if trying to recall his face.

"I think we've met before somewhere, Mr. Mainwaring--haven't we?" he
said.

"I was saying as much, sir, just as you came across--and I remember
now. Are you not the proprietor of 'The Moon Calf' in Longacre? The
celebrated John Garledge, late of the Coldstream Guards?"

The old man smiled.

"Yes," he said, "I'm John Garledge of 'The Moon Calf,' but I don't
know about being celebrated. Still, I must be, I suppose if my
fame has reached these parts. I recollect ye quite well now, Mr.
Mainwaring--your regiment, the good old Buffs, were stationed at
Hounslow not so far back, an' ye did me the honor, with some of your
brother officers, of patronising my establishment, I think. At one time
or other, all the officers in London come my way. Indeed, 'tis them I
cater for, principally."

"Of course, Mr. Garledge, 'The 'Moon Calf' is a famous coffee house for
soldiers--though we of the Line play second fiddle a little, I think,
to our brothers of the Household Brigade."

"Well, well--I am an old Guardsman myself, you know. 'Twould be strange
if I didn't make a little more fuss over my own old comrades than over
other soldiers. But any man is welcome who wears the King's jacket."

"Of course. And now, Miss Sally, with your permission, I'll leave you
to show your Grandfather the way back to the King's. 'Tis straight up
George Street, you know. Cross the stream, and the next street after
Pitt. You know the way? I've no doubt you are dying to introduce your
Grandfather to Mr. and Mrs. Garledge."

"Garledge!" exclaimed the old man with an air of surprise. "What
Garledges are these? My faith--I had no notion that I was coming home
when I landed this morning."

"'Tis your cousin Joe, Grandfather," said Sally, "and Elizabeth his
wife, whose maiden name was Cobley. The dear people who found me in
the flood, and brought me up, and who've been so good to me all my
life. Yes, yes, you must come and see Big Joe at once. Well, good-bye
Mr. Mainwaring. Yes, you are right, I must take him to them at once.
They'll be lost in wonder--the dear things!"

Mainwaring bowed to Sally, and saluted John Garledge, as he took leave
of them, and hastened off to his quarters in the Barracks.

As they walked over towards Sydney's main thoroughfare, John Garledge
asked his grand-daughter about her father.

"And this Crossthwaite, my Sally--who ran away with you--with your poor
mother, I mean--what of him? Where is he? Is he in Sydney? He told
me ye lived with him. All lies, lies, lies--he was ever a liar and a
rogue, was William Crossthwaite," he muttered bitterly.

A shadow fell across her pretty face.

"Oh, Grandfather--maybe you can save me from him. He claims to have
your consent that he is to be my guardian, and they are all to meet
to-morrow--Big Joe and Mummy, and the lawyers--to argue about it.
You'll save me from him, won't you?" she asked plaintively.

The old man exploded with wrath.

"By Heavens, my lass--I'll save ye! I'll put the scoundrel in his
place. That I will. Tell me all you know, little girl. Tell me all
about this evil man, who's been the curse of my life, and was the ruin
of your poor mother's. Tell me of him."

As they walked up busy George Street--it was a market morning--Sally
told her Grandfather all she knew of her remaining parent. She did not
know all. How should an innocent girl in her 'teens comprehend the sort
of life her father had lived for years past? But she told him enough to
cause the old man to grind his teeth, and to exclaim angrily:

"By thunder, but I'll settle the villain! Yes, I'll settle him--once
and for all. How lucky 'twas I made up my mind to lease 'The Moon
Calf,' and to make this long voyage to Australia! I'll deal with him!
William Crossthwaite was never an ornament to the King's Uniform.
By God! We'll see how he looks in a yellow livery--such as I see so
commonly here." He pointed to a gang of convicts who slouched down
George Street with their guards and overseers. "He'll be in his right
place, with these," he said, bitterly. "I'll have no mercy. I'll put
him with his fellows!"

He was silent for the rest of their walk to the King's. When they came
to its door he halted, and addressed his grand-daughter.

"Look ye, Sally, my lass--I've a mind not to make myself known here
just yet a while." He noticed the disappointment in her face. "Not for
long, my lass--not for long. Can ye keep it secret that I'm here? I'll
tell ye why, my love. 'Tis because I want to confound this villain
utterly, and to save ye from him. We must take him by surprise, and
give him no time to scheme and lie his way to his own ends. Do you
go in now, and say nothing about me to either of my cousins. I know
ye're a woman, my dear, and 'twill be a hard task--but ye must hold
your tongue for a few hours. 'Tis best so. When does this meeting take
place, and where?"

"Here, Grandfather--at four o'clock to-morrow."

"Well, well--I'll go seek my lodging elsewhere, and do you keep silent.
I'll come to the meeting--and we'll see whether Will Crossthwaite has
it all his own way! He'll not be glad to see me, I'll promise him. Now
run inside, my lass--and remember--silence!"

The old man left her at the door, and turned down the street to seek
some other lodging.

       *       *       *       *       *

It was a guest night in the Mess of the Buffs that evening, and in
the ante-room before dinner Mainwaring was a little surprised to see
Captain Crossthwaite. He enquired of the Adjutant whose guest the
gentleman might be. Captain Carmichael turned to him with a frown.

"By Jove! You are not the first, Mainwaring, who has asked me that! I
can't say that I altogether rejoice at seeing him here, myself. Still,
I suppose, as an ex-officer of the Guards and the New South Wales
Corps, he is entitled to an invitation, should any of our members
feel inclined to offer him one. He's Tom Halliday's guest to-night.
You know, the old boy's not over particular as to the characters he
associates with. So long as they don't cheat openly at cards, and if
their wine doesn't make them sick, they're good enough for the Major.
One hears queer tales of this fellow, though. By the way, is it a fact
that the lady you were with this morning is his daughter, and won't
have anything to do with him?"

Mainwaring hesitated. After all, he reflected, it was bound to come
out, whether Sally liked it or not, that her name was Crossthwaite.

"Well, yes, Carmichael--it is quite true. But she has never been with
him. The blackguard abandoned her mother when she was a few months old,
and she was adopted by the Garledges of Hunter's River, who were then
living on the Hawkesbury. She has lived with them, as their daughter,
all her life. She even uses their surname."

"The blackguard! A charming girl, Jack, my boy. You have a good eye,
you villain. Oh, don't blush, Johnny. It makes you too absurdly
youthful, you know!"

"I wasn't blushing, you old chatterbox. But come along--the Colonel's
making a move to the dining-room."

All through dinner Mainwaring observed Crossthwaite closely. It is
eight years since we last met this unworthy character, and in the
interval since he called upon John Garledge at 'The Moon Calf',
in London he had altered very little. His hard face was still as
wickedly handsome as it had been then, and there was but a very thin
sprinkling of white hairs in his dark head. A few lines about the
mouth, perhaps, had deepened a little--but that was all--and, at the
age of forty-eight, William Crossthwaite was still an active, wiry and
well conditioned man, who had not run to fat, whatever his dissipations
might have been.

He was said to be a prosperous land holder. After the crossing of the
Blue Mountains, he had been amongst the first to take up country in
the new Western lands, and his cattle station, Crossthwaite Vale, was
an extensive and well stocked run. He still lived at Prospect Hill,
where he had rebuilt Crossthwaite Hall, after its destruction by the
bushrangers in 1813.

Mainwaring was seated next to the Adjutant, and whilst they sat over
their wine, after 'The King' had been duly honoured, the latter
reverted to the subject of Major Halliday's guest.

"They tell one pretty bad story about our swarthy friend yonder," he
said in an undertone to the subaltern. "It seems that ever since he has
been in the colony he has maintained a succession of mistresses--mostly
selected from the convict women available for employment at the Factory
at Parramatta. He would have them assigned to him as housekeepers--you
know, the old trick--and before very long, if they pleased him,
they would be the head of his household at his country place near
Parramatta. There they would queen it until he tired of them--and he
has had some pretty remarkable queens to share his throne with, if
all they say is true. When he had had enough of them he never had the
slightest scruples about turning them adrift, or sending them back to
Government, on some real or pretended complaint of insubordination
or dishonesty. Utterly heartless, I believe, he is in these matters.
Well, he had a woman there about ten years ago--one Fanny Martin, a
remarkably good looking woman, whom I daresay you'll remember reading
of as a boy, in the newspapers--I remember the case quite well. She
poisoned her father, and only escaped hanging through the intercession
of our virtuous Prince Regent. Well, she was there when his convicts
rose in his absence, assisted by a gang of bushrangers, and sacked and
burnt the place. A Party of the 73rd surprised them at it, and there
was great work for Jack Ketch over the affair, I understand. Some of
the bushrangers carried off Fanny Martin, and she lived with them, in
some of the fastnesses of the Blue Mountains, for nearly twelve months,
before she escaped, and came back to Crossthwaite Hall. Did our gallant
friend kill his fattest calf for the prodigal? Not he! He had a new
housekeeper then, and he simply handed her over to the Comptroller
of Convicts, and used all the influence he had to have her sent to
the Derwent, in Van Dieman's Land. But that isn't all. He actually
claimed the reward that was offering for her as an absconder! A pretty
business, eh? Oh, he is a charming fellow, this Captain Crossthwaite,
full of little decencies of that sort."

When the last of the guests began to depart, Mainwaring and Carmichael,
with half a dozen other officers strolled down in the moonlight to
the Barracks gates with them. While they stood talking outside the
guard-room, one of the guests--Mainwaring did not know at the time that
it was Crossthwaite--invited the officers present to walk down George
Street to his inn, for a night-cap. As the inn was a good one, and
was only a little way down the street, upon the opposite side, they
unanimously accepted the invitation.

It was near midnight, and Sydney in '23 was early abed, so that only a
sauntering constable, who knew well enough not to question the officers
of the garrison too closely as to their nocturnal wanderings, saw the
party standing in front of Timothy Naylan's 'Spotted Dog' Inn awaiting
an answer to the knocking of their host. When they were inside,
Mainwaring recognised with disgust who the latter was, and would have
withdrawn, but that the door was fastened, and he was carried along
in the little crowd into a side room, where a bowl of cold punch was
demanded of the sleepy landlord.

Crossthwaite was a little under the influence of the Buffs' famous old
Port--a somewhat 'heady' wine, of which the Regiment had brought a
large supply to Sydney. He was talking a little loosely and a little
loudly. The punch was brought, glasses filled, and Captain Crossthwaite
invited them to drink a toast.

"You know," he said, a little unsteadily, and in a loud tone, "you know
Sydney's been honoured by the advent, in the last day or two, of a
remarkably beautiful girl. She's stopping at the King's with some old
chawbacon from Hunter's River named Garledge--a d-----d old Devonshire
poacher named Joe Garledge!"

Mainwaring started forward angrily, a hot flush reddening his face. He
was restrained by Captain Carmichael.

"By Heavens, you'll be surprised, my friends," Crossthwaite went on,
"you'll be astonished to learn that this beauty is my daughter. Damme,
if she's not! Her mother was a worthless wench whom I picked up in
London, and who abandoned me when we came to this country. I was fool
enough to marry her. Whether this wench, her daughter, is my daughter,
or just a casual bastard----"

With a cry, Mainwaring broke away from the Adjutant, and pushed his way
through the more or less tipsy subalterns who surrounded their host.

"You d----d cad!" he exclaimed. "You brutal blackguard!" His fist shot
out, and Captain Crossthwaite, his glass shivering in fragments on the
floor, measured his length amongst them.

There was an instant hubbub. Carmichael and another seized Jack
Mainwaring and forced him towards the door. Some of the others picked
Crossthwaite up. He was white with rage and with surprise.

"By G----d! 'Tis that young cub Mainwaring!" he said. "By heavens sir,
you shall answer to me for this!"

"Yes, I'll answer--you swine, and by the Lord, I'll kill you for those
monstrous words!" shouted Mainwaring, as they bore him out of the room,
and out of the house.

"By Jove--'tis Cockle Bay and pistols for two, I'm thinking," grunted
old Tom Halliday. "But keep it dark, my boys. I've no objection--but ye
know the Colonel's views on duelling!"




CHAPTER XIX.--EXIT CROSSTHWAITE.

ON Friday afternoon, a little before four o'clock, that wily
stick-of-sealing-wax of a man, Mr. Samuel Sims, assembled his forces
in the drawing-room of the King's Hotel, and called them to attention,
whilst he addressed them in a short and characteristic exhortation
before battle. There were present Mr. and Mrs. Garledge, and Miss
Selina Garledge, nee Crossthwaite.

Mr. Sims was arrayed in his most severely legal raiment of black
broadcloth--the suit which he wore at the reading of wills, and such
like dismal and impressive functions--was highly stocked in black
silk, and had an immense gold seal dangling from his fob. Mr. Garledge
was supremely uncomfortable in the full dress of his Sydney clothes,
his good lady wore the black satin which was soon to be superseded
by the new and imposing silk dress ordered for Government House, and
Sally looked sweet and fresh in white muslin. Below, in the hall, an
outpost consisting of Mr. Sims's diminutive office-boy--a fat youth,
with goggling eyes, named Nathaniel--awaited the approach of the
enemy. And in a small room off the hall, his presence only known to
his grand-daughter, lurked John Garledge, Esq., late of "The Moon Calf"
Tavern, Longacre, London.

"I think, Mr. Garledge," Mr. Sims was saying, "that we are all ready
and prepared. Prepared. Prepared. In a few minutes we should expect
Captain Crossthwaite and his disreputable attorney. All that is
required for his discomfiture is courage and steadfastness. Courage and
steadfastness. If you will leave it to me, I think we may look for a
successful issue to the business. A successful issue. I am quite ready
for them. Quite ready. Have no fear, Mrs. Garledge--have no fear, my
dear young lady. Rely on me, Mr. Garledge. Rely, on me."

A knock came to the door, it was pushed open, and the fat head of
Nathaniel conveyed his goggling eyes into the room.

"They're a-comin' hup stairs, sir," he whispered hoarsely--"Mister
Robinson an' t'other gent."

"Very good, Nathaniel--you may return to the hall. Come up if I pull
the bell. You understand, if I ring the bell."

"Yessir," and the fat youth withdrew his bulging optics with seeming
disappointment at not being included in the conference.

Almost immediately afterwards the landlord announced:

"Cap'n Crossthwaite an' Mister Timothy Robinson!"

Captain Crossthwaite entered the room, followed by his legal adviser--a
somewhat gross-bodied and pimply-faced person--and the scowl upon
the first-named gentleman's face was intensified by a pronounced
black eye. But he carried himself with a confidence that seemed to
betoken reliance upon the inevitable satisfaction of his claim as to
his daughter. He bowed stiffly to the company, and seated himself at
the request of Mr. Sims, who very pointedly refrained from similarly
inviting his brother of the law to make himself comfortable. But that
gentleman took a chair, and leered at Sally with an expression that
might have conveyed his opinion that she was already as good as won for
the fireside of his client.

Mr. Sims opened the proceedings. He stood behind a little round table
on which were spread out a few papers, and some writing materials.

"Are we to understand, Captain Crossthwaite, that you insist upon the
claim that is made in this letter--that you will be satisfied in this
business with nothing else but the absolute guardianship of this young
lady--your daughter, as we are forced to admit?" asked the little
lawyer.

Crossthwaite nodded, glancing carelessly at Sally, who was very white
and anxious, and whose eyes were fixed upon the door.

"Yes," he said, "I mean to insist upon my rights. Nothing that you--or
these people either--can say, or do, will have any effect upon my
decision. I insist--undoubtedly!"

"Quite so, Mr. Sims--we insist," put in Mr. Robinson, importantly.
"With my advice, Captain Crossthwaite insists."

Mr. Sims favoured him with a stare of contempt that had a trace of pity
in it--sarcastic pity.

"Of course, your insistence carries weight, Mr.--ah, Mr.---I forget
your name for the moment."

"Robinson, sir--Timothy Robinson, Attorney-at-Law--as you know very
well," replied that gentleman with a little heat, and a reddening of
his unwholesome face.

"Ah, yes--to be sure. To be sure. Captain Crossthwaite's legal adviser.
To be sure. And supposing that this young lady and her friends do
not see their way of falling in with your plans--to acceding to your
demands? May I ask, what then? What then, gentlemen?"

"My letter makes it clear," said Mr. Robinson angrily. "We apply to
the Supreme Court for an order, which Mr. Justice Field will find
difficulty in refusing. We are within our rights altogether, as you
know," replied Mr. Robinson.

"'Tes mortal shame to ye, Cap'n Cross'waite," broke in Joe angrily. "Ye
know how ye treated th' maid's mother. I'd sooner see her dead than
living in your house. I'd----"

"A moment, Mr. Garledge, a moment, sir," Mr. Sims raised his hand.
"Allow me. I beg. Allow me. Allow me."

Joe subsided, wrathfully--muttering. Mr. Sims was about to proceed,
when the door of the room opened gently, and Captain Crossthwaite's
smile froze on his face, and lapsed into the black scowl that was its
most fitting expression.

John Garledge--erect, quiet, and ominously cool--stood in the doorway.
He stared at Crossthwaite for a few seconds, before stepping across the
threshold, and then walked over to his grand-daughter. She rose to meet
him, and he put his arm about her shoulder.

"A moment, sir--a moment, Captain Crossthwaite. You have to reckon with
me in this business," said the old man.

Crossthwaite had risen to his feet, and stood staring at John Garledge.
His discoloured eye showed out grotesquely against the pallor which
had crept into his face. He was amazed, and it was plain that he was
afraid. He did not speak, and the old man turned to Joe.

"Cousin," he said, "we have never met, but you will have heard of me,
as the unhappy father of this child's mother, whom this villain stole
from me and betrayed. Aye, and murdered--if not according to the laws
of man, then according to those of God. I would that ye had heard as
much good of me as I have heard of you and your wife. I am but just
come to the Colony, to see my little lass here--and 'tis well I came
when I did, for it looks as if the Almighty had brought me here to
confound this evil man, in the very hour when he thought that his
wickedness would triumph. And I will confound him--aye, and ruin him
without mercy. He shewed none to my poor girl, and I'll show none to
him!"

Joe's honest face was a study in amazement, that was only outdone in
that respect by Mrs. Joe's. Mr. Sims appeared to be endeavouring to
look as if this development were in some measure attributable to him.
Mr. Timothy Robinson had edged towards the door, and, taking advantage
of the fact that everyone's attention was focussed upon John Garledge,
he stole noiselessly through it and disappeared, leaving his client
to whatever Fate might have in store for him. It was his unobtrusive
fashion of withdrawing from the case. Sally stood, silently, beside her
grandfather. It was a strange meeting--of her father and herself--for
the second and last occasion in their lives. She had only seen him once
before, when, as a little child, she had been present at the attack
upon Crossthwaite Hall in 1813.

Captain Crossthwaite made an attempt to face the situation. But it was
plain that this unexpected meeting--with the last man on earth whom
he had wished to meet--had a little shaken his iron nerve. He spoke
huskily, and, try as he would, he could not meet John Garledge's eyes,
but kept his gaze everywhere except on the old man's face.

"How dare you--how dare you speak of me in such terms, Garledge. By
Heavens, I'll make you sorry for it!"

"Dare!" the old man laughed contemptuously. "Dare's a pretty word to
use to me, my fine fellow. Sit ye down, and listen to what I have to
say. If ye do not do so, I will have ye arrested within three hours.
And well ye know that I can do what I say. Ye'll not be forgetting the
Five of Hearts? Show it to him, Sally, my lass."

A little gold chain encircled Sally's white neck, and was attached to
something that lay in her bosom. With trembling fingers she pulled it
from its hiding place, unfastened the catch of the chain, and laid in
her grandfather's broad palm the strange ring which Mrs. Joe had taken
from her baby body nearly eighteen years before.

"Ye know this?" John Garledge said, holding it towards Crossthwaite.
"'Tis the Five of Hearts, William Crossthwaite. You know it, you d----d
traitor!! You know it!"

The effect of the ring upon Captain Crossthwaite was extraordinary.
He seemed to shrivel, as he sat upon his chair. His head sank down
between his shoulders, and the fingers of each hand, resting upon his
knees, tightened convulsively. He made no answer, but all his attitude
was that of a beaten man, of a dog that fears the lash. No one who
had known him could have believed that this could be the same daring,
arrogant, ruthless man who had gone through life with a sneer and a
curse for all who opposed him, and a reckless disregard of truth and
honour. The sight of the curious trinket had rendered him utterly
abject.

I John Garledge spoke to the rest of them.

"This ring," he said, "is the sign and symbol of a society to which
this man once belonged. Happily it is extinct now--since the peace
after Waterloo--but at least two of its members have been hanged
outside Newgate. This one may thank Heaven that he is his daughter's
father, or he would hang too--by God he would! The society was an
organisation of spies in the pay of Napoleon Bonaparte. Think of it!
He wore the King's uniform, and tried to sell his own country. Could
there be any blacker disgrace for one who calls himself an Englishman?
My poor girl knew not what it was, when she tied it about his child's
neck. 'Tis a wonder that so accursed a thing did not bring our dear
girl here misfortune all her life--instead of the loving care of you
two good people. Look at him! Does not his whole appearance admit his
guilt?"

"Lord ha' mercy!" breathed Mrs. Joe.

Her husband, white with rage, rose to his feet, and made as if to
attack the cowering wretch upon the chair. John Garledge laid a hand
upon his arm.

"No, no, cousin. Compose yourself, I beg. Leave his punishment to
God--'tis like enough to be more than we can inflict upon him. Sit
down, I beg you. I have more to say."

Joe seated himself again.

"Dear me!" murmured Mr. Sims. "Extraordinary! Extraordinary!
Extraordinary!"

"Now, Crossthwaite," went on John Garledge, "before you leave this room
you will sign a brief document--which I will ask this legal gentleman
here to be so good as to draw up at once--in which you will resign
all claim, once and for all, either to the estate or the person of
your daughter, Selina Crossthwaite. You will sign it, and it will be
duly witnessed. Should you refuse to do so, I will submit the proofs
I have--and they are very complete--of your connection with the late
Society of the Hearts to His Excellency the Governor-General of this
Territory. You know what that will mean! Sign it--and you may go where
you will. I will not bring home to you the frauds of which I have proof
of your having been guilty as your daughter's trustee--except to compel
you to return to me some 4,500 which you have misappropriated. That is
all. You have your choice."

There was a tense silence for a few minutes, only broken by the
scratching of Mr. Sims's pen, as he hastily drew up the document which
John Garledge had spoken of. When it was finished, he beckoned to the
old man, who walked over to the table, and spread the paper.

"Yes, that will do," he said. "Now, Crossthwaite--which is it to be?"

In a dazed fashion, Captain Crossthwaite rose to his feet. Without a
word he walked to the table, picked up the document, read it, and then,
with a trembling hand, wrote his name below it.

"Now, you witness it, Cousin Joe--and you, Mr. Sims," said John
Garledge.

They did so.

"Now you may go--coward, and liar, and traitor that you are--and the
curse of every honest man goes with you. Go!" cried the old man,
pointing to the door.

Without a word, Captain Crossthwaite walked to the door, slowly, and
with the faltering gait of a broken man. He turned on the threshold,
and glared at John Garledge. His lips parted, as if he was about to say
something.

"Go!" thundered the old soldier. "Go--while you are safe!"

Captain Crossthwaite turned, and disappeared.

Mr. Sims was the first to find his tongue after this dramatic
happening, which had left the others too astounded to speak. Joe
appeared to be bewildered. Sally and Mrs. Joe were locked in one
another's arms, and were weeping softly. The old man stood with arm
outstretched, like a handsome statue, pointing after Crossthwaite.

"Well, well," said Mr. Sims, "I think I managed that very well. My plan
was very effective. Very effective. Effective."

And no one laughed.




CHAPTER XX.--THE DUEL.

Just before dawn on the following morning, Captain Carmichael knocked
at the door of Jack Mainwaring's quarters in the Barracks. It was
opened immediately, and the Adjutant found the man, for whom he was to
act as a second in his affair with Captain Crossthwaite at sunrise,
fully dressed and waiting him.

"Well, well Johnny, my boy," he said cheerily, "you're up betimes! Ha!
Been setting your affairs in order, eh? Just as well, just as well--one
never knows. But I trust it's Mr. Crossthwaite's will that'll have to
be proved, and not yours. Now there's a cup of coffee awaiting you in
my quarters, together with old Tom Halliday, and the Doctor. Come over
and drink it, and then we'll have to be setting out for Cockle Bay. Old
Sol doesn't take long in making his appearance, in these latitudes,
after the first streak of daylight--and 'twould never do to be late."

"I'm quite ready, Carmichael," said Mainwaring, picking up his cap, and
hastily placing some papers in his bosom. "You'll know what to do with
these, if I'm winged?" They went out on to the verandah.

"Of course, of course. But how do you feel? Eye sure, hand steady--eh?
Slept well, I hope. Nothing like a good sleep the night before. That's
why I sent you off from the Mess so early last night. Quite alright, I
hope?"

"I haven't slept much, to say the truth. You see, it's d----d awkward
to have to risk killing the father of the girl one--well, thinks a good
deal of. Carmichael," he said seriously, "I'm going to fire over his
head. How can I kill her father--much as he deserves it?"

"Nonsense--nonsense, Jack--you must aim to hit him. He'll have no such
chivalry towards you--if I'm any judge of a scamp and a blackguard.
Don't think of such a thing. You must fire at him--at him, do you hear?"

Mainwaring said nothing, and they entered the Adjutant's quarters. Here
they found Major Halliday, and Dr. Beatty, the Regimental Surgeon. The
Major was lovingly handling a pair of duelling pistols, and extolling
their merits and their record to the Doctor.

"Well Jack, my son," he cried cheerfully, "aren't they a pair of
beauties? They've been out twice with me, and half a score of times
with others. There's no choice between them--they're both perfect
little darlings, and I've not the slightest doubt that you'll do your
business with either Jack or Jill, as I call 'em. 'Tis a fine morning,
and we'll have a clear light for the job. Mind you wing him, my boy.
He'd the impudence to request me to act for him--but of course, I
wouldn't take sides against one of Ours, even if I'd wanted to. D----d
impudence!"

They drank the coffee which Carmichael's servant had prepared, and the
Major insisted upon putting a little rum in it.

"Keeps the chills down--hey Doctor, don't it?"

He replaced the pistols in their case, as the Doctor said with a yawn,
"I hope so, Major--'tis a d----d chilly business to me, this dancing
professional attendance upon such fire-eaters as you people, in the
middle of the night."

"Oh, come along, come along. You might say so if it wasn't a warm
summer's morning in Australia. Why, man--I've been out in a snow storm!
This will be a picnic."

They made their way out through a little gate at the back of the
Barracks, which stood, in 1823, around the present site of Wynyard
Square, fronting on George Street, and running up over the hill behind.
It was just growing daylight, as they walked along the crest of the
ridge, directing their steps parallel with the arm of Port Jackson
which we know as Darling Harbour, but which still went by its original
name of Cockle Bay in '23. The top of the bay, above the present
Pyrmont Bridge, lost itself in swampy mud flats and a marsh, round
which the Parramatta Road made the sweeping detour it follows to-day.
Newtown, such as it was, was a little isolated village, well away in
the country from Sydney.

It was broad daylight when they came to the place selected for the
meeting, and they found that they were ahead of the opposing party.
Over to the east, the yellow and orange lights of the rising sun
silhouetted the ridges in which Sydney stands, and above them rose
Brickfield Hill. There was a little stretch of level turf along the
shore, where a fisherman's hut had once stood, and here it was that
Mainwaring and Crossthwaite were to settle the business which had
arisen out of the fracas at 'The Spotted Dog' two nights before. They
sat down on a fallen log to await the arrival of Crossthwaite and his
seconds. Just as the first rays of the sun came peeping over the tree
tops, he and his party made their appearance.

"By Jove!" whispered Carmichael. "He looks bad--looks as if he'd been
drinking hard."

He rose to meet the party, and to settle the preliminaries of the
affair with Captain Crossthwaite's seconds. One of these was the lawyer
Robinson, and the other the captain of a merchant ship lying in the
Harbour.

The business was soon arranged, the pistols loaded by the seconds, and
the two principals placed opposite to one another, about twelve paces
apart.

"'Tis to be one shot each, gentlemen," said the Major. "I will count
one, two, three--so. At 'one,' you will raise your pistols, and at
'three' when I drop my handkerchief, you may fire. Are you ready?"

Mainwaring, fully determined to fire over his head was struck, as he
faced him, with the ghastly appearance of the man. His face was white
and haggard, and strangely drawn, so that the livid lips parted over
his white teeth. He was either in a mortal funk, or very ill.

"One!" cried Major Halliday.

They raised their pistols, and it was obvious to all how Crossthwaite's
trembled and wavered in his unsteady grip.

"Two!" Mainwaring aimed a foot above the other's head. He could not
shoot to kill the father of the girl he loved, however bad and evil he
might be. He wondered if he would ever see her again. The round hole in
the barrel of Crossthwaite's pistol faced him like a little unsteady
eye. It fascinated him, but he did not think of death. He would----

"Three!"

The Major's handkerchief fluttered to the ground. There was a single
report. Only Mainwaring had fired.

Through some seconds, that seemed like minutes to the onlookers,
Crossthwaite's weapon covered Mainwaring. The latter had dropped his
pistol hand, and stood, pale but resolute, facing the death that he
expected. Why did not the man fire? What was he about?

And then, with a hoarse cry, Crossthwaite shifted his aim from the man
opposite him, turned the barrel of the pistol to his own temple, and
pulled the trigger.

"By G--d!" muttered Carmichael. "'Tis the only decent thing he's done
in all his life!"

"Blood and hounds!" exclaimed Major Halliday. "Look what the d----d
fool's done to himself!"

Dr. Beatty ran to the body, and went on one knee beside it.

"By Jove!" he said. "He's made a sure job of it. Blown the top of his
head off. Here, you," he called to Mr. Timothy Robinson, who stood,
white faced and trembling, holding Crossthwaite's cloak. "Give me that."

The surgeon took the cloak from the horrified attorney, and covered the
ghastly thing.

"You'd best be off, Mr. Robinson, and see about getting a cart to
carry this into town. I suppose there'll be an inquest? He's stopping
at Naylan's, isn't he? Better take him there. You are his solicitor,
aren't you? Well, 'tis your part to look after him now. He's past
any aid from me. I must get back to Barracks--I've a sick parade at
six-thirty. You'll know where to find me if they want my evidence."

The doctor hurried away, and after a few minutes talk with
Crossthwaite's seconds, of whom the sea-captain was a pleasant contrast
to the cringing and thoroughly alarmed solicitor, Mainwaring and his
brother officers also made their way back to the Barracks.

"Jack--Jack, my boy," said the Major, carrying his case of pistols
under his cloak, "'twas very fine of you to miss him. I know what a
dead shot ye are. But 'twas foolish--damme 'twas worse than foolishness.
And, begad, if ever ye come nearer to death in action, without being
gathered in--why, ye may count yourself immortal and invulnerable! What
do you say, Carmichael?"

"Yes, Major, I agree with you," said Captain Carmichael, seriously,
"Jack was very near his finish. Do you know, I believe that
Crossthwaite meant to kill him, too. I was watching him closely. You
saw the state he was in--drunk or ill, I should say. It was a long few
seconds to me, and twice I saw him strain every nerve to steady his
hand. But he couldn't. The pistol barrel was positively describing
circles in the air. 'Tis my belief he shot himself out of sheer chagrin
at being unable to hit our friend here. 'Tis a hard thing to say of a
dead man, but I don't believe the fellow had it in him to act decently,
if it were possible to do the opposite."

Mainwaring said nothing. All the way back he was fervently thanking God
for his mercy to him both in sparing his life, and in giving him the
strength to refrain from taking that of the unworthy man who was the
father of his beloved.

Declining the Major's invitation to partake of a brandy and soda,
Mainwaring hurried to his quarters, had a cold bath, shaved, and
dressed--and made his way out of Barracks to the King's Hotel. He felt
that Joe Garledge ought to be informed at once of the event of the
morning.

When he reached the hotel it wanted but some twenty minutes to eight
o'clock, the breakfast hour of the establishment. He asked the waiter
to take his name up to Mr. Garledge, and to say that he would be glad
to speak to him immediately, upon most urgent business.

"Well, then, y'r honor'll have to wait, if your honor pleases--for Mr.
Garledge goes out every morning for a walk about half past six, an' I
see him go myself this morning. Will y'r honor not take a seat in th'
drorin' room upstairs? Mr. Garledge'll be in in a few minutes--he's
always the first to breakfast. I'll tell him y'r honor's waitin' for
him, so soon's ever he sets foot inside th' hall."

Mainwaring mounted the flight of stairs that led to the drawing room,
and went in.

As he opened the door, he was aware of a white, girlish figure at
the further end of the room. It was Sally, waiting for breakfast and
beguiling the hungry interval by looking through the open window at
the street below. She turned as he came into the room. Instantly he
perceived that she knew of the duel. She came forward.

"You are not hurt, Jack?" she said softly--"Mr. Mainwaring, I mean,"
she corrected herself, coloring prettily. "Tell me what happened?"

Briefly he told her. When he had finished she came closer to him, dry
eyed, but grave and pale.

"Oh, I want to cry," she whispered. "I want to cry--why can't I
cry?"

Mainwaring never understood what inspiration made him act as he did.

He opened his arms, and she came to him, and cried upon his scarlet
jacket. And his arms did not remain open.

"Oh, Jack--darling--I'd have died if he'd killed you!"





CHAPTER XXI.--OFF HUNTER'S RIVER.

THE wind had dropped, and the Little Sally, Captain Sammy Toop,
rolled lazily on a glistening, shimmering, sunlit ocean a little to the
south-ward of the entrance to Hunter's River. Ahead, a couple of points
on the port bow, the high pile of the Coal Island reared its rocky
crest above the blue waters. The tall steeple of Christ Church stood up
above the green-topped cliffs abeam, and, far away northward, the wide
blue sweep of the land, curving easterly round the twenty-mile sands of
Stockton Beach, stretched to Port Stephens.

       *       *       *       *       *

It was the end of the week following the events related in the last
chapter, and Joe Garledge, with his wife and foster-daughter, and
his newly found cousin, John Garledge, was returning to his estate
of New Dartmoor, at the Green Hills. The schooner carried also, as a
passenger, Lieutenant John Catesby Mainwaring, of H.M. 3rd Regiment
of Foot, who was returning to his duties as Officer Commanding the
detachment of his corps stationed at Newcastle.

Just for'ard of where Cap'n Sammy grasped the spokes of the wheel Mrs.
Joe sat on deck in an easy-chair, with her husband seated, smoking, on
the starboard rail close beside her. John Garledge, with his hands in
his pockets, swaying his tall body to the gentle roll of the Little
Sally, held converse with his kin, whilst, in the waist of the ship,
the white muslin dress of our Currency Lass and the red jacket of Mr.
Mainwaring caught the sunlight, as they walked up and down the deck
amidships together.

"Yes," John Garledge was saying, "the lad's a rare plucked 'un. He
acted like a man in every way. Major Halliday--I knew him well in
London, some years ago, when he was often at 'The Moon Calf'--told
me all about it--about the whole affair. This young fellow heard
Crossthwaite insult the memory of my poor girl, and promptly knocked
him down. You saw the black eye he had when he came to The King's Hotel
that afternoon? That was Mainwaring's doing, the night before. And, on
the morning of the duel, it seems he'd made up his mind not to kill
the blackguard, because he happened to be Sally's father. So, when the
Major gave the signal, he aimed over his head, whilst Crossthwaite held
his fire. Then, whilst Crossthwaite covered him, he faced his death
like a man--never flinching, or winking an eyelid, says Tom Halliday.
They were certain that Crossthwaite meant to kill him, and held their
breaths, waiting for the shot. Then, as you know, the fellow did the
only good action of his life--he turned his pistol upon himself. I tell
you Joseph, the young fellow's a good man, and, by Lord Harry, if he
asks for her he may have her, so far as I'm concerned."

"'Tes true enough what ye say, cousin John," said Joe, meditatively,
"but I dunno as how we'm altogether right in s'posin he wants our lil
maid. He's said nothing to me 'bout it, 'tanyrate."

"Oh, Joe, ye gert blind bat," laughed his wife up at him, "ye can't see
a foot beyond y'r nose! Why--'tes plain as th' church steeple yonder,
th' lass's head an' ears in love wi' un--an' him wi' our Sally. I'll
show ye! Sally--Sal--lee!" she called to the couple in the waist.
"Come here, th' both o' ye. We'm zummat to ask ye."

"Oh, for shame, 'Lizbeth," whispered Joe, scandalized. "'Tes a bold
creature ye be!"

"Let her have her way, Joe, she's a wise woman," John Garledge
murmured, with a grin, as the couple approached.

"Now, my dears," Mrs. Joe said amiably, as Sally and Mainwaring halted
before her. "'Tes a fine marnin' for tellin's. Sartain sure 'tes.
Bain't ye goin' to tell?"

Mainwaring reddened, stammered, and was silent. Sally blushed. For a
moment or two she hesitated. Then she dropped on one knee beside Mrs.
Joe, put her white arms about the good woman's neck, and whispered, as
he hid her face in that ample bosom:

"Oh, yes, Mummy darling--oh, yes!"

John Garledge turned to Mainwaring, and grasped him by the hand. Joe
rose from the rail, and thumped him on the back, his eyes glistening.
Mainwaring was a study in confusion.

Cap'n Sammy Toop, grinning broadly, saved the situation.

"Be a breeze a-comin', I'm thinkin'," he said

       *       *       *       *       *

And so our story ends, as all stories must end in print--at an
arbitrary point. Every man's and every woman's story is eternal--if you
come to think of it. But there is no infinity in books. And this is the
twenty-first chapter of this one.

Sally and her "Man," as dear Mrs. Joe always referred to John
Mainwaring--"an' how's th' Man, Sally?" or "Sally's Man says"--were
married, one sunny afternoon, in the shadow of the twin steeples of
old St. John's at Parramatta, the Rev. Samuel Marsden officiating.
His loud whisper of "Damme, Jack, you're a lucky man!" could be heard
all over the church, as the wedding party went into the vestry to
sign the register. And the good, honest Yorkshireman--ex-blacksmith's
striker, and brave servant of his God--christened young John Mainwaring
hardly a year afterwards. When the "Buffs" left New South Wales,
Captain Mainwaring took his wife to England, and introduced her to
his people. And the old Bishop fell in love with her, and came near
to ruining her two children--more came afterwards--and it was only
the stern principles of Mrs. Bishop--the real ruler of the diocese
of Sodor-and-Man--that saved them from the Pit that she told them a
good deal about. Young Jack said one day standing at the knees of good
Dr. Mainwaring--and one regrets to say that that worthy prelate was
convulsed with laughter--

"And do convicts work in your Pit, Granny, like at Newcastle--or is it
for very good people?"

Mainwaring sold out of the Buffs in '28, and came back to New South
Wales, where he invested his money in New Dartmoor, entering into a
partnership with his father-in-law, and with John Garledge, who sold
"The Moon Calf" Tavern, vowing that he'd live nowhere but near "his
little girl." It was a strange thing, in the old man's declining
years--when sometimes, as very old people do, he mixed the present and
the past--to hear him speaking to his grand-daughter as though she were
really the girl whom Crossthwaite had stolen from him. The fine old
boy lived to his ninety-third year, and was strong and active to the
last. There are old people in the Maitlands still, who recall the tall,
soldierly figure of the old Guardsman.

It was a prosperous firm, that of Garledge & Mainwaring. First of all
it extended its operations to the Liverpool Plains, where it formed the
famous Hooli River station--who hasn't heard of the Hooli rams in these
later years? And then, in the 'Fifties, it pushed out into Queensland.
At least, John Mainwaring did. The Hon. Joseph Garledge, M.L.C., was
an old man then, and did not go far afield from New Dartmoor, near
Morpeth, on the Hunter. He had been elected to the first Parliament
under responsible government in New South Wales, and was a great
friend, and counsellor, and supporter of Mr. William Charles Wentworth,
with whom, in '13, he had crossed the Mountains. He died in 1860, and
you will find his grave at Campbell's Hill, near West Maitland.

Mrs. Joe was the dearest old pink-cheeked grand-mother you ever saw. It
was not until 1871 that she, too, crossed the Long Bridge, and went to
Campbell's Hill.

One day, in 1885, when the writer was a very small boy, he was taken
across to Morpeth from "the West," and he has a distinct recollection
of an old lady, who was very beautiful, and who sat in a wicker chair
on a wide verandah, knitting baby's socks. And she spoke very kindly
to him, and kissed him, and gave him some barley-sugar. And, years
afterwards, he learned from her grand-daughter, whom he was in love
with, but who gave him "the mitten"--that is to say she married a
better man--that that old lady, whom he saw in the wide verandah of the
old house at New Dartmoor, Mrs. Mainwaring, was the Currency Lass who
had floated into notice on the Big Flood in the Hawkesbury in 1806.
And if you don't believe him, you needn't. But, as he regrets to say
that, at the moment of writing, he is forty-two years and eleven months
old, it is at least chronologically possible that he has seen Sally
Crossthwaite, and been given barley-sugar by her.

They were fine women, the first Currency Lasses--and they have not
deteriorated. See them at Randwick, or at Manly or Coogee, and judge
for yourself. They still become the mothers of a virile race. Vide the
despatches of Sir Douglas Haig. But if you are in doubt, drop a line to
Sir Walter Birdwood.



THE END.


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