Project Gutenberg Australia
a treasure-trove of literature
treasure found hidden with no evidence of ownership


Title: The Maxwells of Bremgarten
Author: William Moore Ferrar
* A Project Gutenberg Australia eBook *
eBook No.: 1403051.txt
Language: English
Date first posted: December 2014
Date most recently updated: December 2014

Produced by: Maurie Mulcahy

Project Gutenberg Australia eBooks are created from printed editions
which are in the public domain in Australia, unless a copyright notice
is included. We do NOT keep any eBooks in compliance with a particular
paper edition.

Copyright laws are changing all over the world. Be sure to check the
copyright laws for your country before downloading or redistributing this
file.

This eBook is made available at no cost and with almost no restrictions
whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms
of the Project Gutenberg Australia Licence which may be viewed online at
http://gutenberg.net.au/licence.html

To contact Project Gutenberg Australia go to http://gutenberg.net.au

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

Title: The Maxwells of Bremgarten
Author: William Moore Ferrar


*


The Maxwells of Bremgarten,

A STORY OF TASMANIA.

[Founded on Facts]

By

William Moore Ferrar.

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

Published in serial form in the Launceston Examiner, Tasmania,
commencing Saturday 6 April, 1867. (this text)

Originally published in monthly subscription format of twenty
monthly parts at one shilling each commencing 1859 under the
nom de plume of Ferdinand Ferntree. (Advertisement in The Hobart
Town Daily Mercury 19th November, 1858.)

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


LETTER OF INTRODUCTION.

RESPECTED READERS.--Utterly hopeless of attracting your attention
in these fast days of steam, electricity, and prolific literature
by attempting to explain the nature of the present work in an
ordinary preface, I am induced to address you as if a tolerably good
understanding were already established between us; hoping that when you
finish the perusal of it, you will arrive at the conclusion that my
impertinence is tolerable at least, if not justifiable.

So enlightened an individual as yourself will not require to be told
that Tasmania, formerly called Van Diemen's Land, is an island lying to
the south of Australia, surrounded by the Indian, Southern, and Pacific
Oceans, and by Bass's Strait, which separates it from the great island
continent. But with its past history--its aboriginal inhabitants,
the dangers and troubles of the early pioneers of the bush, and the
stirring scenes and bloody skirmishes in which many a truly valuable
life has been lost, together with its present social aspects and
the internal organization of its society--you cannot be supposed
to be quite so well acquainted. It is true that this comparatively
insignificant colony occupies a corner in many a goodly volume, wherein
but very slender justice is done to its beauty, the fertility of its
soil (which is not, however, universally excellent), and the generous
hospitality and superior intelligence of its free settlers. That
Tasmania was once a receptacle for the transgressors of British law,
from wherever the British flag held dominion, is a fact which will not
soon be forgotten; but it is my intention now that this island is,
thanks to the liberal policy of the English nation, a free colony, to
avoid as much as possible, consistently with an unbiassed narrative of
the facts upon which my story is founded, this painful and delicate
subject.

The island was first colonized in the year 1804, and I have purposely
allowed a period of twenty years to elapse before my story commences.
Even with this liberal allowance it is possible that I may be guilty
of many anachronisms by bringing my family of settlers so far into the
interior of the country when excellent land could be obtained at that
early period within a much more reasonable distance of the capital;
and when, as the late Dr. Ross informs us, the fertile vale of Bagdad,
where Maxwell finds the first inland hotel and meets the hospitable
farmer White, was a wilderness. Society was then in an almost totally
disorganized state. The settler hurried to his location and built his
wigwam without much regard for convenience and still less for taste.
Here he struggled for years with difficulties, dangers, and privations
which would have broken the hearts of hundreds accustomed to city
luxuries from their birth. Here in the silent solitude of the bush he
gradually lost the greatest portion of the refinement which he brought
with him from the mother country; and here his children were generally
deprived of that daily education and intercourse with strangers which
unite in forming their minds for the parts they might be destined to
play in the great drama of life.

A better state of things is now, however, apparent on all sides. The
rude primitive wigwams have long since disappeared, and handsome
cottages and well appointed mansions of timber, brick, and stone occupy
their places. Excellent schools for the youth of both sexes abound in
town and country. Churches and chapels raise their modest spires in
every village, and ministers of religion penetrate to all inhabited
parts of the island. Outrages upon life and property, though still
sometimes committed, are far less numerous than they formerly were. The
refinements of civilized life wage constant war with, and will, I have
no doubt, a finally overcome, all habits of overbearing intolerance
still to be found amongst the upper classes of landed proprietors. But
notwithstanding this general explanation, it may be objected that my
transition from a period of semi-barbarism to one of modern colonial
comfort, not to say luxury, is so abrupt as to offend the critical
judgment of those who are already acquainted with our history. Be this
as it may, I can only apologize for it and for all other incongruities
of style and deficiencies of construction, trusting that you will make
every kind allowance for the inexperience of a writer of whose life
thirty years have been passed in pursuits in which the cultivation of
the belles lettres made but a sorry figure indeed.

Of the story itself I will say but little here, leaving it with no
small amount of diffidence to stand or fall by its own merits. I aim
at no originality of design, and am certain I deserve no credit for
conceiving and successfully carrying out the ramifications of a deeply
complicated plot. The narrative is based upon many undoubted truths, as
a reference to the Rev. John West's elaborate History of Tasmania
will satisfactorily prove. The domestic drama, with which history has
nothing to do, is also founded on facts.

The scene of the story is not laid in the most beautiful part of the
island, nor yet in a locality already famous for deeds of lawless
violence or romantic coloring of any kind; but in the immediate
neighborhood of the quiet and secluded villages of Avoca and Fingal.
The picturesque Ben Lomond (about five thousand feet high) overlooks,
though at some distance, the former village; while the latter, now
celebrated for the auriferous quartz reefs recently discovered in its
vicinity, is pleasantly situated in a valley through which runs the
branch road from Campbell Town to Falmouth, on the Eastern Coast. As it
approaches the sea the road suddenly dips into a remarkably beautiful
glen called St. Mary's Pass, terminating in rich marshes, which are
washed by the restless waves of the vast Pacific. As I rode with a
friend for some miles along the beach, the angry waves foaming upon one
side, and the dark mountains rising tier above tier, clothed to their
summits with a dense forest, upon the other, I conceived the idea of
illustrating this savage extremity of the antipodes in at least one
scene of this humble history. In this, as in other cases, imagination
has been drawn upon to some extent, and the result is placed in the
following pages at your disposal.

With respect to the dramatis personæ, it is sufficient to observe
that they are for the most part fictitious, and there are none of
them intended to represent or caricature personages of real flesh and
blood either dead or living. I will not assert the same, however, with
respect to classes. This Maxwell may be taken as a type of the existing
class of enlightened settlers--honest, courageous, and hospitable, who
having commenced with small capitals and no small share of resolution,
are now possessed of great wealth. Edwin Herbart may be considered to
represent a large class who originally emigrated from their native land
and worked themselves upward by their labor and good conduct without
any capital to begin with. Earlsley is but a feebly drawn delineation
of the almost despotic country magistrate, now belonging to a bygone
era. Junipers and Baxters may still be met with occasionally. The names
of Colonel Arthur, Jorgenson, Brady, and some others are well known to
readers of colonial history; and Colonel Arnott, his son and daughter,
speak for themselves.

I think myself happy in being thus permitted to appear before you. If
we never meet again I shall turn--though it may be with some pain--from
the great sea of literature wherein so many gallant barks have already
perished, and instead of being myself the amusing and instructive
author, shall seek amusement and instruction in the pages of wiser and
better men.

I have the honor to be,

Respected reader,

Your obedient servant and well-wisher,

THE AUTHOR.

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




CHAPTER I.--AN INTRODUCTION AND RETROSPECT.

EARLY in the year 18--, but we will not be particular as to dates, a
large vessel, crowded with happy passengers, entered the magnificent
harbor of Sydney, New South Wales. The morning was bright and clear;
the sun shone in cloudless glory; and the weary voyagers, after
an absence from their native land of seven tedious months, gazed
with delight on the beautiful shores which on either hand sloped to
the water's edge, clothed with rich verdure, and smiling under the
influence of the summer's morning. To describe the exquisite scenery
of this noble harbor, or to take even a passing notice of the pleasant
cottages, the elegant villas, or the fairy-like gardens that adorn its
shores, would be a work of magnitude to Washington Irving himself. The
homely sounds of the dogs and cocks, the shouts of bullock-drivers,
and the laughter of the merry children as they played beneath the wide
spreading branches of ancient trees, were heard by the newly arrived
wanderers with thrills of delight as the ship was being brought up to
her anchorage under the skilful management of her pilot. The town of
Sydney now appeared stretched out before them looking peacefully down
upon the quiet waters, the abode of princely wealth, and the storehouse
of plenty unaccompanied by abject and squalid poverty.

In this vessel there were many respectable families, but that of
Bernard Maxwell will for the present alone engage our attention. The
head of this family, which consisted of five individuals, had passed
his fortieth year, and was one of those numerous stalwart sons of
Britain who, arriving almost daily in Australia, were so acceptable
and so necessary to that young and rapidly advancing colony. In the
persons of an amiable and dearly loved wife and three young children
he had given, as Lord Bacon says, "hostages to fortune." Mrs. Maxwell
seemed to be in every way well suited for the toilsome life on
which she was about to enter. She was possessed of comeliness but
not beauty; a robust, but not masculine figure; a countenance more
expressive of thoughtfulness than gaiety; and at firmness of purpose
which sufficiently betrayed itself whenever an occasion arose for its
display. To add to these qualities she possessed a highly cultivated
taste, with a mind adorned by the countless accomplishments which shine
forth with such peculiar lustre in the feminine portion of the human
world.

Their children were well looking, and well made--full of vigorous
health and buoyant hopes. The eldest, Griselda, had reached her
fifteenth year. Her face, although not strictly beautiful, was
sufficiently fair to charm the eye of the most indifferent spectator.
Beneath a brow of delicate whiteness, a pair of large blue eyes looked
out confidingly upon the great world. With an intelligent, as well as
innocent face, of which her parents might well be proud, and a figure
faultless in shape and proportion, Griselda united a voice of winning
softness; indeed her mild manner was the greatest charm she possessed;
and though her appearance was in every respect highly prepossessing,
yet her mental qualities, just then beginning to make themselves
apparent, promised to enhance its value in the highest degree. To be
the perfect model of her mother, of whom she was enthusiastically
fond, was Griselda's greatest ambition, for in that model she beheld
a rational piety, the most perfect singleness of heart, undeviating
truth, and a keen perception of the good and beautiful, wherever such
were to be found.

Of her two brothers, Eugene and Charles, it is not necessary now to
say much. We will content ourselves with informing the reader that
they were twins, and exactly three years younger than their sister.
The former was a bold and somewhat careless youth, endowed with a high
spirit and many noble qualities; the latter resembled his sister in
settled quietness of manner, and an apparent timidity of disposition.
The children, sometimes with their parents, and frequently by
themselves, walked about the streets of Sydney, examining the various
articles exhibited for sale in the shop windows, and every other object
of curiosity that presented itself, while their father employed himself
in procuring information for his guidance to the scene of his future
home.

The parents of Griselda were natives of the Emerald Isle--that pretty
spot concerning which some ecstatic poet says:


There needs but self-conquest
To conquer thy fate;
Believe is thy fortune,
And rise up elate.

A little voice whispers
To will is to be
First flower of the nations--
First gem of the sea.


They were both born in Dublin, the beautiful city of whose gay streets
and delightful suburbs countless recollections arise in our mind like
stars of refined gold. In the midst of the varied scenery on the river
Liffey, and amongst the parks, meadows, and woods adjoining its banks,
the minds of Elizabeth Maxwell and her daughter were first opened to
nature's primitive loveliness; and the influence thus early engendered
was never forgotten by either. The father of Elizabeth was a merchant
of long standing in Dublin, named Barton, who had reared a large
family of sons and daughters in a highly creditable manner. Of these,
Elizabeth was the youngest, but though young in years, it was generally
remarked that she appeared to be more prudent and sensible than her
elder sisters. However this may be, we have it on good authority that
her acquaintance and subsequent marriage with Bernard Maxwell were
attended by a romantic circumstance, which we may as well narrate for
the amusement of our readers.

It was a gala day at the once busy but now totally neglected harbor of
Howth. The naval enthusiasm of the British nation had just been raised
to the highest pitch by the news of the great victory of Trafalgar,
though the national sorrow was simultaneously poured forth for the
hero whose brilliant life was suddenly extinguished in the hour of
triumph. There was a grand regatta at Howth, and the elite of the
Irish metropolis had driven out in carriages and cars to take part
in the rejoicings. Crowds of fashionably dressed ladies, escorted by
polite and well-looking beaux, promenaded on the quay. Military music
was not wanting to heighten the pleasure of the gay company. Handsome
yachts and well-manned row-boats, in some of which many of the fair sex
enjoyed themselves, darted to and fro on the water; and to add to the
interest of the scene, a beautiful frigate lay peacefully at anchor
at some distance from the shore, an object of admiration to numerous
visitors.

A fresh breeze swept over the crest of the adjacent picturesque hill
of Howth, and then flew over the water towards the little island
called, for what reason we know not, Ireland's Eye. About two hours
after midday, after most of the cups had been sailed for and won, the
guns of the frigate suddenly opened fire, and it soon became known
that she was saluting his Excellency the Lord-Lieutenant, who was now
seated in the frigate's state barge, half-way between the vessel and
the land, the crew sitting like so many statues with their oars pointed
perpendicularly to the sky. When the last gun was fired, the oars
dropped with one accord into the water, and his Excellency soon found
himself alongside the ship. At the same moment a boat rowed by four
amateurs, in which three ladies and an elderly gentleman were seated,
pulled with considerable velocity under the stern of the frigate, and
this was met with equal velocity by a returning yacht which had just
shot athwart the frigate's bow. The crews of both vessels seemed to
have lost their presence of mind; a confusion arose, and several voices
were heard shouting together. A collision took place; the three ladies
in the boat screamed, and rose to their feet, and in so doing, one of
them unfortunately fell into the water. The agony of the old gentleman
who was evidently the father of the young lady so unpleasantly
submerged, was very great; and he was on the point of plunging in
after her when a loud voice from the deck of the yacht bade him stop,
and another heavy splash in the water announced that that duty was
being performed by somebody else. The lady remained under water for a
considerable time; the brave champion dived after her like a creature
to whom the sea was but a plaything, and in a few seconds brought her
to the surface; in another moment she was pressed in her father's arms.
As an open boat was not the most agreeable place for a lady suffering
from the effects of such an accident, she was immediately taken on
board the yacht, where there was a comfortable cabin. The captain of
the frigate, who witnessed the whole affair, was kind enough to send
an invitation to the lady and her friends to come on board, and occupy
his own cabin, but this her father thought proper to decline with
thanks. After being assured of the safety of his daughter, he sought
out her gallant preserver, tendered him his best thanks, announced
himself as Mr. Barton, a well-known merchant, and gave Mr. Bernard
Maxwell, the handsome young gentleman who had displayed such well timed
aquatic abilities, a cordial invitation to his suburban villa, near the
charming village of Lucan--an invitation, which to say the truth, young
Maxwell had often wished for, and was not slow to accept.

We will not enter into a history of their courtship, which lasted for
various reasons fully two years--a pleasant time doubtless to them,
as it is to all under similar circumstances. But the happy day came
at length, and the honeymoon quickly passed away in travelling, and
the cares as well as the solid comforts of holy wedlock commenced in
due course. Maxwell retained his situation in the bank, and resided
in a pretty cottage near his father-in-law's residence. Here his
three children were born, and all his leisure hours were employed in
opening their minds to study, and in laying the foundations of a solid
education. But after the lapse of a series of years he found that the
closeness of his application to the duties of his office, together
with unlimited indulgence in other mental labors, began gradually to
undermine his health. A partial disarrangement of his nervous system
took place, and acting under the advice of a few friends, with the
consent of his amiable wife, he determined to try his fortune in the
still undeveloped land of Australia, to seek the restoration of his
health, and to find, perhaps, an independence for his declining years.

The parting between Elizabeth Maxwell and her parents and sisters
was like what such partings usually are. There were pale faces and
weeping eyes. Numerous cousins and more distant relatives hung about,
begging from time to time for a shake of the hand, or the still more
consolatory favor of a kiss. They stood on the North Wall, on the
banks of the Liffey, possibly for the last time; it was a cold but
clear evening, and the bell of the steamer that was to convey them to
Liverpool, the port of embarkation, rang sharply out upon the frosty
air. Mr. Barton embraced his daughter and her children, and pressing
the hand of his son-in-law he presented him with a considerable sum
of money, and without waiting for thanks retreated precipitately into
the midst of a crowd of idle gazers. At the last sad moment a youth
of manly proportions and pleasing countenance advanced hastily up to
the young Griselda; taking her proffered hand, he pressed his lips to
hers, scarcely meeting with anything like resistance. As eaves-dropping
is not generally considered a very creditable occupation, we must not
presume to listen to the whispered words of parting that ensued; they
were spoken amid tears and sighs; and the young Edwin hurried from the
spot!

The steamer's bell rang for the last time, and the passengers hurried
on board. The bow of the vessel was pushed out into the river--the
paddle wheels revolved--the last adieus were spoken--and the friends on
shore returned sorrowfully home.




CHAPTER II.--A VISITOR AND A VISIT.

THE voyage was more than usually monotonous, nothing having occurred
to enliven its tedious length except a couple of ships spoken with at
sea, and a distant glimpse of the South American coast. When Maxwell
landed in Sydney he declared he had had enough of the sea to last him
all his life. His health was, however, almost completely restored, and
he felt as if entering upon a new existence, with a world of boundless
and magnificent open before him. Mingled with his hopeful anticipations
for the future were many mournful thoughts connected with the past.
He had left, perhaps for ever, the dearly loved land of his birth; he
had separated himself from relations and friends whom he might never
see again; and had thrown up an employment of a respectable nature,
to enter upon a speculation the issue of which might be extremely
disastrous. He was a man of great depth of thought, and, as is
generally the case with such men, was sometimes given to despondency;
yet his mind was well tutored in the belief that he was under the
protection of an all-wise Providence who, as it is said in the proverb,
would help him if he would only help himself.

The hurry and bustle of debarkation over, a lodging procured, and the
luggage safely put away, our settler bethought himself of his letters
of introduction. He took one to an eminent merchant of whose urbanity
and liberal disposition he had heard a great deal, and was received
with politeness, tempered with a fair proportion of ice. The merchant
was a keen man of business, and as his business absorbed all his
thoughts as well as dreams he had no leisure to throw away upon bearers
of letters of introduction; unless it was possible to drive with such
bargains to personal advantage. He understood, he said listlessly,
that it was Mr. Maxwell's intention to proceed into the country; he
was sorry to say he knew nothing at all of the country, and could give
him no information whatever. He evidently voted Maxwell's presence
a bore, and bowed him out of doors with a benign smile. The settler
was grieved, and making a sudden resolution never to deliver any more
such letters, he packed up his remaining stock with his card in each
envelope, and dropped them into the post-office.

After waiting in some anxiety for a couple of days he was pleased to
find that even one out of the two dozen gentlemen to whom his letters
were addressed, condescended to take some notice of him. This was a
retired Indian officer, Colonel Arnott by name, who resided at a little
distance from the city. He introduced himself with the honest bluntness
of an old soldier, declaring that had he but known a few days sooner
how Mr. Maxwell was situated he would have been on the spot to assist
and advise to the best of his ability. "As it is," said the worthy old
officer, "you can pack up your traps, leave them or bring them with you
just as you like, and come out to my place for a few weeks until you
decide what's to be done."

"You are too good, Colonel," said Mrs. Maxwell, "a family like ours
would be too serious an invasion of your hospitable mansion."

"Not at all, my dear madam," said the Colonel, "if I was not sincere
I'd have said nothing. I have witnessed--aye, and also suffered in--far
more desperate invasions; but I came not to bore you with military
tactics. My manners ma'am are like my parts of speech, or I might say
words of command--short, sharp, and decisive. You'll excuse me, but my
house is heartily at your service; and my wife--a good soul--will be
glad to see you; my son and daughter, too, will be so happy. Fine boys
those of yours sir, and your daughter a perfect lily of the valley as
I live. We'll make men of those boys; which is the elder, for I see no
difference?"

"This boy, Colonel," replied Maxwell, pointing to Eugene, "is exactly
fifteen minutes older than his brother."

"O I see," said the Colonel with a chuckle, "That's the way to do
it--nay my dear madam, no cause for blushing. Egad, I was a long time
before I had even one, and then ten years before I had another, and in
two years another, only three just like you; two at home, one up the
country taking care of the sheep, though there could not be perhaps a
more careless rascal to take care of anything."

"If you will be so good, Colonel Arnott," said Maxwell, not wishing
to hear any family disclosures, "as to give me a little information
relative to the mode of proceeding to be adopted, I shall feel greatly
indebted to you."

"'Pon my honor, sir," answered the old officer, "you'll excuse me--but
information is a thing I never do give except in my own house, and
after dinner. After dinner, sir, when the ladies are good enough to
show us their backs--I beg ten millions of pardons! when I crack my
bottle of Burgundy as you can see by my nose, I'll give you more
information than mayhap you'll be apt to relish. I'll put you up to a
wrinkle or two that'll astonish you, depend on it. I am a rough old
dog, sir, but I put on some restraint before the ladies; and if you
don't promise to come to my house, the whole box and dice of you, I
will just say this--if you ever presume to speak to me again I'll call
you a sneak, if it's in the presence of the Governor. What do you say?
Is it to be peace or war?"

"You cannot suppose, my dear sir," replied Maxwell, "that I am so
foolish as to decline your valuable friendship; were it only for a
single day I will give Mrs. Maxwell and the children the great pleasure
of a drive to your residence."

"You will do no such thing, sir," said the Colonel, his carbuncled
nose assuming a variety of hues, "as that is a pleasure I propose for
myself. My carriage will be here precisely at eleven o'clock to-morrow
morning, and if I am not in it my promising son, my second hopeful--a
sly young dog, Miss Maxwell, so beware of him--will be there instead.
Now pack up your things and leave the heavy articles in the charge of
your landlady--an honest woman ma'am, know her very well--and be ready.
You'll excuse me--have a very pressing appointment."

So saying the old gentleman shook hands with his new friends, and
coming to Griselda he said slowly as if speaking to himself--"Upon my
word, a delicate young flower this, rather too delicate for our hot
sun; let us see--fair hair, classic forehead, blue eyes, Grecian nose,
cherry lips, chin-chopper-chin," tucking her under it and laughing
aloud, "Mr. Maxwell, keep your eyes on that girl. Good-by boys, we'll
make men of you, we will;" and the Colonel put on his hat and walked
out, striking his cane heroically on the floor.

Punctually at eleven the next day, according to the Colonel's
appointment, a carriage drove up to the door, drawn by two handsome
bays. From it leaped a fashionably dressed young man, rather
well-looking, though of an Indian cast of countenance, with very black
hair, and sparkling eyes of the same sombre hue. He was rather tall
and slight, but of an exceedingly good figure. He announced himself as
the son and representative of Colonel Arnott, who, he said, had been
reluctantly compelled to stay at home, owing to a severe attack of
gout. The young gentleman did the honors on this occasion with studied
politeness, and in a short time the whole party were proceeding at
a rapid pace down George-street on their way to Cook Villa, for its
proprietor loved to do all in his power to perpetuate the names and
fame of England's greatest men. The day was fine and not much too warm,
the horses were fresh, and the road tolerably good. The party did not
seem disposed for conversation, except that young Arnott would turn
round in his seat beside the coachman occasionally and point out some
particular place, or the residence of some noted man to Mr. Maxwell.
The young people enjoyed their drive; Mrs. Maxwell and her daughter
looked perfect pictures of happiness, while Maxwell examined with care
the many objects of beauty that passed before his eyes, though his mind
was not yet divested of that anxiety for the future which he could not
altogether shake off. Arriving at the summit of an eminence from which
a commanding view of one of the most splendid harbors in the world can
be obtained, Mr. Arnott ordered the carriage to be stopped in order to
afford the newly-arrived family an opportunity of examining the scenes
that lay on either hand--exquisite panoramas, not easily forgotten when
once gazed upon. On the left they could see the city of Sydney with its
white arms jutting out into the bay, and looking peacefully happy as
hundreds of suburban cottages reflected the beams of the midday sun,
with the curved and jagged outlines of the harbor, its bays and islets,
unrivalled in the beauty of its quiet waters, and the welcome haven
of many a weary mariner. On the right a less beautiful but more rural
picture presented itself. A vale of great extent was spread out before
them, in the midst of which a sheet of water like a quiet river or lake
lay surrounded by beautiful knolls, clothed with underwood and adorned
with trees of patriarchal dignity.

When these enchanting prospects had been sufficiently admired, the
carriage moved on, and in a little time entered a broad gateway, at
which hung a wooden gate painted red. They were now within Colonel
Arnott's domain, which, about fifty acres in extent, surrounded his
house and offices. The avenue was rugged, being in an unfinished
state; the holes were partially filled up with stones newly gathered
from the soil, so that our travellers were glad when their journey was
over. At the door of an aristocratic cottage orneé they found their
loquacious host standing, one of his feet encased in a polished boot,
the other wrapped in numerous cloths and bandages, supporting himself
with a stout stick. Advancing cautiously as the carriage drove up, he
lifted his hat with a gallant air, and said in a loud voice, "Welcome,
welcome to Cook Villa, my dear madam! How d'ye do, Maxwell! Haven't
forgotten your name, you see. Welcome, my future heroes. Ha, my fair
lily of the valley! Powers of lightning! Mrs. Arnott, ma'am, where are
you!"

"I am happy to see Mrs. Maxwell," said a female voice; and a tall,
dark-haired lady, moving with majestic grace, came forward and
presented her hand. "I bid you welcome to our land of sunshine. Pray
come in; I hope these hot summers will agree with you better than they
do with me."

The busy Colonel introduced Maxwell to Mrs. Arnott; also, Miss Griselda
Maxwell, and Masters Romulus and Remus Maxwell. Mrs. Arnott smiled,
saying, "O, Colonel, you are surely joking;" to which he replied, "Not
a bit, 'pon honor."

A young lady now came forth. "O, Isabel," said Mrs. Arnott, "Mrs.
Maxwell, allow me to introduce my daughter; Miss Maxwell, my daughter
Isabel."

The party entered the parlor, and took seats, the Colonel making
facetious remarks and complimentary speeches; when after sitting about
five minutes the ladies rose by general consent and left the room, Mrs.
Arnott having invited her visitors to take off their bonnets. Contrary
to expectation Mrs. Maxwell found in the Colonel's wife a lady-like
woman in the prime of life. Her deportment was stately, and her manners
tinged with a slight shade of hauteur, the result, perhaps, of an
over-strained consciousness of superiority of blood and birth. On the
present occasion, however, she seemed desirous of making a favorable
impression. Her features were pleasing and regular, but sharp, and
expressive of great shrewdness. Her hair and eyes were black, like
those of her son and daughter. This last was a sprightly damsel of
seventeen, with some pretensions to beauty: her dark complexion and
elegant figure were both alike faultless. She was dressed in white,
with a blue kerchief on her neck fastened by a showy diamond brooch.

The Colonel and his residence remain to be described. The imaginative
reader may picture to himself a short, straight, puffy old gentleman
with capacious checks and purple nose. His eyes, which twinkled and
sparkled incessantly, were of a dark hazel hue, and a few thin locks
of very white hair peeped from beneath a high crowned white hat, which
when removed displayed a shining bald head, extremely venerable in its
antiquated appearance. He wore a loose morning wrapper of yellow silk,
a white waistcoat, and dark inexpressibles. His perpendicular figure
was displayed in a pompous strut and magisterial air.

The residence, built doubtless on the proprietor's own plan, after the
fashion of a Bengal bungalow, was constructed principally of wood.
It covered a large portion of ground, and had a verandah in front
and at the sides. The dining and drawing-rooms, principal bedrooms,
and kitchen, were all on the ground floor; and there was plenty of
space for the Colonel's family and visitors. The offices consisted of
a spacious stable, in which four horses were well kept; and amongst
numerous etceteras a well-stocked aviary occupied a genial corner,
enjoying alternately sun and shade. The garden was large and quite
full of flowering shrubs and fruit trees, amongst which the orange,
apricot, peach, and mulberry were conspicuous. There was a little lawn
sloping away to the margin of the bay, and a paddock wherein a couple
of contented cows roamed at pleasure.

It was now two o'clock, the Colonel's usual hour for dinner, and a bell
was rung to announce the important fact. In a few minutes the company
assembled in the drawing-room, and the host pompously conducted Mrs.
Maxwell to the dining-room, Mr. Maxwell performing the same act of
politeness for Mrs. Arnott; Mr. Henry followed with Griselda and his
sister, the two boys bringing up the rear.

The conversation scarcely lagged for a moment, the Colonel's jokes and
hearty laughs were frequent, and the rest of the party partook of his
gaiety.

"Your daughter," said Mrs. Arnott to Mrs. Maxwell, "has a very uncommon
name. Griselda I think you call her."

"That is my daughter's name," replied Mrs. Maxwell.

"Well, I think it is a delightfully pretty name, so very singular."

"I think it's an infernally ugly name," said the Colonel.

"O Colonel," said his wife, "how very shocking! You will make use of
those barbarous words, though you know they annoy me so much: pray Mrs.
Maxwell do not mind him--his expressions sometimes quite put me to the
blush."

"Like the tip of my nose," said the Colonel.

"O for shame you dreadful man," said Mrs. Arnott, using her smelling
bottle.

"Well, well," said the Colonel, "we won't quarrel about names. A rose
you know by any other name, etcetera--your good health fair lily of
the valley; if your name is ugly you are not, at least if my eyes are
as good now as they were fifty years ago. Your mamma will now tell us,
my pretty one, why you were called by such a greasy name--it sounds to
me like that of a Spanish gipsy."

"I will tell you with pleasure," said Mrs. Maxwell. "You have doubtless
heard of Madam Steevens's hospital in Dublin?"

"No, never in my life ma'am."

"Well, you must know that there is an hospital so-called in that city,
and it derived its name from the fact of a lady of rank and fortune
having shut herself up within its walls, and devoted all her time and
money to the amelioration of the sufferings of her poor and diseased
fellow creatures. The lady's name was Griselda Steevens. Her brother,
Dr. Richard Steevens, was a man of considerable fortune, and when on
his death bed he called his sister to him, and asked her if it was her
intention to marry, if she thought of so doing he would leave her all
his fortune without reserve; but if not, he would leave it to her for
her life only, and after her decease to found and endow an hospital.
She, with an abnegation of self worthy of the highest honor, promised
him that she would never marry, and he made his will accordingly.
She not only kept her word, but immediately commenced carrying her
brother's intentions into effect, without wishing to enjoy his fortune
in any other way, and when the hospital was ready for her reception
she fixed upon it as her own permanent residence. My mother was a very
intimate friend of this lady, and, indeed, it was at her request that I
called my daughter Griselda, with Mr. Maxwell's concurrence, of course."

"Of course," said the Colonel, "but upon my honor a very pretty little
story, quite a sunny episode in our dark and hard-hearted world;
but, sounds! Mrs. Arnott, ma'am, you're not going so soon? Well au
revoir, as the poet says--


Fare thee well, and if for ever,
Still for ever, fare thee well.


Harry, you young dog, why don't you open the door? You look at Miss
Maxwell as if you never saw a young lady before--be quick you planet
struck son of a Fort William fire-eater."

Mrs. Arnott, without deigning to take any notice of her husband's
speech, gracefully swept out of the room, followed by Mrs. Maxwell and
the young ladies; while the Colonel stood up, rubbed his hands, and
chuckled audibly.




CHAPTER III.--THE COLONEL'S INFORMATION.

"Shut the door Harry--and now Maxwell for a little bit of pleasant
chat; draw your chair closer, I want to hear what you say distinctly,
not that I am deaf either, but fill your glass and pass the decanter
this way: I always take an hour after dinner to assist digestion; I
drink half a bottle of Burgundy no more and no less--or if I can't get
that, good old port or claret will do as well--excuse me for talking so
much about number one, but if we don't mind number one who will mind
it for us sir, except to send us to the dogs?" saying which the old
gentleman laughed complacently and drank his wine, as if his opinion of
himself was good and his balance at the bank ditto.

"I trust, Colonel," said his guest, "that your time for giving
information on colonial matters is fully come, if not, to-morrow will
do quite as well."

"I am not a procrastinating man sir," replied the Colonel; "by the
by those two heroes of yours may go into the garden or into the
verandah--if you see a snake my juvenile Castor and Pollux you may
catch him by the tail, but mind you cut off his head first."

Eugene laughed as he rose and said, "From such an enemy, Sir, I would
sooner run a mile than fight with a minute."

"Ah! very good," said the Colonel, "you're a smart boy, we'll make
something of you I see--good-by for the present. Now, Mr. Maxwell, what
do you propose doing?"

"That depends, Sir, on the advice I may receive; I am completely and
profoundly ignorant of everything connected with this country."

"Well, Sir, it was my own case once, but with the aid of a head-piece
pretty properly screwed on I soon surmounted the difficulties of
ignorance; I became master of as much information in a fortnight as you
would probably obtain in a year, and how do you think I did it? I put
half a dozen advertisements in the papers here--we had not many papers
here ten years ago--one for a situation in a merchant's office or bank,
another as from a merchant very much requiring a clerk, another as from
a gentleman urgently desiring to purchase a sheep or cattle station up
near the Blue Mountains, and so on, all particulars to be forwarded
and localities described with precision. In about a fortnight, Sir, I
was master of a great store of information. I found that the merchants
wanted a few trustworthy clerks, that there were no clerks, except
prisoners, to be had for love or money; and I received about a score
of letters from proprietors of sheep stations, written in such flowery
language, and describing the hills here and the vales there, the
rivers, the sweet lagoons, the distressingly fat sheep, and the cattle
not able to wag their tails; so that I felt myself like a regular ass
shut up in a paddock along with a forest of haystacks; whereupon I
wrote home to my poor relatives to tell them to come out if they wanted
situations as clerks, and toddled away to look at some of the stations
in the country. I was not long in making up my mind, Sir. I am a man of
some decision of character. I soon selected a station with 5000 sheep
and 500 head of cattle; terms made easy--one-fifth of the purchase-money
paid down, remainder in five years. Got on like a regular old fighting
cock. Sent ten thousand sheep across the Blue Mountains, have forty
thousand now, besides lots of rhino."

Here the Colonel paused to take breath, and tossed off a glass of wine.

"Fill your glass, sir, and pass the bottle to Harry."

"No more thank you," said Maxwell.

"Ah, you're a moderate man I see; well I've nearly finished my daily
allowance. How much tin have you got? Excuse my impudence."

"If you mean money, Sir, I can muster something over two thousand
pounds."

"A respectable sum," said the Colonel, "a very respectable sum, Sir,
for this place; a handsome start for either town or country. If you
like to set up in business as a merchant or shopkeeper there are plenty
of openings; business is increasing, and will increase. If on the other
hand you prefer a country life, there's plenty of room, go up the
country--call on my son and commanding officer, Mr. Frederick Arthur
Wellington Arnott, and he'll put you in the way of everything--buy
your station--come down again--take wife and children up--sit down
comfortably, light your fire in blessed ignorance in the bush and burn
yourself out, house, sheep, dogs, and all before you've been there a
month."

The jolly old Colonel laughed but Maxwell looked grave.

"Mr. Maxwell," said Henry, who had not spoken since the ladies left
the room, "had better go and have a look at the country, and I will
cheerfully go with him--it is my opinion----"

"Well by the ghosts of St. George and the Dragon!" broke in his father
with real or pretended wrath, "you are a precious example of modern
school teaching. Who the deuce asked you for your opinion, sir? What
on earth do you know about it, sir? You want to have all the talk to
yourself. If you want to chatter go join the ladies, and they'll give
you enough of it. There never was a man, Maxwell, surrounded by such a
set of geese; if I listened to the advice that this fool is continually
poking into my ears I'd be buried fathoms deep in the Insolvent Court,
a miserable prey to the scoundrels and robbers of the law."

"Well," said Henry, "I only meant to say----"

"'Pon my honor," again interrupted the old gentleman, "if I thought you
were going to talk sense I would listen to you. You amuse me very much.
I like an upright specimen of the coolest impudence in the world. When
I was a young fellow I served under my uncle along with Wellesley in
India, and fought under the walls and in the streets of Seringapatam,
and in the middle of the row while running pellmell alongside of the
old man--my uncle, I mean--I saw our lads catch hold of the villain
Tippoo and shouted, 'They've got him, uncle; they've got him!' 'What,
talking again, you blackguard!' roared my uncle, and he caught me by
the collar and kicked me, Sir, till the blood spouted out of my nose
like a stream from a cask of canary. That was discipline if you like,
Maxwell."

"I should not like it, Sir," said that gentleman, laughing.

"And if your uncle, Sir," said Henry, determined to be heard, "was
then anything like what you are now, I am not surprised at the sudden
retreat of the enemy. Besides, it is scarcely thirty years since that
happened; you are now past seventy, and you don't mean to tell us that
your uncle kicked you in the streets of Seringapatam when you were
forty years of age?"

"Hold your impertinent tongue, sir; if he didn't kick me, he kicked a
drum boy that was next me--my memory is sometimes defective, and I know
somebody was kicked but we have had quite enough of your talk, sir,
quite enough of your talk; go and sing a duet with your sister for the
amusement of our female guests, and leave Mr. Maxwell to learn a little
wisdom from a man capable of teaching him. Chop my old carcase into
mincemeat for bombshells! but the service is coming to a pretty pass."

The wrathful Colonel tossed off another glass of wine, while his son,
not caring to provoke further hostility, rose with a careless air and
left the room.

"That's the way I serve the jackanapes," said the host, after
delivering himself of a few short coughs; "he wants to have everything
his own way, but he sha'nt; he's like his mother, and she's like the
rest of the feminines--give them an inch of authority and they'll
take miles; if you want to make your sons, sir, cold, heartless,
and selfish, give them unlimited power and authority over all your
property, over yourself, their mother, and sisters, and you'll be
astonished how very soon you'll find yourself in a dog kennel."

"Pardon me, Colonel," said Maxwell, "but are you not afraid of
seriously offending your son? It is written, 'Fathers provoke not your
children to wrath.'"

"O, leave him alone! he's no such fool, neither; he knows I keep the
bone in my hand, and follows like any other dog. I like to keep him
in order. If I didn't keep him in order I should sink down to nothing
at once, for he knows how to rule his mother, and she is of such a
commanding disposition--though she's a good soul--that she would soon
rule me, and everything would go to the dogs. It takes the likes of me,
sir, to rule them all."

"You have another son in the country, sir?"

"Yes, sir, my eldest son Frederick is ten years older than this
youngster; his mother, one of the fairest and best women that ever
walked in Calcutta, has been in her grave now, poor thing, for eight
and twenty years. Do you know, Maxwell,"--and here the speaker's voice
wavered a little--"that your fair daughter is the born image of what my
lost Henrietta was when she arrived from England with her father the
General, and I carried her off in triumph from a hundred competitors,
while seven-eights of the bachelor officers of the garrison swore that
they'd run me through the body. She had such blue eyes and such fair
hair. She used to say--'Harry, you're a clever man, you're too clever,
you won't live very long,'--but she was mistaken, it requires a man to
be clever to live very long in this world. You see young men who think
themselves such wiseacres bustling about and trying to put old men like
me down into corners, dying miserably by scores before they're fifty
years of age; while here I am nearly eighty, never troubled myself
about anything, laughed at everything, was always ready, Sir, to sing
my song and dance my hornpipe. I sit here as independent as the chief
of the Chocktaw. Frederick manages the sheep, pay him five hundred a
year, I receive the wool and tallow, transact all the town business,
and make myself as comfortable as an old horse in a clover paddock."

"Have you ever been to Tasmania* Colonel?"

[* This modern designation of the island is adopted in this work. Its
former appellation of Van Diemen's Land is, for variety of reasons,
suppressed.]

"Yes I have been in Hobart Town, the capital of the island, but never
in the country; they say it's a fine country, well grassed and well
watered. Have you any idea of going there?"

"I have been advised to go there; I have heard that the Government
gives grants of land to bona fide settlers, according to the capital
and property they possess."

"That is quite true, Sir, so they do; but I see they are talking
already of annulling those regulations. If you think about going there
I'd advise you to be quick."

"Have you any idea how much land they would be likely to give me?"

"Well, I think they would give you a maximum grant; that amounts to two
thousand five hundred and sixty acres--four square miles."

"Why, bless me, Sir, that would be a splendid estate--a fortune for
life. If I had that I would surely be satisfied for the rest of my
existence."

"I shouldn't like to swear to that; you know the saying--Have much,
want more. I suppose you're a man like the rest of mankind; there are
not many exceptions to the general rule."

"I think," said Maxwell, "that a man ought to be satisfied when he is
conscious of having enough. A farm, for instance, that supplies all his
wants and the wants of his family, that produces for him in return for
his labor plenty of food and raw material convertible into cash to pay
for other necessaries of life or the education of his children--a man
so happily situated should be thankful to God, and not be so extremely
weak as to be perpetually panting for more."

"So he should, Sir, so he should, I quite agree with you," said the
Colonel, "and doubtless many are so, but there are others who, always
ready to carry covetousness out fully in all its branches, would
without remorse kick every body into the fiery crater of Mount Ætna,
and then go home, smoke their cigars, drink their brandy and water, and
feel as comfortable as possible."

"Are such men numerous in Tasmania, Sir?"

"Don't know--never saw one in Hobart Town. That is a nice place, and
there are nice people in it. I have enjoyed their hospitality till it
nearly killed me."

"Pray, my dear Sir, will you allow me to ask you whether if you were
about to commence life again in these colonies with your present large
stock of experience, you would do as you have done or prefer going to
Tasmania, with the prospect of obtaining a maximum grant of land?"

"It is a difficult question, Sir," answered the old officer, wiping
his forehead, "and in order to give a satisfactory answer it will be
necessary for me to sound the bugle and parade all my available ideas.
If Harry was here now he could help me a little. Well, in the first
place I am a terrible fellow to be attracted by difficulties. If I hear
of a place distracted by murders, robberies, arsons, devastated by
floods or overrun by bloodthirsty enemies, my anxiety to go and pitch
my tent there becomes intense. I am too old now or you wouldn't find
me here with one foot on a chair and the other under my dinner table,
while there's work to be done in any part of the British Empire. My
penchant for difficulties has often led me into serious troubles, but
the greater the troubles the fonder I grew of them. His grace the Duke
of Wellington when commanding at the battle of Assaye did me the high
honor to take notice of this. I was exhausted by the hardest fighting
imaginable, and most of my men were lying on the ground waiting for
orders, for they were tired, poor fellows, and took that opportunity
to rest themselves a bit, and I was just taking a little sip out of
a lemonade bottle that I had hastily stuffed into my breast when who
should come riding up but General Wellesley, for he was not a Duke
then--'Captain Arnott' says he, 'you're the very man, the bravest on
this field--take your company quickly and assist Colonel Viccars'--you
know Viccars who gave you your letter to me--'in storming that four-gun
battery which is raking our left.' 'Sir,' said I, 'your penetration
does you infinite credit;' and in a moment we were in full charge,
shouting like devils, with British cheer and British bayonet, and
away went the enemy scampering and tripping one another's heels up. I
ran fifteen of the rascals through the body while you would be saying
'think about it,' and attacked their scoundrel of a captain, sword in
hand, before he had time to go to the right about, when just as I was
going to assist him in kicking the bucket, up comes a great hulking
fellow of a grenadier and knocked my sword clean out of my fingers,
when on him I turned, sir, like a hungry panther, and if I didn't smash
his face right in with my bottle, and make him a present of the rest of
my lemonade, you may call me a snivelling poltroon this blessed minute."

"That was a lucky bottle," said Maxwell, edgewise.

"It was, sir," continued the eloquent old gentleman, "it was a lucky
bottle. But to the question: you asked me, I think, whether I would
not prefer a million of acres in Tasmania to ten thousand here--no,
I beg pardon, that was'nt it; you said something about a maximum
grant--certainly I would prefer a maximum grant to no grant at all;
I would even prefer a minimum grant to no grant at all, but--you'll
excuse me I really forget what the exact nature of your question was."

Maxwell, though rather fatigued with the pertinacious loquacity of his
host, repeated his question.

"O yes, certainly," said the Colonel, "yes, I knew I had got adrift a
little--I understand--I certainly would prefer staying here provided
they would give me the grant of land, but as they are not likely
to do that I would rather go to Tasmania and get one; that is if,
keeping my property here, mind you, I could pass myself off as a bona
fide settler from England with only two thousand pounds in my
pocket, instead of a New South Wales colonist with twenty or thirty
thousand--which I believe would be conduct unbecoming an officer and
a gentleman. I really hardly know how to advise you, Maxwell, but if
I were in your place, I think I would make a bold push for the grant
of land; and when you are well established on it send one of your sons
over here, or both, and buy a station where there is plenty of room."

"And very judicious advice I think it is too, Sir," replied his guest.

"Well, Sir, I am glad you think so. I merely mention these matters;
you can act as you think proper. If you like to take a run up to my
station, you are heartily welcome. Harry says he'll go with you--would
go myself, but you see what an old cripple I am. As it is, we'll take
care of your wife and children till you come back again. Now, I should
like very much to go for the sake of the difficulties to be encountered
on the road--sleeping in the open air where there's not a house within
dozens of miles, and waking up perhaps with a black snake across my
throat by way of a muffler--or crossing rivers up to my chin, or
waiting for weeks before they can be crossed at all. And then, Sir, if
you're fond of horse exercise, as most of your countrymen are, my son,
Arthur Wellington, will select for you a noble specimen of horse-flesh
that he calls 'Donnybrook,' which noble beast will condescend to let
you mount upon his back after you have lost an hour trying to do it,
and when you are well up he'll carry you playfully to the nearest gum
tree and then set up his back like a miniature rainbow and pitch you
right over it, branches and all. The last time I was up there, this
excellent son of mine (not Harry, but 'tother fellow), who thought I
didn't know anything about it, called out loud enough to be heard a
mile off to a grinning vagabond of a hut keeper, 'Bring up Donnybrook
for my father to ride.' Well, I said nothing aloud, but thought, 'This
fellow thinks himself one of the cleverest and clearest-headed chaps
and the best manager in all the Australian, but I'll astonish his weak
nerves.' Presently up comes the monkey-faced hound leading the brute
by the bridle, and keeping his head turned away to prevent me twigging
his laugh, while I quietly pulled out a small pistol and saw that it
was properly primed. 'Is that Donnybrook?' said I to the man, 'Yes,
Sir' said he, 'he's a very quiet beast I believe!' says I. 'Oh, he's
middling for that Sir, but you'll be able to manage him,' says the
rogue scarcely able to keep himself from laughing in my face. 'Take
the saddle off, Sir,' said I in a tone that stopped his laugh at once:
it was done--'take the bridle off;' that was done. 'Now you fat thief
off you go,' said I, with a roar like a clap of thunder, and away he
flew kicking up his heels and after him flew my pistol bullet whizzing
into his beef, Sir, like a red-hot bayonet into a bladder of lard; and
then I turned upon Frederick--'You're a pretty fellow,' said I, 'you
got that beast up here in the hope that he would break my old neck, but
you're deceived, Sir, you're deceived this time--you shan't handle the
property so soon, Sir, I promise you.' Whereupon Fred began to talk and
I began to swear, and we had such a delicious row, you never heard the
like of it."

Maxwell rose from the table saying the ladies would wonder what
detained them so long.

"Yes," said the Colonel, "I will now take my siesta--always take an
hour's nap after dinner, if you like to follow my example there's the
sofa, and I dare say no one will disturb you--will meet you in the
drawing-room in about that time."

The Colonel retired to his private apartment, and his guest, who was
not inclined for sleep, proceeded in search of the ladies.




CHAPTER IV.--INSTRUCTIVE AND ENTERTAINING.

Guided by the sound of music, for which he always possessed a willing
ear, Maxwell entered the drawing-room situated at one end of the
building and connected by a long passage with an abrupt turn or two in
it with the one he had just left. This apartment was furnished with
the greatest care, and wore an aspect of elegance conferred on it by
feminine taste and ability. The furniture was light but of exquisite
workmanship and costly materials. It was refreshing to Maxwell to sit
down upon a sofa and find himself gradually settling within a few
inches of the floor, so soft was the luxurious cushion; and the more so
as he had been only just released from his confined cabin on shipboard
after an incarceration of seven months. Here in pleasant languor he sat
for awhile, his eyes wandering from picture to picture on the walls;
from the rich ornaments of the mantelpiece to the table covered with
handsomely bound books, and to the attractive carpet under his feet. "A
happy man I shall be," said he to himself, "if at fifty years of age I
can call a room like this my own, and sit listening to my daughter's
music." It was not his daughter, however, who sat at the pianoforte but
Miss Arnott, already introduced to the reader by the euphonious name
of Isabel. She played a lively air, ever and anon turning her graceful
head, clothed with a flowing profusion of coal black ringlets, to smile
upon Griselda, who sat a little behind but near her, and exchange
some little particles of innocent chat. The marked contrast between
the complexions and apparent dispositions of these two young ladies
could not fail to strike any cursory observer. The one fair almost to
a fault, and timid as a young antelope upon its native precipice; the
other dark in an equal proportion, with eyes so penetrating that one
could not hope to escape their piercing lustre. And yet there seemed
to be already a growing sympathy between them--a sympathy, as it were,
between dark night and sunny day--the result perhaps of some secret
desire frequently implanted in the human breast, which leads many of
us to admire in others those qualities in which we find ourselves
deficient. Eugene and Charles were seated near the table looking
over amusing books, while the absence of Mrs. Arnott, Mrs. Maxwell,
and Henry told plainly that they had not risen from their respective
siestas.

Maxwell was absorbed in thought, to which the music rising and falling
rapidly upon his ear lent a most singular charm. A delightful vision
of future independence, if not wealth, and the consummation of all
his earthly happiness, wandered through his brain. At one moment he
fancied himself the possessor of the million of acres so feelingly
alluded to by his lively host; at another he thought that if he could
only obtain a maximum grant how comfortable and how well situated he
would be for the remainder of his life. His wife, too, to whom he was
fondly attached--why should she not share his pleasing dreams? Awaking
from his reverie he hastily asked Griselda where her mother was. His
daughter was about to reply when the two matrons suddenly entered the
room.

"The afternoon is now sufficiently cool," said Mrs. Arnott; "what say
you, Mr. Maxwell, to a short walk in the garden or about the grounds?"

"I shall be most happy to place myself at your disposal," replied that
gentleman.

"Very well," said Mrs. Arnott; "my dears, will you accompany us, or
remain here?"

The young ladies intimated their willingness to be of the party, and
Maxwell, placing himself between Mrs. Arnott and his wife, led the way.

It was now six o'clock. The sun was approaching the rim of the western
horizon, and being enveloped in light clouds of purple and golden
colors, with a dim haze-like smoke, perhaps from some distant fire,
shed a bright orange glow over the broad bay and surrounding hills. A
fresh breeze, bearing on its bosom the delightful fragrance of many an
exotic shrub and flower, swept through the garden and over the pleasant
fields. Birds of the gayest plumage, and winged insects arrayed in
countless brilliant hues, awoke from their drowsy lethargy and sported
on the evening air; while from the surface of the smooth water the rays
of the declining orb were reflected as from a lake of burnished silver.
Griselda paused to gaze upon the charming landscape, and while so doing
her heart bounded with love and gratitude to the Creator of all, who
had permitted her to look upon and enjoy such a scene. From a pleasant
train of thought she was aroused by the voice of Miss Arnott calling
her to come and see her pretty birds indulging in their evening play.

"Call me Griselda," said she, smiling, and taking her companion's arm.

"Oh! certainly, and you must call me Isabel."

"Nay," replied Griselda, "I feel as if I could not; you are so many
years my senior."

"Only one or two," said Isabel; "but what matter--I insist upon it, and
so you must. Now look at my birds. Oh! I declare, there's my little
prince of bower-birds on the floor holding down his pretty head. What
is the matter, Princie? Have they been beating you, my poor little
fellow? He is not well. These bower-birds, Griselda, are the most
interesting creatures you ever saw; they build such pretty bowers for
themselves, and play so nicely; you must try and see them at work in
the morning. You admire my large collection of beautiful parrots and
cockatoos. There is a very fine specimen of Dacela Gigantio, or
laughing jackass. That is the Menura Superba--that splendid bird
with its tail something like a lyre. We have also the honey-sucker,
belonging to the family of the Meliphagidæ. Goodness, gracious! who
is that? Oh! Harry, how you frightened me."

"Serve you right, you minx," said Harry, with a laugh, "when I find
you here puzzling Miss Maxwell's poor head with your abominable
jaw-breaking names. The Latinized monstrosities of your birds and
mother's plants ought to be twisted into a hard rope, and you and she
tied together with it."

"And to please your dictatorial lordship we ought to be thrown into the
middle of the bay, too, I suppose?" said Isabel.

"Nay, you need not ruffle your feathers so. I am a plain young man, and
do not require sauce after dinner," answered the brother.

"Because you have got enough already, if we are to judge by the haste
with which you ran away from papa," replied the sister.

"A very pretty retort-courteous, upon my honor. Miss Maxwell must be
delighted at such exuberant wit," said the gentleman.

"If you do not cease, Sir, I will lay the whole case before papa this
instant, and he may treat you to a little pepper as well as sauce,"
retorted the lady.

"O dear! how wild we are getting. But come, make it up, and I will take
you and Miss Maxwell out in my boat to-morrow for a pleasant row," said
Harry.

"You must learn to behave yourself like a gentleman before either of us
will condescend to step into your boat, or even to walk by your side,"
said Isabel, a little mollified.

"I'll conduct myself like a nobleman," replied her brother. "Will Miss
Maxwell, allow me the pleasure of showing her round a the garden?"

He offered his arm politely, but Griselda preferred taking that of
Isabel.

"Well," said he, "proceed--I will follow like a footman."

In this order they entered the garden, a large well-fenced piece of
ground, stocked not only with the European fruit-bearing trees and
shrubs which flourish in the genial climate of New South Wales, but
also with a many rare plants selected with care from the extensive
flora of Australia. Nor was Mrs. Arnott's fondness for botany confined
to Australian productions alone. She could boast of having in her
conservatory many a rare exotic from the islands of the Pacific--from
Java, Borneo, and New Zealand. Our acquaintance, Harry, still keeping
close to the young ladies, had not been in the garden more than a few
minutes when he suddenly exclaimed--"Do you hear that? mother's at the
jawbreakers already! Well I'm off--good-by, ladies."

"O, good-by! by all means," said Isabel. "Come, Griselda, we will go
and hear what Mamma is saying."

"Well, my dears," said Mrs. Arnott, whose maternal solicitude was
pretty constantly awake, "you are, I trust, improving the passing hour
by examining with care the beautiful productions of nature with which
you are surrounded. This tree, Mr. Maxwell, is a young specimen of the
extensive genus Eucalyptus with which our country is completely
stocked; it is vulgarly called blue gum, and sheds its bark instead of
leaves, as indeed all the different species do. I have a great number
of them, which will in time make our place look like a forest. This
is another, but of a different species, the Eucalyptus Corymbosa,
or blood-wood tree. This pretty shrub, laden with such a quantity of
yellow blossoms, is the Acacia Pubescens, quite common here, but
new to a stranger from England. I can show you a few more individuals
belonging to the order Leguminosa--for instance, we have the
Acacia Melanoxylon, or blackwood from Tasmania; likewise the Acacia
Sophoræ, or Fragrant Acacia, though it scarcely looks well, as we
are rather too far north; when in full bloom it is really lovely; and
in addition to these we have the Acacia Longifolia, or Long-leaved
Acacia--its short, spiked flowers are very pretty. This umbrageous,
bower-like tree is the Corypha Australis, which with the Seaforthia
palms, weeping casuarinas, and myrtaceous plants, give quite a singular
appearance to the great forests in the interior. This beautiful
climbing flower is the Teconia Australis, you see in what rich
clusters the petals hang suspended; and we have an interminable variety
of umbelliferous, decandrous, papilionaceous bushes, bearing flowers of
most brilliant colors, as also----"

"Please, ma'am," said a servant running up out of breath, "my master is
getting anxious for his tea."

Recalled by this vulgar message from the Elysian fields of science
in which her well stored mind was disporting itself, Mrs. Arnott
conducted her friends back to the house. They found the Colonel seated
in his snug arm chair, and the tea things laid in the dining-room.
He immediately addressed his wife with a slight degree of asperity,
saying--"What in the name of engines of war not yet invented, Mrs.
Arnott, ma'am, keeps you out so late? I've been waiting an hour."

"I have been showing our friends our garden treasures, Colonel,"
answered the lady. "You need not be so impatient--I never disturb you
in your after-dinner chit-chat."

"You keep me here dying of thirst, ma'am," interrupted the Colonel,
"so that I had a great mind to go and take a swim in the bay. Talking
of swimming, Maxwell, I once met with a queer adventure that I'll
just tell you of while the tea is getting ready. I was once, Sir, as
green as duckweed, up the country in very hot weather, and taking a
quiet walk along the banks of a river near a friend's house where
I was staying for a few days, when the idea occurred to me to pull
off my duds and have a swim. Well, Sir, I sat down on the bank, and
commenced leisurely to unscrew my coat and unmentionables, when I
heard a measured treading thump, thump--just behind me; I turned round
without making any noise, and what do you think I saw? A buck forester
kangaroo, Sir, about seven feet high without b--- s---, standing bolt
upright about thirty yards off and staring at me just as if I was
something good to eat. 'O ho!' said I, 'just wait there my gentleman,
'till I get my bulldog out will you, but I was afraid to move for
fear of scaring the rascal the wrong way, when--power o' mercy--he
came a half dozen jumps nearer and pawed the air like a perpendicular
racehorse, so I just quietly touched the trigger of my barker--I never
travel without a pair--and down he came for all the world like a sack
of potatoes out of a hayloft. Well, Sir, I went and examined him and
found him stone dead to be sure, but he was a fine animal and I thought
it singular that he should have a piece of blue ribbon tied round his
neck. So I went in and had my swim and went home to my friend's house,
and whom should I meet on the way but Mrs. Blackmore, the lady, looking
about for something very anxiously."

'O! Colonel Arnott,' said she, 'I have lost my poor Rolla--did you see
him?' and she called 'Rolla! Rolla!'

'Who the dev--hem--I beg pardon--but who is Rolla, ma'am, if it's a
fair question?'

'My poor pet forester kangaroo, don't you know Rolla?' she replied with
an uneasy smile.

'Yes, ma'am, I saw a strange looking animal down near the river, and
when we saw one another he bolted one road and I cut my stick the
opposite.' So away she went calling Rolla, and away I went, packed
up my carpet bag, left two of my best shirts in the hands of the
washerwoman, called for my horse, and rode away as the fellow did long
ago from the Baron of Mowbray's gate without ever once looking behind
me.'

The Colonel laughed as usual and Maxwell laughed, not so much at the
anecdote itself or the wry faces and comic gesticulations of his jolly
host, as to please and encourage him, if anything was required to do
so. Griselda and her brothers looked astonished, and Mrs. Maxwell after
listening gravely said----

"The poor pet then met with a sudden and violent death--did you ever
hear how the lady bore her loss?"

"The only communication I ever received on the subject was, madam, a
letter from her husband saying that if I had shot the kangaroo through
malicious design he would be most happy to meet me on equal terms, and
then I might have the pleasure of shooting him; I replied that it was
through accident of course, and that having unfortunately deprived the
lady of one pet, I had not the slightest wish to rob her of another,
so I purchased the richest dress and the purest pearl broach I could
find in Sydney and sent them to my fair friend, by way of making the
amende honorable, and never heard anything of the matter since,
except receiving a polite note of acknowledgments. I'll trouble you my
princess of fair lilies of all the valleys in the world, to hand me a
cup of tea, and don't let your zephyr foot touch my gouty toe."

"I fear," said Mrs. Maxwell, with a quaint smile, "I must be so rude as
to call you to order Colonel Arnott, on account of the expressions you
address to my daughter--you will make her quite vain and silly."

"No fear of that mamma," whispered Griselda.

"Why, my dear madam," said the Colonel, "there is decidedly some truth
in what you say. I beg pardon, it is all truth, every word of it. It
was just the way I was myself spoiled. I had a fond mother, ma'am and
she used to call me her little pigeon, just as if there is, or ever
was, any resemblance between me and a pigeon; but however peaceful
the nickname, it led once to a very serious combat. The occasion was
this. When Lord Clive was leaving Calcutta for the last time, in the
year 1767, there was a great crowd of ladies and gentlemen--officers,
civilians, nabobs and lascars assembled on the river's banks to see
him depart, and nothing would please me but to stand in the foremost
rank, gaping like a bull-frog for a thunderstorm, when somebody from
behind knocked my cap over my eyes, and called out 'Well Pigeon, are
you here?' I turned round, ma'am, and saw Samuel Blubbertub, son of
Assistant-Commissary Blubbertub, who had been di-rated by Clive the
week before for misappropriation of government stores. I looked hard at
him, 'Yes' said I. 'Owl, I'm here--as good right as you or your father
either."

'Take that for your impudence,' said he, giving me a slap on the cheek.

'Tit for tat,' said I, giving him a thrust in the stomach that sent him
yards away, when back he came in a rage, and in I went in a fury, and
we grappled my boys like two tiger's whelps, when more by good luck
than good science I fortunately pushed him into the river just as he
was preparing for a heavy thrust. At that moment who should come up but
Clive himself.

'What's all this?' said he to an officer, 'Who is this youngster?'

'That's young Arnott, my Lord, son of Major Arnott; his mother calls
him the little pigeon.'

'Does she, by Jupiter?' said his lordship, 'the simple woman; he looks
a deuce sight more like a hawk. Who is that other fellow?'

'That's the son of late Commissary Blubbertub; he struck the first
blow.'

'Serve him right, serve him right; I hate bullies. Well done, Pigeon,'
said the hero of Plassey, as he stepped into his barge, and all the
people laughed consumedly.

"Your adversary was not drowned I hope," said Mrs. Maxwell, who had
listened attentively.

"No ma'am, he was pulled out by a half-drunken lascar, who gave him a
good ducking during the operation."

Tea having been dispatched, the company adjourned to the drawing-room,
where Miss Arnott again sat down to the pianoforte and played her last
new piece with great brilliancy of execution, the old Colonel's tongue
rattling away all the time, telling wonderful adventures to Maxwell
and the boys; while Mrs. Arnott, drawing out her little work-table,
sat down within chatting distance of Mrs. Maxwell, who, with Griselda,
earnestly begged to be employed. This, however, Mrs. Arnott would
only allow to a limited extent. Henry sat half-hidden in a corner,
and seemed to take great interest in the movements of Griselda's
fingers; but our fair heroine was quite unconscious of this remarkable
circumstance. When the piece was finished, Mrs. Arnott requested her
son and daughter to sing a duet, which they did. This being over, and
the performers duly thanked, Mrs Arnott asked Griselda if she ever
sang, and that young lady timidly replied, "I try sometimes."

"Then you must allow me the pleasure of hearing you, my dear," said
Mrs. Arnott.

"You may sing that ballad you have lately learned," said Mrs. Maxwell,
"it is a patriotic ditty, called 'THE FORSAKEN WIFE'."

"I cannot sing very well," said Griselda.

"Try, my dear," said Mrs. Arnott.

"Do, Griselda," said Isabel.

"Miss Maxwell will not refuse us such a great pleasure," said Henry.

Thus urged, Griselda sat down to the piano--for she had made some
progress in music--and sang with touching earnestness the following
simple ballad--


May I not weep for days gone by,
Or speak of home, once gay and fair;
Must I not breathe one tender sigh,
Or feel for thee one anxious care?
Oh ask me not to break the spell
That binds a broken heart to thee,
Nor bid me from my breast expel
These wasting thoughts of agony.

Time was when thou--so kind, so true,
Did'st watch my smile with tearful eye;
How quickly those sweet moments flew,
With gentle word and fond reply,
With golden gem of gay device,
And pearls thou did'st adorn my head;
Take back thy gems of costly price,
And give me one bright smile instead.

How oft in pleasant dreams I trace,
O'er paths of love that once were mine--
The rays that shone in thy dear face,
That on thy lips again may shine!
Still--still when waking thoughts arise,
I weep, I pray, I mourn in vain;
Thy heart--the only gem I prize--
O give me thy fond heart again!


"Thank you, Griselda,--thank you, Miss Maxwell--" was echoed from
Isabel and Henry; and the old Colonel, who had hobbled up to hear the
song more distinctly, exclaimed--"A very tender little ditty, upon
my honor--quite a snug piece of domestic antagonistic sentiment--the
unhappy lady should not give up all the pearls at once, but render
them one at a time in exchange for a kiss. Do you know, my dear
madam, that I am about to organise a new society in this fair city
of ours, to be called The Highly-Disagreeable-and-Disgusting-
Domestic-Misery-Making-Matrimonial-Squabbles-PUT-EM-DOWN Society."

"A very good idea," said Mrs. Maxwell, laughing, "I hope it will be
attended with success."

"I mean to succeed in that, ma'am, as I have done in everything else,"
replied the Colonel.

"You are such a clever man, and amiable philanthropist, my dear
Colonel," said Mrs. Arnott.

"The proof of my cleverness and amiability is like that of a pudding in
the eating--that is, in the feeling and experimenting of them, ma'am.
I am as perfect a pigeon as ever was hatched, if let properly alone,
but if I am stirred up by scolding, snuffy, naggy nonsense, sneers
and snubs, I say war-hawk, that's all. If there's one individual I
hate more than another it is the whining, fault-finding cur that sees
motes in everybody's eyes, and won't see the beams in his own, though
they're as plain as frigates might be in a mill-pond. Well, my little
rose of Cashmere, I will bid you good-night--good-night ladies and
gentlemen--my hour for retiring is come. Breakfast at nine o'clock;
pleasant sleep and good appetites to all."

After remaining about two hours engaged in conversation, subsequent
to the worthy Colonel's departure, the company broke up. Servants
attended, the visitors were shown to their respective apartments, and
in a few minutes the house was wrapped in profound silence.




CHAPTER V.--DELIBERATION AND DECISION.

The father of our heroine generally rose with the sun, but on the
present occasion he was a little behind his time, and allowed that
glorious luminary to get the start of him by a couple of hours. It was
seven o'clock when he found himself walking alone in Colonel Arnott's
rich garden, and knowing that he had two hours to spare before the
family assembled for breakfast, he strolled forth along the avenue and
towards the high road over which he had travelled on the preceding
day, to enjoy the cool and invigorating air of the morning. Directing
his steps to the eminence from which he had seen and admired the
magnificent view of the harbor on the previous day, he paused and cast
his eyes once more over the same scene, rendered now if possible still
more enchanting by the ever-varying tints peculiar to early day. Here
he sat down by the road side and remained for more than an hour in
anxious, if not painful, deliberation.

There is no time like the morning for deciding any knotty or momentous
question; difficulties that appear insurmountable at night often seem
to vanish before the light of coming day. Many a weary brain worn out
by the toils and cares of existence and almost crushed by intense
anxiety or suffering, loses the remembrance of its sorrows in sleep,
and awakes on the morrow to renewed hope and vigorous exertion. If
there are any human beings whose hearts are hardened by nature or the
force of adverse circumstances so that they are indifferent to the
spirit-stirring breath of morning, they are to be pitied indeed. It is
through the clear ambient air of this sober hour that the voice of the
sailor is heard, borne over the distant bay, louder and more melodious
than at any other time; and it is now that the hunter's horn, echoing
through brake or over woodland lawn, sparkles on the ear as the ripples
of the glittering water on the sight.

Two sides of a picture, or more properly two separate pictures
presented themselves to Maxwell's mental vision, and both seemed so
evenly balanced that immediate decision was extremely difficult. His
eye wandered over a very small portion of the vast island in the
mysterious recesses of which he and his family might be lost, and
never heard of more by friend or enemy. He had heard stories of awful
fires carrying desolation over hundreds of miles of hot and blighted
country, to the progress of which even a broad river was but a feeble
barrier. He had read of settlers, in haste to be rich, driving large
flocks of sheep through trackless deserts, and dying miserably in
the midst of their wealth for want of a drop of water. Nor were the
tales he had heard of murdering natives, and of cruel, ferocious
bushrangers one iota less fearful. It was true that could he only
surmount these difficulties and brave other innumerable hardship, he
might, in ten years, be the master of twice that number of thousands,
and like Colonel Arnott be in a position to take his future ease in
a comfortable home on some favored and happy spot. But he felt as if
alone. His sons were more boys: his wife and daughter had both been
delicately brought up. Should he take them some hundreds of miles
into an unknown land, far away from all civilised society, and if
so--while surrounded by a dreary solitude, in which perhaps concealed
enemies might lurk by night and day--should the hand of sickness or
of death lay him low, what would become of those he loved? As he
asked himself this question, his heart beat quickly, and he mentally
exclaimed--"Never will I expose them to this anguish."

To the distant shores of Tasmania--an island of which he had heard and
read but little--he now turned his attention. By going there it was
possible that he might secure a good farm in a more genial climate
near some place of human abode, or at least among settlers near enough
to be called neighbors. This might make him independent for life, and
his cares would be confined to its simple management. Still there
were difficulties to be overcome and hardships to be encountered, but
they did not seem so gigantic as those pertaining to New South Wales.
The more he considered and pondered on these matters the more he felt
inclined to take a voyage to Tasmania, a comparatively small island
where distressing droughts, and terrible journeys in bullock waggons
into the interior, were almost unknown, or at least might be more
easily endured. Already he was half decided.

Making the best of his way back to Cook Villa, he arrived just in time
to hear the old Colonel shouting his name through the shrubbery. On
making his presence known he received a sound but good humored lecture
from his host for being one single moment behind the appointed time;
and having made his excuses they entered the parlor together and sat
down to a substantial breakfast.

Maxwell, after saluting Mrs. Arnott and Isabel, examined the
countenances of his wife and daughter, and was pleased to see them
looking happy and cheerful. Even their hostess, with her formal
precise etiquette, seemed to think them proper objects of attention,
and exerted herself to please accordingly. Henry Arnott and the two
young Maxwells commenced their morning repast with every appearance of
internal satisfaction.

"Mr. Maxwell," said the Colonel, "has been taking a constitutional
walk, a thing I disapprove of in toto. I used to like a walk before
breakfast at one time, but if a breakfast is to be got first you don't
catch me at such a thing again: once bitten, twice shy, you know."

"Thereby hangs a tale, I presume?" said Maxwell.

"You've just hit it, Sir, just hit it, 'pon my life; and as my tea is
too hot, I'll just let it cool and tell it to you, if the ladies have
no objection."

"Certainly not, Colonel Arnott," said Mrs. Maxwell.

"Well, you must know, ma'am, that when I first became a colonist, and
had selected my station in the country, I had a great deal of work
in taking up stores and necessary articles to go on with, and many
slow, long, tedious journeys I had, the bullocks crawling along at
the rate of between two and three miles an hour; and sometimes in the
hot weather we would travel for days together and not find a drop of
water, being obliged to carry a supply with us in the drays. Well,
Sir, one morning, when about to start from our camp, on taking stock
of water I found we had just enough to fill the tea-kettle, and no
more; so giving the men positive orders not to touch a drop of it until
midday, when we should most want it on account of the heat, and taking
a stout stick in my hand, I started off in front of the drays, hoping
to stumble upon water somewhere. After walking for about four hours,
I began to feel both hungry and thirsty, and seeing at a distance a
small grove of honey-suckles I made towards it, thinking to lie down
and rest myself until the carts came up; when lo! and behold, ma'am,
just as I was going to enter the cool shade, I was astonished to
find the muzzle of a double-barreled gun thrust within an inch of my
nose; and to hear a hoarse voice roar out, 'Stand, you thundering old
scoundrel, or I'll blow your brains out.' So, sir, you may think I was
fast as a church steeple in a moment, for I found myself completely
in the power of two of the most ferocious-looking villains I ever saw
in my life. They immediately caught me by the collar, and pulled me
into the scrub, made me strip myself of everything except my flannel
shirt and drawers--begging pardon for mentioning them--and when they
had tied everything up in a bundle ready to tramp off, to my utmost
horror and consternation, they forced me back against a stout young
tree and commenced tying me up to it just as if I was a wild ass, with
the barbarous intention of leaving me there to perish of thirst and
hunger. Well, the more I implored them to let me go, and promised not
to trouble them any more, the harder they swore at me--swearing they
would settle me if I did not hold my tongue; and the tighter they tied
me. When the operation was complete they took up their guns and my
clothes, with watch, pistols, pocket-book, and everything, and began
to move off, one of the wretches saying as he did so, 'That's the old
hatchet-faced villain that helped me to my last twelve months in irons,
two years ago.'"

"My good man," said I, "you mistake. I have not been in the country
above twelve months--long enough to wish myself well out of it again."

"None of your lies you hoary old sinner," said the ruffian, "wouldn't
I know you among a thousand? and if it wasn't you it was just such
another pick-axe looking varmint." And without saying another word they
walked away leaving me all alone in my glory.

"Well, may dear madam, the first sincere prayer I offered up when
they were gone was that I might live to see them both hanged, and my
prayer was heard, ma'am; I have lived to see them both hanged; and have
survived the event without ever having the worse appetite."

"And pray how were you released Colonel?" asked Mrs. Maxwell.

"Why ma'am," answered the Colonel, after taking a cup of tea, "I
could not release myself, that was clear, though I tried hard; and I
then commenced shouting and making the most desperate noises, until
I shouted myself as hoarse as an asthmatic badger. Not having had
breakfast, either bite or sup, I began to feel exceedingly queer, and
of course gave myself up for lost, unless the bullock-drivers should
come within hail. For seven mortal hours I remained stuck to that tree,
not able to move hand or foot, saying all the prayers that I ever
learned since I was six months old--commencing with 'Bless father,
mother, sisters, brothers, all my little cousins, and devil take the
bushrangers; Uncle Bill and Aunt Betty, whose pockets I've picked and
drawers I've robbed of many a fancy nick-nack;' and winding up with a
scream that would have woke up the ghost of Caligula, if it had not
been deafened by the screams of other ghosts; when I was confounded out
of my propriety to hear some fellow shout in reply about fifty yards
off, and who on earth should come riding up but my son Frederick, for
all the world looking as if he was in the presence of a real ghost,
when I roared out to him as loud as my cracked voice would permit
me--'Get down, you fool, and untie me this minute, unless you want me
to die like an insane elephant;--get down, Sir, and release your old
father, or by the powers of war and glory, when I am loose, I'll make
it a warning--' while I was speaking he had cut the ropes, and down
I fell on the grass like a pig, suddenly deprived of both song and
sentiment. When I came round a little, with the help of a cordial that
Fred happened to have in his pocket, we went to look for the drays, my
son explaining to me on the way that he had ridden out to see if the
stores were coming, as he had not tasted a drop of tea for six weeks,
and had had nothing but bread and mutton and water--the dainty youth.
We were surprised that the drays had not come on, but when we came to
them we found out the reason, the bushrangers had met them, helped
themselves to what they wanted, and then the abominable villains tied
each man to his own dray. But I have lived to see them hanged, that's
some comfort."

The worthy old officer now applied himself with vigor to his breakfast,
and while he was thus employed his amiable lady entertained their
guests with sundry and lively anecdotes concerning the state of
society, the bushrangers, the natives, the servants, and the snakes,
which however interesting they may have been at a breakfast table are
scarcely worth committing to paper, or if worthy of that honor, it
would look something like plagiarism to say anything about them now
after all that has been said by various eloquent writers on Australian
subjects.

When the Colonel had finished his breakfast he asked his guest what he
proposed doing, or if he had had a curtain consultation.

"I propose going to Tasmania, Sir," replied Maxwell.

"Have you fully resolved upon taking that step?"

"Why so much so that I intend to go into town to-day to engage passages
for self and family."

"Well, Sir," said the Colonel, "there's nothing like being decided one
way or other; take your passage and stop here till the vessel sails.
Harry will drive you in in my gig."

The necessary orders were given. The gig was soon at the door, and
Harry accompanied by Maxwell drove rapidly away.

Neither of them spoke for some time. Maxwell seemed absorbed in
contemplation of the beautiful scenery, and Harry silently enjoyed a
fragrant Havana. At length he broke the silence and exclaimed--

"Smoke?"

"No, thank you," replied Maxwell.

"Governor a queer stick, isn't he?" said Harry.

"I have not the pleasure of knowing his Excellency," said Maxwell.

"I don't mean him; I'm speaking of the old chap at home--my governor."

"Oh, your father--I beg pardon; why, yes, he is a singular old
gentleman, but possessing a good heart, I think."

"Yes, a good heart enough--soft and pliable as the chain cable of a
ninety-gun ship."

"At least he allows you to get out of his way," said Maxwell, laughing.

"Yes," said Harry, "I get out of his way whether he likes it or not,
but I tune him up sometimes."

"Tune him up! how do you mean?"

"I threaten to call mother to him; let him get into ever such a
rage--swear like a trooper or dance like a bear on burning bricks--when
I open the door and call out--'Mother, here's father playing up,' he
gets as quiet as a lamb."

Maxwell smiled at the novel way Mr. Henry had of "tuning up" his
venerable parent, and resumed--

"Your father told me yesterday of his having shot a horse called
Donnybrook, a vicious brute; did he really shoot him?"

"He shot at him certainly;" replied Henry, "but it's not true that he
hit him though he firmly believed he did. My brother had the horse got
in immediately but found he had never been touched. The affair was
caused by an assigned servant, a notorious liar, telling the governor
that Fred was going to give him Donnybrook to ride on, the most vicious
horse he said this side of Swan River; though the fact is Donnybrook is
a very quiet horse, and does nothing but toss his head about; and to
protect the old chap's nose, Fred had a martingale put on."

"And his adventure with the bushrangers, did it really happen?"

"Yes, I believe it is true enough; the bushrangers were very
troublesome then, and are still more or less so."

A desultory conversation was carried on until the two gentlemen
arrived in Sydney, where Maxwell took the necessary steps in procuring
his passage to Hobart Town, the capital of Tasmania. He ascertained
that in six days the brig, commanded by a fat and jolly specimen of
England's merchant seamen, would be ready to sail. After calling at his
lodgings, where he dined with Henry, they returned to Cook Villa and
spent the remainder of the day in listening to the Colonel's wonderful
adventures, of which it is presumed the reader is most heartily tired.




CHAPTER VI.--OFF TO TASMANIA.

ACTING in accordance with the hints relative to Tasmania given in the
last chapter, we will take leave to convey our readers to the wharf
in Sydney from which the brig, bound for Hobart Town, was to sail. On
the poop we see the passengers and their friends, amongst whom it is
not difficult to recognise the Maxwell family, with Colonel Arnott,
Henry, and Isabel. They talked together as friends generally do when
about to separate, the former of the exceedingly pleasant days they
had spent at Cook Villa, and the latter hoping that on some future
occasion they would have the pleasure of seeing their friends again.
Mrs. Maxwell ventured to hope that she would yet see Colonel Arnott and
his family at their new home in Tasmania; to which the Colonel replied,
"Certainly, my dear madam, I will visit you with great pleasure: I will
drop in some time when you least expect me; I'll astonish you, depend
on it. Well, here's the captain coming to turn us out. Good-by, ma'am,
and a pleasant passage to you; good-by, my queen of primroses,--what!
not a single kiss before we part?--well, can't help it. This way,
Maxwell, a word with you: I wish you success. Take care of your
children; the country you are going to is a fine country, but there are
strange people in it; only keep your eyes open, that's all; and if ever
you are hard up for blunt, Sir--excuse my bluntness--you may command me
for five hundred or a thousand: I'll take your personal security and
nominal interest. Good-by--not a word, Sir. Where are those juvenile
founders of the new Roma on the banks of the Puddlewash in Tasmania?
Good-by, my heroes; must have one of you over here soon again to keep
Fred company up at the station, for fear you'll crack one another's
skulls, leaping over the wall; take care of yourselves."

The old gentleman stepped out upon the wharf, calling to Henry and
Isabel to be quick, as the plank was about to be removed. The latter
kissed Mrs. Maxwell and Griselda, promising and exacting a promise
to write frequently: the former shook hands with Griselda's mother,
then with Griselda herself, expressing a hope that he would soon have
the pleasure of seeing her again. To this any other young lady having
more vivacity of manner than Griselda might have answered, "I hope
so," but our heroine meekly cast her eyes downwards and said nothing.
The various actions being re-exchanged as long as time would permit,
the captain at length gave the order to put off, and the friends were
compelled to go on shore.

A light breeze blew from the southward at the moment of departure,
but before the vessel had reached the Heads it had freshened to a
smart gale. Under the sombre influence of thick dark clouds and a fast
increasing tempest, the Maxwells found themselves once more on the
bosom of the Pacific Ocean; and they saw with a feeling of awe and
alarm, their dangerous proximity to a gigantic wall of rock, forming
the South Head of the harbor of Port Jackson. The wind was high,
and dead against them. Should it suddenly change to the eastward,
as was not unlikely, their destruction on a lee shore, and one of
most terrible appearance, might speedily follow. But the corpulent
commander, a cool and polite individual, never left his post on deck;
but running his vessel well out to sea, he suddenly put her head to
the land and steered for Botany Bay, a famous and secluded place of
shelter, lying about twelve miles to the south of Port Jackson, where,
as evening closed in, she rode quietly at anchor, completely secure
from the gathering storm.

Our settlers felt grateful to the brave and worthy captain for his
promptitude in bringing them into this haven of rest, and returned him
their thanks accordingly. They surveyed with mingled feelings the white
shores of the celebrated Botany Bay, a name of ominous notoriety, but
destined to be famous throughout all future ages in connection with
that of England's greatest navigator. With the exception of a single
dwelling the shores of this bay seemed (at that time) to be given over
to silent solitude. The voice of the wind moaning through the trees
was the only sound heard around it, broken in upon now and then by
the muffled roll of the waves upon the sandy beach; and interrupted
occasionally by the bark of a solitary watch-dog. From this desolate
harbor of refuge the brig set sail on the third day. And now with a
fair wind they approached the shores of Tasmania. The time of the
adventurers while at sea was occupied in reading works of interest,
and on the part of the ladies in needle work of the usual sort. The
weather was fine, but the wind changed repeatedly, and the voyage was
much lengthened in consequence. At night the coolness of the air, and
the seeming serenity of the sky and sea often tempted the Maxwells and
their children to remain on deck to a late hour; and though there was
not a cloud in the sky or a ripple on the water, they were surprised to
see great and sudden flashes of lightning shoot along the horizon on
all sides, and to perceive that the brig flew through the water with
great rapidity. Fourteen days having been spent in this manner, the
eastern coast of their adopted country was sighted: at first appearing
like a distant cloud, and as they approached nearer, ripening into
a gay bold shore, with forest-covered mountains in the distance, of
surpassing and bewildering beauty. Here again the wind became adverse
and blew with unpleasant freshness, and the captain, repeating his
former manoeuvre, stood out to sea, hoping to double Cape Raoul and
enter the Derwent on the following day. His calculations were correct.
At five o'clock on the evening of a lovely autumnal day the vessel cast
anchor in a smooth and elegant piece of water immediately in front of
the capital of Tasmania.

The river Derwent near the point where this capital stands widens
abruptly into a capacious bay, singularly picturesque and beautiful.
Its quiet shores are ornamented with green and yellow fields bearing
grass or corn. Surrounded by pleasant-looking hills, at the base of a
mountain four thousand feet high, and at the head of a peaceful and
secluded bay, stands Hobart Town or Hobarton, as we will in future take
the liberty of calling it, destined perhaps to occupy a prominent place
in the future history of the Southern Hemisphere.

The lovely and placid appearance of this infant city filled the mind
of the highly interested settlers with emotions of pride and pleasure.
The quiet hour of evening was well adapted to excite such feelings.
The great heat and withering smoke of summer had passed away, and the
influence of a mild autumn imparted a balmy coolness to the air. No
passing shadow marred the distinctness with which the outlines of hill,
tree, and cottage were apparent to the sight. Everything connected
with this village capital wore the appearance of rural tranquillity.
There was no hurrying to and fro of countless thousands, gasping for
breath--some, alas! for bread;--no streets choked up with hundreds
of heavy waggons; jostling and crushing one another for a passage;
the bay was clear, without the interminable forest of masts which the
surrounding hills may yet look down upon. The dangers of the sea, as
far as our friends were concerned, were now thrown into some cell of
memory's mine; those of the land, whatever they might be, were in no
hurry to obtrude themselves on Maxwell's imagination: and with a smile
he pressed the hands of his wife and children, and exclaimed--"At
length--at length we are at home."

On the following morning Maxwell landed, and procured the necessary
accommodation for his family and luggage. He lost no time in paying his
respects to the king's representative, Colonel Sorell, whom he found to
be a most amiable and intelligent gentleman. For about six weeks the
settler's time was taken up with visits to the Surveyor-General and
walks in the neighborhood of Hobarton in company with his sons. Shortly
after his landing he had made acquaintance with a Mr. Phillipson
Leary, who resided in the adjoining cottage: an Irish gentleman of
considerable talent and experience in the science of gossip. A man
of sense and sound discretion, in his own opinion was Mr. Phillipson
Leary, who, waiving all ideas of ceremony, would drop in in the
evenings and never think of taking himself away again until his own
private and peculiar time for doing so had arrived. On these occasions
Maxwell, who followed the general custom of the country, would place
on the table, or his wife for him, a decanter containing brandy, with
tumbler, sugar, and hot water, and Mr. Phillipson Leary would mix his
own grog or liquor, at which he was never known to turn up his nose. A
man of very extensive information was Mr. Phillipson Leary; and he was
just the man to prove to the satisfaction of all who were so fortunate
as to listen to him that he was a man of very extensive information.

"Mr. Maxwell," he would say, while sipping his or his host's brandy and
water, "you're a new hand--a new chum;--you're green, Sir, its green
as the highest gum-tree on the top of Mount Wellington, if you can
find one there: you require some one who knows something to guide your
little affairs for you. Now, here am I--Phillipson Leary--by good right
and title Esquire, not yet J.P., but expect to be gazetted soon--an old
colonist, and regular knowing stager. I know every milestone between
this and Launceston, have walked over the macadamised roads in the
interior till my feet were blistered up to the shins. I have been in
this country now going on sixteen years; I came out with Davey--with
Governor Davey, Sir--on the staff. Ah! those times will never come
again when Davey and I used to walk arm-in-arm through the streets, and
whenever we met a crowd of little boys and girls Davey would take off
his hat and make a horrible face, on seeing which they would scamper
off in all directions, when my dear friend and companion would turn to
me and say, 'By Jove, Leary, you and I are the fellows to make them
run.'"

Here Mr. Leary, overcome probably by such sacred reminiscences, would
sigh profoundly, drain off the contents of his first tumbler, and
deliberately mix for himself another jorum.

"What would I do if I was in your place? Why I would have my maximum
grant, if the Surveyor-General was the old boy himself. I would then,
with my unlocated order in my pocket, hire or buy a horse, and ride
over the whole country till I came to a run, not previously occupied,
of course, well watered, well grassed, not too light in timber (for
you'll want firewood), and not too near a mountain, where there may
be lurking-holes and corners for bushrangers and natives. As soon as
I found a convenient spot I would pitch my tent and build a cottage
for the family before I took them into the bush. I would then buy a
few sheep and cows, send for the wife and children, set me down under
my own vine and fig-tree, and not care one a single fig which way the
bottle went."

Maxwell was, or could be, one of your a silent men, and only nodded in
reply to Mr. Leary, who thus encouraged, would continue in a strain
like the following:--

"You see, Sir, I am one of those individuals, however few and far
between they may be, who make it their business to be serviceable to
their friends. As my highly-respected friend and companion, Colonel
Davey, used to say, 'Leary, whenever I want to advance a man I put him
under your wing--you're the boy, my fine fellow, to make him stand on
his own legs.' I could point out hundreds, Sir, whom I have helped to
make men of by my counsel and assistance; rich men they are, too--some
of them rolling in their chariots and what not, swaggering from side
to side as if unable to bear the weight of their magisterial brains.
And scarcely one of these men would condescend to know me now if they
met me in the street. Such is life, and such is human nature. Every
tub stands best on its own bottom, but it is not every tub that will
stand on any bottom at all without the aid of a cooper. So, as I said
before, I'm just the man to put you on your legs, Sir. I can tell you
the length and breadth of everything in this beautiful island--from
how many nails it will take you to build a pig-sty, up to the number
of feet of timber requisite for a mansion eighty feet by forty-five. I
can tell you the number of settlers, new hands and old hands and all
about them, who live between St. Patrick's Head* and Molly York's Night
Cap+. In fact my friend and companion, Davey, used to sum me up in one
word--'Leary,' he used to say, 'you're a perambulating cyclopædia,
you're a valuable man, you're the prince of trumps and the emperor of
bricks.'"


[* A conspicuous peak on the eastern coast.]

[+ A prominent rock on the Western Tier, so called after Mrs. Yorke, the
wife of a settler in the immediate neighborhood, who died lately at
Hobarton in the hundredth year of her age.]


After delivering himself of a peroration like the above, Mr. Leary
would rise slowly from his chair, adjust his cravat, and button his
coat with the air of a man who thought himself too important to be
lost to the world on account of a trife, bid his fortunate friends
good-night, and retire to his own domicile, which had been left in
the care of Mrs. Leary, a lady of various polite attainments, who,
with her daughter, Miss Arabella Thomasina Leary, mourned in secret
over the wayward caprices of her gossiping husband. His visits were
too frequent, and his honied phrases too highly colored when speaking
of himself, not to excite Mrs. Maxwell's suspicions, and she warmly
expostulated with her husband on account of the encouragement he was
disposed to give his visitor.

"My dear Elizabeth," replied Maxwell, "the man must be respected since
he has been Governor Davey's Private Secretary."

"More likely, Bernard," answered his penetrating better half, "he was
the person who brushed Governor Davey's boots."

Such was the society which, in a measure, forced itself upon the simple
and unwary settlers in the early days of our island colonization;
but these matters are better managed now. In the meantime Maxwell,
stirred up by an occasional word from his wife, continued his visits
to the Surveyor-General until he was at length successful in procuring
an unlocated order for two thousand five hundred and sixty acres of
land; being the largest grant then obtainable by any party not under
the peculiar favor of the Home Government. The officer at the head
of this important department was a well-bred man, and he gave our
settler all the information he could conveniently respecting the
selection of his estate. The charts of the office were freely submitted
to his inspection, his numerous questions politely answered by the
Surveyor-General or his gentlemanly subordinate, and a letter of
introduction to a district surveyor residing on the banks of the South
Esk was written by the former and placed in his hand.

"I advise you, Sir," said the official, "to proceed immediately to the
residence of the gentleman to whom this letter is addressed; there is a
great deal of unoccupied land in his neighborhood. He will be glad to
give you a shake-down, and you may be able to make a selection suitable
to your views."

Maxwell thanked this gentleman, and withdrew.

His next want was a steed capable of carrying him over the rough,
unmade roads of the country, which they really were, notwithstanding
Mr. Phillipson Leary's broad assertion, and to whom should he
communicate his want but to that worthy gentleman himself. "As I live
by mixtures of beef, bread, and potatoes," said Mr. Leary--and he
should have added "brandy"--"I know of a nag that will just do as if
he had been created on purpose. He belongs to a most particular friend
of mine, who wishes to part with him, not having any further occasion
for his services. He is a good roadster, and will beat any horse that
I know in trotting. I know his pedigree--sire Matchimnot, dam Polly
Pluck. You never saw a better beast."

"Where is he to be seen?" asked Maxwell.

"Come with me, Sir, and I will introduce you to my friend."

We will not inflict upon our readers the long-winded speech of
Mr. Leary on the merits of this non-such of a horse, while he led
Maxwell up one street and down another, until, stopping before a low
weather-boarded hut, and inquiring if Mr. Sprigg was at home, that
individual himself came forth. The ceremony of introduction took place.
Mr. Sprigg was a pale-faced man, about five feet high, and a shock head
of black hair that had not been combed for six months. On being made
acquainted with the object of the present visit he led the way into a
small and dirty yard, in one corner of which stood a slab-hut, with the
slabs three inches apart, and roofed with two or three sheets of bark.
Into this miserable hole Mr. Sprigg invited his visitors to walk, and
there they behold the modern Bucephalus.

"He's rather high in bone just now," said Sprigg, "through the
confinement and want of work; only give 'im plenty of exercise and
it'll do your 'eart good to see 'ow 'e'll thrive--if you want a 'oss
for mettle and bottom, 'e's just the hanimal."

"Bring him out, if you please," said Maxwell.

"Aye, bring him out, Sprigg," said Mr. Leary.

Sprigg brought him out, saying--"Come out, Skinbone, my find feller, if
I only 'ad time to run you up and down town a bit, you'd sell well; Mr.
Leary, it 'ud do your eyes good for to see 'im go--wouldn't it, Sir?"

Mr. Leary nodded.

"He has a good name," said Maxwell. "Skinbone!--I see nothing but skin
and bone, he is blind, too, of the off eye, and his fetlocks are as big
as pumpkins."

"It 'll all go off, Sir," said Sprigg, "it's all through the want of
the work. That 'oss cost me fifty pound if he cost a shillin'. I'll
let you 'ave 'im now for fifteen, as 'osses is low and keep is 'igh. I
might as well give 'im away for nothin' at all--a 'oss like 'im, sound
wind and limb, quite up to your weight, Sir, standin' sixteen 'ands and
only six off."

"Take him back," said Maxwell, "he won't suit. Mr. Leary, I wish you
good day."

"Where are you off to so fast?" said that gentleman--"stay a bit,
Mr.----I always forget his confounded name--I'm going your way;" but
Maxwell continued his rapid pace, something over and above a regular
quick march, and was soon out of sight.

Incidents like this might occur in any country, but in a new colony
like Tasmania, with a heterogeneous population, they were more common
than pleasant. Our settler next bent his steps to a respectable person,
the keeper of livery stables in their infancy, and made known his
equine requirement. He was offered his choice of three or four good
stout hacks, and selected one at the price of forty guineas, desiring
the stable-keeper to have him fully equipped for the journey early on
the following morning. After despatching other pressing business to his
satisfaction he returned home at a late hour, and there to his infinite
surprise he found, seated in his usual make-himself-at-home corner, Mr.
Phillipson Leary.

"Purchased a horse, Sir?" said he, when Maxwell entered; "I'm glad to
hear it. I believe I mentioned Mr.----(naming the stable keeper) to
you some time ago. I really was not aware that Sprigg would have had
his horse in such low condition. He has used me rather unfairly, has
Sprigg. I have done him many a good turn, I have. When that man, some
years ago, incurred the displeasure of my friend and companion Davey,
for some slight eccentricity of behaviour, I took him by the hand and
carried him through it as if he had been my own brother; and Davey on
that occasion paid me the well-deserved compliment of saying, 'Leary,
there is only one man in the island whose advice I am always satisfied
to take on every pinch, and that man is yourself.'"

"What on earth shall I do with this insufferable nuisance?" said
Maxwell, aside to his wife; "I have a great mind to turn him out of the
house this moment."

"Be quiet, Bernard," advised that good lady; "don't be violent, or
you may make an enemy. Let him talk, but don't put any spirits on the
table."

The effect of this advice was soon apparent. Mr. Leary, after various
coughs and hems, gathered himself up and took his departure long before
his usual time for doing so had arrived; and our adventurers were left
to themselves, to enjoy a few quiet hours of the most approved social
intercourse.




CHAPTER VII.--THE SETTLER'S FIRST JOURNEY INTO THE BUSH.

THE joy of Maxwell when he found himself entitled by an order of
Government to a large landed estate may be understood by those who,
having passed through many years and stages of up-hill life, can
imagine themselves placed in a similar position. His wife shared in
his rejoicing, but did not forget to remind him that he had many
toils, perhaps dangers, to encounter and privations to endure before
he could sit down in peace, or see himself in the midst of plenty. As
for Griselda and her brothers, they were delighted at the prospect
of a country life, and talked incessantly of charming walks through
beautiful forests and gay rambles over their own sunny hills. Indulging
in such dreams of the future, perfectly harmless in themselves and
pleasant if though they might not be fully realized, the evening
passed away, and the morning came which was to witness Maxwell's
departure on his long journey. Having bidden adieu to his wife and
family, he set forth in high spirits, commending them and himself, as
he was accustomed to do on all occasions, to the care of an all-seeing
Providence.

He quitted Hobarton at a slow pace, casting many a lingering look
behind until he could see the town no more, and then boldly moving on
at a trot, straining his eyes in every direction in search of objects
worth attention. He saw none, however, except the smiling farm-houses
here and there, the distant hills clothed to the tops with trees of
light and dark green foliage, and the smooth waters of the Derwent
which flowed tranquilly along to the right of his path. Crossing this
river at Roseneath, not by a bridge but by means of a large ferry-boat,
he left it directly behind him and emerged into the open bush, without
any other guide than the track on which he travelled. Attempts were
being made to mark out the road, and repair the worst portions, by
parties of prisoners, whom Maxwell passed while at work; the sight of
their careworn features and the sound of their chains of bondage making
him start with an involuntary shudder, and filling his mind with gloomy
reflections upon the low state of degradation to which it is possible
human nature may fall. He rode rapidly past these revolting objects,
and arriving at a town or village called by some imaginative person
Bagdad, stopped at an inn in order to refresh himself and his horse.

After having partaken amply of a lunch which deserved the justice done
to it, our traveller walked out to pass away an hour, thinking it as
well to give his horse a little time to rest. He bent his steps along
a by-path leading towards a cottage, the external aspect of which said
a great deal in favor of the taste and industry of its occupant. The
small verandah was adorned with thick clusters of Macquarie Harbor
vine, and a little garden in front seemed to be set apart for the
cultivation of flowers only. Around this garden there were two or
three paddocks of various sizes on which the stubble stood thick and
fresh, while a couple of neatly built stacks of wheat and hay had, in
Maxwell's eyes, an appearance of agricultural comfort such as he had
seldom seen. As he continued his walk he discovered a middle-aged man
busily digging potatoes near the pathway, who, lifting himself up as
the traveller approached, civilly touched his hat, and said--"A fine
day Sir, glory be to a God!"

"Yes," said Maxwell, "it is beautiful weather. You are living in a
productive country, judging by the size of your potatoes."

"Why, pretty fair for that, Sir," replied the farmer, "I am thankful to
say that I want for nothing. My crops are generally good, and when they
are not I take them as they come without grumbling."

"You are quite right to do so," said Maxwell; "is this land all your
own, then?"

"Yes, Sir, five hundred acres all here, which nobody can deprive me of,
and more content am I with what I can call my own than every ten out of
twelve of the gentry who own their thousands of acres, and who think of
nothing day and night but planning and scheming how they can get more."

"And that cottage is, I presume, where you reside?"

"Yes, Sir; maybe you'd like to walk up and take a cup of tea?"

"No, thank you," said Maxwell, "I have just had lunch,--but if the
interior looks as well as the outside, you must be pretty comfortable."

"Just walk up and look at it, Sir; I'm tired of work, and I'm not the
man I used to be when I handled my cutlass on board the old Victory,
and witnessed Nelson's death. Time pulls down the strongest of us."

"I am fortunate in falling in with one of the heroes of Trafalgar,"
said Maxwell.

"And a very humble one he is, Sir. To judge from your appearance you
don't know much about our country?"

"No, I have only been in it about six weeks."

"I thought as much: coming to settle or only travelling for pleasure?"

"I am come to settle, and do as you have done--make myself comfortable
on my own estate."

"I'm glad of it; Sir," said the farmer, who seemed to be a man of sense
as well as experience in his present pacific profession. "We want a few
gentlemen like yourself to settle amongst us. It is a fine country for
the settler, the climate is healthy, the land pretty good though there
is a good deal of bad, and the chances are that you will succeed and
grow rich; but there is one thing necessary for the success of any man
in this country--I might say in any country, but especially this."

"And what may that be? Industry, I suppose," said Maxwell.

"Why, that is necessary, certainly, and good judgment too, towards
getting on in life; but the thing I mean is sobriety. The courage to
keep away from sense-robbing and death-dealing tap-rooms; they have
been the ruin of hundreds, and they will be the ruin of thousands."

"You are right," said Maxwell, "some of them would be indeed a disgrace
to a Pagan community, and what shall we say of them in a civilized and
Christian nation?"

By this time they had entered the cottage, and, the farmer drawing
a chair from beside the wall requested his visitor to sit down. A
well-looking woman in the prime of life rose up as they came in; she
had been knitting but stopped her work and curtsied respectfully to the
stranger.

"My wife, Sir," said the farmer, "is always busy amongst the cows,
pigs, or children." Just then a row of happy and healthy faces
appeared at a door leading into another apartment, and the farmer
continued,--"run away my children and play, shut the door, for I am
tired." And the children ran away.

The traveller's eye glanced round the room: it was furnished in
a comfortable manner, although Tasmania being then in a somewhat
uncivilized condition, many of the appliances of an English house of
a similar character were wanting. It was carefully white-washed, and
a few interesting pictures hung upon the walls. But a portrait of a
female over the mantle-shelf attracted Maxwell's attention forcibly,
and he rose from his seat and went to look at it more closely. It
was of small size but bore the stamp of a high order of talent in
the execution. The features it displayed were fair and sweet to look
upon, the rich dark hair brushed back from the high forehead after the
fashion of the latter part of the eighteenth century, the elegantly
formed nose, the delicately tinted cheeks, and the rosy lips round
which an almost divine smile played, filled the beholder with emotions
of strong interest. He was about to ask the proprietor of the cottage
who the original of this portrait was, when the wife said somewhat
hastily--

"Will not the gentleman take anything, Thomas?"

"Do let my wife make you a cup of tea, Sir," said the farmer.

"No thank you," replied Maxwell, resuming his seat; "but I will take a
glass of milk if you have any, but if not----"

"We have plenty, Sir," said the mistress of the house, leaving the room.

"May I ask if the young lady whom that portrait represents is or was a
relation of yours?" said Maxwell to the farmer.

The handsome but weather-beaten face of the latter became flushed for
an instant, and he replied--"No, Sir, not a relation, but a very dear
friend."

The wife re-entered the room, bearing a jug of milk, a tumbler, and a
plate of small cakes.

"How far do you intend to travel to-day, Sir? if I may make so bold,"
said the farmer.

"Why, perhaps about twenty miles farther on towards Campbell Town, at
which place I intend to turn in the direction of Fingal."

"Then you'll sleep at Spring Hill to-night, Sir."

"I hope there is nothing objectionable in that locality," said Maxwell.

"Oh no, Sir, not that I know of; but Oatlands is the best place to
stop at, only it is rather too far for the horse. The townships are
the safest; but there is not much danger now--we are pretty free from
bushrangers at present, and the natives only give a little trouble now
and then."

"You are certainly very comfortable here," said Maxwell, with another
glance at the attractive portrait.

"I built this cottage myself, Sir," said the farmer, "with the help of
another man, but the comfort of it is all owing to my good wife there."

"Indeed, Thomas," said the dame, "how do you think I could manage
without your help?"

Maxwell looked at his watch, it was three o'clock. He rose in haste and
bowing to the mistress of the house took his departure, accompanied
down to the road by the honest farmer.

"The next time you pass this way, Sir," said he, "don't go to the inn
yonder, but come up here; you will find a hearty welcome, and your
horse plenty of the best; and if your family--you have a family I
suppose?"

"Yes, and as soon as I get settled they will be coming up this way."

"Then, Sir, tell them to come here and rest themselves as long as they
like; good-by, and God speed you. Remember my name, Thomas White--I
never disgraced it; and yours, Sir, is----?"

"Bernard Maxwell; good-by." So saying he shook the kind farmer's hand
cordially, returned to the inn, called for his horse, and resumed his
journey.

Travelling onward over a hill dignified by the name of Constitution,
the settler not altogether insensible to the dangers of the bush,
entered a wide and fertile valley, the name of which he was told by
a pedestrian was the Cross Marsh, and the village at the foot of the
hill Green Ponds. He greatly admired this pretty vale for its natural
beauty, extent, and perceptible fertility. The evening advanced apace
as he commenced to ascend Spring Hill, on the southern side of which
a respectable hotel had been built, though the inviting stone house
which stands there now was not then erected. He felt in common with
most travellers a feeling of satisfaction as the hour of rest drew
nigh. At such a time an inn, making any pretensions to respectability
or comfort, is a welcome sight. Your horse, if he be not utterly
stupefied and dead to the pleasures of the world, pricks up his ears
and accelerates his pace; the ostler runs and touches his cap while he
seizes your bridle, and the bustling landlord smiles paternally as you
cross his threshold. In the present case mine host of Spring Hill, as
soon as the traveller alighted, broke out into a torrent of words of
welcome and recognition.

"How do you do, Sir?" he exclaimed, "I am so glad to see you; how
greatly improved you are since I last had the pleasure--was sure it was
you when I saw you coming up the hill--and how is Mrs. Thompson and the
family? Glad to hear she has had an addition. I hope she is very well,
and your father, Sir, how is the benevolent old gentleman?"

"You are under a mistake," said Maxwell smiling, "my name is not
Thompson."

"What!" said the innkeeper, with an air of utter astonishment, "not
Rowland Thompson of Glen Pickimup; do my eyes deceive me? And yet the
resemblance is most remarkable. But walk in, Sir, I beg your pardon for
the mistake."

"No offence whatever," said Maxwell, entering a well furnished
apartment.

"From Hobarton, Sir?" asked the innkeeper.

"Yes, started this morning."

"And how are our friends in that locality?"

"Pretty well, I believe, I am not aware of any particular case of
illness among them."

"From England lately, Sir?" pursued the inquisitive host.

"From Ireland."

"O, indeed! bless me, yes; exactly, exactly. And how is poor old
Ireland getting on. Mr.---- I did not catch your name, Sir."

"No wonder--I have not mentioned it; my name is Maxwell."

"The Maxwells of Kildare, the most sporting family on the Carragh?"

"No, from Dublin."

"Ah, yes, exactly; I know a great many of that name in Ireland. I'm an
Irishman, too, Sir; was born close to the Giant's Causeway--that's the
reason, people say, why I have a big soul. I love old Ireland--I wish I
was back there again. But it is not a very quiet place for a peaceable
man to live in."

"Well, with the exception of a fierce display of party-spirit, and the
payment of rents with leaden bullets occasionally, I always found it a
very quiet place," said the traveller.

"Yes, certainly, exactly," said the host; "though I'm an Irishman I'm
a good British subject for all that. I'm bound to England by the most
extraordinary ties of gratitude--there is no rebel blood in me, Sir.
I have served in the British army man and boy for forty years; and by
individual merit was promoted to the exalted rank of Sergeant-Major in
the royal regiment of Flying Bearskins, in which capacity I had the
honor to be present when Wellington gained his great victory over that
prince of human tigers, Bonaparte; and a good job it was for the world
that he did gain it."

"Yes it was," replied the guest, "and I am glad to meet with one
of England's brave soldiers in this far country. I take it as an
auspicious omen that I have become acquainted with a hero of Trafalgar
and Waterloo in Tasmania on the same day."

"A hero of Trafalgar! Who is that, Sir?"

"Mr. Thomas White, of Bagdad."

"Yes, exactly, a very respectable man."

"I would like a cup of tea, Mr.----, I have not the pleasure of knowing
your name."

"Yes--certainly--by all means--I beg your pardon; here John--Catharine,
get tea here for this gentleman directly. My name, Sir, is Augstus
Flynn--excuse me, I'll stir them up a little."

"Try a chop, Sir," said the waiter; "we have some nice 'am, Sir, spiced
round of beef, and pork pie, Sir."

"I will try a chop and a little ham, if you please," said Maxwell.

"Chop and 'am, Sir?---yes, Sir," and the waiter vanished.

The tea was laid by a buxom wench, and our hero for the nonce (we
are weary of repeating the name of Maxwell) fell to with vigorous
appetite, making Mr. Flynn's viands disappear with a promptitude that
spoke volumes for the salubrious climate of Tasmania. His repast being
concluded, he went to see his horse bedded down, and spent the evening
in reading a book he had brought from home with him. His loquacious
host did not come near him again that night. On the following morning,
remembering Colonel Arnott's advice, he took care to lay in a good
breakfast, and bidding his host good day, started for Campbell Town.

Travelling now over rough stony tracks, now through sandy hollows,
dusty and disagreeable, our hero passed through Oatlands--now a
respectable town, but then a poor assemblage of miserable huts. On his
left he saw, stretching out at a great distance towards the north, the
picturesque western mountains, covered with dense and dark forests.
Proceeding through an amphitheatre of hills called St. Peter's Pass,
he found himself on an extensive plain, where the luxuriant food for
sheep and cattle was burnt up to a yellow color by the hot sun of a
Tasmanian summer, succeeded by a sultry autumn. Nearly in the centre
of this plain there stood a house or large hut, built of wood, with a
board nailed up near the door on which was painted in large letters,
"The Angel Inn, by Peter Muff. Good entertainment for man and beast."
Into the house of Peter Muff Maxwell insinuated himself, having
previously given his steed into the charge of a curious nondescript of
an ostler dressed in nothing but a shirt and pair of greasy breaches.
The traveller saw no one as he entered, but he heard voices in a room
on his right, the door of which was shut. On his thumping upon it
pretty loudly with his whip handle it was opened, and the rough head of
a bloated man, with a shapeless face, something like the color of raw
beef, appeared at the opening, which emitted a foul concoction of the
fumes of stale beer, rum, and tobacco smoke, accompanied by a torrent
of oaths, curses, and foul language too horrible even for a decent
goose-quill to record. This man was Peter Muff; and the projectors
of the oaths and foul language were harvest men, spending their hard
earnings for the exclusive benefit of that respectable individual.

"Can I have lunch?" said Maxwell.

"Lunch!" growled the raw-beef-faced innkeeper, "yes--go into next
room--'tend to you directly."

His speech was thick, and his tone rough. "Poor man," said Maxwell to
himself as he entered the room pointed out, "he is far gone; it would
be casting pearls before a pig to speak to him; and yet I must speak to
him; he has got a young girl there, his daughter I dare say, listening
to all that vile language. What an atmosphere for a young female to
breathe!"

The girl he had seen in the bar entered the room with a cloth, which
she spread on the table. Maxwell asked her if she was the daughter
of the landlord, and she replied in the affirmative. The lunch was
brought, consisting of the remains of a cold boiled leg of mutton, half
a loaf of stale bread, a piece of suspicious-looking butter, and an
atom of mouldy cheese.

"What will you please to drink, Sir?" said the girl.

"Water, pure water, if you have any."

"Yes, Sir."

The lunch finished, Maxwell rang a small bell that had been placed on
the table, and the girl appeared.

"Tell your father I'm going."

Mr. Muff presented himself. "Four shillin'," he stammered; "two
shillin' lunch, two shillin' horse. No holy, dollar, but a whole un." *


[* The holy-dollar, as it was called, is now obsolete. It was a silver
ring, valued at three shillings and threepence, if I recollect rightly.
The portion cut out of the centre was called a dump.]


"What do you mean?" asked the traveller.

"Only four shillin,'--split me if it ain't cheap; would have charged
six last month."

"Here is your money. That young girl is your daughter, I believe?"

"Yes she's my darter--you'll be a teetotall'r, or preacher I s'pect?"

"No, neither the one nor the other; what makes you think so?"

"'Cause I hates teetotall'rs, the sight on 'em turns my stomick; and
as for preachers, I can't a-bear 'em, whenever they comes here, they
allers enquires arter my darters."

"Do they ever advise you to keep your daughters away from the bar,
where so much profane language is used?"

"Yes, they has adwised that ere, but I allers tells 'em to go and mind
their own beggarly business."

Our hero once more resumed his journey, having had quite enough of the
Angel Inn by Peter Muff. His reflections were dismal, but by recording
them here we would only swell our simple story to no purpose. He now
moved steadily on through the town of Ross, where a gang of prisoners
were employed in building a substantial bridge across the river
Macquarie, and without stopping on the way, arrived at Campbell Town
just as the sun was going down.

The beauty of the country through which he had passed since leaving
the Angel Inn, served to restore him to his wonted gaiety of spirits.
He found accommodation in a respectable hotel, and after quenching his
thirst with a few cups of tea, commenced writing a letter to his wife,
thinking it prudent not to neglect an opportunity of sending one by
post, which might not soon occur again. He described the scenery of the
country, related his adventures at Bagdad, Spring Hill, and the Angel
Inn; and concluded by giving Mrs. Maxwell some advice with respect
to the journey which he supposed she would soon have to undertake,
telling her not to forget calling on Mrs. White, not to be afraid of
any respectable house, such as the one at Spring Hill, and to avoid, if
possible, entering the Angel Inn, even as if the sign-board conveyed
the information that it was the residence of the Evil Spirit.

In the morning, having received directions from a civil landlord, he
turned off to the right, towards the upper valley of the South Esk. A
genial shower of rain had fallen during the night, which had the effect
of clearing and cooling the atmosphere, and boldly and beautifully the
distant, lofty crags of Ben Lomond appeared towering against the bright
blue sky. The philosophic mind of the traveller was charmed with this
prospect which reminded him greatly of the mountains in Wicklow, though
the absence of the emerald hues of his native fields deprived the scene
of half its beauty. Still it appeared a land of promise, smiling like a
fair and rich garden. The hills on either side were covered with trees,
whose dark foliage lay upon them like a sombre mantle. The level tracts
displayed a thick coating of grass, dotted with hundreds of sheep and
scores of cattle, and likewise ornamented with countless gum-trees,
and wattles or acacias of various species and sizes. Here and there
a belt of dense honeysuckles impeded the view of the distant plains,
and the road occasionally led him over banks of deep sand on which
tall ferns grew luxuriantly. At length, as it seemed, to compensate
the expectant settler for his fatigues and troubles, the river--the
giant river of his dreams, but now dwindled to a dwarf, though by no
means a contemptible one--appeared, peacefully flowing between the
wooded hills. It was, however, no less welcome than if it realised the
splendid picture its name had presented to his imagination. He was on
the banks of the South Esk; that fact was enough. He alighted from his
saddle, led his horse down the steep bank, and both drank deeply of the
cool and excellent water.

Had Maxwell been a poet he would then and there have fished out his
pocket-book and pencil, and indited an ode or sonnet, or some other
effusion under one of the many phases of poetical nomenclature, in
honor of the welcome river; but as his talents did not lie in that
direction, he merely sat down on the bank, and allowing his hungry
horse to crop the herbage which thickly carpeted the river's bank, fell
into a reverie of melancholy thoughts. Did he think of the pleasant
landscapes which had a thousand times surfeited his eager eyes in the
fair and far land of his birth? or of the friends who would gladly
have flown to comfort him if they could see him thus weary and alone?
Or did he picture to himself a home of happiness, love, and plenty,
perhaps on the banks of this dark Tasmanian stream, where no more the
curse of cankering dare or the bitterness of blighted hopes might
cross his path? If he did it was but a vain dream. It is doubtless the
unfortunate lot to which man was born to meet with cankering care, and
perhaps to pursue the shadows and realities of life with a withered
heart, even though he attain the highest pinnacle of human ambition.

After allowing an hour to slip by, Maxwell resumed his journey. A
pleasant ride of about twelve miles, during which his attention was
principally directed to the grand mountain scenery on the opposite side
of the river, brought him to the small village of Avoca, comprising in
those days a solitary inn and a curious knot of little buildings in
which were included a watch-house, a police-office, and the quarters
of a military guard. This village is situated in a beautiful pastoral
district, at the junction of two rivers, the South Esk and the St.
Paul's. Here Maxwell thought proper to rest his weary steed, and,
by making a few enquiries, add something to his slender stock of
information. He entered the inn, not unlike other inns of the period,
a weather-boarded cottage with one room in the front set apart for
genteel travellers, another occupied by the family, and a skilling at
the back which answered the purposes of bar and taproom. The traveller
called for some refreshment, which was supplied by the landlady--there
did not appear to be any landlord--and requested to be informed if that
bustling dame, a good-looking, fat, middle-aged woman, was acquainted
with a Mr. Johnson Juniper, district surveyor, residing in those parts.

"Of course," said the landlady, whose name was Mrs. Trapfarthing, and
whose dialect smacked strangely of cunning Yorkshire, "I know Mr.
Juniper; everybody this side of Cammeltoon knows Mr. Juniper, and a
very good sober-loike gentleman he is, too. Be you going up to him,
sir?"

"Yes, I am going to see him; do you think I can reach his place
to-night?"

"That depends," said the landlady, "upon yourself, whether or no you
be clever enough to find it, Sir; it's a sore puzzle sometimes to
some folk. It is nine or ten good mile away from here, some folk says
more, and that by no means the best of good roads neither. If John
Trapfarthing was alive, honest man, he would no doubt attend you as far
as the first turn or the loike, but I'll tell Jems, if you're bent on
going the track to-night, to put you on the shortest way."

"Thank you, I shall be much obliged to you," said Maxwell.

He soon started in company with "Jems," an urchin about nine years old,
and proceeded in an easterly direction along a level track bounded on
both sides by dark frowning chains of high hills so thickly covered
with forest that a few isolated patches of bare rock could only be seen
here and there. On his right lay a peculiar hill called St. Paul's
Dome, of considerable extent and elevation, flanked by other large
hills, though not equally conspicuous; and on the left the South Esk
flowed silently, its opposite bank consisting of tiers of rock and
forest, to all appearance inaccessible to the footsteps of men.* His
guide told him that Mr. Juniper's farm lay amongst those hills on the
other side of the river. The idea of a road over them struck him with
dread. Indeed the roads of the colony were then in a state of nature's
own disposing, and many of them are so still. The slow hand of man
had scarcely begun to disturb the primitive excellence of the public
ways. In winter many an astonished settler observed with dismay that
on ground upon which he himself could walk without inconvenience, his
horse and his bullocks would sink and flounder up to their bellies in
tenacious mud, while his loaded waggon, if he had one, was gradually
disappearing into regions unknown. His case was much the same if he
attempted to cross a marsh or lagoon. In summer, however, things were
not generally so bad. Then, indeed, the poor toiling animals are
frequently half-choked with dust, dying of thirst, and ready to drop
with heat and fatigue. Coming to a stony hill the wanderer in search
of a home in the wilderness may follow with anxious eyes his lumbering
dray containing, his little all in bedding, chairs, tables, kettles,
and frying-pans: his wife and children are seated on the top, but
these, unless he wants them killed, he will peremptorily order to come
down. Fearfully the wheels crash from rock to rock as the panting team
reach the top where there is a dangerous sideling. Here the driver
must be careful; but it may happen that in spite of all his care the
pole bullocks swerve and the dray suddenly reels over, dragging the
terrified cattle down into the abyss, dashing the tables, pots, and
kettles into fragments; and continuing its course with the gravity of a
snowball, but with more noise than a Chinese band, to the lowest depth
of the gully.


[* Those who have enjoyed the hospitality of Simeon Lord, Esq., will
not readily forget the rugged scenery around his romantic residence.]


His brain was busy with reflections like these when his guide
paused--"Well, my lad," said he, "what road am I to take?"

"The one yer on sure," said the boy with a half grin.

"Yes, but when it divides into two?"

"Left hand," replied the urchin; "down fornint the river, crass Black
Sail's Mash, over the foord, then crass Tinpot Mash be a hape o'
stones in haner of ould Tom Kelly that was kilt be the blacks, over
Skittle-ball Hill an' down into Murderers' Gully, where Nat Flanagan's
brains was knocked out be the wheel of his bullock dray; an' where if
you meet any one enquire for the next turn."

"Why you impudent young scamp," said Maxwell, wrathfully, "you are
making a fool of me all this time."

"No I ain't, Sir; I'm telling you true. If you take the right hand turn
you'll get down to the say, or maybe get lost on St. Paul's Tiers; but
everybody doesn't know Murderers' Gully or Black Sall's Mash."

"Go home, Sir," said Maxwell, "with your mash and your gully and your
Skittle-ball Hill; if I find out you have been telling me lies I'll
make you repent it. Be off with you this instant; I shall find out the
truth when I see Mr. Juniper."

The astounded youth who expected at least a shilling for his trouble
returned home in a sulky mood, repeating to himself as he went--"Make a
fool of you, is it? that's done already; there was one great blunderin'
fool come into the world the day you was born."

Maxwell proceeded on his way with a heavy heart. He was not disposed
to return to Avoca, and was fearful lest he might lose the track to
Juniper's house and be compelled to pass the night in the wild forest.
For a considerable distance the road was distinct enough, but soon he
came to a large level grassy tract where it became obscure. Here he
turned towards the river hoping to find the ford and reach his destined
resting place before night. The sun had disappeared behind the distant
mountains, and he knew that the short twilight would scarcely last him
an hour. The track which he still endeavored to follow had become more
indistinct, until at length to his dismay he lost it altogether; and
tortured by anxiety he pushed his way through the thick belts of young
acacias and other adjuncts of the primeval wood and sought the river's
bank.

Still buoyed up by hope, he followed the river upward as long as
daylight lasted, and even when he could not see it in the dark he
followed it by the gurgling sound of the flowing water; but no ford
could he find. The darkness increased, and still he wandered on through
the tangled scrub, away from the river, amongst the huge gum and
peppermint trees, which, both alive and dead, stood, having breasted
the storms of ages, and holding their arms like gigantic skeletons
high in the air. Far away into the depths of an unknown forest, which
had scarcely yet heard the sound of the pioneer's axe, surrounded on
all aides by an awful solitude, the forlorn traveller kept on his
way. His mind became full of the most gloomy apprehensions; strange
birds, startled by the appearance of such an unusual visitor, swept
through the thick foliage, and filled the air with unearthly screams;
strange beasts, whose nature it was to shun the light of day, stalked
amongst the underwood on their nightly prowl, but seeing the unwelcome
apparition, fled away in terror. The wood became thicker and darker.
The twigs of the stunted bushes that grew thickly amongst the great
trees were now more closely intermixed, so as nearly to terminate
the farther progress of the traveller. Checking his weary horse, he
descended from his saddle, threw the bridle reins on the ground, seated
himself on a fallen tree, and burying his face in his hands, resigned
himself to the pangs of temporary despair.




CHAPTER VIII.--A NIGHT IN A TASMANIAN WOOD.

OVERCOME by the painful sense of his situation, Maxwell sat for some
time without making the slightest movement. The branches of the trees
shook above his head as the wind now and again in gentle gusts stirred
the dry leaves, but he heeded nothing, so absorbed was he in his dismal
thoughts. At length, arousing himself, he stood up, threw his hands
above his head, and exclaimed in accents of wild terror, "Good Heavens!
am I to perish here in this wilderness, far away from home and kindred?
O my dear wife! my sweet children! would that I were near you once
more! What demon of destruction has brought me to this place?"

Sitting down again on the log, his thoughts gradually became more calm.
He reflected that even if compelled to stay all night in the forest,
his situation was not so very bad. It did not rain, and he was neither
hungry nor thirsty. The cold of the night was not disagreeable after
the heat of the day. He did not feel very tired in body; but the agony
of his mind was far greater than it would have been if he possessed
a little knowledge of the country. The consciousness of his utter
ignorance of the locality in which he found himself--of the direction
in which he ought to proceed--of the mysteries of the dark woods,
before, behind, and on either side of him--embittered his thoughts and
almost deprived him of reason.

He started up and seized his horse's bridle, saying to himself, "I
will try at all risks to find my way out of this." Suiting the action
to the word, he endeavored to retrace his steps, leading his horse
over the logs and sticks, over which he had many a painful scramble.
But notwithstanding all his distresses, after he had groped his way
for some time, it was some consolation to him to discover that he was
slowly emerging from the thickest part of the forest. He felt, too,
beneath his feet, the grass lying thicker and softer, for hitherto and
for a long time he had trodden upon nothing but dry sticks and gravel.
Again he sat down on a fallen tree to rest and to reflect. The exertion
he had gone through he found to be of great service to his mind; and
he had some thoughts of lying down on the grass and resigning himself
to his fate until the welcome daylight should appear. But again the
powerful workings of a sleepless and energetic mind disturbed him,
and up he rose once more to renewed exertion and active thought. His
mental desperation had gradually cooled down. He whispered to himself
frequently the single word "patience," in the hope that as that virtue
coupled with perseverance is said to conquer all things, it might lead
him to some haven of rest. And his hope was not a vain one. Afar off
in the gloomy recesses of the black wilderness he was astonished and
delighted to behold a glimmering light, swelling, as he gazed, into the
glare of a newly fed fire.

His joy at this sight was somewhat damped when the thought struck him
that the fire might possibly have been kindled by hostile natives or
armed outlaws, said to be determined enemies to all well-disposed
and respectable people. Under the circumstances of the case it was
necessary to approach with great caution, lest if suddenly alarmed,
the watchers, whoever they might be, might on the first surprise
make use of some deadly weapon with fatal effect. Maxwell slowly and
quietly came near enough to distinguish a solitary human being seated
in front of the blazing fire, and gazing steadily on the rising flame.
His face was wild and haggard, and would have appeared pale but for
the yellow hue diffused over it by the glow of the fire. His dress
consisted of a small dirty straw hat, moleskin jacket with velveteen
sleeves, and trousers to correspond, not differing in those particulars
from the working men of the period. His hair was long and black, and
hung in clusters around his thin face, part of which was concealed
by a rough beard. Fearful of disturbing this strange being, Maxwell
approached near enough to survey him distinctly, and then paused.
Half an hour passed in this survey: the one afraid to open his lips
or move a step, the other totally unconscious that he was the object
of such close scrutiny. But what Maxwell was half afraid to do his
horse did for him by snorting suddenly with a loud noise. Quick as the
thought that directed the movement, the solitary watcher started to his
feet, snatching a double-barrelled gun from the ground beside him and
pointing it in the direction of the unexpected noise, said aloud, "Who
comes there?--friend or foe! Stand, or you are a dead man?"

"A friend," replied Maxwell, rather alarmed by the quick movements and
warlike determination of the man--"a friend, a lost traveller."

"If you are a friend, stand still till I look at you;" saying which
the stranger took from the fire a piece of blazing bark, and placing
his gun in such a position that he could use it in any direction at a
moment's notice, advanced towards our hero. A reckless ferocity sat
upon his features, called up doubtless by the fancied danger of the
moment. His eyes, starting almost from their sockets, glared fearfully
in the light of the torch he carried, and Maxwell could now perceive
that he was heavily armed, in addition to his gun, with two pairs of
pistols secured in a belt ready for instant use. The apparition of this
outlaw, for such he was, had a terrifying effect on the harrassed mind
of the traveller. His tall figure, his yellow waisted visage, gaunt
like that of a famished wretch, the solemnity of the hours and the
awful solitude of that dreary forest, all combined to make the heart
of the benighted settler beat quickly, though it would have been the
greatest injustice in the world to call him a coward.

"What brings you here?" said the outlaw, thrusting his torch within a
few inches of Maxwell's face. "Who are you? where do you come from?
where are you going to? Answer quickly."

"I am a traveller," replied Maxwell. "I have lost my way. I came
from Hobarton, and I seek a Mr. Johnson Juniper, residing in this
neighborhood."

"A traveller, are you? On what business do you travel?"

"On private business of my own."

"Private business of your own," said the outlaw slowly, and with a
diabolical sneer; "you won't condescend to tell me what it is, then?
But I can see--I can read you, man: you are a spy, you are a cat's-paw
of the infernal tyrants who drove me to madness, and would now, if they
could, wallow in my blood."

As the unfortunate man spoke he scowled terribly. He was perhaps glad
of the opportunity to work himself up into a rage against his fellow
men. He turned the muzzle of his gun, already upon full cock, close
upon Maxwell's breast.

"I am no spy," said the latter, "neither am I a cat's-paw of tyrants;
I am a stranger and alone; I have been scarcely two months in this
island; if you do not believe me, fire--but beware how you shed
innocent blood. As to my business, it is nothing to you, so long as you
know that it does not concern you in the least."

"And if I believe you," said the outlaw, who seemed, though ferocious,
to be an intelligent if not a well-educated man, "if I do believe you
and take you upon trust, what may be the consequence? There is such
a thing as treachery in the world; there are such things as cats in
the world, with velvet feet and sharp claws; there are such things as
snakes in the world--snakes, too, that do not crawl upon their bellies,
but walk on two legs, and watch and scheme while honest men sleep;--are
you armed?"

"No."

"Let me convince myself. What have you here?"

"Stand back," said Maxwell; "if you believe not my words you shall not
touch my person. Man or fiend! if you thirst for my blood, shed it
while your own is hot, and ask God's pardon when it cools."

"Do you value your life so lightly, then?" said the outlaw with a
savage grin, bringing his gun, which he had withdrawn for a moment,
again to bear on the traveller's breast. "Are you not aware into whose
hands you have fallen--are you weary of your existence?"

"Partly so," was the reply, "and yet I could wish to live a little
longer for the sake of those I love."

"Who are they?"

"Wife and children. Are you a stranger to such ties?"

"I am, and have been long; don't pester me with your wife and children;
and since you will not let me search you, you must search yourself;
empty your pockets here on the grass, and turn them inside out; open
your breast and let me see that you have no concealed weapon."

"By what right do you command me thus?" said Maxwell.

"By the right of an armed and desperate man," thundered the ruffian
savagely; "trifle with me no longer, or I will dig your grave where you
stand, and burn your body to ashes before daylight comes."

Seeing that escape from the hands of this ruthless savage was
impossible, Maxwell quietly submitted and did as he was ordered. He
opened his coat and assisted in searching himself with a grace similar
to that which he might display at his own funeral. Emptying his pockets
and spreading the contents out on the grass, he turned them inside out
as directed by his imperious dictator. Satisfied apparently with his
examination the outlaw turned the articles over, having kindled a few
more pieces of bark to give him light.

"A handkerchief," said he, speaking as if to himself, "gloves, pocket
book, any bank notes in it? You have a valise I see; got a clean shirt
to give away, as mine is a little the worse for wear? A silver watch
and guard--why don't you carry a gold watch, it's more respectable? A
book, what's this about? Dryden's Virgil, that shan't trouble me
much: a knife, that's lucky, I want a knife: a purse, and pretty well
filled too; how much money have you here, neighbour?"

"Between six and seven pounds," answered Maxwell.

"Very good," said the outlaw, tossing up the purse and catching it
again; "supposing I treat you well, you'll give me this, won't you?
I never rob people except on a pinch, but I'm not above accepting a
present now and then."

"I'll give it to you freely provided you will guide me to Mr. Johnson
Juniper's house," said the traveller.

"And what if I won't guide you to Mr. Johnson Juniper's house?"

"Then you'll keep the purse I should say by force of circumstances."

"Well come, I'll trust you, but I'll watch you; you'll want some tea, I
have some left in the kettle still, and here is a mouthful of damper;
sit down, warm and refresh yourself; take the bit out of your horse's
mouth and let him fill his belly; we must be stirring before the sun
gets up."

"Where do you propose going to?" asked the traveller.

"Well, now I think you really are what you pretend to be; a cunning
trap or spy would never have asked me that question. Come, here are the
provisions; you don't take me for a fool, do you? Is it likely I would
tell you or anybody where I intend going?"

"I only wanted to know for my own sake," said Maxwell. "I do not wish
to proceed farther into this wilderness. As to your movements, they are
a matter of perfect indifference to me, so long as you are not bent on
murder or other violence."

The outlaw laughed strangely. "Bent on murder or other violence!" he
exclaimed. "What have you to do with murder, if you are neither the
perpetrator nor the victim?"

"As a faithful and peaceable subject of the king's I would feel bound
to prevent one being committed, if any previous knowledge of the matter
enabled me to do so; otherwise I am not solicitous of being made
acquainted with your movements."

"Suppose, now, I was going to rob Mr. Johnson Juniper, your friend and
my enemy, you'll come with me and help to carry the swag, wouldn't you?"

"No, most decidedly."

"What! not if you heard the click of a pistol in your ear?"

"I tell you no, not for twenty pistols; I am not afraid to die."

"Well, it's no matter," said the bushranger, "I am not going to put you
to the proof at present; some other time perhaps I may find out what
stuff you are made of--we may meet again."

"Heaven in mercy forbid," said Maxwell, boldly hazarding the joke,
"unless it is to help me out of a dilemma like this. What, may I ask,
has brought you to this state of desperation?"

"Why, nothing," replied the outlaw, "but tyranny, cool unrelenting
tyranny. I came to this country after having transgressed the laws
of England, my native land. With strong resolutions of reform and
amendment, I had determined to serve the Government faithfully, and win
back my freedom, now doubly dear to me since I had lost it; but my hard
fate pursued me as if it had been determined that the first false step
should be the forerunner of a still greater fall. In an evil hour I
became the servant of a settler near Hobarton. He was an old pensioner,
a drunkard and a tyrant, who had learned dissipation and brutality in
the bravest army in Europe, the English. He spurned and trampled on
me, and his joy was great whenever an opportunity occurred of getting
me punished. It was in vain that I tried to conquer my feelings of
indignation; my mind preyed upon itself, and became like a fiery
furnace. I abhorred the sight of my cruel master, for he added sneering
insolence to cruelty. I became careless and neglectful. For not having
wood ready to kindle a fire one morning early, he sent me into the
town with a letter--more fool I to take it--and I was immediately tied
up to the triangles and flogged like a dog. I returned boiling with
fury--my hateful persecutor came up to me. 'Well, my poor fellow,' said
he, with his usual sneer, 'did they tickle you, my poor boy? you'll
have wood chopped another time when I want my breakfast--least ways
if you don't'--he said no more, for I sprang upon him like a tiger
and levelled him with the ground; I spat upon him and danced on his
prostrate body. He screamed for mercy, though it was a stranger to his
own breast. I was wild, blind, and deaf with passion, and continued
kicking my fallen enemy; but at last his wife came running to his
assistance, and pushed me away shrieking for help. I fled into the
bush, but being what they call a greenhorn was soon taken, tried for
the double offence of assaulting my master and absconding, and received
a fearful corporal punishment and a sentence to five years in chains,
to be spent at a penal settlement called Macquarie Harbor, of all
places this side of Hell the most dreadful."

"That was terrible indeed," said Maxwell, "I suppose you absconded from
that awful place?"

"Yes, I did, more than once, though it is surrounded by an impervious
forest, compared to which this is an open meadow or a garden. If you
know what I and some of my comrades have endured there you would
wonder how flesh and blood could stand it even for a single day. I
have travelled with men, whose sufferings have long since terminated,
through the dense scrub for weeks together, living on twigs, leaves,
old boots, and--what do you think?"

"Opossums, I suppose," said Maxwell.

"Simpleton, no! 'possums don't live there--at least we saw none; they
would perish of cold, if not of hunger. But if we had met you in that
forest as I have in this--and you are not in bad store order, as the
farmers say--you would have been a welcome sight."

The settler started with horror. "You don't mean to say you would have
eaten me?" he said.

"O no!" said the outlaw, with an atrocious laugh, "all I say is that a
fat bullock would scarcely have been more welcome."

"Good God!" said Maxwell, shuddering; "did you ever serve any
unfortunate traveller so?"

"Thoughtless fool that you are," said the fearful man sharply, "do you
think I don't know better than to tell you of everything I have done
or left undone? Travellers were safe; they had no business there. But
let it rest; those days are gone by; you have nothing to fear now: a
crust of bread can be found, and sheep are not scarce in civilized
parts. After all it is not more dreadful than the sufferings of
shipwrecked mariners of whom you may have read, and their being obliged
to slaughter a companion now and again to serve for sustenance to the
rest."

"It is awful--it is terrible," said the traveller.

"Not more terrible than true; but we did not fancy that kind of grub;
your horse, now, would have been a much sweeter morsel."

"Of course nothing but the most dreadful necessity drove you to such
awful expedients. And how did you escape from that frightful forest?"

"I could not escape from it by land, so I returned and gave myself up,
preferring to live in servitude than die of starvation. But the devil
of restlessness and despair again took possession of my mind, and in
company with five others I made my escape in a boat, and this time,
after suffering hardships that I cannot think of without shuddering, we
succeeded in reaching the interior. But of what use is liberty to me?
I am tracked here and there like a wild beast. I have a thousand times
wished for death, yet have not courage to blow my brains out, and have
sworn never to be taken alive."

"It is not too late even now," said Maxwell, "to give yourself up
quietly to the authorities; it is highly probable that your life would
be spared. I myself will go to the Governor and intercede for you. Your
kindness and hospitality to a lost traveller may not go unrewarded."

"It won't do," said the outlaw; "you do not know the authorities as
I do; your Governor is like a rock of adamant. I am an unfortunate
wretch, and have been so from my cradle. My father was a respectable
farmer near Bristol; my mother was a good woman but a weak one. Instead
of petting me and spoiling me as she did, and allowing me the full
command of both time and inclination, she should have punished me when
I did wrong, or given me up to those whose duty it was to punish me.
But when I played truant from school, she screened me; when I robbed
an orchard and the owner traced me, she hid me; when I disobeyed my
father, she begged me off; if she asked me to do anything, I told her
with impunity to do it herself; if she was vexed and attempted to slap
me, I grinned at her and ran away. Thus the fond woman, though she
loved me, helped to make me a villain. I soon began to rob her and my
father, whose bread, earned by the sweat of his brow and sorrowful
labor, I was eating. If I gave you a history of my life ever since I
put to silence that still small voice of conscience, which I remember
to have heard spoken of in a sermon once, you would wonder why the
earth did not swallow me. If I mentioned my name to you I would expect
the trees to fall of themselves and crush me, and you, too, for being
in my company."

"You are penitent, I hope; you are sorry for your crimes before God:
remember the words, 'I will have mercy and not sacrifice;' and again,
'Though your sins be as scarlet they shall be as white as snow.' If men
will not forgive you, there is a world to come which you may enter and
where you may hope for forgiveness. We are all sinners, but if we know
that our Redeemer liveth, one hour of sincere repentance and trust in
Him may obliterate a whole life of sin."

The outlaw smiled bitterly. "Think you so?" he said; "an hour in prayer
and repentance can be easily passed."

"It can," replied Maxwell, "but God requires the inward love, the
sincere devotion and repentance of the heart, not the wordy ravings of
a hypocrite."

"I'll think of it;" said his rude entertainer. "Now if you want rest,
lie down where you are and take some; I will lie yonder on my arms--the
fall of a single leaf will rouse me. I do not fear you, but be careful;
one step from the spot you occupy may cost you your life."

The stern desperado having secured Maxwell's horse with a piece of
stout line, probably used sometimes to tie up refractory travellers,
retired to his lair, and our settler stretched himself on the ground
in order if possible to obtain a little repose, of which both his
exhausted body and harassed mind stood much in need. He had wrapped
himself in a good thick overcoat, but notwithstanding this he felt his
bed hard, and the ground though perfectly dry was sufficiently cold to
send a sensation of chilliness into his very bones. He closed his eyes
and attempted to sleep, but his extraordinary situation had produced
such an effect upon his mind that he was quite unable to enjoy any
settled or refreshing slumber. His brain, like that of a man suffering
from delirium tremens, was constantly disturbed by grotesque and
terrible images which succeeded each other, like the passing figures
of a magic lantern, with startling rapidity. At one moment he was
surrounded by a crowd of shadow-like beings, having tails like devils,
yellow faces, and staring eyes, with pistols in their hands; they
danced round him with fiendish glee, and with a shout of laughter
disappeared. Anon, he was in a strange place, a rocky desert, where
not a green leaf was visible, and beside him stood a massive pillar of
white cold stone, to which he was chained; struggling to escape the
pillar fell and crushed him into wakefulness.

The leaves rustled above his head, and the decaying fire smouldered by
his side, but daylight was not visible. He slept again, and a vision of
brighter aspect presented itself to the imagination. He found himself
in a broad and beautiful meadow, rambling along leisurely knee-deep
in thick green grass and sweet scented flowers of gay and brilliant
colors. While walking on he suddenly felt himself affected with a
painful languor and intolerable thirst; he looked about for water: the
plain seemed boundless in extent, but at a distance he espied a little
vale, in which his fitful fancy told him there might be a stream. He
hastened to the bank and beheld at the bottom, to his great delight, a
well of the pure element shining in the sun; he ran to the brink, and
was about to quench his burning thirst, when in a moment the head of a
black loathsome snake rose above the surface, hissing and darting its
fangs upon him. In renewed terror he started again, and opened his eyes
to see that the first glimmering of daylight had already appeared in
the sky.

His thoughts, when awake, were scarcely less dreadful than his dreams.
He felt very cold, but dared not stir. An awful silence reigned
around. Should he call out and arouse his fearful entertainer? No, the
experiment was too dangerous to be tried; thinking of his absent wife
and children almost made him a coward. He determined to have patience,
and closed his eyes again. Presently he heard the voice of the outlaw
commanding him to get up and prepare for his journey. He obeyed, and
was soon ready; the bushranger approached him.

"Here," he said, "take back your purse; I have helped myself to part of
the contents, enough for present wants. Give me that rope. What is your
name, for we may meet again?"

Maxwell gave the desired information.

"Now," said the outlaw, "follow me and say nothing."

His singular guide started off at a quick pace, the traveller following
on horseback. For a considerable distance they proceeded thus, when the
guide suddenly stopped. "There," said he, pointing with his gun through
the bushes, "in another moment you will be on the track, follow it to
the right, it will take you to the ford, and the road on the other side
will take you to Juniper's house. And hark you, friend, if you prove
treacherous, or say a single word of having met me here, you will get
bitter cause to repent it."

Maxwell promised that nothing should induce him to speak on the
subject, and thanking his guide, who instantly disappeared in the
forest, rode on his way.




CHAPTER IX.--AN ORIGINAL SETTLER AND HIS HOMESTEAD.

OUR traveller, having finished his eventful journey, now sat in a
comfortable apartment of a comfortable cottage--at least he thought so
after his accommodation of the previous night. Constructed after the
general fashion of the times of wattle-and-dab;--in other words, of
poles stuck in the ground with young wattle saplings twined closely
amongst them, the whole covered both inside and out with a thick
coating of mud, and roofed with large sheets of stringy bark. The room
in which Maxwell found himself was not furnished in an aristocratic or
expensive manner. A table made of common gum wood stood in the centre;
a few wooden-bottomed chairs were visible; a kind of corner cupboard
carefully locked, a shelf suspended by cords, on which were to be
seen a few old books; a wooden bench, similar to a sofa but without a
covering of any kind; a few maps and a picture or two pinned up against
the walls completed the array. This was the parlor of Mr. Johnson
Juniper's mansion, of which a suitable description may be borrowed from
a quaint old song--

A neat little cottage with ground for the floor.

Mr. Juniper had risen early that morning with the intention of going to
a sale of stock to be hold somewhere in the neighborhood. He had done
the honors of his house and bidden the traveller welcome, and now sat
reading the Surveyor-General's letter. He had already passed the prime
of life, though his face had a freshness of color almost exclusively
peculiar to younger men. About his visage and person there was nothing
extraordinary or particularly demanding description, save that his hair
was partially grey, and his beard, whiskers, and heavy eyebrows nearly
white--not on account of age, but more probably caused by over-exertion
in his peaceable occupation. With a pair of small grey eyes deeply
set beneath a high projecting forehead, over which his hair stood
upright as if supported in that position by an indefinite quantity of
starch; with a nose of rather small dimensions, a large mouth, a thick
short neck, and a stout muscular well-knit frame, Mr. Juniper had
combined some of those qualities peculiar to most persons of his age
and condition. To see him in his ordinary attire he was not unlike the
bushranger whom Maxwell had met in the forest; but on this occasion
he was dressed for a journey and wore his clothes like other people.
Yes, extraordinary as it may appear amongst the singular anomalies
which present themselves to the eyes of a visitor to this part of the
world--where the swans, instead of being white as snow, are black as
coal; where cherries grow with their stones outside; where the bark on
the trees withers and falls in the winter, while the leaves remain as
green as ever,--no individual of my acquaintance has yet observed a
gentleman farmer of Mr. Juniper's rank going forth to a sale of stock
with his coat buttoned behind him.

"Cook," said Mr. Juniper, as soon as he had finished reading the
Surveyor-General's letter, "bring in breakfast--what have you got, pork
pie?"

"Yes, Sir," said the cook in a cracked voice. He was an elderly man,
and rather surly withal, and his kitchen was within fair talking
distance of his master's parlor. "Pork pie," he continued, sinking his
voice to a low growl, "pork pie from morning till night; when a pig is
killed pork pie is the song for six months; when a bullock, beef steaks
and rounds o'beef must last for ever; when an extra fat sheep, stand
and admire it hour after hour."

"Bring in the breakfast, and stop your grumbling, will you," said his
master.

"I'm coming with it," answered the cook, "you won't let me wait for the
kittle to bile to wet the tay."

"Well, bring in the pie, and we can be getting on. Perhaps, Mr.
Maxwell, you would prefer a chop?"

"No thank you," said that gentleman, "I think I shall be able to do
justice to the pork pie."

The cook entered, bearing a formidable dish containing the pie, Mr.
Juniper's delight. It had stopped up an extensive gap already, for
something less that half the original only remained. Mr. Juniper
pounced upon it with the avidity of a hawk, and helped first his guest
then himself to large portions. To do him justice we must say he was
hospitable; there was no stinginess about him. His table was not loaded
with delicacies, but he liked to have something good--a piece of fat
beef, fat mutton, or fat pork, anything provided it was fat--to be
seen upon it. Mr. Juniper was a bachelor, and he managed to enjoy his
existence quite as much as the majority of miserable bachelors can.

After they had progressed favorably with the pie for some time, the
tea was brought in, and when he had disposed of a couple of large
cups full, the face of Johnson Juniper assumed an air of satisfied
importance. He picked his teeth while he interrogated Maxwell
respecting his adventures of the preceding day and night.

"And so, Mr. Maxwell," said he, "you got lost in the forest last night;
you rode over the track to the ford, and went too high up the river."

"I must have lost the proper road in some way or other," replied
Maxwell. "It is difficult for a stranger to recognise indistinct
tracks."

"If you had kept along the bank you would have seen my house, but an
attempt to cross might have cost you your life."

"I was so bewildered amongst those giants of the wood," said the guest,
"that I did not know where the river was, or what was before me or what
behind, and when night came on I was not very likely to find my way
better than by daylight."

"No, certainly not," said Juniper. "How did you pas the night?"

"The best way I could, of course, under such circumstances: prayed for
patience, and made the best of it."

"And how did you find your way this morning?"

"I met a man very early who gave me directions, or if I had not I do
not know when I should have found you."

"What did he look like?" asked the host.

"He had the appearance of a shingle-splitter," replied the guest.

"It's well he didn't split your skull, Sir. Did he tell you for whom he
was working?"

"No, he gave me no information on that point. Do the peasants of this
country practice the amusement of splitting skulls extensively?"

"Why," said Juniper, "they try their hands at it certainly now and
then, but perhaps we're no worse off than the landlords in Ireland."

"And it would be better to die that way," said Maxwell, "than to be
starved to death by inches in a wilderness. How far do you intend
travelling to-day, Sir?"

"To Campbell Town, Sir, where Mr. Varnish, the auctioneer, will hold a
sale of stock. It is above thirty miles from here, and I don't think
I can be back to-night; but be sure to make yourself quite at home,
and stir up that old rascal to get you some dinner. He is, between
ourselves, the laziest and most insolent old scoundrel in the district.
I've tried to get rid of him dozens of times, but he's like a horse
leech, I can't shake him off. Here, cook, clear away these things and
put the saddle on Buffalo, or tell Tom to do it."

"I feel quite knocked up," said Maxwell, "and would like to have a
sleep somewhere if it would not put you to inconvenience."

"Don't talk of inconvenience, Sir," said a the hospitable bachelor;
"to be out all night in the bush and meet a shingle-splitter in the
morning, and you a stranger in the country, too, is above a joke. Cook,
get a bed ready for this gentleman directly, and mind, let him have
dinner when he wakes up. Is the horse ready--where's Joe?"

"Tom's bringin' the horse, and Joe says he'll be after you in half an
hour."

"Well, good morning Mr. Maxwell, make yourself as happy as you can;
I'll be back early to-morrow unless I break my neck on Skittle-Ball
Hill;" and Mr. Juniper departed singing as he went--


"I'll sing a doleful tragedy, Guy Fawkes the prince of sinisters,
Who once blew up the House of Lords, the King, and all the ministers."


When he was gone the old cook made a bed ready for the guest in a
small room adjoining the one in which they had had breakfast, and he
gladly retired to rest. After an uninterrupted sleep he arose much
refreshed, and upon finishing the various operations of his toilet, sat
down in the parlor and amused himself with a book. The cook offered
his services to get dinner ready, whereupon Maxwell intimated his
willingness to eat a chop.

"Take tay, Sir?" said the knight of the frying-pan.

"Why, we never take tea at dinner," said Maxwell.

"Master always does, Sir."

"O, very well, I like tea, if it is not too much trouble."

"No trouble at all, Sir, but master is the most strangest man you ever
seen. He roars for his breakwust the very moment he gets one leg out of
bed, an' when he gets enough of pork pie, or whatever it is, away he
goes over the farm, forgettin' that I've told him a dozen times that
the men are all waiting at the door to know what the're agoin' to do.
Then when he goes out and finds ther' not at work, he comes home and
begins blowin' me up, just as if I was the overseer--an' if I ever says
a word to them, when his back is turned, I gets nothin' but 'lie down
ye dog--jam his tail,' and sich like; its more nor flesh an' blood can
stand, Sir."

"Well," said Maxwell, "you can surely give up your place, if it is
disagreeable to you, and get another one."

"Lor bless yer simplicity, no Sir. I can't do nothin' of the kind. I'm
a 'signed servant. If I told master I wanted to go away he'd have me up
to the magistrate, an' get me punished directly."

"That looks queer. I suppose you are hired for a certain time."

"Yes, Sir, till I'm due for my ticket."

"It seems strange," said Maxwell, "that a man of your years and
consequent experience should occupy such a position."

"Yes, Sir," said the old man, whose name was Heffernan, "it is a
strange thing surely; an' what is more stranger still I've received my
ticket about a dozen times since I've been in guvernment, an' never
could keep it a week."

"How does that happen?"

"Why, just as this here, Sir--you see I spends time here very lonesome,
an' frets an' pines away day an' night afther my liberty, without
no indulgence except what masther likes to give me, an' that' not
much, only a bit of 'bacca an' scarcely a dhrop of rum or gin, or any
other drink, till I'm wasted away to a perfect shadder, an' when I
gets my ticket and goes away to the nearest township an' goes into
a public-house to get some refreshment, somehow or other, dang me
if ever I did or could understand it, whenever I goes to sleep in a
public-house I'm certain sure to wake up in the watchhouse, an' away
goes my ticket just as if I'd lit my pipe with it an' sent it to glory
in smoke. But I'm forgettin' yer dinner."

This lucid explanation did not quite relieve the ill-used servitor of
his surplus steam of fretfulness. He set about cooking his chops and
making the "tay," both of which he presently brought in, muttering a
variety of things to himself all the time.

Left alone to enjoy his dinner, Maxwell dispatched it in haste, and
when he had finished he rambled out into the garden and paddocks to
look about him. Mr. Juniper's garden was not very large, but it was
well stocked with young fruit-trees. The farm buildings consisted of
a large barn, constructed in a very primitive and make-shift manner,
filled with the newly-housed crop of wheat, which two stout fellows
were busily employed in thrashing; a stable to match with the barn,
capable of accommodating four horses; a shed in which there was an old
bullock being fattened on turnips; and a pig-stye containing several
fat and lazy occupants. A couple of respectable stacks of oats and hay
gave a substantial appearance to the otherwise rickety establishment.
At some distance from the farm house there were two huts, one of which
a ploughman and his wife lived, and in the other the single men, of
whose there might have been three or four. The ploughman acted also as
shepherd, and had followed his master to Campbell Town.

The South Esk flowed by in a dark current (the sombre color of its
waters being evidently caused by the shade of the neighboring hills
and trees) between banks of moderate height close to the foot of Mr.
Juniper's garden, and our pensive settler walked along its margin
for some distance, admiring with the eye of a connoisseur the high,
dark wooded hills that lay on his left hand, and the distant mountain
scenery, which in this part of Tasmania is very wild and pretty, though
wanting the sublime grandeur of other lands, where the mountains may be
double or treble the height. Some reflections of a painful nature as
usual insinuated themselves into his mind. His adventure in the forest
did not seem the brightest of welcomes to his new home in Tasmania, and
he dreaded lest after having built his house and laid out the greatest
portion of his capital, a party of these marauders might come and rob
him of his property, perhaps burn his house over his head. But he
checked his dismal reflections by repeating to himself--"Come what may
I am in the hands of Providence; I have passed the Rubicon of my fate,
and it is too late to retreat." Returning to the mansion he amused
himself with Mr. Juniper's library for the rest of the evening.

The next day being fine he strolled out after breakfast, and spent a
good many hours in rambling over the adjacent hills. When he returned
he found that Juniper had come home, and was engaged in an angry
altercation with his cook because the latter had not the frying pan on
the fire full of chops.

"How was I to tell," asked the denizen of the kitchen, "when you wor
coming? You often stops an' takes tay with Mrs. Grapfarthing up at
Avoca, an' dash my rags, master, whenever there is any one here to
listen to you, you go on blowin' me up jist to show your cleverness at
scouldin'."

"Keep your impudence to yourself, you stupid old fool, and make haste
with those chops," said Mr. Juniper. "It's always the way when I
come home from a long journey--there is never anything ready to eat,
scarcely a fire to get anything ready on."

"There always is a fire an' you knows it," answered the cook; "and
there's always something ready, only I wasn't born a witch to see you
coming through the Skittle-Ball Hill; but you can get another cook and
send me to the watch'us when you like. Dang me, if I was to bring in my
own head roasted an' done to a turn it would'nt plase you no how."

Both the auditors burst out laughing. Maxwell exclaimed, "I should
rather think not;" and Juniper--"Aye, it's done to a turn already."

The old cook was preparing for another outburst, his blood being up to
high pressure, but his master suddenly retreated into the apology for
a parlor, whither he was followed by his guest, who prudently shut the
door of communication.

"Well, Sir," said Juniper, "how have you fared? I hope that half-witted
blockhead did not forget you?"

"I had not the slightest idea of letting him forget me, I assure you,"
answered Maxwell.

"Quite right, Sir, quite right; he's a miserable driveller, he'd starve
a cat; I'd soon be a perfect skeleton if I didn't bounce him a little."

"Have you heard any particular news, Mr Juniper?"

"Nothing very particular, Sir; here are some newspapers such as they
are; it is a month since I got any before."

"Then the news will be pretty old. This is the Hobart Town Courier I
see, yes I saw some of these before I left town. I suppose your post is
not regular here?"

"Once a fortnight between Hobart Town and Launceston, I believe a man
carries it on foot. I get my papers at Avoca whenever I send, as there
is a messenger between Campbell Town and the Magistrate's Office at
Fingal."

"This," said Maxwell, "is a northern paper called the Cornwall
Blusterer, number five; not come to years of discretion yet. There
is literary rivalry I see in Launceston, which may yet perhaps be not
inappropriately called the Australian Athens. Listen to this----"

'We have been employed for the last five minutes--and we blush to
own it--in looking over the columns of that vain and despicable
rag, the "Hammertongs." The addle pated* editor of this rich and
racy publication must feel astonishment mingled with pride at our
condescending to notice five feet two and a quarter. When it
is our pleasure to contemplate this superannuated Zany, it is
unnecessary to inform our polite readers that the distance from our
proper elevation to which we are obliged to descend is immeasurable.
If the reading public would like to see this extraordinary specimen
of the immortal fourth estate, we will have much pleasure in posting
each number as it appears in our own window. And we doubt not that the
intelligent enquirer at the fount of political and general knowledge
will there find writings like the frothings of a beer cask
teeming with the absurdities of a disordered imagination. Our sorrow is
sincere and profound, while--alas! for the intellects of beings calling
themselves men, we are compelled to say that we have scarcely, if
ever, perused a greater mass of unmitigated nonsense and unadulterated
rubbish.'


[* The italicized words are portions of real editorial articles.]


"Short and sweet like a donkey's race," said Juniper.

"What saith the Hammertongs, I wonder," said Maxwell, "is it here?"

"Very likely, Sir, they send these newspapers as specimens of their
abilities, hoping to get paid for them some day, and I devoutly hope
they may find the money."

"Yes, here it is, the Launceston Hammertongs, listen."

"'That ridiculous apology for a newspaper, the Blusterer, has dragged
its slow length along to its fifth number,--we wonder will it reach a
sixth. It is our intention--the result of mature deliberation--to take
no further notice of its contemptible outpourings. The editor of that
journal is out of his proper element: if he had his right place he
would be wearing a leather apron, scouring pewter pots.'"

"Why, that's shorter and sweeter still," said Juniper, "come cook, are
those chops done yet?"

"Just done," said the cook, "and the tay wet, and pork pie for
breakwust, I suppose."

The hungry Juniper sat down to dinner, inviting his guest to follow
his example, and proceeded to polish off the chops, in which business
he became completely absorbed, gulping down three or four cups of tea
along with them. Maxwell soon finished his repast, and resumed reading
aloud extracts from the newspapers, eliciting now and again a grunt of
satisfaction from his host, whose mouth during the time was constantly
full.

When dinner was over, Juniper threw himself back in his wooden
arm-chair, and asked his guest to join him in a smoke. Maxwell declined
to smoke, but intimated that he had no objection to the smell of
tobacco; whereupon the chop-enamored bachelor filled his pipe, lit
it, and puffed away, flinging the cares of the world and the troubles
of housekeeping to the winds. An animated conversation soon sprang up
between himself and Maxwell respecting the political and social aspects
of the colony, unlocated sections of Crown land, past events and future
prospects,--all highly interesting to the latter individual, but very
likely not so to the general reader. We will, therefore, leave them
together for the present, and betake ourselves to a short repose.




CHAPTER X.--PREPARATIONS FOR A JOURNEY.

A WHOLE month has passed away since we left our two friends--Maxwell
and Juniper seated together enjoying their unrestricted discourse,
and we will now proceed to take a peep at our fair heroine who, with
her mother and brothers, sat at breakfast one fine morning early in
April. The apartment used as a breakfast parlor by the Maxwell family
was a small one, enclosed by a whitewashed brick house of no very
attractive exterior, situated in Macquarie-street. The furniture was
not sumptuous, and, could scarcely be called neat, though the ingenuity
of female heads and hands had been called into active play to make
it wear even a slender aspect of comfort. The expression of Mrs.
Maxwell's countenance indicated ill-health. She was much thinner than
she appeared on the morning of her husband's departure, and though
she had had two or three letters from him--always written in the best
possible spirits--still she could not wholly divest her mind of anxiety
on his account. There are many people in the world who would feel truly
miserable were they compelled to settle down to a quiet mode of life,
who could not, in fact, cost what it might, sit peaceably under their
own vine and fig-tree, as Mr. Leary said, and not care a fig which
way the battle went. Many there are on the other hand who inwardly
pine with sorrow if they are in an uncertain or unsettled state even
for a month or a week. Mrs. Maxwell, and we may say her husband also,
belonged to this latter class, but if any person should suppose that
either of them was careless of or indifferent to the events passing
around them, he would labor under a great error. It has never fallen
to the lot of the writer of these pages to be acquainted with two
individuals who though essentially differing from each other in mental
conformation, more strongly united in themselves those three angelic
qualities--faith, hope, and charity; the two first having reference
almost exclusively to the Supreme Ruler of all worlds, the last to
their fellow creatures, expressed not only by deeds however modest
in themselves, but by words and thoughts. They felt in their hearts
an acute pain at the sight or recital of human calamity, breathed a
sympathetic sigh for the unfortunate sufferer, and bore within their
breasts a secret wish to be made the humble instruments for mitigating
the severity of his anguish.

And how fared Griselda all this time? She was much the same as when we
last beheld her, the fair ringlets falling lightly around a cheerful
happy face, and playing in every movement over the most graceful and
snowy neck that Mrs. Thornycroft could model, or Alfred Tennyson
describe. She wore a light blue morning dress, a color which set off
the delicate rose of her complexion to the best advantage, and she
smiled pleasantly while eating her breakfast at the playful remarks of
her brothers upon the various pedestrians who wended their way past the
window into the centre of the town, where their daily business called
them.

"There goes Mr. Blank, the grocer," said Eugene, "he sells plenty of
sand as well as sugar--it's about half an inch thick in the bottom of
my tea-cup."

"And there goes Mr. Crank, the linen-draper," said Charles, "he has the
largest stock of goods in the town, and sells them, according to his
advertisements, always below cost price. I wonder who pays his baker's
bills."

"He sells his goods cheap," said Eugene, "because they are as rotten as
a pear. Who is the greater rogue, mother; he who sells sand instead of
sugar, or rotten things?"

"Hush, Eugene, you must not speak thus of respectable men."

"Not when they deserve it mother? look at all that sand!"

"And I heard you say yourself, mother, that Mr. Crank's thread and
staylaces were quite rotten," said Charles.

"There's Mr. Bones the lawyer," said Eugene; "how fast he walks! he
must have some pleasant case on hand. He will doubtless run up a nice
little bill, like a sailor up a ladder of ropes."

"And there's the Reverend Dr. Tuchango, the schoolmaster," said
Charles. "O, my word, doesn't he pay off the boys well! Willie Thornton
told me that he flogged Jemmy Middleton to that degree that he wasn't
able to walk home, and his mother had to send a man with a wheelbarrow
to fetch him."

"And there's Mr. Leary, I declare," said Eugene. "I wonder where he
is going to so early, thinking I dare say of his friend and companion
Colonel Davey. O mother, I heard of such a funny trick that was played
him about a week ago; he was spending the of evening in old Sobersides'
public-house, THE INSATIABLE WHALE, and one of his friends actually
got two bottles of fresh yeast and tied them to his coat-tails, and
when he went home he wasn't able to knock at his own door, but fell
down on the door-step, and there were two such jolly explosions--I
don't think he stirred out since till this morning."

"Eugene, do be quiet pray," said Griselda, though she could hardly
help laughing; "do not you see that mamma is not well? Do not be cast
down, mamma; you know papa said in his last letter that he would soon
send for us; he has got the house nearly finished, and it is close to a
beautiful river, and surrounded by green banks and pleasant hills: how
happy we shall be when we are at home beside the South Esk."

"I am not cast down, love," replied her mother, "only a little
anxious--a feeling I hope to get over in time when more accustomed to
this country."

"Here's, the postman," said Charles, "he is looking in very hard to see
if we are watching for him--I'm sure he has a letter."

"Run quickly and see," said Griselda, "perhaps he may have one from
papa."

Charles ran and presently returned bringing a letter. It was from his
father. Mrs. Maxwell opened it impatiently, and read aloud as follows:--


Bremgarten, Avoca,
March 27th, 18--

My dear Elizabeth,

I have been on the point of proceeding to Hobarton more than once since
I received your last letter in which you informed me that your general
health was not good, that your spirits were low, and your mind restless
and impatient. I conjure you, my dear wife, to take care of your health
both for my sake and your own, to say nothing of our children, though
they have some right to be considered. I hope you will constantly
endeavour to divest your mind of all hypochondriacal fancies, and arm
yourself with patience until we meet, which please God will soon be the
case now.

I have finished our temporary dwelling-house at last, and would have
taken up my residence in it but for the paucity of furniture. The
carpenter who helped me to build it is living in it, and is employed
in making a few rough tables, stools, &c. I have found out a name for
my estate and called it Bremgarten--after that romantic village in
Switzerland, where we spent part of our honeymoon. I hope you will
like the name, hallowed as it is by charming recollections. I still
reside with my neighbor and kind friend Mr. Johnson Juniper. He is
very attentive and hospitable, and feeds me up like a fighting cock on
such fat mutton chops and greasy pork pies; he is going to kill a fat
bullock soon, and talks about it with great gusto. It is quite equal to
a theatrical entertainment to listen to the dialogues that frequently
take place between himself and his cook on the cuisine, the latter is
an old prisoner of the Crown, and an inveterate drunkard.

Now, I am exceedingly happy at the idea of seeing you and the dear
children soon again. I have made an agreement with Mr. Timothy Baxter,
a relation I presume of Squire Thornhill's friend, in the Vicar of
Wakefield, carrier, who resides near this, to proceed to Hobarton with
his three drays and twenty-two bullocks to bring you and the furniture
up without delay. He is, or seems to be, a careful man, and bears a
pretty good character.

In three weeks I hope to see you and the children safe and well, but I
will ride part of the way to meet you, and you must be very careful not
to sit on the dray while either going up or coming down steep hills.

I send you a list of seeds and tools, which you will purchase and bring
up with you.

Farewell my dearest Elizabeth, fond love to the children from their
affectionate father,

BERNARD MAXWELL.


This letter acted like a charm on the drooping spirits of Griselda's
mother. She instantly cast off every vestige of despondency and rose up
at once into active and energetic existence--so powerful is the effect
upon some minds of having a decided object in view. She immediately set
about making preparations for departure, although two or three days
might elapse before the carrier should arrive in town. Boxes, chests,
and drawers were emptied and repacked; bedsteads taken down and made
ready for removal. The whole house became a scene of confusion, and at
the close of this eventful day everything was nearly ready, even for a
start on the following morning.

The next day Mrs. Maxwell went forth, accompanied by Griselda and
Eugene, and paid farewell visits to the ladies with whom she had become
acquainted. She also completed her purchases, and settled all remaining
items of business. At home she, with her children, amused herself in
unpacking a great portion of what had been carefully packed the day
before. While thus engaged, and we hope to her perfect satisfaction,
two lady visitors were announced by the slip-shod serving damsel, and
in sailed, in no very rich or fashionable apparel, Mrs. Leary and her
daughter Arabella. Mrs. Maxwell welcomed her visitors, and smilingly
invited them to be seated; she apologized for the confusion in which
they found her, saying that the order for removal had come at last, and
she expected their stay in Hobarton would be but short.

Mrs. Leary had been a dumpy woman since she was a school-girl, but
latterly, from some unexplained cause, she had undergone the process of
reduction. Her face, though well-looking, was sallow and careworn, and
she sighed frequently while conversing as if some heavy matter weighed
upon her mind. No wonder, poor woman, if it was true that her drunken
husband sometimes beat her savagely as was commonly reported. Miss
Leary was an active young lady of seventeen; she was tall and stout
with a pleasing face, on which she wore, at least while visiting, a gay
smile. Her eyes seemed to indicate an amiable disposition; her figure
and carriage were graceful, in a word, Miss Leary might really have
been an ornament to polite society if she had had the advantage of a
more respectable father.

"I heard from some friends, Mrs. Maxwell," said Mrs. Leary, "that you
were about to leave town, and I thought it my duty to come and say
good-by before you went."

"I should not have gone without seeing you, if only for a moment, Mrs.
Leary," replied Mrs. Maxwell. "I am too well aware of your many acts of
kindness, and the useful information you have been always ready to give
me."

"I thank you, Mrs. Maxwell, for your good opinion," said Mrs. Leary.
"I shall be extremely sorry to lose the benefit of your society. It
has always been my desire to cultivate the acquaintance of ladies of
your superior attainments. We may wait a long time before your place is
filled up."

"You speak in far too-flattering a manner," said Mrs. Maxwell, "I
am sure I have found you useful, and you have found me troublesome.
Griselda, my dear, Mrs. Leary will take a glass of wine."

"Do not give yourself the trouble I beg," said the visitor, but
Griselda silently hastened to obey her mother's wishes. While accepting
the proffered wine-glass Mrs. Leary's hand trembled; she set down the
wine untasted and burst into tears.

"Pray what is the matter, Mrs. Leary?" said Mrs. Maxwell, alarmed lest
she had given unintentional offence.

"Mother," said Miss Leary, "I really hope you will command your
feelings;--it is nothing, Mrs. Maxwell, but the result of low spirits
to which my mother has lately been subject."

Mrs. Leary's paroxysm appeared to increase, and her daughter
continued--"For heaven's sake, mother, consider where you are! Mrs.
Maxwell will not know how to account for this conduct."

"I--I--will ex--plain to Mrs.--Maxwell if you--will re--tire my--dear,"
said Mrs. Leary, half choked with tears and sobs.

At a sign from her mother, Griselda, with Miss Leary and the two young
gentlemen, instantly left the room. The afflicted lady took some time
to recover herself, and then commenced her narrative with a dropping
fire of groans.

"It grieves me much, my dear Mrs. Maxwell, to give you unnecessary pain
by my selfish complaints, but I have no one else to whom I can safely
tell my story. You are no doubt aware of the convivial habits of my
unfortunate husband?"

"Yes, certainly, I have been aware of them for some time, and have
pitied you very much."

"Thank you; you were always kind," said Mrs. Leary, "but the fact is
I am weary of my life. I know not what to do, nor where to fly. My
infatuated husband has dissipated nearly all our little property;
the mortgagee threatens to sell our farm on the Derwent; poverty and
starvation stare us in the face; wretchedness is in our house. He has
lately added ill usage to neglect. O, Mrs. Maxwell, will you advise
me--do advise me like a good creature, and tell me what I am to do."

"I compassionate your situation very much, Mrs. Leary," said Mrs.
Maxwell, "but I am really at a loss how to advise you. Had you not
better solicit the advice and protection of the Police Magistrate?"

"I have thought of doing so," said the poor woman, "but I do not like
the publicity attending such a proceeding. I am afraid an immediate
separation is the only remedy, and Arabella and I must earn our bread
the best way we can."

"It is a serious case," said Mrs. Maxwell. "Do you not think an appeal
in private to the Chief Police Magistrate might do some good? He is a
very gentlemanly man, and would, I am sure, do you justice."

"I think I must try that plan," said Mrs. Leary, "I am compelled to
seek protection somewhere; but, Mrs. Maxwell, might I venture to make
one request--would you be so kind as to look out in the country for
a situation for my poor daughter? She is well suited to teach young
children, though she is not highly accomplished. You might meet with a
family in want of such a person. As for me, I will become a laundress,
but my daughter," she added with fresh tears and great simplicity,
"ought to be something better than that."

Greatly distressed, Mrs. Maxwell promised that she would not lose sight
of Miss Leary's interests. Mrs. Leary rose to depart. "It is well," she
said, "that I have not got a large family. I need scarcely say that I
wish you a pleasant and a safe journey."

"Thank you," said Mrs. Maxwell; "by-the-by, Mrs. Leary, I had nearly
forgotten--I will be frank with you--you have never asked me to lend
you anything; you will not think me rude if I offer to lend you this;
you can repay me at your leisure; and do not let Mr. Leary deprive you
of it."

She placed a paper in her visitor's hand. It was a bank note for ten
pounds. "Oh!" said Mrs. Leary, with renewed tears, "Mrs. Maxwell, I
shall never forget your kindness. A friend in need is a friend indeed,
and you are one. I thank you again and again."

"Do not say more, I beg of you," said Mrs. Maxwell; "Griselda, Mrs.
Leary is going."

The parting adieux were exchanged, and the visitors departed.




CHAPTER XI.--OUR HEROINE'S TRAVELS AND TROUBLES BEGIN.

ON the next day at noon Mr. Baxter, the carrier, made his appearance.
He addressed Mrs. Maxwell with great civility, and intimated that it
was his intention, if suitable to her convenience, to load the drays
early on the following morning, and start without further delay.
She offered no objection, and soon found herself actively employed
in finishing up the packing; dispatching the boys here and there on
various messages; racking her brains to find if any article had been
forgotten, or any item of business left undone. Having satisfied her
mind respecting these matters she sat down to rest. Griselda sat with
her, reading aloud a newly purchased volume. In this manner the last
evening of their stay in Hobarton was passed, and the night closed over
the pretty little city of the South.

It is always with regret that we depart from a place endeared to us as
having been a home however temporary. When the eyes are far removed
the mind continues to linger over every beautiful scene and every
object of interest--by the flowery path along which we strayed in the
mellow twilight, or beside the tea-table of the friends known with
pleasure and parted from with sorrow. Of these social charms Mrs.
Maxwell had tasted but little. Her time in the metropolis of Tasmania
had been too short to allow her to cultivate many acquaintances. She
had had no letters of introduction, and her disposition forbade her
to push herself forward. But she was fortunate in becoming the object
of attention to an amiable clergyman of the Established Church, who,
with a wife no less amiable, often visited her, and entertained her and
her family at his house. By this gentleman she had been introduced to
many respectable people; and she saw with pleasure that there abounded
on all sides a highly educated class of persons, famous for their
hospitality, polite manners, and charitable dispositions: individuals,
in fact, whom to know is a rare gratification to a solitary
stranger--to forget when once known impossible.

The morning came, and with it the three drays and two and twenty
bullocks, with a phalanx of formidable horns. The two larger drays were
soon loaded with moveables and furniture of all descriptions, under the
personal inspection of Mr. Baxter, while the smallest one was fitted
up with a feather bed and other comforts for the deportation of Mrs.
Maxwell and the children. A basket well packed with refreshments was
safely stowed away in the primitive coach. Everything being ready,
and the clergyman and his wife, who had come to see them at the last
moment, having taken their final farewell, the word was given. The
bullock drivers cracked their whips and the drays began to move, Mrs.
Maxwell agreeing with her daughter to walk until clear of the town.

Gentle reader, fast young lady, or impetuous young gentleman, did you
ever travel in a bullock cart? If not we would recommend you to do so
immediately. The lesson in patience, especially if that amiable quality
is wanting, will be undoubtedly beneficial.

Here we are! clear of the town; going forth into the broad, strange,
and thickly-wooded country, breathing the unadulterated air; losing
sight of the bay and the pretty ships, but not of their kindred
associations; the scene new, the change sudden and refreshing to the
care-worn spirits; glancing at the broad river, gazing eagerly at the
handsome dwellings shrouded amongst hills and thick forest--embowered
in verdant lawns and gardens--reflected in the clear glassy stream,
which with the silent tide ebbing or flowing flings back from its
peaceful breast the gorgeous colors of earth and sky. We are fascinated
by nature's majestic scenery--the grave and stately Mount Wellington,
the distant rocks of giant size, the fields, the cultivated paddocks,
the lazy cattle basking in the sun, the sheep running about and culling
the sweetest bites in their luxuriant pasture. The slab hut is passed,
with its grass roof and curling smoke, its little garden and diminutive
stack of wheat, with the gaping woman at the door, and the eight or
nine children staring and standing bareheaded in the sun. On, on,
with the speed of a rheumatic snail, across the gurgling brook, along
the rough, unmade track, down into a hole on one side, up upon a bank
on the other; jolt, jolt, crack, crack, to the music of the driver's
voice: "Gee whup, Drummer--Traveller. Snowball, I'se lookin' at tha.
Tinker, ye desp'rate lazy thief, pull 't up, wilt the'? Punch, I'll
smash yer ribs in, ye scoundrel"--and so on.

Mr. Baxter did not drive any of the teams: he superintended the
expedition. He had the good sense not to intrude himself on Mrs.
Maxwell's company, and generally kept in the rear watching the slow
progress of his drays. The day wore on. At intervals, when some
roadside cottage was to be passed, the bovicade halted to allow the
bullocks to draw breath, and rest the weary men. On such occasions the
ladies usually descended from their carriage, entered the cottage, and
requested a glass of water. They were always received with respect, and
were offered milk as in Ireland. In this manner the first day's journey
was completed, and all hands prepared to pass the night at a house near
a ferry over the Derwent. It was called Roseneath Ferry. The travellers
were hospitably provided for. The bullocks were unyoked and turned into
a paddock. Watchdogs were chained under the loaded drays, and the three
men, wrapping themselves up in a tarpaulin, slept in the empty one.

The next morning was wet; the rain poured down rather heavily, and Mrs.
Maxwell was glad when the carrier announced his intention of remaining
where he was with his charge, at least for that day. The time passed
slowly, retarded as it always is by gloomy weather, but enlivened
occasionally by the cheerful conversation of the host and hostess, who
were anxious to know everything about the state of Ireland, England,
and the continent of Europe generally. But the day closed, the second
morning broke and the travellers started once more, though the weather
was still unsettled. The sun shone occasionally, and helped to dry the
road a little. At Roseneath the teams were ferried across the Derwent
in a large punt, and their course lay for some distance along the bank
of the river.

Eugene and Charles got out of the dray to stretch their legs. "Fine
rain, young gentlemen," said Mr. Baxter, coming up behind them, "rain
makes grass grow--sheep eat grass and get fat--boys and men eat sheep
and get fat too, if so be that there's nothing wrong with their
bread-baskets."

"Your bullocks don't appear to be very fat," said Eugene.

"No," said Baxter, puffing away at a black pipe, "I don't want them to
be, they're all the better for work, but you'll see some fat bullocks
along the South Esk. Like fat beef?"

"That depends on the state of my appetite," answered Eugene.

"Well, I reckon so; the very best thing in my opinion on a cold, frosty
mornin' when you've got work to do is a nicely done fat beefsteak to
line the ribs with."

"Better, of course, than regular mahogany," * replied the boy.


[* Salt beef, or jerk.]


"Yes, you are right there," said the carrier, "but I've lived in this
here country for months and months, and never tasted beef or mutton;
lived upon nothing but kangaroo and damper, and tea made from mulberry
leaves dried along with duck-weed or some such stuff--I know it wasn't
proper tea."

"Is kangaroo nice?" asked Charles.

"Nice? yes, I believe you, 'specially when you're lost in the bush and
can't get nothin' else, and hardly that same. I was out once in the
forests on the Tamar, ramblin' about for ten days, no gun, and almost
starved to death: lay down on my back one mornin' to die. Big brush
came smellin' up to my very face, made a sudden spring and caught
him by the tail, cut his throat--drank his blood--tore the skin off,
and ate him up raw from the nape o' the neck to the extremity of his
fly-thrasher, exceptin' the bones and toe-nails, which wouldn't agree
with my stomach: nice, by gum, wasn't it?"

"I should say it would have been nicer cooked," said Eugene.

"'Twould so," said the carrier; "my wife now can cook kangaroo fit
for the King, or Queen either, if she was in a longin' condition. We
call them steamers, because they're stewed or steamed along with bits
o' bacon chopped small, and they go down slick, without the trouble
o' chewin'--slap up for supper when the jaws is tired of eatin' and
talkin' all day, but for breakfast I prefer a fat beef-steak when the
implements has been restin' all night."

"Do they ever eat opossums?" asked Charles.

"In course they do, and likes 'em too. They gather round a fire about
a dozen on 'em, and brings their 'possums as many as they've caught,
sometimes two or three apiece, then they skin 'em and twirl them round
in the smoke two or three times, so as to give 'em the ghost of a
cookin', and to work they all goes, eats 'em all up, picks the bones as
clean as if their tongues was a lot o' raspin' irons, and then throws
'em over their shoulders to their wives an' children behind. They eat
snakes too; they pin 'em to the ground with forked sticks, cut their
heads off, swing 'em round in the smoke, and eats 'em all up just as
if they was conger ells. Then they goes to a creek and drink the water
by quarts and gallons 'till they're ready to burst. I caught a boy
once that had eaten three 'possums, two snakes, and a kangaroo rat,
and washed 'em down with about six quarts o' water; he was goin' to
burst but I saved him by wrappin' him up in a pair of my own cast off
pantaloons."

"You don't mean to say that christians eat 'possums, snakes, and,
kangaroo rats?" said Eugene.

"Christians!" answered Baxter, with a loud laugh, "Lord bless you no;
who's thinkin' of christians? I'm talkin o' the black natives."

"Shall we see any of them do you think?" asked Charles, a little
frightened.

"See 'em," said the carrier, "my word won't you, and hear 'em too.
You'll see 'em with a double row o' black heads stuck up on the top
of a hill early in the mornin' with their spears and waddies, like a
regiment from the middle of Africa. And you'll hear their captain,
with a 'possum's tail gummed to his nose perpendicular ways like a
cockade, roar out at the top of his voice--'Hoke poke wank fum gibbalee
gumble chokee;' or some such gibberish, the literal meanin' of which
I understand to be--'Eyes right, shoulder 'um and choke them white
scoundrels.'"

"All, I see you are poking fun at us," said Eugene, "you don't want us
to believe all that, do you?"

"Just as you like," said Baxter, knocking the ashes out of his pipe,
"if you don't believe me you may be unpleasantly convinced some fine
mornin'."

"Are there many wild animals here?" enquired Charles.

"Yes, we're pretty well off for them. We have plenty of tigers in the
mountains, but they only eat sheep and boys, they'd run away from a
man. No lions have been seen as yet, though some people say they exist
in great numbers up about the lakes. I heard a man say once that he saw
a crocodile and a hippopotamus tearin' one another's throats in the
Macquarie, opposite Ross, but I believe he told lies. He told me, too,
that he saw a monkey as big as a man jump from a gum tree on to a big
rock, a distance of thirty three feet five inches, and that he measured
it himself; but I know that was a big lie."

"I always heard that there were no wild beasts in this country," said
Eugene.

"I don't believe, myself," said the carrier, "about the lions,
crocodiles, or monkeys; but I've seen tigers, tiger-cats, and devils."

"Devils! what are they?"

"The most ugly things you ever saw. They have got teeth like baboons,
and eat sheep and lambs by scores, though they are no bigger than
smallish dogs. We catch them in pitfall traps, bated with 'possum
bones; they eat up bones, hair, wool, and everything, and would'nt they
growl over a fat baby!"

"Are there any other animals?" said Charles.

"Yes, plenty; lots of small ones, bandicoots, porcupines, wallabies,
wombats, or badgers. These make good pets when caught young, and keep
the feet warm in bed on cold nights, but they'd push and bite their way
through a deal door; they growl, too, and bite in their sleep, so if
you was not careful they might bite your toes off in the middle of the
night."

"Curious bed-fellows they would be," said Charles.

"More curious than them," said Baxter, "I can tell you of. I was out in
the bush once sawin' and splittin', and some of my fellows set the bush
on fire; 'twas in January, too, the hottest month o' the year. Well, I
staid out all night at the fire, to keep my cut and split timber from
bein' burnt, and went to my hut in the mornin' about three o'clock, to
go to bed and have a snooze, but when I crept into my 'possum rug I
felt somethin' move and slap hisself against my leg like the tail of a
buffalo, when up I jumped and shook my rug, and out tumbled a yellow
snake, six foot long."

"Did you kill him?" asked Eugene, with amazement.

"Well, I reckon I either killed him or he killed me. Do I look like a
dead man?"

"What would you have done if he had bitten you?" asked Charles.

"Done? why; I'd 'ave done as other people do, sucked the bite if I
could have got at it, or cut it out, or burnt it with gun powder; and
if I could have done nothin' else, laid down, said my prayers, and
swelled up as big as a elephant afflicted with water cholic. I saw a
young lady once, when she was pullin' somethin' out of a bush, and
a brown snake fastened on her wrist. She screamed out, and I ran up
to her, caught up her arm, sucked it and sucked it for two blessed
hours, until she grew as white as a table cloth, and had'nt two ounces
of blood left in her body. She was quite well the next day, only she
looked a little the color of chalk for about a month: to bring back the
roses to her cheeks they was obligated to feed her on black puddins and
bottled stout."

"You don't mean to say she was really bitten!" said Eugene.

"In course I do; but it's no use tellin' you anything, you don't
believe anything; I might as well try and teach my bullocks how to
dance the New Zealand cut-throat hornpipe as to persuade you to believe
anything. If I told you that there was a petrified skeleton of a black
man fifteen feet three inches and three-quarters long, lyin' on his
side with a grape shot inside of his skull, on the very top o' Mount
Wellington--or if I told you that there was a freshwater shark in the
South Esk, and whenever he tried to turn hisself round he caused a
scarcity o' water down in Launceston, and set the people gapin' for
rain and the papers ravin' about water works, and then caused a flood
when he comes round to his 'riginal position, so that the good people
is wonderin' what the dickins is to come next--you wouldn't believe me
if I took my oath."

"I should think not," said Eugene, laughing.

"Well," said the carrier, "all I can say is that I've been twenty
years in this here country, for I wusn't born yesterday, and though
I wus born in England I don't know what it is like, and have a very
doubtful idea as to where it is on account of bein' shipped off to
America when I was four year old. My old mammy was obligated for to go,
as they said my stepfather, who was head cashier to a flyin' pieman,
had walked away with all the tin he could lay his hands on. But I
gave 'em both the slip myself soon after, and went as powder-monkey
on board a English frigate, where I served durin' the whole war of
independence, and was many a time taken up for dead and goin' to be
pitched overboard, only that my tongue wouldn't stop waggin'. I've been
to Kingston and Port Royal, to Pernambuco and up the Amazon and River
Plate, and to hundreds of other places; sometimes with a full belly and
a good coat on, often without a rag to my back and nothin' under my
jacket but raw wind; and served my king like a brick from the coalhole
to the main truck; and if you don't believe me when I tell you a thing
you're the most extraordinary pair of young fellows that ever I clapp'd
my astonished eyes on."

Having delivered himself of this racy specimen of oratory, Mr. Baxter
drew a stick of tobacco out of his pocket, bit off a pretty good quid,
turned himself on his heel, and returned to the rear.

They soon arrived at the village of Brighton, where it was found
convenient to pass the night. The next morning the journey was resumed.
The weather, however, again became unfavorable, and upon arriving at
the inn at Bagdad the travellers halted, and Mrs. Maxwell, anxious to
see farmer White and his wife, who had been so kind to her husband,
was shown to their cottage. Upon announcing her name she was received
with rural politeness by Mrs. White, whose husband was away from home,
and immediately offered every refreshment the house could afford. An
invitation to remain all night was thankfully accepted, though with
some hesitation, as Mrs. Maxwell did not readily perceive how Mrs.
White could accommodate so many in her small cottage; the latter
explained, however, that though her place looked small, she had two
little apartments at the back where she and her children had often
slept, thus without suffering the slightest inconvenience she could
give up her own room to her lady visitors, and make up a comfortable
bed for the young gentlemen in the sitting-room.

Having conversed for a time on various interesting topics, the good
woman began to make preparations for the evening meal. Assisted by her
eldest daughter, a girl about eleven years of age, she deprived a very
fine ham of a number of slices, which were soon musically hissing on
the kitchen fire. A dish of eggs was brought in from the model pantry,
destined speedily to follow the doom of the ham. "Another frying-pan,
Kitty, be alive girl; bring fine flour and butter; beat up these
eggs. Bring the sugar, Johnny; place a dish by the fire to hold the
pan-cakes; keep away, children, I never saw such a set of crows. Hand
me that tea-pot; why did'nt your make it brighter? Jenny, put the tea
in. Now keep away from the boiling-kettle; take the baby away, Jenny.
Is the table in the parlor laid for tea?"

"Yes, mother."

"Well, take in the ham and eggs, the bread and the pancakes, don't
forget the cream and butter, and I will follow with the tea."

"Mother, here's Billy with his hand in the batter-pan!"

"The naughty children, I really must whip some of you."

"Mother, here's Tommy eating the sugar by handfuls!"

"Mother, give me a pancake!"

"Give me a fried egg, mother!"

"I'll have a pancake and jam," said one.

"I'll have some ham and honey on it," said another.

Oh, Mr. Juniper, are you not a happy bachelor with your grumbling cook?

With a vague threat to her tormentors that she would tell their father
as soon as ever he came home Mrs. White made her escape from the
throng, and entered the parlor, where the tea-table was neatly laid.
Inviting her visitors to draw their chairs she cut the bread, helped
the ham and eggs, and poured out the fragrant tea. To Mrs. Maxwell's
expostulations relative to the trouble she was taking, she replied that
the only trouble she had was with her children, adding that she really
believed they would kill her if their father did not keep them in some
kind of order.

Our heroine and her brothers enjoyed their repast with the enviable
ardor of youth, but their mother partook more sparingly of the good
things set before her. She was anxious to improve her knowledge of her
adopted country, so as to be able to act for herself in case any sudden
emergency might arise; and with that laudable purpose in view she put
some questions to her hostess.

"Certainly, ma'am," said Mrs. White, in reply to the first of her
visitor's queries, "we suffer sometimes both from bushrangers and
natives; but Colonel Sorell has nearly put an end to bushranging,
and the natives only become dangerous at intervals, when they get
provocation from the bad and ignorant stock-keepers and others away
from proper control. We are not safe from either, and are in constant
dread lest they should come upon us in arms when least expected. The
natives are very cruel when bent on revenge, and will murder all, even
helpless children. It is not long since an unfortunate lady, a Mrs.
McAlister, was killed. She was wounded in her own cottage, ran bleeding
and concealed herself in a field of corn. Her children had been carried
off to a place of safety by her servants, but not knowing this she was
unable to control her anxiety, and rushed from her hiding place. She
was seen by the natives, and murdered."

"That was very shocking," said Mrs. Maxwell. "The poor creature! Is it
probable that they still retain their murderous propensities?"

"If they receive an injury," replied Mrs. White, "I have no doubt they
are fully capable of revenging it now as they were then. It is about
sixteen months ago, for it happened just a week before Christmas, that
one morning my husband rose and went to the door to look at the sunrise
as his custom was, when he came back to me in a terrible fright, and
said, 'God protect us, Mary, the hill at the back of John Dennis's
hut is covered with savages.' I got up in a moment, thinking that our
last day had come, but I prayed to the good Lord to point out a way
for us to escape, and I felt as strong and as quiet as I do now. I
took the children down to a low place beside the creek, and covered
them up as well as I could with long green grass, and then I went with
Thomas, with a loaded gun in my hand--for the mere sight of a gun
frightens them very much--and kept watch over the cottage. We heard
them shout their war cry, and knew that they were attacking poor old
John Dennis. Thomas went towards them in order to drive them away, but
I was terrified for the children, and called him back. We saw Dennis
advance up the hill towards them with his gun, but they made signs to
him to put it down, and pretended to put down their spears. He did so,
foolishly, and they attacked him with their waddies and beat him to
death. My husband, with a loud shout, ran forward, but I called to him
not to fire or else he would be killed. The natives heard him and ran
away, leaving poor Dennis stone dead on the ground. Two or three other
people soon came up and followed them into the bush. That was the last
murder they committed in this neighborhood."

"They are treacherous, then, as well as cruel," said Mrs. Maxwell.

"Yes, they are very treacherous ma'am. Still it cannot be denied that
they have met with very unjust and cruel treatment from shepherds and
stock-keepers. An unfortunate man was murdered not long ago by a black
who came to him unarmed as he thought, and making signs of friendship;
but he speared his unsuspecting victim, and how do you think he
contrived to carry his spear?"

"I have no idea."

"He dragged it on the ground between his toes."

"Who would have thought," said Mrs. Maxwell, "that they could be so
cunning?"

"In a great many instances," said Mrs. White, "they have displayed
great cunning and sagacity. I am greatly afraid that if they are not
well treated in future they will yet prove more troublesome than they
have been. You must be very careful, ma'am, when you get settled in
your own house, and keep a watchful eye over your children--though if
they are not under the care of the Almighty human exertions will be in
vain."

"I quite agree with you, Mrs. White,--in fact my Bible tells me so. I
trust we shall always be kept safely in His holy keeping. Which do you
think are more to be dreaded--the blacks or the bushrangers?"

"O, the blacks decidedly. Bushrangers seldom murder people unless in
self-defence, though the plunder they take away is a serious loss and
calamity to the honest industrious man. They do not always creep upon
one as the natives do, with the stealthiness of a cat. You might pass
close to the natives in a forest and think they were black burnt stumps
all the time; they can lie on the ground as if they were lumps of
charcoal, and can climb up trees and conceal themselves in a moment."

The conversation was here interrupted by the entrance of the farmer. He
expressed great satisfaction at the honor done to him by Mrs. Maxwell
in visiting his poor cottage. He made many apologies for the poverty of
the accommodations his house could afford, and declared that nothing
gave him greater pleasure than to become acquainted with an honest man
as he knew Mr. Maxwell to be.

"How do you know that, Mr. White?" said Mrs. Maxwell smiling.

"I know by his face, ma'am, I can always tell an honest man from a
rogue--it's a faculty I've got; I had it when a boy. My father was a
market-gardener near Liverpool, and used to deal with all sorts of
people, but not being very acute himself, whenever he was asked to
give credit he always came to me with--'What do you think of that
fellow, Tom?' or 'How am I to manage with so and so?' my decision
whether--'He's all right, father,' or 'have nothing to do with him,'
was always final."

"It is a very useful faculty," said Mrs. Maxwell, "and must save you
from many losses."

"It has helped, ma'am, though I have met with some losses; honest men
are unfortunate sometimes. But with respect to your good husband I'd
bet my life that if I lent him five hundred pounds and he were to
become insolvent and white-washed as they say, he would never rest
happily until he had paid me every farthing. I only hope he is well
established on good property."

"I believe so," replied the lady; "he wrote me a very high-flown
description of it upon one occasion, which looked very well on
paper. What I may think about it when I see it is still a subject of
speculation."

"Well, ma'am," said the honest farmer, "my best wish is that you may
agree both as to its beauty and value, and that you and your children
may escape all the dangers of life in the bush. I should not like
to frighten you by mentioning the natives and bushrangers, our two
greatest scourges----"

"I heard from your wife," said Mrs. Maxwell, interrupting him, "that a
poor man was murdered near this not long ago."

"Yes ma'am, old John Dennis, I saw it done. His has been many a poor
man's fate. I never leave this cottage but my head is filled with
the fear lest I may find wife and children dead when I come back. In
going through the bush, either on foot or on horseback, I think of the
ambuscade and the deadly spear. I start at the sight of every black
stump that my fancy can represent as a savage, though there was a
time when a cannon ball rushing pass me, and taking off the head of a
mess-mate, only made my blood boil. Now, I believe these blacks make me
the biggest poltroon that ever disgraced the name of Briton, but it is
a fearful thing to leave one's family to such desperate chances."

"The only remedy is to place implicit reliance upon the goodness of
God," said Mrs. Maxwell.

"That is true," said the farmer, "and I have found it so. But I did not
enquire whether Mr. Maxwell met with any of these dangerous people in
his journey up the country.

"Not that I know of," answered the visitor; "he never mentioned them in
his letters, except to say they were comparatively quiet. And I do not
think he has fallen in with any bushrangers either."

"They are another scourge," said White, "and will be as long as there
is a penal settlement on the island, or as long as prisoners are sent
here from England. We are pretty free from them now, but we don't know
the moment when a gang of lawless men may break away from all control
and fill the whole country with alarm and confusion; if we should get
another Michael Howe we shall be in a curious condition."

"I heard of Howe when in Hobarton," said Mrs. Maxwell; "was he as bad
as he is generally represented?"

"Well," replied White, "I can't exactly say that he was as bad as
he was painted. There is no doubt that he committed murder, but that
was in regaining the liberty he had lost. Some say he was kind to the
natives, and not unnecessarily cruel to the people he robbed. But he
was a cool, sly, desperate, stop-at-nothing savage. He shot one of his
comrades for discharging a pistol in sport near his person. He shot a
poor black girl who had travelled through the bush with him, procured
food for him, and watched for him while he slept. She was not killed,
however, but she vowed revenge, and headed a party in pursuit of him. I
knew the men who took him, it required three brave men; and when he was
taken, the breath was out of his body. A pity so much courage was not
displayed in a better cause."

Dark night now closed round the cottage of the Tasmanian farmer, who
lived thus in the midst of so many dangers. It was fortunate that
detached parties of soldiers and constables were scattered about the
country at this period; if it had not been for this check, the loss of
life and property would have been immense.

Mrs. White had completed her arrangements for the accommodation of her
guests, and they retired for the night. How long they lay thinking
of wild Robinson Crusoes armed with double-barrelled guns, rows of
pistols, and polished tomahawks--and men Fridays, black as coal, with
spears and clubs in their hands--before sleep fell upon them, we do not
find recorded by any of our numerous authorities. The following day,
being Sunday, was spent by the travellers in rest at farmer White's
cottage.




CHAPTER XII.--THE JOURNEY IS CONTINUED.

The ensuing morning was sufficiently fine to invite the travellers to
rise early and resume their toilsome journey. Their hostess urgently
requested Mrs. Maxwell to do full justice to the excellent breakfast
she had prepared, and not satisfied with that, she packed up two
loaves of bread, a quantity of ham, and other articles in a basket, to
refresh the young people on the road. Mrs. Maxwell remonstrated, but in
vain. At the conclusion of the repast she bade her kind entertainers
good-by, tending at the same time to Mrs. White the sum of two pounds.
To her surprise, however, Mrs. White positively refused to take any
money, saying that as she did not keep a public-house, she could not
feel justified in taking payment. "Besides, ma'am," she added, "I
might at some future time be glad to accept a cup of tea from you, if
circumstances should ever take me into your neighbourhood."

"You will be heartily welcome," said Mrs. Maxwell, "and Mr. White also."

"Thank you, ma'am," said the farmer, "I might soon ride over and see
Mr. Maxwell. In the mean time take care of yourself and the children."

The aspect of the country had undergone a considerable change. The
recent rains had stimulated nature into a second spring, so that the
grass which was but lately of a bright yellow color now appeared green
and fresh. The foliage of the distant trees was much brighter than
before, but the hills and the valley, in which the road lay, were
clothed with a snowy mantle of light vapor, which had arisen from the
earth at earliest dawn. The track, no longer hard, because a series
of soft banks, adhesive mud, and pools of dirty water; adding doubly
to the labor of the bullocks, and making their progress more slow
and difficult than ever. Indeed, it required all Mr. Baxter's energy
to make any progress at all. He had to order a halt frequently; his
heaviest dray had perhaps got stuck in a mud-hole. Then he had to
unyoke the leaders from his other drays and chain them to the fixed
one, still sinking gradually deeper in the mud. When, with the whips
cracking about their ears, and the drivers delivering torrents of
abuse, the double team would pull it out with a heavy plunge. In this
manner they toiled onwards over Constitution Hill and down into the
beautiful valley of the Cross Marsh. At the village of Green Ponds the
cattle were unyoked, and the fifth night was passed.

The conversation at White's had not the effect of elevating Mrs.
Maxwell's spirits; and Griselda, young and by nature timid, often found
her eyes wandering from tree to tree, and from bush to bush, examining
every cover where a lurking enemy might be concealed; and trembling
lest she should discover one. Small parties of constables and soldiers,
escorting prisoners hand-cuffed together, occasionally met them; and to
Baxter's enquiries the answers generally were, "all right." But Mrs.
Maxwell's mind was ill at ease. She thought of her absent husband, of
her children, and of her own unprotected state; if her husband should
meet with enemies and be killed, what would be her lot? Or how should
she effect a retreat from a country into which it was so difficult to
penetrate? She thought of the happy home far away beyond the ocean--of
the sweet faces blooming amongst the flowers of her native land, and
her eyes insensibly filled to with tears.

"Dear mother," said Griselda in her usual soft, gentle voice, "you are
getting into low spirits again; a few more days and we shall see papa."

"I hope so, my love;" said her mother, "but I am thinking if
circumstances compel its to leave this country, how are we to get out
of it again?"

"Why mother, the same way we came into it, I suppose; make for the
nearest seaport, and get on board a ship."

"Yes, my child; but these natives may beset us on the way. They fill
my mind with terror. They are quiet enough now, but how will they be a
year hence?"

"Oh mamma, do not let your mind dwell upon them; banish such thoughts
and think of your oft repeated maxim of putting your trust in
Providence! We will be kind to them if we should meet them, and they
are not likely to do us any injury."

"You do not know then, Griselda, the nature of these savages. They may
appear docile for a while, but if they suffer an injury from one bad
white man, they immediately proceed to revenge it upon all white people
who come in their way. That is what I dread--we shall not be safe a
moment."

"Nay, mother," said Griselda after a short pause, "do not yet despair,
they are not so bad after all. I have heard you say that my granduncle
George had two of his children murdered by the Indians in North
America, yet he never deserted the country he had chosen."

"That is quite true, love; they killed his children, then sought to
kill him; burned his wheat and his cottage, and all for what? Because
some white miscreant whom your uncle never saw, had slain some of their
tribe."

"Well, mother, we are fairly embarked on the sea of a new existence,
and we must cheerfully bear with the evils of it. If we perish, we
perish, like Queen Esther, and our troubles will be over. There only
remains pity for those who survive; but God will never leave or forsake
those who trust in His mercy."

This and similar conversations, though often of a more hopeful and
pleasing nature, beguiled the time as the weary cattle drew their heavy
drays through mud and stream, over hill and bank; sometimes nibbling at
the long half-green, half-yellow tussocks, as they slowly moved along,
and generally receiving a cut from the drivers' whips for presuming
to satisfy the cravings of appetite. They had commenced the ascent
of Spring Hill, at the southern side of which a charming landscape
was visible, embracing a rich variety of hill and valley, rising in
tree-covered terraces and sinking in grassy slopes and tranquil glens
alternately, for many miles. The scenery of Tasmania has been described
by so many enthusiastic and patriotic writers, that the author of
these pages feels his wings considerably clipped, and deplores his
inability to soar in such exalted company. People who have made this
highly-praised island their adopted home seem to worship it far more
than the natives themselves ever can or will. "I see nothing here,"
says the rich settler, "but scenes of splendor, beautiful mountains,
magnificent valleys, living pictures of sunny Alps, elegant mansions,
most worthy hosts, and truly amiable ladies." We have also seen barren
wastes of inhospitable rock, and gullies into which the rays of the sun
scarcely ever penetrate. But to our history.

The brothers of Griselda ascended Spring Hill on foot, and Griselda and
her mother would gladly have done the same, but that the road was muddy
and forbidding. The boys hung back, as was their custom, to hear what
Mr. Baxter might have to say. That gentleman seemed anxious about his
drays, and had transferred a portion of his luggage to the one in which
the ladies were seated. The bullocks toiled up the hill at a steady
pace, and the carrier attentively watched their progress, saying to the
boys, "That black offside pole bullock will have gone his last journey
when he gets home."

"You intend to kill him, I suppose?" said Eugene.

"I just do," said Baxter; "but I'll fatten him first, though, and eat
him up afterwards."

"How do you intend to fatten him?" asked Eugene.

"Easy enough," answered the carrier; "give him hay for breakfast, if
you have got it, and turnips for dinner, if you can grow 'em or steal
'em; if you have nothin', give him a rovin' license in the bush, with
permission to go into your father's wheat while it's young and tender,
just to finish him off like."

"Perhaps my father would object to that a little," said Eugene.

"Very likely," said Baxter; "he will send you or your brother to let me
know, in course, and away I'll go to get him out, swearin' at him for a
mischievous, treacherous, hungry-gutted beast; but don't be surprised
if you find him there again the next mornin'."

"Is that the way the farmers fatten their bullocks in this country?"
enquired Charles.

"Sometimes," answered Baxter; "but a good many don't take that trouble:
they steal 'em when they're fat enough to make 'em worth stealin'; and
when you get fat bullocks and sheep you must watch 'em well. There are
fellows here as would steal your breakfast from before your eyes. I
knows one, Bill Jenkins; they call him Bloody Bill Jenkins, because his
shirt is always bloody about the shoulders, from carryin' dead 'possums
and other game, and he would steal the buttons off your breeches and
you not know it. Was you long in Hobart Town?"

"Not very long: about eight weeks."

"Was your house broken into? Did you ever get robbed?"

"No, we never lost anything."

"That's a wonder. Hobart Town is full of thieves and burglars, and
clever fellows too, they are. Did you ever hear the story of the old
lady and her silver tea-pot?"

"No," said Eugene; "tell it to us, please."

"It won't take long," said Baxter. "There was an old lady, the widow
of some guvment officer, and she lived in Davey-street, with a servant
girl to wait on her, on perhaps a pension of thirty or forty pounds a
year; but she had'nt much property, only a few articles of furniture
and a silver tea-pot. Well, she prized this tea-pot mightily; there
never was such a tea-pot before or since, and the old lady never
parted with it by night or day, and the burglars knew, as they know
everything, that before they could get the tea-pot they'd have to kill
the old lady, but this they did'nt want for to do. So as Polly the
servant wench was takin' the air one fine evenin' at the garden gate,
up comes a gentleman to her who seemed to be an old acquaintance.

"'Polly,' says he, coaxin'ly, 'I want you to do me a favor.'

"'What is it?' says Polly.

"'I want you, Polly,' says he, 'to give me the dimensions and
particulars respectin' your missus's tea-pot. My sweetheart has taken a
fancy to it, and I'll give her one quite as good in exchange.'

"'She'll not part with it,' says Polly; 'she never takes her eyes off
it all day, and she takes it to bed with her at night.'

"'O never, mind that,' says he, 'I'll manage all that; only just give
me the dimensions and shape, there's a good girl.'

"'You mus'nt hurt her, mind,' says Polly, 'on no account.'

"'If I hurt a hair of her head,' says the gentleman, 'may my fingers be
burnt off before I'm dead.'

"Polly promised to furnish the desired information the next day, and in
about a fortnight a very well-dressed gentleman knocked at the door.

"'Is this,' said he, as pompous as a pair o' tongs, 'the residence of
Mrs. Judith Stokes?'

"'Yes, Sir,' says Polly, not knowing who he was.

"'I wish to see her on important business,' said the gentleman.

"'Walk in, Sir,' said Polly, and in he did walk; he had some papers in
one hand and something tied up in a handkecher in the other. Presently
the old lady came into the room, curtseyin' very low--'Have I the
pleasure of addressin' Mrs. Judith Stokes?' said the gentleman.

"'That is my name, Sir,' said the old lady.

"'My dear ma'am,' says he, 'allow me to congratulate you--allow me to
shake you by the hand--this is the most happiest day of my life.'

"'I don't quite misunderstand you, sir,' says the old lady, curtseyin'
again and smilin' sweetly.

"'Only just this, my dear ma'am, as you'll see by these papers--only
just a legacy left you of two hundred and fifty pound a year, with
reversionary annuity to your next kin, whomsoever you think proper to
appoint.'

"'Sir--Sir,' gasped the old lady in astonishment, 'you don't mean for
to say--'

"'Now don't allow yourself to be overcome, my dear ma'am,' said the
stranger, 'I repeat what I have said. I was in such a hurry to tell you
that I left the ship the moment she cast anchor in the bay, and I've
been livin' on salt pork for nine months--could you just oblige me with
a cup of tea, just one cup, with a very little cream in it?'

"With wonderful pleasure and quickness did the old lady bring in the
silver teapot, with Polly at her elbow with cup and saucer, bread and
butter, sugar and cream, and the tea was made and poured out, while
the pleasant gentleman went on with the particulars of the legacy; but
in the middle of his discourse he pulled out a snuffbox and offered
the old lady a pinch which set her sneezin' so violently that she was
compelled to leave the room for a couple of minutes. When she came back
the stranger sat quite still, finishing his cup of tea, but starting
up suddenly he exclaimed, 'there goes the captain of my ship, I must
speak to him, have been looking for him these three hours; excuse
me, dear ma'am, for one moment, only one moment--will be back again
directly; will leave my papers here; have pen and ink and a respectable
witness ready;' and the gentleman rushed out, lookin' up the street and
shoutin' 'hi,' as if desperately anxious to overtake somebody.

"In course I need hardly tell such intelligent characters as you that
the gentleman never came back; that the silver tea-pot was gone, and
a pewter one left in its place; that the silver spoons were gone, and
pewter ones left in their places; but you may like to know that the
poor old lady, when she discovered the cheat, and that the darling of
her life was gone, took to her bed, and died exactly that day month."

"That was a great scoundrel," said Eugene.

"And so impudent to ask for tea and cream in it too," said Charles.

"It was a clever trick though a hard-hearted one," said Baxter, "and I
could tell you of dozens. He was one of a large gang, there was nothin'
safe from them; the town is not so bad now, but at that time I knew a
gentleman who had a gold watch, and for safety put it under his pillow
every night, till one mornin' when he looked for it as usual it was
gone, and a piece of paper, with writin' on it, left in its place,
tellin' him to thank his stars that his throat wasn't cut; and he never
heard nothin' about it no more. When I lived in town five years ago I
had a horse that was blind of an eye, and I turned him one night into
my neighbor Sprigg's paddock, and went to fetch him out early next
mornin' before daylight, but he was gone, and I never saw him from that
day to this; and the only observation I made was that Sprigg got up a
little too early."

The travellers had now arrived at Mr. Augustus Flynn's well-conducted
hotel, and Mrs. Maxwell was glad to retire to rest early, as she was
now thoroughly tired of her conveyance. At Spring Hill the following
day was passed, as it turned out exceedingly cold and windy. The
time hung heavily on the hands of our friends, though Mrs. Flynn, a
respectable person, did all in her power to amuse them. They did not
see much of Dr. Flynn, as he was very busy superintending the laborers
on his farm. He was an active, bustling, well-meaning man, one of those
generous sons of Hibernia who take your money reluctantly, and heave a
sympathetic sigh while doing so.

On the morrow the drays were got into motion again, and the day's
journey terminated, no incident worth recording having occurred, at
Oatlands where tolerable accommodation was to be found.

Again onward through slush, puddle, and swollen brook, over stone
and hillock, into deep rut with widespread splash of water and
mud--counting the precious moments as they slowly pass, wishing that
they or the bullocks could go faster--still onward to the happy home
in the ever-green forest. Move yourselves along, good, patient, weary
cattle; think of the beautiful green grass growing in the valley
of the South Esk--think of the clear stream where you can quench
your daily thirst--think of the warm honeysuckle tree, of the sunny
bank, of the sheltered nook, of the well-worn and well-known track
through the pleasant woods! Think of the sweet sounds of recognition
rising from the marshes as you draw near home, and your brothers
and sisters, nephews and nieces, young and old flocking round you
and asking why you have been away so long! Think of the refreshing
nibbles at your master's haystack, the nocturnal rambles into his
neighbor's turnips, and of the green crops in which you often gravely
enjoy yourselves--think of all these things, good bullocks, and go
faster!--They sleep at Antill Ponds--not in the ponds, but in a
roadside cabin--this night.

Onward still across the Salt Pan Plains and stop at the village where
the Angel Inn by Peter Muff stood in nearly solitary glory. But all
is silent, tenantless, and desolate. Has the angelic guardian of
this establishment taken her departure, or what is the matter with
Mr. Peter Muff? There is no life about the place. There are no jolly
voices issuing from the taproom. Where is Peter?--the joyous, the
gay, the potent spirit and caustic wit, the terror of preachers and
teetotallers? He is dead! What befell you, Peter, when as you were
making a set speech to the blacksmith's wife on the impropriety and
immorality of spending money upon anything except the true comforts of
life--beer, rum, gin, and brandy--you tumbled off your perch in the bar
in such a woeful state of unconsciousness that even the strong scent of
your beloved rum assiduously applied to your nose failed to revive you?

We pass on. 'No dinner to be had here,' should have been painted on
the signboard. Onward to the future city--the town of Ross; but ere
you reach it, Griselda! who is this riding across the plain at a smart
canter, now spurring to a gallop when he sees the approaching teams?
Did you ever see him before? It is your father, safe and well, and he
reins up his panting steed close to the dray containing his wife and
children. He presses their hands, he bids Mr. Baxter good evening, his
wife gazes upon him, he looks well and happy--his face flushed with
health and exercise--and tears of love, joy, and gratitude flow down
her cheeks.

At Ross the second Sunday was passed and divine service was held in a
large wooden building, at which the Maxwell family attended. On Monday
the journey was again resumed, and Campbell Town was reached at an
early hour.

The journey from Campbell Town to Avoca occupied two days, and then
an unexpected delay took place in consequence of the river St. Paul's
being flooded, rendering the ford extremely hazardous to cross. There
was no help for it but to wait for the subsidence of the flood. Mrs.
Maxwell's patience was sorely tried, but fortunately the weather
continued fine, and the river was safely crossed on the evening of the
second day.

Mrs. Trapfarthing was happy to entertain the travellers for that
night--the preceding ones having been passed in a constable's hut on
the Campbell Town side of the river--and who shall now describe their
delight on arriving at the lonely cottage in the bush, the home which
had been the subject of their dreams through many a night, and day,
too, of weary anticipation? By the light of a cheerful fire--surrounded
by a confused heap of bedding, chairs, tables, and everything else of
household necessity--they sat and talked the hours away, related their
mutual adventures, and congratulated one another on their escape from
all dangers. Maxwell did not forget to thank his Creator for the daily
mercies extended to him and his, and in a short time the inmates of
this peaceful cottage were at rest.




CHAPTER XIII.--FARMING OPERATIONS AND JOHNSON JUNIPER.

THE sun shone cheerfully over the hills of Bremgarten when Griselda and
her mother rose early and went forth to look at them. The estate was
situated at a considerable distance to the eastward of Avoca, being
farther from that township and nearer Fingal than the residence of Mr.
Johnson Juniper; but the bachelor's land being on the northern bank,
and Maxwell's on the southern, the river South Esk necessarily flowed
between them in a dark, though not a very wide current. Maxwell's
cottage had been built at the edge of a preen marsh some two miles
distant from Juniper's, and about two hundred yards from the river's
bank, on the recommendation of Mr. Juniper, who said that the river
overflowed its banks frequently, and the farther the settlers were from
it the better. Behind it a succession of grassy hills rose with gentle
slope, dotted here and there with tall white gum trees, intermixed
with thick shady groves of young wattles or mimosas whose countless
branches were buried in small leaves of sombre green. From the tops of
these hills, or rather banks, a level plain extended for some distance,
embracing perhaps an area of two hundred acres, and covered with the
coarse yellow grass peculiar to the marshes of Tasmania.

At the other side of the river lay a chain of dark and heavily wooded
hills, so thickly covered with forest that the surface of the soil was
not distinguishable, except where some bare black rocks made a gap
amongst the countless trees. Over these the top of Ben Lomond could
be seen in fine weather, but to obtain a good view of it a walk of
some distance from the river was requisite. To the eastward many a
bold bluff and craggy peak rose up, rough and inhospitable certainly,
but still not the least happy features in a landscape. On the south
a row of wooded hills, similar to those on the opposite side, but
terminated partially by a high conical mountain called St. Paul's
Dome, presented themselves to view. A plain, apparently narrow, partly
open, and partly interspersed with belts of scrub and thick peppermint
forest lay between these ridges. Not far from the cottage there was a
lagoon or marsh into which a number of cattle had found their way, and
they appeared to Mrs. Maxwell's eyes a picture of rural contentment
as they stood knee deep in water cropping the green rushes that grew
above the surface. From the position occupied by the homestead there
was no enchanting view of the surrounding country to be obtained; but
by ascending the hills at the back of Maxwell's property a prospect
of the western mountains and a splendid view of Ben Lomond might
reward the lover of romantic scenery. From the cottage itself no human
dwelling place could be seen, although there were two in the immediate
neighbourhood--that of Mr. Juniper, already mentioned, and the well
appointed mansion of Arthur Earlsley, Esq., J.P., a landed proprietor
of some importance. Maxwell's farm was cut in two by the road leading
from Campbell Town to Falmouth. It was not, it must be confessed, the
most favorable specimen of Tasmanian farms. The situation was not so
open and sunny as Mrs. Maxwell had pictured to her imagination, but she
had made up her mind to be satisfied and not make their first day's
residence in the bush uncomfortable by repining. *


[* The description of Maxwell and Juniper's farms is principally drawn
from imagination the general aspects of the country as seen from the
Fingal road being adhered to as far as a hurried visit to the locality
could enable the author to delineate them.]


Returning to the house an examination was held of the architecture,
extent, and available accommodations of that neat building. The walls
were composed of sods cut square from a neighbouring bank, raised to
the height of five feet six, so that the grand entrance which faced the
river was not a bit too high. The roof was formed of sheets of thick
stringy-bark obtained from the adjacent forest, supported on round
green saplings deprived of their bark before being put up. The window
frames had been made by a bush carpenter of no very refined mechanical
ingenuity, so that they proved but slender barriers against the violent
gales of the season. The interior was divided into four apartments by
partitions of slabs placed perpendicularly and as close together as was
judged necessary for such a temporary abode. The front door opened into
the largest apartment, which was intended to serve as kitchen, parlor,
and drawing-room all in one. An ample fire-place, capable of receiving
and comfortably roasting the carcase of an ox, occupied one end,
wherein a fire of dry gum wood burned brightly. A white stringy-bark
table of large size stood in the centre, and a rudely constructed
dresser was fixed at the back of the room. A few make-shift chairs and
a couple of rough stools completed the furniture of the dwelling; but
these articles were found very useful additions to those which had been
brought up from Hobarton, and altogether when properly arranged made
the room assume a happy and cheerful aspect. Besides this there was
another but smaller apartment, which was entered from it by a narrow
doorway, intended to serve as a bed-room for our settler and his wife.
At the back of this was another small room destined to be Griselda's
sleeping apartment, and adjoining it, and immediately at the back of
the front room, the dormitory of her brothers was situated. Above them
all a kind of loft had been made by slabs resting on the partition
walls and tie-beams, where the stores of tea and sugar, spare bedding,
and other things were to be kept. The several rooms were lighted by
small windows already glazed, and made to open for the admission of
fresh air. Though the residence was not, as may be supposed, extremely
comfortable, yet Mrs. Maxwell was surprised at her husband's energy
in having it completed in so short a time. Her quick eye immediately
detected room for improvement in every direction, and as soon as the
numerous duties of unpacking furniture, opening and untying boxes, and
putting things away in the places intended for them, were discharged,
she set about completing her plan for keeping the weather out of doors
as much as possible, in which her daughter of course assisted her.

It is no new thing to our colonial readers to be told that Maxwell felt
considerable pride as his eye wandered over the extensive portion of
soil which he could now call his own. This pride, if arising from a
consciousness of honest independence, from the fact of being placed in
a position which enabled him to bid defiance to the chance of poverty,
was commendable and faultless. If, on the contrary, it arose from the
greedy lust of wealth--an insatiable desire for the perishable riches
of this world it was, in our humble opinion, highly to be condemned. We
hope the father of Griselda had none of this offensive selfishness, but
our readers will be able to judge for themselves on this matter as our
story proceeds. We have ourselves been frequently excessively amused
at witnessing what a writer on Tasmania designates as a "scramble
after Mammon," and it almost invariably happens that the most lucky
of Mammon's followers are the most eager in the scramble, putting us
forcibly in mind of an over-gorged wolf snatching the last bite from
the mouth of a lean and half-starved one.

But there was no time to be lost. A living if not Mammon, had to be
scrambled for. Farming operations had to be commenced, stock had to be
procured, working cattle, too. Mr. Baxter was persuaded to part with
four of his best--very best--working bullocks for their fair value in
money. He was also persuaded, almost against his will, to plough a
piece of ground, about fifteen acres, for Maxwell's future wheat crop,
at the moderate charge of two pounds per acre. A farm servant was
lent for awhile by Mr. Juniper to draw wood and water. A bullock cart
and a cask mounted on wheels were purchased, and the bullocks were
yoked up to bring home a load of wood. Maxwell yoked them up himself
in order to learn and teach his sons; he also put them to the cart
himself. He lifted up the pole and placed it in the ring, letting the
bolt drop on the outside as was right, but the bullocks not knowing
his voice thought proper to run away, taking the empty cart and the
proprietor clinging to the pole, down the marsh towards the river. In
this situation he kept himself quiet in order to avoid running the
risk of frightening the animals, and urging them on still faster; but
he managed to get astride on the pole, and with the help of one of
the bullocks' tails he pulled himself backwards until he could catch
the front rail, and thus draw himself up into the cart. Thence it was
easy to drop out behind and return leisurely to the cottage, where
his alarmed wife stood looking at him in silence, and his children
wondering what would happen to them if he had been killed.

The laboring man, Jacob Singlewood by name, laughed at his new master's
misfortune, went for the bullocks, and brought the wood and water. The
bullocks he said were quiet bullocks enough, but they did not like
strangers, and master would know how to manage them next time. When
a quantity of wood was laid in, Maxwell and his sons turned out to
assist Jacob in putting up a fence round their new paddock which Baxter
was ploughing. They worked hard. The trees were cut down and lopped,
dragged into the line by the bullocks, and piled up into their place
with the aid of inclined skids and hand spikes; but these novices in
labor found the wood hard and tough. Their hands, too, were tender,
and soon became covered with blisters, which Griselda and her mother
gently bound up with the softest linen they could find. Their backs
and sides also were sore from lifting heavy weights. Then Mrs. Maxwell
had their dinner ready for them at 1 o'clock. It consisted of salt
beef or salt pork, tea, and damper--a close unleavened kind of bread
baked in hot ashes, no oven having as yet been built. The salt meat and
damper were unpalatable to the ladies, and they lived nearly upon tea,
as yet unaccompanied by the luxury of milk. But it had been arranged
that Maxwell should take his horse and travel about a little in order
to purchase a couple of cows and a few sheep, also some potatoes and a
pig, Mrs. Maxwell sagaciously observing that a farm was not and could
not be a farm without a pig. There were no out offices as yet upon
the establishment, no stable, no barn or cowshed, no stye for pig or
hut for Jacob; but Maxwell's hands were full, he would have all these
things in good time; the farm was his own and nobody could sweep down
like a well-fed hawk, demand more rent, or, failing that, turn him
out away from his home and the fruits of his labor; what a comfort
that was! As Jacob could not well be expected to sleep under a tree,
his master was obliged to admit him into the house, and he slept in
a corner of the kitchen on a large sea chest, filled with crockery,
slops, and tobacco. How it would have amused their friends at home
if they could have seen Maxwell and his family dining at their large
table on the damper, salt beef, and tea, the man Jacob being similarly
engaged at the same time in his own corner.

As for the river it was still too high to be crossed at Kangaroo
Billy's ford--so called, we have heard, from the fact of an old
shepherd having been drowned there in former times; thus all
communication with Mr. Johnson Juniper, save by boat, was cut off. But
Juniper had a boat in which he could cross the river at any time; it
was the trunk of a large tree, formed into a primitive canoe by being
hollowed out in the middle, and he came over one afternoon having first
allowed his new neighbors a few days to get settled in their bush
residence. Mr. Juniper, though a bachelor, was a very considerate man.
He now sauntered up the marsh leading to Maxwell's cottage with a good
sized basket hanging on his arm. Eugene was outside pointing rails for
a stock-yard, and seeing the stranger yet at a distance he threw down
his adze and ran into the cottage hastily, crying out that a strange
man was coming; that he looked like a bushranger, and had a basket on
his arm full, perhaps, of loaded pistols!

Mrs. Maxwell and Griselda felt alarmed for a moment, but quickly
banished their fear on taking a view of the stranger. The former knew
Mr. Juniper at once by the description her husband had given her of
him. She reproved Eugene for causing so great an alarm on such slight
grounds, and retired to change her apron and adjust her hair before the
visitor should arrive; Griselda did the same.

Eugene returned to his work, and the stranger came up to him. "Are you
Mr. Maxwell's son?" said he.

"Yes," replied Eugene.

The visitor held out his hand--"How do you do?" said he, and after
shaking hands he drew from his basket a large rosy apple and gave it to
the boy, who took it with a 'thank you.' Mr. Juniper then asked if Mr.
Maxwell was at home, and Eugene answered--"No, but my mother is."

"My name is Juniper--you may tell your mother; I live on the other side
of the river; your father is not gone far, is he?"

"I think not," replied Eugene, "but walk in if you please, while I tell
my mother."

Mr. Juniper walked in accordingly, and sat down on the large chest,
laying the basket down beside him, taking off his straw hat and
elevating his grey hair with his fingers. He was not dressed like a
gentleman, that is as gentlemen are generally supposed to be dressed.
He wore an exceedingly strange and rough-looking shooting coat, with
alternate bars of grey and black, closely resembling in everything but
color the skin of a tiger; a waistcoat made of real native cat skins;
a pair of expansive corduroy inexpressibles; a check shirt with the
collar turned down so as to exhibit a muscular and sun-burnt neck;
and a pair of newly greased stock-keepers' boots. He hummed a tune to
himself as was his constant habit when not conversing, while his heels
kept time against the side of the chest. Mrs. Maxwell soon made her
appearance, and welcomed the visitor with her usual kindness.

"It gives me great pleasure to be able to thank you personally, Mr.
Juniper, for your attention and hospitality to Mr. Maxwell; I am sure
we are both very much indebted to you."

"Don't mention it ma'am," said Juniper, as he rose and bowed low,
for he was not without his share of politeness though unaccustomed
to the society of ladies. "It is only my duty--it is the duty of all
Englishmen to help their countrymen in a strange land. I took the
liberty of bringing you a small piece of fresh beef and a few apples."

"Thank you, it is really very kind and considerate of you," said Mrs.
Maxwell; "I am sorry Mr. Maxwell is not at home just now; Eugene, take
a walk over to the paddock and see if your father is there."

"Never mind," said Juniper, "I can wait till he comes, or I'll walk to
the paddock myself."

"I beg you will not," said Mrs. Maxwell, "you have had a long walk
already, and such a heavy basket to carry so great a distance; run
Eugene," and Eugene ran.

"This is my daughter Griselda, Mr. Juniper; this is the gentleman, my
dear, who has been so very kind to your father."

Griselda came forward and shook hands with Mr. Juniper, and that
gentleman asked her how she found herself that day, to which the young
lady replied, "Pretty well, thank you."

Mrs. Maxwell procured a dish, and placed upon it a respectable piece
of fat beef, drawn from Juniper's basket. About four dozen large red
apples were soon nicely arranged on one of the shelves of the dresser.
But what chiefly came directly home to Mrs. Maxwell's ideas, and
touched a sympathetic cord, was a large roll of fresh butter neatly
wrapped up in white paper and cabbage leaves. She could not help again
expressing her thanks to her visitor for his great kindness, and asked
him if he had a cow or two to dispose of.

"I have cows, ma'am," said he, "and could part with some of them, but
I am afraid they are hardly quiet enough for you--that is if you mean
to milk them yourself; a man that understands cows could easily manage
them. I suppose you will soon be able to milk cows, Miss Maxwell?"

"I intend to try," answered Griselda.

"It is as well to learn," said Juniper, "a milkman is not always to be
got; though I never did anything of the kind myself, yet I know many
gentlemen who milk their own cows. My ploughman and his wife do all
that business; if it were not for them I would have no butter or milk,
as I care nothing for butter, and am not in love with milk."

"You must lead a very lonely life, Mr. Juniper?" said Mrs. Maxwell.

"Yes, ma'am, lonely enough," he answered, "but I'm pretty well used
to it now; I've plenty to do and to think of, though I do feel lonely
sometimes."

"How do you pass your time in the middle of summer? I should think it
is impossible to go out under the burning sun."

"We get used to it, ma'am; the sun is never so hot as to be beyond
endurance, except to some very delicate people who have keen
sensibilities and thin skulls. But when, in addition to a hot sun, we
have a hot wind, the air thick with smoke like a London fog, a bush
fire on one side, a bush fire on the other side, and fifty bush fires
north, south, east and west, that's the pleasant time--warm work, then,
Miss Maxwell."

"Dear me I that must be frightful," said Mrs. Maxwell.

"Bad enough while it lasts, ma'am," said Juniper; "but it's not the
case every summer. This summer has been very fine, with plenty of
refreshing showers, but about three years ago we had a most distressing
drought. The South Esk was more like a ditch than a river; the grass
was so dry and withered that you would have thought the heat of the sun
above would have been sufficient to set fire to it; the whole country,
from Ben Lomond to Ben Nevis, and from here to St. Patrick's Head, was
a mass of fire for weeks together."

"And how did you save your homestead?" Mrs. Maxwell asked with
breathless interest.

"I saved mine, ma'am," replied Juniper, "by burning a train round it at
night, so that instead of waiting till the flames swept me away, house,
pigstyes, and all, I sent a fire to meet a fire, and they checked one
another, of course. But even at night you have to run from a fire when
the wind changes. I have been nearly suffocated several times, and once
had to run into the Esk, bury myself in water up to the chin, and bob
my head underneath to draw breath;--you laugh, Miss Maxwell, but it was
no laughing matter, I assure you."

"No, indeed, far from it," said Mrs. Maxwell, smiling, nevertheless, at
her daughter's merriment. She was about to continue the conversation,
when Mr. Maxwell and his sons entered the cottage.

"Glad to see you, Juniper," said he; "how are you to-day? I need not
ask how Mrs. Juniper is?"

"Why, no," said the visitor; "but wherever the good lady is I hope she
is well."

"Look, Bernard," said Mrs. Maxwell, "at those beautiful apples and
this nice piece of fat fresh beef, and such a large roll of delicious
butter."

Maxwell looked. "Ah," said he, taking one of the apples, while the two
boys helped themselves, "I know where these grow; many thanks, Juniper.
What time is it, Elizabeth? Let us have a cup of tea. Has Earlsley said
anything more about his land? I thought he was coming with a regiment
of splitters and chain men to turn me out of this, and level this house
with the ground."

"O never mind, Sir, what he says," said Juniper, looking very
important; "he has found out that it is of no use swaggering and
blustering any longer; he is as bitter as gall against me for having
shewn you this grant; but I only did what the Surveyor-General told me
to do, and my own duty, Sir; a man must never be afraid of doing his
duty, Sir."

"Certainly not," said Maxwell; "it was very kind of the
Surveyor-General. He is a perfect gentleman; and as for my opening my
lips to him on the subject of fee, present, or bribe of any kind, upon
my honor I never did."

"What is all that about?" said Mrs. Maxwell, when she had partly laid
the table for tea; "you have secrets between you, I see; what about Mr.
Earlsley?"

"Nothing, love," replied her husband, "only that Mr. Earlsley was
under the impression that all this land was his; and it annoyed him
excessively to find that he was really to have such near neighbors:
poor man! he has only about thirty thousand acres of land already, and
we hope time will heal the wound. I do not blame him; how is he to know
but that I may steal his sheep and kill his fat cattle? He should put
up public notices on the gum trees at various places, to the effect
that no neighbors are required within a radius of fifty miles at least."

"Come, you are too severe, Bernard," said the lady; "this damper that
we are obliged to eat does not seem to possess the faculty of improving
your already amiable temper. Do you take sugar, Mr. Juniper? I think
you said you were not in love with milk, and we have none to offer you."

"I take sugar if you please ma'am," said the bachelor, "and as for
milk, unless it is the milk of human kindness, which is a scarce
article in these parts, its absence or presence does not affect me.
If you do not like damper I can put you in the way of making good
wholesome bread, if you have a pot with a lid to fit it exactly."

"I declare you speak like an angel, Mr. Juniper," said Mrs. Maxwell,
laughing; "good bread is just the thing we want, even more than good
butter; and I have such a dear little pot with a cover, but I have no
yeast; I could make some, could I not?"

"Yes ma'am, but you would want some brewer's yeast to set yours going,
or what will do just as well; I will get some from Mrs. Rim and send it
over to you by first opportunity."

"Thank you, it is very kind of you," said Mrs. Maxwell; "who is Mrs.
Rim, is she a near neighbor?"

"She is ma'am, nearer than I am, she's my ploughman's wife."

"Oh, I thought she might be a settler's wife. Please get her to send me
a receipt for making yeast."

"I can give you that myself;" said Juniper. "Boil two ounces of hops in
six quarts of water for an hour and a half, add a pound and a half of
bran, a pound of sugar, boil for another half hour, let it stand till
milk warm, put in half a pint of good yeast, let it stand all night,
then strain and bottle, but don't cork the bottles till it has done
working, unless you want them to be all broken, and your yeast rising
to the ceiling instead of in the dough."

A general laugh rewarded the jolly bachelor's attempt at wit.

"How do you like Johnnie cake, Miss Maxwell?" said Juniper.

"I never tasted any," answered Griselda.

"Perhaps you mean Kangaroo Billy cake?" interposed Maxwell.

"No," said Juniper, "Johnnie cake; lend me a frying pan and I'll make
one, and Miss Maxwell shall mix the dough."

A change from damper to Johnnie cake was acceptable, and the frying pan
was handed to Mr. Juniper; he forgot, however, that the house could
not in its then forlorn condition produce mutton fat, an indispensable
requisite for Johnnie cake. "Never mind," said he, "butter will do as
well;" and seizing the plate containing the large roll he (to Mrs.
Maxwell's utter consternation) transferred about a pound of it to
the hot pan, where it began to hiss and sputter in a most melodious
manner. Acting under his directions, Griselda was not long in making a
cake with flour, water, and salt, which was speedily in the frying-pan
covered with the boiling butter. In a few minutes Juniper turned it,
saying as he did so--"I've seen the time, Miss Maxwell, when I could
toss these up the chimney and catch them in the pan again outside the
door--but I'm old and stiff now." A few minutes more and the cake was
pronounced done and turned out is upon a plate.

"There," said Juniper, "now try it Mrs. Maxwell, will you, while I fry
another."

The tea was dispatched, and the Johnnie cakes approved of, although,
as Mrs. Maxwell said, they could hardly be recommended to people of
impaired digestive powers. Juniper conversed with a good deal of quaint
humor; the settlers were not unusually oppressed by care, and the
party was very merry. The two boys and Griselda were much pleased with
their new acquaintance--with his round, red face, garnished with white
whiskers and beard, and his lively though not brilliant wit. A smart
conversation was kept up to a late hour, as the moon was up, and the
visitor expressed no anxiety as to any difficulty in crossing the river
on his way home.

"How do you like the man I sent you, Mr. Maxwell?" he enquired.

"Pretty well, indeed," said Maxwell; "he seems to be a plodding kind of
man, rather slow and self-opinioned, but a passable workman."

"You can keep him altogether, if you like," said the Surveyor, "he is
all the better, I suspect, for not having companions."

"He will be here soon," said Mrs. Maxwell. "What an inconvenience it
is, Mr. Juniper, not having a hut set apart for men servants."

"It must be very great ma'am," answered Juniper. "Now, my cook, though
there are no ladies in the house, gives me so much trouble sometimes
that I am often inclined to turn him out of doors, and make him sleep
in the hut--a proceeding which he would not be likely to approve of."

"I am in constant dread," said the lady, "that he will turn round some
day and rob us; our few articles of plate are a great trouble to us."

"Hide them, ma'am--bury them somewhere."

"I thought of that, but I have only one teapot, and that is a silver
one."

"Paint it black, ma'am, and robbers will not think it worth the trouble
of carrying."

"Mr. Baxter, the carrier," said Eugene, "told us a great many stories
when coming up the country about kangaroos, natives, snakes, and an old
lady who had a silver teapot, and how the burglars got it from her by
stratagem."

"And he told us," said Charles, "about a skeleton on the top of Mount
Wellington fifteen feet long, and a shark in the South Esk that could
not turn round."

"Yes," said Juniper, "Baxter is a fine fellow at story-telling, but if
you take all he says for gospel you will have enough to carry."

"Have you that carpenter still, Juniper?" asked Maxwell.

"Yes, Sir, he is with me still."

"You must let me have him again for a short time to build a hut."

"You can have him as soon as you're ready. I suppose you'll want slabs?"

"No, I think a mud hut will do for the present."

"You had better leave it to Jacob himself altogether; he will build one
in a couple of days."

"You have not sent me in your bill yet for the survey, Juniper."

"We can leave that, Sir, till you see the cows, mares, and pigs," said
Juniper.

"Baxter ought to make a fortune in a few years," said Maxwell,
"especially if many more new settlers come to this part of the country:
he charged me ninety pounds for a carriage alone."

"It is too much," said Juniper; "but there is no competition, and you
could not have brought your things up yourself. Baxter is a not a
bad kind of fellow, but he's sharp, Sir; in a country like this, Mr.
Maxwell, we are obliged to be as sharp as needles, Sir."

"I believe all that," answered Maxwell; "but there ought to be such a
thing as conscience."

"I have been in this island," said Juniper, "now ten years the
twenty-fifth of next October, and if I ever met with such a thing as
conscience I was asleep and didn't see it. But I remember once, when
carting a load of sawn timber out of the tiers, a beam fell on my head,
and sent me off to a comfortable sleep. When I awoke, I saw, or thought
I saw, a good, honest, consciencious man standing beside my bed, with a
lancet in one hand and a basin of blood in the other."

"A doctor, I suppose?"

"Yes, Sir, a doctor; and strange to say he was the only man (present
company always excepted) who ever to my knowledge possessed any
conscience at all."

"O come, come now, Mr. Juniper," said Maxwell, "that will not do; you
are too hard on the colonists. I think you should not condemn all, even
if there are a dozen or more selfish and grasping men to be found in
the island. I fell in with a man at Bagdad--I think that was the name
of the place named White, a good, honest, and hospitable man; the owner
of five hundred acres."

"And I," interrupted Mrs. Maxwell, "will answer for Mrs. White,
for I spent two nights there; the very personification of generous
hospitality."

"As to that," said Juniper, "they are all hospitable enough. A man out
here who is not hospitable must be a very bad number indeed. I have
found a good many farmers who live by agriculture alone quite satisfied
with the extent of their properties; whereas, with the sheep-owners who
have large tracts of country, it is nearly always quite the reverse. If
you were the governor to-morrow, and gave an agricultural farmer five
hundred acres, he would thank and bless you all the days of his life;
but give a sheep-owner ten thousand acres, and he'll coolly ask you for
five thousand more to square him off on some particular side."

"I think it probable," said Maxwell, "that this weakness inhuman
nature is rendered more prominent, or appears, as in sculpture in
alto relievo, on account of the thinness of the population here,
and the comparatively low value of the land, to say nothing of the
total unfitness of a great portion of it for agricultural purposes, by
reason of sand, stones, and water. It seems natural for a man to wish
to enlarge his property when he sees land all round him given away for
nothing. In England I should think there are many men just as selfish
and as grasping as any here, perhaps a great deal more so, but you
seldom hear of them, because they are absorbed in the dense population.
In England also, landed proprietors are more apt to be content, because
they know their estates amount to so much, neither more nor less; they
cannot depasture their stock on the adjoining crown lands at pleasure.
If they want to increase their property they know it cannot be done
without a great pecuniary sacrifice. Another important fact must not be
lost sight of: the free settlers of this island are a picked race; they
have all, with very few exceptions, left their native land with the
view of bettering their fortunes; men who, stimulated by a strong dread
of poverty, have become eager from habit in the pursuit of wealth.
They appear to us to be selfish and grasping, while in their own eyes
they are only moderately anxious to place themselves in an independent
position, and when that position is gained the desire for yearly
increasing wealth becomes confirmed. Their fear of striking on the rock
of poverty drives them to the opposite rock--avarice. House must be
added to house and field to field."

"Upon my word, Sir," said Juniper, "I think your sentiments are quite
correct. Henceforth as I dread poverty very much I will grow as selfish
and as grasping as the largest landowner in the island."

"There is, however," said Maxwell, when the general laugh at Mr.
Juniper's humor had subsided, "a medium to be observed. A man may
lawfully acquire a handsome estate without pressing upon his poorer
neighbors, and publishing shamelessly to the world that he cares not
who starves, provided he gets rich. There seems to be no limit to the
acquisitiveness of some men; they have their excuses; their sons,
Tom, Jack, and Harry, must have estates; their daughters, Mary, Jane,
and Louisa must have fortunes. I know a case in point: there were two
farmers, one rich with a large estate, the other poor with a large
family; between the two there lay a few hundred acres of poor sheep
land, belonging to a wealthy proprietor, who lived at a distance, and
he wishes to sell or let this small patch. There is immediately a
contest. The poor man offers what the land is honestly worth, he can
with difficulty provide for his family, the possession of this piece of
land would, by enabling him to keep a few sheep, greatly assist him.
His rich neighbor, not to be outdone, and to increase the boundaries of
his property and self-importance, offers more than the land is worth.
The consequence is that the highest bidder, flowing over with money,
gets it and the poor man is shut out. The distant proprietor only
reflects--So-and-so is a poor man, and in the name of heaven we'll keep
him so. I am not bound to assist him, if I did he would be ungrateful.
Smollett says somewhere--'There is no wretch so ungrateful as he whom
you have most generously obliged.' It is deep in human nature to be
ungrateful."

"'Pon my life Sir," said Juniper, "I believe it is; from this moment,
henceforward and for ever, I'll never do a good turn for any human
being for fear of meeting with ingratitude; I hate ingratitude, Sir, as
I hate the----"

As Juniper laughed while he spoke, his auditors were led to suppose
that he did not exactly mean to stick to what he said--"But it's time,"
he continued starting up, "it's time for me to be off. Riches sometimes
make themselves wings and fly away when their worshippers least expect
to lose them. You know, Miss Maxwell, what Byron says--


O ever thus from childhood's hour,
I've seen my fondest hopes decay;
I never loved a tree or flower,
But 'twas the first to fade away."


"Moore, I suppose you mean?" said Maxwell.

"Did'nt I say Moore, Sir?"

"No, you said Byron."

"Oh, it's all the same--Moore or Byron, it's no matter; they were both
tarred with one stick." So saying Mr. Juniper smiled pleasantly, bade
his new friends good night and departed, striking up a verse of "Tom
Bowling" as he went along.




CHAPTER XIV.--FARMING OPERATIONS.--ARTHUR EARLSLEY, ESQ., J.P., AND
BAXTER THE CARRIER.

The presence of Jacob Singlewood being no great acquisition to the
family circle at Bremgarten, that individual was directed to build
a residence for himself with as little delay as possible. Maxwell
continued from day to day to keep himself and his sons fully employed
is grubbing and fencing, and his bullocks in dragging timber, while
Mrs. Maxwell busied herself in rendering their cottage more and more
comfortable. The river becoming fordable again in a few days, the
settler visited Johnson Juniper, and purchased two cows, also a mare
with a foal at foot. The cows being near their time were brought
home at once, and carefully watched until they calved. Mrs. Maxwell,
however, found that the science of milking them was not so easily
learned as she had imagined; and Griselda was a long time before she
could succeed in extracting as much as a single wine-glass fill of milk
at a sitting. But by dint of patience and perseverance--mingled with a
few sighs now and then, perhaps a quiet tear or two if the milk vessel
happened to be kicked over--they managed to supply their establishment
with milk and butter.

By degrees the farm began to assume a more cheerful appearance. A
little garden, at the back of the cottage, had been enclosed, and
planted with young fruit trees, flowers, and vegetables. A stable of
unpretending exterior could be seen in a quiet corner. A shed had
been erected purposely to protect Mrs. Maxwell and her daughter while
milking; also a small hut wherein reposed contented an individual
of, as some of the learned people at Cook Villa would probably say,
the great natural family of the Suidæ, resigned with many regrets by
Mr. Johnson Juniper. Days and weeks passed by without any important
or unforeseen event occurring. The farmer's labors were severe, his
perseverance and attention almost unremitting, and his patience and
energy in surmounting difficulties surprising even to his wife.

It had for some time been a matter of surprise to Griselda that she
had not heard from Isabel Arnott. A mutual promise to correspond
had been exchanged between the two young friends; and the former
wrote accordingly after she had been a few days in Hobart Town. The
irregularities of the postal service in those days were frequent, which
could not be greatly wondered at, and Griselda, with a forbearance
natural to her, found many excuses for her friend. At length her
expectations were realized. A letter from Isabel did arrive, and
Griselda was rejoiced to think that their kind friends in Sydney had
not forgotten them. She read as follows:--


MY DEAR GRISELDA,

It gave us all much pleasure to hear of your safe arrival at Hobart
Town. Your description of it is very pleasing. Indeed, had I the power
to choose a residence, I should much prefer it to this place, the
heat here in summer is so excessive. I am happy to tell you, my dear,
that my papa and mamma are very well; but I have one piece of doleful
intelligence for you, being the death of my dear Princie, my sweetest
of bower birds. Well, Griselda, this ought to remind us of our own
uncertain tenure of existence. I have no news that would be likely
to entertain you. Papa has been much disturbed in his temper lately,
increased, I fear, by his frequent twinges of gout. My eldest brother
came down from the sheep station a short time ago, and told us that
a terrible fire had swept over the entire run, and had burnt about
three hundred sheep close to a bend of the river. As might have been
expected, papa threw all the blame on Fred, and roundly accused him of
having lit the fire himself. In his defence, Fred denied that he had
lit it, saying also that if he had done so he most have been drunk at
the time, and all the world knew he never drank anything strong. It
was painful and yet laughable to hear how papa went on. Elevating his
voice terribly, he cried out, "Drunk! of course you were drunk: you are
always drunk. Who are you, Sir? Are you a Mussulman, or a Rechabite,
that you must never get drunk?" It was, as you may suppose, very unjust
in papa to bring such a charge against Fred, for we all know him to be
very sober in his habits. Papa has got a great idea of paying a visit
to Tasmania soon; if he does, I shall coax him to take me with him.
Papa and mamma desire me to convey to you and your parents assurances
of their personal regard, and beg you will accept the same from poor
me. Write soon again, and tell me all the particulars of your journey
into the country. I have heard a great deal of the enchanting scenery
of your island.

Farewell, dear Griselda.

Your ever attached friend,

ISABEL ARNOTT.

P.S.--I forgot to mention that my brother Harry asked me if I was
writing to you, and understanding I was, he requested me to say that he
hoped to have the great pleasure of seeing you soon again. He has been
very low in spirits lately, and I do not know what is the matter with
him. Of one thing I am sure--when he takes a thing into his head he
will sooner perish than give up his point.--Adieu.

N.B.--We have a frequent visitor here now, the captain of a British
frigate: he is the younger brother of an earl and has been wounded in
battle. He is very attentive to your devoted friend--I. A.


Griselda read this letter with the interest natural to a young lady on
receiving one from a distant friend. When she came to the postscript
the smile of pleasure she had worn on her lips faded away, and an
expression of thoughtful gravity occupied its place as she handed
the open letter to her mother. That lady perused it with evident
satisfaction, then returned it to her daughter with a smile and a look
of maternal pride. Griselda placed it in the hands of her father when
he returned from his daily employments. The conversation respecting it
was not of a serious nature, still it formed a considerable portion of
the general chit-chat usually held by the fireside in the evenings.

A portion of each evening was devoted by the settler and his wife to
the advancement of their children's education. A selection of useful
books had been brought from their native land; old lessons in history,
grammar, and other useful branches were re-learned, and new ones
studied. As the thought of a pianoforte had not in those days entered
Maxwell's head as an article of furniture capable of being conveyed
into the bush, Griselda was compelled to let the music of her fingers
lie in abeyance, though her voice was often heard murmuring in soft
sweet tones. A colony, small at first, of feathered families gathered
round the cottage door and mingled their tuneful notes with the voices
of the inmates. To guard against some of the contingencies of colonial
life, a stout bulldog was chained not far from the kitchen door, while
a double-barrelled gun and a pair of horse-pistols were kept loaded and
ready for action at a moment's warning. An additional laborer had been
employed, so that the work of the farm in fencing and clearing went on
in a more satisfactory manner.

The grant of land which Maxwell had been so fortunate as to obtain was
not heavily timbered on the front, or that part which bordered on the
river. Its principal features consisted of small undulating plains,
diversified by occasional rising grounds, amongst which might be found
two or three depressions containing water during the winter months. In
consequence of the open nature of the ground, it was the opinion of
Mr. Juniper that Maxwell's residence was not so much exposed to the
attacks of bushrangers and natives as the houses of other settlers, who
allowed the scrub to remain in its natural state of shady luxuriance
almost close to their doors. Whether Juniper was right or not, it
is certain that Maxwell scarcely ever thought of either source of
danger. He went to his work and returned from it as if he still lived
in Ireland and not in Tasmania. His thoughts seemed concentrated upon
one object--to become a thorough independent farmer, cost what it
might. As the profession which he now adopted was new he entered upon
it with feelings of enthusiasm, and his enthusiasm was mingled with
philanthropy. Of what use was he as a farmer, he would ask himself,
unless he produced food for man and contributed to the happiness of the
poor, by helping to give them cheap food? He found himself slightly
prejudiced against sheep-owners and sheep. There was nothing but
selfishness he thought in wishing to possess large flocks of sheep. A
large flock required a large tract of land, from which no one seemed to
receive any benefit except the owner of the flock, his shepherds, and
a few dependents. Agriculture conferred a more immediate benefit; it
gave, besides food, employment to a greater number of poor fellows, who
ate their bread with thankful hearts, feeling no doubt very grateful
(?) to the farmer who labored to supply their wants. Agriculture was,
therefore, Maxwell's forte for a time; how long it remained so will
probably appear in the sequel.

Spurred to action by ideas such as these, the labors of the farmer were
continued with undiminished energy. His hands soon became hard so as
to be above the weakness of blisters; but if one fountain of sorrow
was dried up, another was not long before it opened. From stooping
frequently to gather sticks and hoe up roots, his back became sore, and
from lifting logs with his men to put up on the fences, the muscles
of his arms and legs were strained and became exceedingly painful. He
frequently staid out in the rain till his clothes were quite wet. His
wife expostulated with him in vain. The land was given to him that he
might improve it, and improve it he would. When he went to Avoca, as he
sometimes did to get the post, Mrs. Trapfarthing was astonished at the
quantity of flesh he was daily losing; and the boy "Jems," who had been
his guide on a former occasion, and who received the shilling he had so
well earned, said to the kitchen wench that--"Master Maxwell had gev
him his bob, but he was a fule for all that, as he was tearin' hisself
all to bits." The opinion of "Jems" was not singular. Johnson Juniper,
who usually came over every Sunday to pass away the time and have a
chat, told Maxwell that if he did not relax his labors he would be the
first person buried at Bremgarten. Even Jacob Singlewood got into a
strange habit of closing one eye firmly at his mate and pointing with
his thumb over his left shoulder when he saw his master running to the
heavy end of a log. A very knowing and well-informed fellow was Jacob.

Sunday was of course a complete day of rest. Maxwell made it his duty
to read the Church of England service in the forenoon, and the Bible
in the evening, to his family and servants if they thought proper to
attend. Clergymen did not then trouble themselves much with visits to
families residing at any distance from the towns; nor can we blame them
severely when the dangers of colonial travelling in those days are
taken into consideration. Now, however, circumstances are changed, and
it is satisfactory to see the good minister ready and willing to do the
work of his Master; visiting the farms, where he is always received
with pleasure, and listened to with reverence.

One day as our settler sat at dinner with his wife and children, after
one of his usual laborious mornings, he was startled by a furious howl
from his watch-dog; immediately afterwards the tramp of a horse was
heard at the door, and a double knock came rattling upon it, evidently
from a whip handle. On opening the door Maxwell discovered a tall
slender gentleman on horseback, who bowed slightly and asked him if he
was Mr. Maxwell; the settler having replied, the stranger continued--

"My name is Earlsley. I have called to enquire if you have seen any of
my shepherds lately."

Mr. Earlsley asked this question in a pompous, repulsive manner.
Maxwell, too proud to show any signs of displeasure, and wishing,
moreover, to be on good terms with his neighbors, replied--"Do me the
favor to walk in, Sir, and I will give you all the information in my
power respecting your shepherds and sheep."

After some hesitation Mr. Earlsley alighted and entered the cottage,
and bowed with distant politeness to Mrs. Maxwell and Griselda. He
declined dinner, saying that he dined at four o'clock, and never ate
anything in the middle of the day, but accepted a chair which Charles
handed him; this he drew near the fire complaining that the weather
was growing unusually cold. Mrs. Maxwell feelingly assented, and her
husband resumed his dinner, Mr. Earlsley having graciously requested
him to do so before attending to him.

Arthur Earlsley, Esq., J. P., was a person of some colonial importance.
He was proprietor of a large tract of land to the eastward of Maxwell's
humble possession, which he had acquired probably through the favor
of the early Governors. He was likewise a magistrate, the dispenser
of law and justice to the neighboring settlers and their servants,
also visiting justice to the adjacent prisoner stations at Fingal and
St. Mary's Pass. In age Mr. Earlsley might be about fifty-five; his
features had a pinched appearance, for his nose was sharp, his chin
angular; his eyes keen, grey, and interrogatory, his hair wiry, iron
grey, and very short. The expression of his face was severe, its color
of a pale yellow; and his voice was clear, sonorous, and commanding, as
became a man whose duty it was to address trembling prisoners from the
bench.

"I must say, Sir," said Maxwell, as he finished his dinner, "that I
have not seen a shepherd of yours this way for the last six weeks."

"The scoundrels--the villains," said Earlsley, frowning terribly;
"where or how can they pass away their time? And do you see the sheep,
Sir?"

"As for the sheep," replied Maxwell, "I see them every day, and cattle,
too, to my cost, in plenty."

"How do you mean to your cost, Sir?"

"Why, your cattle are very fond of green corn, and will hardly be kept
out of mine. I have made the fences higher, but there are two or three
active gentlemen amongst them to whom a high fence is but a trifle."

"Do you mean to tell me, Sir," said Earlsley, assuming his extra-stern
look, "that you see my sheep and cattle, but that you never see a
shepherd or a stock-keeper?"

"For six weeks, certainly, I have not seen either," answered Maxwell.

"The rascals," said Earlsley, striking his boot with his riding whip;
"I'll give them red jackets, every one of them; I'll make them dance
to the music of the cat-o'-nine-tails. I'll make them attend to their
duty. And pray, Sir, where do you see those sheep and cattle--I mean
when the latter are not in your wheat paddock?"

"Why in all directions, Sir--all over the plain at the back of my
cottage. The cattle are continually on the marshes between this and
Avoca. As far as the sheep are concerned, it would be difficult for me
to tell you where they are not; I saw about five hundred of them within
a mile of Avoca the last time I was there."

"You don't say so?" said the enraged magistrate, stamping on the floor;
"they were doubtless driven there by those moonlight scamps of the
township in order to weed them at their pleasure; but I'll make an
example of some of them yet, or my name is Muff instead of Earlsley.
But how do you know my sheep, Sir?"

"By the pitchbrand--an A and an E joined."

"They were mine. I am perfectly astonished: I keep half a dozen
shepherds and stock-keepers for this side, Sir, with strict orders to
keep my sheep and cattle within their boundaries, and this is the way
they do it. But I'll teach them a lesson they sha'n't soon forget. We
are living amongst an awful set of scoundrels, and soon the country
will be perfectly uninhabitable. Three men bolted from St. Mary's Pass
the day before yesterday, and two from Fingal--desperate characters
all of them; and it is reported that eleven of the worst felons at
Macquarie Harbor have taken to the bush. They will carry fire and sword
through the whole country."

This intelligence was not particularly agreeable to Mrs. Maxwell.
Her timid nature shrank from the idea of the violence likely to be
committed by these outlaws, and she hardly felt thankful to Mr.
Earlsley for being so communicative on the subject; but not being
desirous of conversing on such matters, she continued her needle-work
in silence while Griselda removed the dinner things to an inner
apartment.

"Will they be likely to do much mischief before they are re-captured,
Sir?" asked Maxwell.

"Mischief, Sir!" answered Earlsley; "not only mischief, but robberies
by scores, and perhaps murders by the dozen! Have you not heard of
Jeffries, the monster who compelled a poor man and his wife to go with
him into the bush? They carried their young child with them; and its
crying so terrified the villain lest the noise should lead some soldier
or constable to the pursuit, that he deliberately dashed out its brains
against a tree."

Mrs. Maxwell shuddered. "Oh!" she exclaimed, "Mr. Earlsley, surely that
cannot be true."

"It is as true, madam, as that I occupy this chair."

"I would sooner shoot my wife and children than allow them to fall into
the hands of such wretches," said Maxwell.

"I should think so, Sir," said Earlsley, "I should think so. Another
rumor I have heard is, that the blacks are up again, and have killed a
whole family on the West Tamar."

"Why, bless my soul," said Maxwell, "if that is true, the sooner we fly
the country the better."

"But does Mr. Earlsley believe it?" said Mrs. Maxwell.

"The fact is, madam," said Earlsley, "there is no knowing what these
savages may or may not do. They are like the wolves of Germany: they
may leave you alone for five years, and then sweep down on your
homestead like a tornado, killing everybody and uprooting and burning
everything. Like the aborigines of other countries, they think, and
perhaps with some show of justice, that this land is theirs, and that
we have no business to disturb them in their possession of it. When
they conceive themselves wronged in this respect, what have we to
expect from their mercy? No man is safe from their spear, even at the
very moment in which he may be maturing plans for their civilization
and improvement."

"And what, Sir, in your opinion, may be the best way to guard against
their attacks?" asked Maxwell.

"I hardly know, Sir; I never was attacked myself, but I know people who
have been. To keep at home is, I believe, the only plan; and if they
should come, show them your fire-arms, but never fire at them except
as a last resource. Whatever you do, let nothing induce you to lay
aside your arms, let their professions be ever so peaceable; if you do
your life will probably pay the penalty. In this manner a treacherous
native called Black Tom murdered a settler named Osborne at Jericho.
He came to the house with a crowd of his fellow savages and demanded
food. They induced Osborne to lay aside his gun; two of them advanced
and seized him each by a hand, as if in friendship, while a third went
behind and thrust a spear through his body. They had another leader, a
Sydney black, named Musquito, a clever daring fellow, a sort of hero of
romance, in fact, if one could make a hero out of a murderer."

"What became of him, Mr. Earlsley?" asked Maxwell with deep interest.

"He was hanged at Hobart Town, he and Black Tom together. But, Sir, the
main object of my visit to you is to ascertain when you will be ready
to join me in fencing. It is high time that something should be done;
my sheep and cattle trespass upon you, and I cannot prevent them until
our properties are fenced. Let the sideline be properly surveyed and
marked off, and I will commence my portion immediately."

"The side-line has been already marked by Mr. Juniper, who professes to
be a land surveyor," said Maxwell.

"A what?" said, or almost shouted, Mr. Earlsley; "Mr. Juniper a what,
Sir?"

"A land surveyor, Sir," said Maxwell, turning on his visitor a look of
astonishment.

"Well," said Earlsley, "I have heard some very strange things in my
time, but, upon my honor, that is the richest thing ever heard--Mr.
Juniper a surveyor?" and here the speaker, with considerable
difficulty, relaxed his stern visage, and indulged in a short ironical
laugh.

"He is at least acknowledged as such by the Surveyor-General himself,
Sir," said Maxwell.

"And what if he is, Sir?" answered Earlsley; "I know the
Surveyor-General, and I respect him, but cannot subscribe to his dictum
in this matter. However, yes, Sir, I beg pardon, Mr. Juniper is a
surveyor, and I will tell you what he can survey: a fat rump of beef,
Sir, or a wattle-bird pie!"

The settler laughed, as did all the members of his family, but he was
confounded. The idea of his having located himself in a comfortable
manner, built his cottage, ploughed his land and fenced it, working
himself almost to death in doing so, and all on the strength of a false
survey, forced itself upon him and made him feel rather the reverse
of happy. Mr. Earlsley saw his chagrin, and gazing at him with half
closed eyes, mentally observed, "Ah, my fine fellow, I have caught you
napping."

But Maxwell quickly recovered his spirits. "Whether," he said, "Mr.
Juniper is a surveyor or not it is my intention to be guided by his
survey until it is found to be a false one."

"I do not say it is a false one," said his visitor, rising to depart;
"this gentleman may have some marks to go by which neither you nor I
know anything about; all I say is that his survey--survey did I call
it?--is not at all satisfactory to me."

"Then you will of course have the line resurveyed?"

"Most undoubtedly, and you will have to bear half the expense."

"Unquestionably not," said Maxwell. "I have already paid Mr. Juniper
for that business, and in doing so I acted on the Surveyor-General's
special direction. If I am compelled to go to the expense of another
survey I shall get a gentleman from the survey office to perform the
duty."

"Well, as you please," said Earlsley, "the sooner the line is fenced
the better. I shall have it marked by a gentleman who resides at
Launceston, and who knows a little more about the profession than Mr.
Johnson Juniper. I wish you good-day, madam."

Mr. Earlsley bowed stiffly to Mrs. Maxwell, and taking no notice
whatever of the young people, put on his hat and walked out; Eugene,
running before by his father's direction to bring his horse out of the
stable, both the men being absent in the field.

As soon as he was gone Maxwell returned to the cottage in no very
pleasant state of mind. His wife endeavored to comfort him but found
the task rather difficult. "I wish," he exclaimed bitterly, "I had
gone to the backwoods of America, or to the wilds of New Zealand; it
is misery to be thus tortured by constant rumors about black savages
and white ruffians; and as if that were not enough, here comes this
stony-faced, purse-proud, heartless worshipper of Mammon to disturb
me about his side lines and false surveys, making everything look as
gloomy as his own magisterial brow. Juniper will not be obliged to him;
I question if he has not laid himself open to an action at law, and I
will ride over in the morning and have a conference."

"If you are wise, Bernard," here interrupted his wife, "you will not
tell Mr. Juniper anything about it whatever."

"Why not, Elizabeth?"

"Because it would only make mischief; they are hardly on good terms as
it is, and it is our duty as Christians to reconcile them if possible,
instead of putting further enmity between them."

"Well, what course would you advise--I know you will meddle in these
matters?"

"I do not wish to meddle, but as your interests are also mine, I would
advise you to write a quiet letter to the Surveyor-General, explain the
dissatisfaction of Mr. Earlsley, and ask for advice in the business."

"Perhaps I had better do so, we may countermine the schemes of our
long-headed neighbor."

"It does not require a very long-headed person to see through some of
his schemes," said Mrs. Maxwell.

"Why, what do you suspect my dear?" said her husband.

"Simply this, Bernard: Mr. Earlsley, they say, is covetous for land; he
comes to you with his terrible accounts of blacks and bushrangers, he
frightens you by false surveys and endless expenses, he works upon your
fears until you make up your mind to leave the country, and he will be
happy to become the purchaser of your land on easy terms, thus making a
handsome addition to his already large property."

"He will be mistaken, then, if that is his drift," returned the
husband; "this land will go to my heirs, and the better to prepare them
for their inheritance I will send Eugene back to Sydney to be trained
on Colonel Arnott's sheep station--will you go, Eugene?"

"If it is your wish, papa; but I wish we were all there," said Eugene.

"And I wish we were at home sliding on the Grand Canal opposite
Portobello Barracks," said Charles.

At this moment they were interrupted by another furious growl from
the bulldog, immediately followed by a loud knock at the door. "I
will venture my life," said Maxwell, moving to open it, "that this is
another messenger of evil tidings;" but he had scarcely said so when
the door was burst open, and Baxter, the carrier, appeared on the
threshold with wildness and distraction written on his face.

"Have you seen," he stammered, "have you seen my daughter Mary, my
little girl--for mercy's sake tell me have you seen her?"

"Good Heavens! what is the matter, Baxter?" said Maxwell, "has the
child been stolen?"

"She is lost--she is lost in the bush, Sir, since yesterday," said the
distracted father, flinging himself in an agony on the large chest near
the door, "and I am a miserable wretch."

Mrs. Maxwell ran for a cordial, a glass of which was almost forced
by her husband down Baxter's throat: it seemed to have the effect of
restoring him to his senses a little. Griselda and her brothers gazed
on the unfortunate man in terrified astonishment.

"Have patience, Baxter, your child may yet be found," said the settler.
"I will go myself and search for her, she must be found;--get me the
gun Charles and a few cartridges, I'll go at once and tell the men to
join in the search. Have you any idea which way she strayed?"

"She is gone," said the unhappy parent, "lost to me for ever. She was
a little fair-haired creature, Mrs. Maxwell, and would run to me with
hands stretched out whenever I came home: she would draw up my chair,
and pull off my shoes, and bring me the book, that I'd been readin',
just as if she was six years old instead o' three; and now to be
starved to death in the miserable bush, or devoured by tiger-cats--the
thought drives me mad!"

"Be patient, Baxter," said Maxwell, while the tears fell from the
eyes of Griselda and her mother. "Make some tea Elizabeth, and give
him something to eat, he is quite exhausted. I shall go down along
the river as soon as I have told the men; it is possible I may see
something of her. Keep the children together, love, if danger threatens
leave all in the hands of God. He is our only hope." So saying, Maxwell
took his gun and went out.

"It is of no use," said Baxter, perceiving that Maxwell had gone,
"it is not the least use, the whole township is out, and no one can
find a trace of her. I would sooner be killed a hundred times over
than see such a day as this; if my darling is lost I am condemned to
wretchedness for the rest of my life."

Mrs. Maxwell tried in vain to console him. She gave him some tea, which
he drank with an abstracted air; he tried to eat, but the agitation of
his mind would not let him. Suddenly starting up he said wildly--"Why
do I stay here? There may be life in her yet; let me go and search
again. Oh Mary my child, my child, come and gladden your poor father's
eyes once more!" So saying he rushed out of the house vainly calling
his lost daughter.

The night now fell dark and gloomy, and the wife of our settler became
greatly alarmed for her husband's safety. She knew he had not yet
become a clever bushman, and in broad daylight had often been puzzled
amongst the hills on his own property. Even had the moon been shining
it would not have made her feel more at ease; but her anxiety became
intense when she saw the clouds gathering for a tempest. The darkness
became deeper. The men had not returned. She and her children sat up to
a late hour, hoping every moment to hear the sound of his approaching
footsteps, and listening to the howling wind as it tore over the roof
of their cottage; but no Maxwell came, and they reluctantly retired to
rest.




CHAPTER XV.--GRISELDA'S GOOD FORTUNE--WINTER IN TASMANIA.

During the night the rain commenced falling heavily, which added
greatly to the anxieties of Mrs. Maxwell and her daughter, neither of
whom could find any relief in slumber. Fears for her absent husband,
and wild thoughts such as only a mother can picture to herself of
the poor lost child, kept the former awake, while the sympathies of
Griselda for both were scarcely less powerfully excited. The morning
came at length wet, cold, and comfortless, succeeding a long miserable
night. The river had risen several feet, and had approached the
cottage a considerable way up the grassy marsh formerly mentioned.
Mrs. Maxwell's alarm and suspense were increased when she recollected
that her husband had expressed his intention to follow the river down
for some distance. She had heard that many people had been drowned
in that river, that it was, in flood time especially, a treacherous
and dangerous river. At length after struggling for a while with her
painful thoughts she sat down with her children to breakfast, having
made up her mind to endure with patience and wait for the realisation
of her hopes or her fears. "Mother," said Griselda while they were at
breakfast, "I am going to ask you to allow me to join in the search for
this poor child."

"You, Griselda!" said her astonished mother, "are you losing your wits?"

"No mother," said Griselda solemnly, "I am not losing my wits; let me
go at least as far as the Woody Sugar Loaf. I have particular reasons
for asking you; Eugene or Charles can come with me--do not refuse me
mother, or you will break my heart."

"What folly, child!" said her mother, losing patience; "is it not
enough Griselda, that your father is gone, and who can tell if we shall
ever see him again alive? Do you not hear the rain; how can you find
your way? Perhaps you, too, will be lost, and perish with cold and
hunger;--no, content yourself; I will not consent."

"Listen to me, dear mother, for one moment--my heart tells me there
is yet hope--my father is safe I am sure--at least, I earnestly trust
he is. I shall not be away two hours; I know the direction and the
different hills to guide me home again. Oh, mother, let me go; you will
be the last in the world I know to put aside the hand of Providence."

"Well, my child," said Mrs. Maxwell, weeping, "go if you are
determined, but remember if you are lost to me I shall never know
happiness again."

"Never fear, my own sweet mother," said Griselda, throwing her arms
round her neck and kissing her passionately; "I will wrap myself up
well and take a bottle of milk, and if I find poor little Mary Baxter,
shall we not be happy? Eugene, will you come?"

"Yes Griselda, I'll go," said Eugene; "I'll put on my thick boots and
top coat."

"Promise me, Griselda," said Mrs. Maxwell, "that you will only go as
far as the Woody Sugar Loaf, and that you will not wander about from
one hill to another. I am sure I shall go distracted if you do not
return soon."

"I promise you, mother, that if my mission to the Woody Sugar Loaf is
unsuccessful I will return. I can see the river and the cottage from
the top of the hill."

"But the fog, child, is getting thicker."

"I am sure we shall find our way back," said Griselda; "I think the fog
will clear away soon and we must make haste." While she was speaking
she had put on a pair of strong boots and wrapped herself in a warm
cloak, throwing a spare one on her arm, and placing in her bosom a
small bottle full of milk; then kissing her mother again, she said,
"The life of the poor child is at stake, mother; one hour's exertion
may save it. May God bless you and guide my footsteps." In another
moment she and her brother were walking rapidly away.

Griselda had been gone for upwards of an hour, when her father, to the
great joy of his wife, returned. He was, as might have been expected,
dripping wet and nearly perished with cold. To the anxious enquiries
of his wife respecting the child's probable fate, he answered that the
search had been unsuccessful; that Jacob and he had travelled down the
river for about six miles, visiting every clump of trees, and exploring
every waterhole on the way; that he got to Baxter's hut at eleven
o'clock; had found Mrs. Baxter in a very pitiable state of mind; had
sat by their fire till two, then started again; and had been rambling
about ever since in the hope of finding the lost child, but in vain. "I
greatly fear," added the good man, "that she will never be found alive."

As soon as he had taken off his wet clothes, and refreshed himself with
a cup of tea, Maxwell continued--"All I could get from Mrs. Baxter was,
that after they had eaten their dinner the day before yesterday Baxter
went out to look for some stray cattle, and this little girl, who is
particularly fond of her father, ran out after him; he desired her to
go home, and went on without taking further notice. The mother missed
her child, but thought Baxter had taken her with him for a ride on his
back, as he had often done before. You may imagine what their grief and
terror were when he returned in the evening, and nothing of the child
to be seen. It ought to be a lesson to all mothers how they trust their
children out of their sight for a single moment, especially in a place
like this. Where's Griselda, love?"

"She is gone--I allowed her to go as far as the Wooded Sugar Loaf. She
had something on her mind about the unfortunate child. I refused to let
her go for a long time, but yielded at last to her importunities."

"The girl is insane, or her mother is," said Maxwell, "to allow her to
go out in such weather. She has never been there, and does a not know
the way; but Eugene is with her, of course?"

"Of course, Bernard; insane as I am I would not have allowed her to go
without protection."

"Catch me the horse, Charles, as quickly as you can. I must endeavor to
overtake her. I sent Tom off in that direction yesterday evening; do
you know if he has returned?"

"I have not seen him nor a single soul since you went away," said his
wife.

We will now follow Griselda. Impelled by an energy of spirit which
nothing could daunt, she pursued her way by Eugene's side, and scarcely
felt the heavy rain, which seemed to increase rather than diminish
with every step. The large drops which fell from the leaves of the
trees when agitated by the wind added to the weight of the remorseless
shower; but she seemed not to regard it. The long wet grass coiled
about her feet, and impeded her progress considerably; her garments
were soon completely drenched. The numerous hollows were filled with
water, but she stepped lightly over them or walked boldly through if
they were too wide. She passed without thinking of hidden enemies, the
thick belts of wattle scrub and the blackened stumps of the bush, nor
did she even look around to see if the mist was dispersing or growing
thicker, so absorbed was she in the object which occupied her thoughts.

Panting beneath the weight of their wet heavy clothes, the youthful
travellers began to ascend the hill called the Woody Sugar Loaf, a
somewhat steep and lofty hill, one of a series of similar hills at
the back part of their father's estate. Its distance from the cottage
was less than three miles, and in addition to its steepness its sides
were thickly encumbered with prostrate withered trees, large gum and
wattle trees that had been blown down by mighty storms, or burned by
successive fires. Branches and sticks and tussacks of dark slippery
grass made Griselda reel and pause frequently. The sharp and loose
stones with which the hill was covered made many painful impressions
upon her water-soaked boots, but still she pressed on with one hand
upon her breast and the other holding up her dripping garments.
She was obliged to pause, however, many times to draw breath, and
then she found leisure to look behind and form her opinion of the
weather. At last it gave her great delight to perceive that the heavy
mist had partially cleared away, and a luminous spot in the driving
clouds showed her the sun's place in the sky. With joy she exclaimed
breathlessly--"Now I know, Eugene, the direction of our cottage--the
sun at midday shines exactly opposite the door. We will go back towards
the sun, and that will guide us home."

"Yes," said Eugene, "and I see the top of this confounded hill; there
is nothing there, let us go back."

"No," said Griselda, "we are not yet at the top. I must stand at the
very top before I shall be satisfied."

And mustering all her strength and energy she bounded to the top--to
the very summit--impatient to be the first, like Balboa discovering
the Pacific Ocean--like him, too, she fell on her knees and murmured,
"Thank God--Oh, thank God, who has led me hither!" What did Griselda
see there?

Wedged in between two projecting masses of rock, as if it had crept
there to die and be at rest, lay the lost child. Cold and apparently
lifeless, her face the color of lead, with one of her little arms drawn
over it, the young creature lay, and Griselda, overjoyed indeed, but
with a sorrowful face, took her up and pressed her to her bosom. She
immediately took off the child's wet, torn clothes, rubbed her little
limbs and wrapped her up in the cloak she had brought, which though
damp might convey a little warmth, and after attempting to force some
of the milk down her swollen throat, our happy heroine commenced to
descend the hill, carrying the child on her breast, having first
assured herself of the direction in which they ought to proceed.

When Eugene saw his sister fall on her knees at the top of the hill
he could scarcely believe his eyes, but when he actually saw the lost
child lying in her arms his astonishment and awe were unspeakable.
He felt sure that the child was dead and said so, but Griselda was
of a different opinion. He then offered to carry it, but his sister
said--"Wait until it gets warm on my breast." *


[*This incident is founded upon a recent newspaper report. A child
strayed from its father in one of the southern districts and was found
the next day, after an active search, on the top of one of the highest
hills in the neighborhood.]


Thus with this heavy burden in her arms Griselda pursued her way
down the hill and across the open bush, seeming to gain renewed
strength from the exciting nature of her expedition and its singularly
fortunate result. When she had carried the child for at least a mile
she permitted her brother to relieve her of her burden, but anxiously
encouraged him to hasten on as every moment now was of the greatest
importance. Suddenly they were greatly alarmed at hearing a prolonged
"coo-ee," a sharp cry peculiar to the aborigines, and generally
adopted by the settlers and their servants when calling one another
in the bush. The sound proceeded from an adjacent thicket: afraid to
answer it, the children stopped short and stood for awhile in painful
suspense; but their apprehensions were relieved on seeing a man emerge
from the scrub whom Eugene immediately recognised as their own servant
Tom. The man, as soon as he saw his master's son with the child in his
arms, and his sister by his side, uttered a hoarse sound, expressive
of astonishment, but came up quickly and insisted upon carrying the
"swag," as he politely called the insensible child.

"Keep to the left, miss," said he, "you're a goin' to the wrong end of
the cultivation, and that'll bring you out two miles above the hut.
What'll old Baxter say now, I wonder?"

In silence they proceeded towards home, and when within sight of the
cottage, Griselda ran eagerly forward to tell her mother the joyful
news. Her brother Charles was approaching from the opposite side with
his father's horse. Griselda rushed into the cottage crying--"Mother,
mother, she is found--the child is found!" and then running to her
father embraced him fondly. Both her parents hastened to meet the man
to assure themselves of the pleasing fact: Mrs. Maxwell took the child,
and laid it upon a blanket spread on the table, which she drew away
from the influence of the fire, being careful not to cause a sudden
reaction by too much heat. She then commenced rubbing the benumbed
limbs with flannels dipped in cold water, administering from time to
time spoonful of tea, while her husband saddled his horse and started
to convey the intelligence to Baxter and his wife. After exerting
themselves patiently for nearly two hours, Mrs. Maxwell and Griselda
were rejoiced to perceive unmistakable signs of returning animation.
The vital stream gradually resumed its course through the arteries
and veins, the little breast heaved, the eyes were slowly opened,
then shut, then opened again, and the muscles of the face and arms
quivered. As a finishing stroke to her operations, Mrs. Maxwell placed
her patient in a tepid bath, the water being very slightly warm, then
drying her carefully she resumed the rubbing until the child breathed
freely, and was able to swallow a little food.

In the afternoon Baxter arrived with his wife in a horse cart. It would
be impossible to describe the scene that ensued between the parents
and their restored child. Griselda tried in vain to escape from their
overwhelming thanks, exclamations, protestations, and prayers. She told
them that they should thank God, to whom belonged the glory of every
meritorious action. To all the questions put to her she constantly
replied, "I thought of it as I lay awake; my thoughts are not my
own; and as for exertion, it has done me good; I therefore deserve
no thanks." But Baxter loudly declared that if he had twenty lives
he would lay then all down in the dust for her sake, and expressed
his readiness to be burned with fire rather than allow a single hair
of her head to receive the slightest injury. Both Griselda and her
mother exerted themselves to stop his ravings, giving him some tea, and
desiring him to take better care of little Mary for the future; and
Maxwell, coming in just at the moment, gave him a good-natured lecture
on his thoughtlessness. After a while they proceeded home, taking the
child with them, the mother receiving from Mrs. Maxwell many directions
respecting its treatment until perfectly restored to health.

The news soon spread far and near that Baxter's lost child had been
found by Miss Maxwell, who had dreamed that it was on the top of the
Woody Sugar Loaf, and on going thither she found it in the exact
position indicated in her dream. Some went so far as to say that an
angel had appeared to her while she lay awake, and given her the
information on which she had so promptly acted. All who heard the story
united in praising the courage and fortitude of Griselda, and many
would doubtless have gone to see the interesting heroine herself, if
they had not been prevented by the increasing severity of the season.

In a few days, when the weather moderated, Mr. Johnson Juniper paid
his neighbours a visit. Living as he did, at the other side of the
river, and confined to his home by a high flood, he had heard nothing
of the child hunt until it was over, and he now came to congratulate
Miss Maxwell and her parents on their good fortune. Fond of talking,
even when he had nothing of any importance to say, Juniper was quite
boistrous on this occasion, as it furnished him with an almost
inexhaustible topic of conversation. He fairly bewildered Griselda with
questions, then went on telling stories about lost children, without
waiting to hear her replies. He told Mrs. Maxwell that she possessed
a treasure far more valuable than Mr. Earlsley's family and land all
put together. He informed the ladies that he would be happy if he had
such a daughter; that he would have married long before, if he had
not been unfortunately frightened out of matrimony, or the thoughts
of it, by a circumstance which he would not relate at present. He had
asked, indeed, more than one lady to bless him for life, but they
all, with the exception of one, with whom the circumstance which he
would not relate was connected, thought proper to say 'no,' though he
now believes that they only said so in play, and really meant to say
'yes;' but it was his luck to take small words in their literal sense.
Mr. Juniper wound up a long oration on the sweets, the delights, the
comforts of matrimony, and the happiness to be found in children,
especially babies with musical talents, with the frank avowal that he
was not particularly mad about music, and was quite contented with his
'possum rug and grumbling cook.

Maxwell was always glad to see Juniper; he felt acutely for a long time
the loss of that congenial society to which he had been accustomed
all his life in his native city. They had all become things of the
past, this chat with his business friends in the day time, the meeting
at dinner or tea with still more valued friends, the lectures at the
Royal Dublin Society, and the pleasant walk on Sundays to hear their
favorite preacher. And now in exchange for these the jolly face of
Mr. Juniper was the only one that wore the aspect of a friend. He
accordingly made Juniper welcome to his glass of grog. The bachelor
was particular in taking only one glass at a time: his face, he was
of opinion was red enough without grog, and his ideas often obscure
enough without being further muddled. In fact Maxwell had discovered
that his ideas very seldom wandered from a certain beaten track: there
was a sameness in them; there was neither height nor depth, nor any
greatness in his intellect. He was very far from being a simpleton, and
yet was by no means a clever man. In his society the settler deplored
a want of information and the absence of large and liberal ideas, and
missed the expansive mind which, though so common amongst the friends
he had left behind him, he now looked for in vain in the wilds of
Tasmania. While ruminating on these subjects he consoled himself with
the reflection that so long as he had but one honest neighbor, he ought
to be satisfied and thankful. Enlarged ideas and depth of intellect are
rare gifts, and a refined education is not the lot of all. Juniper was
rough, simple, and honest; a thousand times better, Maxwell thought,
than a clever or cunning rogue.

The winter months had nearly passed away. Maxwell had had his mind set
at rest respecting Mr. Juniper's survey, and had been to Mr. Earlsley's
to arrange about the fencing. That gentleman received him with
civility; pressed him to stay to dinner; and with a surprising urbanity
of manner introduced him to his wife and two daughters, the Misses
Harriette and Caroline. He had also three other children, but they were
of tender age. Mrs. Earlsley was a woman of superior attainments and
affable manners. The young ladies were cheerful and well informed. Mr.
Maxwell was told that Mrs. Earlsley would be most happy to see Mrs.
Maxwell and her daughter: the fame of the latter had reached Clifton
Hall, and her heroic exploit was the theme of every lip. Maxwell at
length took his leave highly pleased with his reception.

In the month of June several severe frosts whitened the ground, the
only similitudes to the heavy snowdrifts of an English winter. In
July a great deal of rain fell. It was an unusually wet season as it
rained more or less nearly every day. The South Esk became a wide and
resistless torrent, and the sound of its flowing waters or something
else brought countless frogs upon the wild scene, whose gaping mouths
joined together in that incessant chorus which is heard through many a
long winter's night. On the evening of a certain day Maxwell remarked
that though the rain had partially subsided the river continued
to rise, and he was now tormented by a fear for the safety of his
dwelling. He remained up till one o'clock watching with anxious care
the progress of the waters, and then thinking that they might possibly
have risen to their maximum height, retired to rest. In three hours his
man Jacob came thundering at the door, and roared out "that the river
was coming into the house, and they would all be swept off right into
the say." His master jumped out of bed and instantly found himself up
to his knees in the cool refreshing element. Dismayed but not hopeless
he struck a light, called the children, made shift to dress himself,
and hurried out to see or feel--for it was pitch dark--where a place
of safety could be found. The mens' hut was inundated, the stable and
cowshed in a similar state, and there was no shelter but what could
be afforded by a spreading mimosa that grew on an ascent about thirty
yards at the back of the cottage. To this harbor of refuge Maxwell
carried his wife and then his daughter. The two boys waded out,
laughing and shivering, with bundles of blankets, cloaks, and coats on
their heads. A fire was kindled with some difficulty, a kettle of tea
made, and the party, glad that they had escaped so easily, proceeded to
make themselves as comfortable as they could. The pig and the calves
were in great danger of being drowned, but were guided by the men to a
place of safety.

When morning dawned the river presented the appearance of an inland
sea. The marshes, which the surrounding forest allowed to be visible,
were covered with water. The hills on the opposite side seemed to
rise abruptly from the waves. The scene was beautiful, for the sun
shone upon the water and its rays sparkled on the snowy turrets of the
distant Ben Lomond. But it gave rise to melancholy thoughts. Who could
tell what ravages the river might yet make or what numbers it might
drive away from their homes, perhaps level their homes with the ground
or leave their inmates clasped in the embrace of death?

Several hours were passed under the protecting tree; a rude tent had
been erected to shelter the ladies from the wind, which now began to
blow in cold gusts. Maxwell, with his boys and men, had taken a number
of moveables out of the cottage, as he fully expected it would shortly
be carried away bodily. The flood, however, had reached its greatest
height. As the day wore on the waters began to subside, and when
evening came the family were able to return to the cottage, though the
floor was still nine inches deep in water. They took their tea sitting
on the table; their beds were still dry, but how to get to them was
the question. A row of chairs placed at certain distances answered the
purposes of stepping-stones, and the second night of this remarkable
flood passed away.

The subsequent effects of this flood were not at all disastrous to
Maxwell. The cows, calves, sheep, horse, mare, and pig were safe. The
greatest inconvenience was experienced by Mrs. Maxwell, who found
some of her boxes and lower drawers full of water, and the clothes
and "things" completely saturated. Maxwell felt himself compelled to
consider the propriety of building a new house, and occupied himself
in planning a suitable situation. The remainder of the winter passed
quietly over; a few showers of hail and light snow, with a couple of
thunderstorms, passed like momentary shadows over the land, and spring,
with its "etherial mildness," consisting of rain, frequent high winds,
croaking frogs, and influenza, commenced.




CHAPTER XVI.--ARISTOCRATIC VISITORS.

The labors of the settler and his assistants were now continued with
scarcely any interruption. Fences were rapidly put up, an additional
paddock or two enclosed and prepared for the plough, a site for the new
house with a barn and other conveniences marked out, and everything
went on as quietly as if the land were totally free from all causes
of disturbance. The time passed pleasantly, with scarcely any mixture
of unhappiness or fear. Mrs. Maxwell, though she could not look upon
her little garden as a permanent one, still for the sake of exercise
and amusement kept it in good order, generally spending a portion of
every day in weeding, pruning, and arranging the objects of her care.
Griselda, when her household duties were completed, made a point of
working a little with her mother. Maxwell went out every morning to
look after his men, and to watch his sheep thriving on the spring
grass, with the lambs chasing each other in little parties of five or
six. He had received a few letters and a good many newspapers from his
friends at home, all of which were eagerly devoured as they arrived;
and Isabel Arnott answered with praiseworthy punctuality all Griselda's
letters. In the last of her communications it was intimated that her
father would be most happy to forward Mr. Maxwell's son up to his sheep
station, and--as his expression was--"make a man of him."

About a month after the flood, on the afternoon of a fine sunny day, a
spring cart containing three ladies, followed by an armed servant on
horseback, was driven to the door, and Mrs. Earlsley and two of her
daughters were announced. Mrs. Maxwell was agreeably surprised to see
lady visitors at last. She invited them to come in, which they did,
and immediately entered into an animated conversation, as most ladies
can do under any circumstances whatever. Mrs. Earlsley appeared to
have possessed in her youth great personal attractions, and still,
though the mother of two grown up daughters and three younger children,
she by her dress and manner evidently wished to be thought comely.
Her countenance was pleasing, but somewhat spoiled by an affectation
of worldly pride peculiar to wealthy people. She possessed a high
forehead, dark hair, and a pair of prominent dark grey inquiring eyes,
with a formidable nose of Wellingtonian shape. Her figure was good, and
her dress showy enough, was tastefully arranged; while the valuable
rings on her fingers and the glittering brooch on her bosom displayed
her taste in jewellery, as well as her natural propensity for finery.
In mind Mrs. Earlsley was a tower of strength, and her husband knew it.

Her eldest daughter, Harriett, was a tall, slender, pale-faced girl
verging on her twentieth year, with very small features, and a
general appearance of extreme delicacy of constitution, yet affable
and engaging in her manners. The younger, Caroline, was a smiling
rosy-cheeked little creature about sixteen years of age; her cheerful
open countenance, expressive of fun, if not of mischief, and a roguish
twinkle in her laughing eye, bespoke her disposition at a glance. Her
complexion was more ruddy than Griselda's, but not so clear, and the
expression of her face was not half so thoughtful. They seemed to take
a fancy to each other at once, and while their respective mammas were
engaged in conversation managed to exchange a good deal of friendly
gossip.

"I certainly should have called upon you before, Mrs. Maxwell," said
Mrs. Earlsley, "but the weather has been so changeable. I was highly
pleased to hear that you had not met with any serious accident during
the late floods."

"I am very much obliged to you, Mrs. Earlsley," replied Mrs. Maxwell;
"it was a very providential escape indeed. I fully thought at one time
that the entire building would have been swept away. You have resided
in this neighborhood for a long time, and may be able to tell me if
such high flood are frequent in this river?"

"I do not remember witnessing such a flood; there have been high floods
certainly, but this last was the highest I ever saw--I think without
exception--and in all probability you will not see another like it for
years to come."

"I have no desire to see any such again, I can assure you. We have
heard that a great deal of damage has been done at Launceston and other
places," said Mrs. Maxwell.

"An incalculable amount of damage," said Mrs. Earlsley. "Several people
were drowned at Longford and Perth, and a great number had to be taken
off the roofs of the houses, in boats. I understand, too, that a great
many sheep and cattle have been drowned and swept away; and only
think the simplest remedy for all this, to widen the South Esk where
the river discharges itself into the Tamar at Launceston, over the
Cataract; a few tons of gunpowder would do it, and then employ all the
men in the colony to carry the stones into the town and build houses
with them. I think the authorities here are dreadful wasters of labor.
If I had the direction of affairs, as I often tell Mr. Earlsley----"

"Mamma," said Miss Caroline Earlsley, with a merry laugh, "Miss Maxwell
says that an angel did not appear to her to tell where Mrs. Baxter's
child was."

"Oh dear me!" said Mrs. Earlsley, "what a wretched memory I have; I had
quite forgotten everything about that poor child, and such a heroine as
your daughter was on the occasion. Come here, my dear, if you please;
your name is--now don't tell me, I know very well, but I have partly
forgotten it, and I want to exercise my memory. Let me see, it begins
with a Z I think--not Zereida?"

"A G--Griselda," whispered Miss Earlsley.

"O yes, I declare--Griselda; it is a sweet name, not easily forgotten,
but really, Mrs. Maxwell, I cannot remember anything. I think if a
bushranger came and tore the earrings out of my ears I should forget
all about it in half an hour. And now, Griselda, come, like a dear
girl, and tell me how did you know that the child was on the Woody
Sugar Loaf."

"I did not know," said Griselda.

"What made you go there, then?"

"I had been awake all night, and I thought it possible that she might
be there. I cannot account for it in any other way," said Griselda
modestly.

"It was a most remarkable affair," said Mrs. Earlsley; "and how much
must the unfortunate child have suffered! What could have induced her
to wander to the top of a steep hill? How far did your father say it
was, Harriett, from Baxter's farm?"

"Nearly six miles I think, mamma," said Miss Earlsley.

"A distance of six miles in the heavy rain, and famishing with cold and
hunger. How shocking!" said Mrs. Earlsley.

"Perhaps double that distance," said Mrs. Maxwell, "if we allow for
deviations from a straight line."

"Yes, indeed," said Mrs. Earlsley, "I never thought of that--a very
good observation. Harriett, my dear, I wish you would make a memorandum
of that."

"When we get home," said Miss Earlsley, with a smile.

"And now tell me, my dear Miss Maxwell," continued Mrs. Earlsley, "what
did the child say when she saw you coming?"

"She was quite insensible," answered Griselda, "and appeared to be
dead."

"Dear me, how very terrible!" said Mrs. Earlsley, "and you rubbed her
limbs till she came to life again, did you not, my love?"

"My mother did," replied Griselda.

"Well, I hope Baxter will remember it. You are from Ireland, I believe
Mrs. Maxwell?"

"Yes, we are from that green, but very unhappy island."

"It is a beautiful country, I believe, only the people are so
very insubordinate; but I like the educated Irish, they are such
tender-hearted people."

"There are thousands of un-educated Irish who are far more
tender-hearted than they can afford to be," said Mrs. Maxwell.

"Yes, I dare say," rejoined her visitor, "but there are a great many
unruly spirits among them. What do you think of your great liberator,
Daniel O'Connell?"

"I think he is undoubtedly a very clever man, but neither Mr. Maxwell
nor myself belong to his school of politics."

"I am very glad to hear you say so," said Mrs. Earlsley, "I cannot
for the life of me understand what the people have to complain of. It
appears to me to be an Irish bull to call O'Connell a liberator, when
it is not at all perceptible what he has to liberate. The Irish people
are not oppressed by a secret police; they are not sent like Poles by
hundreds to Siberia, on the slightest breath of political suspicion;
they are not crowded into a Bastile, or left to perish in a--what is
the name of that Austrian dungeon?--O, I remember, Spielberg. I do not
think they wear chains on their legs when they walk about the cities
and towns; they are recognized as free British subjects, and yet they
make more noise and create more trouble than if the English were in the
habit of selling their children into slavery."

"I should not talk against my country-men," said Mrs. Maxwell, "but I
think your observations, Mrs. Earlsley, are very sound and just, and
I know a great many educated persons in Ireland who think as you do.
I believe the great bane of my native country is party spirit, and
the great national ambition is to be an independent nation with King
O'Connell and a Parliament of its own; then no doubt they would want
the Isle of Man for a Botany Bay."

"Indeed, that is a very good idea," said Mrs. Earlsley, laughing. "And
how do you think could King O'Connell carry on a war with France,
England maintaining an armed neutrality, more of course for keeping
down the O'Connell's ambition and preserving the balance of power than
anything else?"

"I really do not know," replied Mrs. Maxwell, "unless the English
Government advanced large subsidies to maintain an Irish fleet and well
disciplined army, in the hope that the energies and spirit of her old
rival France would be exhausted in the struggle."

"I think," said Mrs. Earlsley, "that Ireland is a sadly misgoverned
country, and that English rulers are not free from blame. An Irishman
may enjoy as much personal liberty as an Englishman, but his social
status is not equal: an Englishman treads the soil of Ireland as a
conqueror, an Irishman feels one of a subdued nation; now I think it
should be the great aim of the British Parliament to remove those
jealous and foolish feelings, and as a preliminary step I would not
allow Irish pigs or reapers to enter England on any account. If I
were a member of Parliament I would enact such laws--as I often tell
Mr. Earlsley--as would most certainly bring the two islands upon a
perfectly equal footing; but these gentlemen think they know so much
better than we do, which is but a farce after all, for if they do know
better why do they not establish peace and plenty to all, as we soon
would do if we had the management?"

"But if the poor reapers should starve?" inquired Mrs. Maxwell.

"Why, bless me," answered the magistrate's lady, "how could that
happen? Don't you perceive they would have the pigs to eat? I would
also forbid the importation of coals into Ireland--a most admirable
policy in two ways: first, it would make coals cheaper in England, and
then it would compel the Irish to burn turf, their proper fuel; turf
would be the salvation of that country--the manufacture and carriage of
turf would become the business of peer and peasant."

The great depth and soundness of these observations seemed to overpower
Mrs. Maxwell's ideas of political economy, and she felt desirous of
changing the subject when Miss Caroline again spoke.

"Mamma," said she, "Miss Maxwell says she will come over and stay a
week with us."

"O, no," said Griselda, in confusion; "I beg your pardon, I said if
mamma would allow me, and----"

"Yes, my dear," said Mrs. Earlsley, "you certainly shall. I will
persuade your mamma to allow you."

"I cannot spare her, at least at present, if you will be good enough to
excuse her," said Griselda's mother.

"Well, when you can make arrangements accordingly," said Mrs. Earlsley,
"if your daughter likes horse exercise, we can let her have a very
quiet pony."

"And we shall have such delightful rides," said Miss Earlsley.

"You have some young children, I believe, Mrs. Earlsley?" said Mrs.
Maxwell.

"I have two of the most unruly, noisy, turbulent boys you ever saw or
heard. Their father keeps them out of his sight, and allows them to do
just as they like, though he is a very strict magistrate when on the
Bench. My youngest is a girl, Ada."

"If you are in want of a nursery governess I know a respectable young
person who is anxious to obtain a situation in the country."

"If she is not quite a child--that is, could teach them their lessons
and keep them in order, I would be very happy to engage her."

"I believe she is quite capable of teaching; and would do a good deal
of needle work as well."

"Does she live in Hobart Town, Mrs. Maxwell?"

"She does; her name is Miss Leary. Although not an accomplished person,
she has received a tolerable education. I am rather interested in her,
as her parents were neighbors of ours in Hobart Town."

"Well, I shall try her, if she thinks proper, at forty pounds a year;"
said Mrs. Earlsley, "though I do not know how she is to get up the
country so far. If she can come by the mail cart, I would send for her
to Campbell Town; or perhaps Baxter could bring her up."

"I will write to her and make her acquainted with your offer," said
Mrs. Maxwell.

Mrs. Earlsley and her daughters rose to depart. The former, on
receiving the thanks of Mrs. Maxwell for her considerate and friendly
visit, said, "I regret Mr. Maxwell is not at home; I think if he is
wise he will keep a better watch on his house, as the natives are in a
very excited state. We are always prepared with a number of constables
and soldiers at our place, so we can bid defiance to both natives and
bushrangers--indeed, Mr. Maxwell ought to apply for a constable, the
country is so dangerous."

Saying which the aristocratic lady took her seat in the spring cart
beside her daughters, and drove away.

When her husband came home, Mrs. Maxwell gave him a precise account of
Mrs. Earlsley's visit, and of the invitation to Griselda, concerning
which he said--"I will let her go when you can spare her, for a few
days, but in the mean time you will have to return this lady's visit,
and you must make use of the bullock cart." His wife then told him
what Mrs. Earlsley had said about having a constable to protect the
homestead. Maxwell replied, "The suggestion is kind, but unnecessary;
if we have one constable we shall require six. I do not like to
establish such a precedent."

Mrs. Maxwell lost no time in writing to Miss Leary to announce Mrs.
Earlsley's offer. In a fortnight she received an answer, wherein that
young lady thanked her kind friend, and stated that she would accept
the situation, and perform the duties Mrs. Earlsley required to the
best of her abilities. Her mother, she said, knew of a person going to
Launceston in a spring cart, who was willing to take her to Campbell
Town, which he expected to reach in ten days from the date of her
letter. Mrs. Maxwell immediately despatched a messenger to Clifton Hall
with Miss Leary's letter, and received a polite note in reply from Mrs.
Earlsley, who expressed her satisfaction with this arrangement.

The dampness of their cottage since the flood had been a source of
great discomfort to the family at Bremgarten, and Mrs. Maxwell lost no
opportunity trying to persuade her husband to commence the erection of
suitable and permanent dwelling in which they might live comfortably,
and receive their visitors in a manner consistent with their rank.
He, however, was not fond of building; he preached the necessity of
patience, and thick shoes; alleging also as an excuse that suitable
laborers for such a serious undertaking were not to be had on a short
notice; that he would like to wait a little and see how his farm was
likely to pay him, to so forth. He would meanwhile make enquiries and
calculations, as well as preliminary preparations; he would employ
sawyers immediately to cut the timber; and with these answers she
was obliged to be content. But it was not long before the effects of
the damp began to manifest themselves in a most disagreeable manner.
Maxwell himself was seized with pains in his limbs which he had never
felt before. His head began to ache, his spirits became languid, and he
now more than ever felt the demon of despondency getting the better of
him. His nights, too, instead of being as formerly, spent in unbroken
slumber, were now passed in restlessness and anxiety; his sleep, when
he did sleep, was frequently disturbed by troublesome and terrifying
dreams. But he avoided complaining as much as possible, fearful of
adding to the cares that were already pressing seriously upon the mind
of his amiable wife, and did his best to remedy the evil by getting
boards split and laid down on the floor of his cottage to check the
upward progress of the unwholesome vapors. This step in the right
direction, slight as it was, was not without a sensible effect, and
Maxwell felt his health and spirits daily improving.

As soon as he was able to pronounce himself convalescent, his son
Charles was attacked by similar symptoms, and as it subsequently
appeared, much more seriously. He complained of excessive languor,
loss of appetite, pains in his legs and stomach, almost constant
headache, and great heat at night, connected with broken slumbers
and disagreeable dreams. Mrs. Maxwell was greatly alarmed at seeing
her son drooping rapidly, so at her earnest solicitation a messenger
was dispatched to Campbell Town for a medical man, who arrived,
in due time--indeed, just in time to prevent a violent fever from
laying perhaps the whole family prostrate. By assiduous attention he
succeeded in arresting the progress of the disease, and the boy happily
recovered; but it was a long time before he could be removed from his
bed to a bench erected purposely for him in the sitting-room, where he
could see the sun shining upon the hills through the open door-way.

The lesson that Maxwell learned from these circumstances was--never
again to build a house on a low damp site, and never to inhabit any
house so situated if it could be possibly avoided.

As for Mr. Juniper, his guide and pioneer, Maxwell felt that he was not
in fault. He had, in fact been advised by the surveyor to build his
cottage on the highest part of the adjacent bank; but the settler had
evinced a little obstinacy, saying that it would be inconvenient. He
therefore took the entire responsibility upon himself, and forthwith
began seriously to think of building his new house.




CHAPTER XVII.--THE SHADOW IN THE SUNLIGHT.

The glorious beams of the ruler of day shone on the cottage floor
as Griselda, after assisting her weak brother to leave his sleeping
apartment and take his place on the bench in the sitting-room, spread
a blanket on the table and commenced the operation of ironing her
father's shirts. Breakfast had not been long over. Mr. Maxwell and
Eugene had gone to their daily employments. Mrs. Maxwell was in the
garden, busy as usual with hoe in hand among her flowers. The sky was
without a cloud, and the stillness of the air unbroken by a sound, save
the cheerful songs of the white magpies as they chased one another
through the leafy boughs of the adjacent trees. A little bluecap, too,
was heard to twitter as he flew incessantly from the window-sill to the
roof of Pluto's kennel, and from the kennel to the window-sill back
again without stopping to rest for the hundredth part of a minute, now
giving a little tap at the glass, and now sweeping by the nose of the
aforesaid Pluto as he lay in luxurious indolence, so as almost to touch
it with her wing. The translucent state of the atmosphere betokened the
rapid approach of summer--that season of all others the most dreaded
in the Australian colonies, chiefly on account of the excessive heat,
from which it is next to impossible to escape. This, however, lasts
but a short time, and is frequently relieved by stirring breezes and
refreshing rains--but summer is not come yet.

Griselda continued her work for some time in silence, her faculties
seemed absorbed in it as she drew the heated iron from the fire, turned
down the plaits so carefully, and smoothed them along with her delicate
fingers. At length, turning to her sick brother, she said--"I never
asked you how you were to a day, Charley."

"I think you did ask me," said the boy, "you always do ask me when you
bring me my breakfast."

"Well, how are you now?"

"I am not so well as I was yesterday; I feel weaker, and a kind of
all-overishness."

"Did you take your medicine?"

"Yes."

"And don't you feel better after it?"

"Sometimes I do and sometimes I don't. I suppose when I'm in the humor
I do, and when I'm not I don't."

Griselda laughed, and said--"That is just like your logic, Charley;
something similar to demonstrating a preposition, is it not?"

"Proposition not preposition, Griselda; I can never get you to
understand mathematical terms."

"O, I have such a poor silly head; but leaving mathematics out of the
question, don't you remember what the doctor said to you?"

"Why, of course I do: to keep myself quiet and eat plenty of roast beef
and plum pudding, wasn't it?"

"Well, if you begin to joke in that manner I need not remind you of
what he or any one else said, so I will just finish my ironing and make
ready your arrowroot. Roast beef and plum pudding indeed!"

"That will be kind of you to give me arrowroot when I don't want it,
and would prefer anything else. Haven't you got some ham or a boiled
chicken ready?"

"Indeed, Charles, you know you are not strong enough yet to take rich
food."

"Just the very thing to make me strong; this low diet is killing me by
inches."

"Would you like an egg? I do not think that would hurt you."

"Yes, I would like four eggs fried and laid on buttered toast; you can
make six slices of toast, and don't be stingy with the butter. Cut and
come again you know."

"I will give you one egg and as much bread and butter as you like, but
I would advise you to be moderate."

"Well, wait till you are ill Miss, if I have anything to do with it
won't I starve you!"

"I am not afraid of that, Charley."

"Well, sing me a song Griselda, and that will prevent our quarrelling."

"I have sung all my songs over so often that you must be tired of
them," said Griselda.

"No, I am not tired of them; I like them almost as well as sugar candy."

"Do you prefer the grave or the gay?"

"Sing about the grave first, and introduce the grave digger, and I can
enjoy the gay afterwards when I know I'm not buried."

"Would you like to hear the song about the young lady who died of
consumption once?"

"She didn't die twice, then."

"O you thoughtless creature! how is it possible that you can joke on
such an awful subject as death? Shall I sing it?"

"Yes, and pretty loudly too, to get ahead of those chattering magpies."

The young girl sang in clear sweet tones the following melancholy
song:--


Dear maiden, whence that plaintive sigh,
And wherefore steals the glassy tear?
Thy hollow cheek and drooping eye
Proclaim that there is danger near.

Ah! why art thou so sad to-day,
With pensive brow, and thoughts of care?
In sombre hues the flowers or May
Are fading on thy raven hair.

Then tell me, maiden, tell me all,
The secrets of thy heart reveal--
The cares that thy pure breast enthrall,
And o'er thy soul in sorrow steal!

Ah so! fond youth, to tell to thee
My secret grief, my daily fear,
Would yield no fleeting joys to me
Nor banish thoughts of danger near.

But let me sleep where roses grow,
And myrtle scents the balmy air;
Nor seek the sad, sad thoughts to know
That lie beneath my raven hair.

Farewell! farewell! my sun's declining,
Slow steals thy music on mine ear;
But happy heaven, so brightly shining,
Will still the sigh and dry the tear.


The youthful songstress had scarcely concluded when she was struck
with dismay to hear the faithful watch-dog Pluto give utterance to a
most extraordinary sound--such a sound, in fact, as he had never been
heard to utter on any previous occasion. It was a low, short snarl, as
if he had commenced to give his usual note of warning but was suddenly
put to silence by extreme fear. An indescribable sensation crept over
Griselda's heart, and instinctively she turned her eyes to the corner
where her brother lay. Now, indeed, she saw there was real cause for
alarm. Her brother had partly risen, and was leaning forward over the
side of his couch, his face ashy pale, and his eyes, expanded to an
unnatural stare, glaring fearfully on the open doorway. The terror of
Griselda was intense. She scarcely dared to look upon the object of her
brother's fascinated gaze, yet still she made an attempt to do so, for
she saw the expanded shadow of a human being in the sunlight on the
floor, and at the same moment a strange, hoarse, deep voice thundered
out--

"Run--run--or I kill!"

The unfortunate girl was for a moment paralyzed. Her blood seemed
to rush in one mighty wave to her heart, but instantly recovering
her self-possession, and comprehending the nature of this terrible
intrusion, she ran, indeed, as she was commanded, but it was to her
brother's side, and throwing herself upon him she pressed him back
into a horizontal position, shielding him from view with her own
person in the hope of either preserving his life, or of dying then and
there along with him. In this manner she crouched down and submitted
to the remorseless blows that now fell on her defenceless head, neck,
and shoulders, not uttering a word, and scarcely drawing breath. She
felt distinctly that two of the savages were employed in this cruel
work, and without entertaining a single hope of ultimate preservation
resigned herself to her impending death. But a merciful Providence
ordained otherwise.*


[ * The allusion to Providence is not used in merely invented story.
The above incident is almost literally true; the real heroine is now
living (June, 1860). She carried a young sister out in precisely the
manner described when the attention the savages was called off by the
discovery of a quantity of tobacco. I regret that I am not permitted to
give her name to the public.]


While these two sable denizens of the wilds were savagely beating
our poor heroine, they were suddenly attracted by an exclamation of
surprise and delight proceeding from a third individual, who had, as
his first act of rummaging for plunder, lifted up the cover of the
large chest which stood beneath the little window and within a pace
or two of the door. It was not locked, most fortunately, or the fate
of the settler's daughter had been sealed for ever. An immediate
suspension of hostilities took place, and the warriors, jealous,
perhaps, of their comrade's good fortune, hastened over to see the
object which had caused his sudden outcry of joy. They, too, as soon
as they beheld it, gave utterance to a guttural grunt of satisfaction.
A large parcel of tobacco, black as their own skins, lay open before
them: the tempting object of their greatest desire was within their
reach: they chattered and grinned at each other with unfeigned rapture.
Thus was the fragrant weed--the horror of many eloquent writers, the
soother of many sorrows, the beloved and hated of mankind--the means of
saving Griselda's life.

She lifted her bruised head slowly, and thanked God that she had
power left to do so. She felt the blood trickling over her face,
but courage revived in her heart; and thoughts of immediate escape,
clear and distinct, crowded into her mind. She lost not a moment
in fruitless conjectures or vain questionings on the amount of her
physical strength; but lifting her sick brother in her arms as tenderly
as if he had been an infant, advanced with haste, but as noiselessly
as possible, to the open door, though in gaining it she had passed
and almost touched with her dress a tall, naked, untamed barbarian.
She gained the open air, but here a new agony awaited her. Standing
together like sentinels, with spears in their hands, two more of these
revengeful enemies confronted her and disputed her passage. Now losing
nearly all hope, but determined to leave nothing untried, she turned
upon them an imploring look, and still retreating from them in crab
fashion, said, "O! sirs, for God's sake do not hurt us."

"I will hurt,"' immediately replied, in good English, the elder of the
two, an old man with grey hair, whose image was from that hour stamped
but too well on Griselda's memory; and as he spoke he poised the fatal
spear in order to launch it at his gentle victim. She saw the movement
and sprang forward in renewed terror. The weapon flew from the unerring
hand and entered her side. The force of the blow brought her to her
knees; but in a moment she was up again and continued her flight, only
stopping to draw out the spear, which she was sensible had inflicted
a serious wound. This accomplished, she sped onward, not daring to
look back, scarcely feeling, so great was the excitement under which
she labored, the weight of the burden she bore. Still, under these
frightful circumstances, her prudence never deserted her: she looked
round for some sheltered spot, and saw at a little distance a native
box tree, with thick spreading branches. She ran towards it, for now
her breath was getting short, and her strength beginning to fail; she
reached it, and threw herself on the grass, faint from over-exertion
and loss of blood. Exhausted nature could do no more.

While this scene was being enacted, Mrs. Maxwell had been also greatly
alarmed when she heard the extraordinary sound to which the watch-dog
had given utterance, and she looked round to discover, if possible, the
cause of his uneasiness. She distinctly saw three, or six, or nine--how
many she could not tell--black figures running rapidly along the edge
of a bank in the direction of the cottage. At first she could scarcely
credit the evidence of her senses. They could not be real human beings,
but figures cut out of paper and set on wires by some mischievous
person purposely to alarm her family. In another moment she was cruelly
undeceived, for the party had already reached the cottage, and one of
their number, perceiving her in the garden, stepped aside and aimed at
her his deadly spear. Like a black marble statue the savage stood with
the weapon poised in his hand. The poor lady seemed transfixed to the
spot, and, like her son, gazed on the fearful object with a fascinated
stare. The spear flew, but whether from accident or design--for they
were seldom known to miss the object at which they aimed,--it glanced
harmlessly by. Aroused from her trance the full meaning of this
terrible vision burst upon the unfortunate lady, and she turned and
fled from the spot. Her first impulse was to rush to the cottage to
defend her children, but she saw the door blocked up by the marauders
struggling to get in; her next was to fly for assistance, and she flew
wildly over the hill and through the long grass, along the border of
the marsh that lay between the homestead and the cultivated land where
she hoped to find her husband. She waved her sun-bonnet above her
head and tried to scream, but her voice failed her. A deadly agony,
utterly annihilating and overpowering, came over her on thinking of the
probable fate of her children. Still she pressed on, but the distance
appeared great and the time an age. At length she saw him afar off, her
limbs tottered, her brain reeled, but with a last effort she screamed
aloud--then fell. Maxwell saw, heard her, and rushed breathlessly to
the spot, crying wildly--"Elizabeth, tell me, for the love of God, what
has happened?"

"Oh! Bernard," was the thrilling answer, "our children! our
children!--murdered--slaughtered by the dreadful natives!"

The father heard no more. Mad with desperate excitement he rushed
towards his home, his teeth firmly set, his lips white, his heart
burning with a terrible fire. Bitterly did he curse his fate, and his
thoughts grew dark at the bloody sight which he firmly believed he was
destined to behold. Without a thought of personal safety he gained
the door: all was silent. He entered: all was desolate. His house
plundered, the enemy gone, his children nowhere to be seen. He called
Griselda there was no reply. He searched every room, and rushed out
again--round the garden into the stable and the hut calling Griselda,
but there was no answer. He ran towards the river--stopped--then ran
back again; his eyes scanning every nook, and wandering around from
tree to tree. At length they rested on an object like a bundle of
clothes under a distant box-tree. He flew with the speed of the wind to
the side of the helpless pair. Griselda covered with blood, but alive,
raised her wounded head, and exclaimed in accents of joy, "O papa, we
are safe," and was encircled in his arms.

After a few moments of silent thanksgiving, the settler assisted his
daughter to rise. He told her that the blackmen were gone, and asked if
she felt strong enough to walk home; she replied in the affirmative. He
then lifted up his son, who, from weakness and terror, was in a state
of utter unconsciousness, and carried him back to the cottage, which
was now in a lamentable state of confusion. The furniture was thrown
about; the contents of boxes and drawers, rejected by the robbers,
lay scattered about the floor. All the blankets and arms, as well as
a quantity of tea, sugar, and flour, had been carried off. Maxwell
laid his son in his bed, giving him a little wine which had been
left untouched, and proceeded to examine his daughter's wounds. The
spear-wound in her side had become inflamed and painful, and the back
part of her head, where the blows of the waddies had fallen thickly,
was much swollen and excessively sore. To reduce the inflammation as
much as lay in his power he bound up her head in a cloth saturated with
cold water, and placed another on her side; then half listlessly busied
himself in putting the house into some kind of order.

When Eugene and the men saw Maxwell running so fast towards home, they
immediately concluded that something terrible had happened. The former
ran to his prostrate mother. One of the latter started off to Mr.
Earlsley's to give the alarm to the soldiers; the other followed his
master as hard as he could run. Eugene attempted to console his weeping
mother, but in vain. She would not entertain the hope that Griselda
and Charles could by any possibility have escaped death; but yielding
at length to the solicitations of her son she arose from the ground,
and with feeble steps followed in the path her husband had taken. When
they arrived at the brow of the hill which overlooked their cottage and
garden, they saw Jacob Singlewood coming to meet them in the greatest
haste. He took off his billycock hat, waved it a number of times around
his head, and roared out as he came nearer--"They're safe mum, they're
all right, Musther Eugin." Mrs. Maxwell clung to her son for support
and exclaimed--"What does he say, Eugene--what am I to believe?"

"They're safe, mum; they're all right: but the blackguards have'nt
left us a bit of bread or a bit of bacon, or a blanket, and stole the
pistols and broke the bayonet----"

"Did you say the children were safe?" said Mrs. Maxwell wildly.

"They're as right as ninepence, mum; I seed 'em and heer'd
'em--Musther Charley callin' for a drink of tay, and they young Miss
for bread and butter."

The mother sank down on her knees--"Great God I thank thee--I thank
thee! Eugene, my heart burns; run and see, child; see if it is true!"
she exclaimed with mingled feelings of love and hope.

"It's as true as daylight," said Jacob; whose conscience told him
that his mistress had good reasons for doubting the veracity of his
assertions in general. It is probable that if his present statement
were not true he would have confirmed it with an oath, though we can
well afford to put down the conclusion of his account relative to the
bread and butter to the fertility of his imagination.

Eugene ran forward accordingly, and found his father bathing his
sister's head. She was perfectly calm and quiet, though suffering
intense pain, and could tell everything that happened from the first
alarm to her precipitate flight to the box tree. Maxwell on hearing
that his wife was fearful of seeing her murdered children, went out to
meet and reassure her. She was soon kneeling at her daughter's bedside
weeping hysterically; but quickly recovering her scattered senses,
assisted her husband in alleviating the pain of Griselda's wounds.
As for Charles, it was found that he had not suffered from anything
except fright. His nerves, weakened by his recent illness, had received
a great shock, but his constitution was vigorous, and he seemed now
disposed to regard the whole affair as a wild dream.

About three hours after the attack Mr. Earlsley arrived, his horse
reeking with foam. With a latent spirit of kindness which sometimes
peeped out from beneath his stern and forbidding exterior, yet in
somewhat lordly style, he attempted to console Mr. and Mrs. Maxwell
on such a calamitous visitation. He saw Griselda and pronounced her
in a favorable state, recommending the constant application of cloths
dipped in cold water to keep down inflammation, also the exhibition of
some cooling medicine. Under his directions Mrs. Maxwell cut off her
daughter's fair ringlets, and the wound in her side he carefully probed
and washed. The spear had penetrated only to the depth of an inch,
but the wound though trifling in itself, was exceedingly painful. Mr.
Earlsley was astonished that the weapon had not gone right through the
young lady's body, but accounted for it to her parents by her proximity
to her murderous foe; had the spear only acquired the momentum of
fifteen or twenty yards her death would have been certain. "By Jove,
Sir," he said, turning to Maxwell, "you may consider henceforward that
your daughter's life has been saved by nothing short of a miracle."

"I am penetrated with gratitude to Divine Providence," replied Maxwell,
"and I believe that he can, and often does, stay the human hand from
committing murder as readily as he can cause one world in space to
revolve round another."

Shortly after the arrival of six soldiers Mr. Earlsley took his leave.
He promised to come again the next day, and bring suitable dressings
for Miss Maxwell's wounds, as he had a fair share of surgical skill.
He also promised to send a supply of blankets and spare firearms to
replace those that had been stolen. It was kind of him to volunteer
such well-timed aid, still kinder that he did not forget to perform his
promises, as the sequel will show.

Night was now falling fast. It was too late for the soldiers to think
of scouring the bush. No one knew which way the robber natives had
gone; whether they had crossed the river and retreated into the Ben
Lomond forests, or taking an opposite direction with a view of hiding
their spoil in the recesses of the Swanport Tiers. They had vanished
as suddenly as they appeared, like beings of a separate creation or
different sphere. Under these circumstances the soldiers fortified
themselves beside a roaring fire in the kitchen, as the night was cold
and frosty. Honest Jacob baked a tremendous damper (for he could bake
damper, and eat it, too) sufficient for the family supper, and an extra
ration for the soldiers as well. They piled their muskets in a corner,
and sat round the fire chatting and smoking to a late hour, then lay
back one by one on their watch-coats to sleep as well as they were
able. It was a miserable night to the settler and his family. Deprived
of their comfortable blankets they were obliged to content themselves
with sheets and whatever articles of clothing they could collect, all
of which if piled on one lucky individual would only have made him
call out lustily for more. Griselda was of course by far the greatest
sufferer, as in addition to the agonizing pain of her stiffening
wounds, she had to endure an extremity of cold to which she had never
been accustomed. Her mind, however, did not droop: she was consoled by
the thought that she had, under all the trying circumstances of the
case, done her duty as fair as her slender strength permitted.




CHAPTER XVIII.--PEOPLE OF THE TOWNSHIP AND MRS. EARLSLEY'S SYMPATHY.

No sooner did it become known to the neighbours, including the township
people and all who lived within a circle of ten miles at least, that
Miss Maxwell had been nearly murdered by the natives while carrying
her of sick brother to a place of safety, than their enthusiasm rose
to the highest possible pitch. Her name was on every tongue and her
wonderful courage, fortitude, and powers of endurance were lauded
to the skies. Four of the soldiers had gone out when the first dawn
of morning appeared to search the bush, leaving their two comrades
to guard Maxwell's homestead. As they called at the various huts to
seek information and light their pipes the news spread rapidly, and
visitors, some on horseback, some on foot, others in spring carts,
commenced travelling towards Bremgarten to offer their respects and
congratulations. Mr. Earlsley arrived at an early hour with his
instruments, a bottle of physic, plasters, and lint, followed by a
man in a horse cart bringing a supply of blankets and other necessary
articles. Mrs. Maxwell, although her mind was far from being in a
settled state, was truly pleased with Mr. Earlsley's kindness and
attention. She saw that he was not altogether lost in self as she had
previously supposed, and that he was not one of those monsters of
society who stand in awful solitude--silver their idol, their pockets
their places of worship, and without a single sympathetic feeling for
distress. Mr. Maxwell was no less pleased than astonished at this
amiable feature in Earlsley's character so suddenly displayed; and
he rejoiced (in the event of his continuing to reside in a country
where dangers and difficulties seemed to have conspired to oppose his
progress) in the prospect of future good neighborhood with the austere
magistrate.

Mr. Juniper also heard the news even across the river, and having
ferried himself over in his stringy-bark canoe, came walking up the
marsh at a swifter pace than usual, carrying a small basket on his arm,
and humming, though softly, some snatch of a song to himself. Let us
take a peep, in our usual sneaking way, into that basket, Juniper. What
have you got there? Heaven and earth! a piece of fat pork! fat four
inches thick; lean, tenth part of in inch. Well thought of, Johnson!
Griselda will like that. Well may you sing, in the generosity of your
ample heart--


And here we'll sit as merry as grigs,
And here will stay an' it please the pigs,
For we won't go home till morning!


Mr. Baxter, the carrier, also presented himself, having left, as he
boisterously told Mrs. Maxwell, his thrashing, his turnip cutting, his
waggon load of goods just arrived standing at the door, and his little
Mary that had been lost, and spent six hours in riding about to see
if he could find the jet black scoundrels that had presumed to hurt a
single hair of Miss Maxwell's honored and blessed head. If he had only
seen their shadows under a tree three miles off even if they had gone
as fast as the wind itself, wouldn't he have crushed the detestable
"varmint." He would give fifty pound, he would, if they would only come
again just while he was there. He hoped and he prayed, and all the harm
he wished them was that they might just come again while he was there.
He protested, as he took out his pipe and began to cut up his tobacco,
that if they would only just come again when he was there, it would be
the happiest day that ever did or would pass over him, either before he
was born or after he was dead.

Mrs. Maxwell, without answering a word, made a precipitate retreat into
her daughter's bedroom, where Mr. Earlsley was engaged in dressing
that young lady's wounds. Her husband had just commenced giving the
vociferous carrier a sound lecture on the sin and impropriety of
revenge, when the magistrate-turned-doctor emerged with spectacles
on his nose and a piece of linen, on which was spread a portion of
ointment, in his hand. Approaching the fire as if to warm his ointment
he turned to Griselda's father and said--

"Who is making this infernal noise, Sir? What do all these people want?"

"Baxter was speaking, Mr. Earlsley," said Maxwell; "and these persons
are kind enough to come and enquire after my daughter."

"Very kind of them," said Earlsley with a half sneer, "very kind of
them, no doubt; but Baxter, I'll tell you what it is: I am surprised
at your going on at a time like this, with your foolish swaggering
and bragging nonsense. And going to smoke, too, as if that will be
likely to improve Miss Maxwell's condition: go outside, Sir, if you
want to smoke, but come back again, I want to have a little private
talk with you. Is Mr. Juniper here? Yes, I see; pray sit still, Mr.
Juniper, I want to have a little private talk with you, too. As for the
rest of you good people, pray go home, if you have the least particle
of respect for Miss Maxwell, and tell all your friends whom you may
meet on the road, that Miss Maxwell will be happy to see them exactly
this day six months. Now depart every one of you; and you, Baxter,
if you will talk, do so in a manner that is not likely to disturb my
patient,--do not fancy you are holding forth in a stockyard, or abusing
a set of refractory bullocks."

Mr. Earlsley turned to attend on his patient, and Baxter, taking
advantage of that circumstance dexterously applied the thumb of his
right hand to the tip of his nose, pointing his fingers like a segment
of the mariners' compass after the retreating magistrate. The rest of
the company tittered and departed, bidding Mr. Maxwell good day.

Griselda was, according to Mr. Earlsley's report, going on favorably.
But she was very feverish, and her mind in a low desponding state,
which it was natural to expect would succeed the excitement of the
previous day. The pain of her wounds, particularly the spear-wound in
her side, was intense, yet she bore the probing which Earlsley thought
requisite with wonderful fortitude and patience. The great cause of
astonishment was that she was alive at all. The injuries she had
received on her head would no doubt have been fatal had the blows been
dealt with a much greater degree of force. From the fact that she was
not killed Earlsley argued that the natives did not intend to kill her,
or anyone else, excepting those who might have offered resistance. This
was evinced by the conciliatory exclamation of "Run, run, or I kill,"
which the first savage said in plain English. They were therefore not a
very sanguinary party; if they had been, Griselda would probably have
found an untimely grave on the banks of the South Esk.

When Earlsley had finished his self-imposed task of dressing her
wounds he returned to the kitchen, where Mrs. Maxwell laid the table
for tea, her anxiety and confusion having been so great as to render
her incapable of preparing any kind of dinner. The surgical magistrate
having washed his hands, now stood with his back to the fire eating a
slice of bread and butter and sipping his cup of tea. Messrs. Juniper
and Baxter, likewise furnished with tea and bread and butter, sat on
the large chest, so often alluded to in this history. Maxwell, his
wife, and Eugene sat at the table, while Charles, as well as could be
expected, reclined on his little couch. Shortly after tea Mrs. Maxwell
rose, and thanking Mr. Earlsley for his kind attention, retired to her
daughter's room.

"Mr. Maxwell informed me some time ago," began Earlsley, "that he saw
upwards of five hundred of my sheep near the township of Avoca, a place
where they had no business to be: now, Baxter, as you live close to
that township, will you be good enough to inform me how they got there?"

"I should say on their legs, Sir," said Baxter, with an air of
innocence.

"Yes," exclaimed the magistrate, firing up. "Yes, I dare say--on their
legs of course: am I here to be a butt for your amusement, Sir? On
their legs--don't you know who I am, Sir, or whom you are speaking to?
I can well fancy a fat sheep or lamb walking by moonlight on two legs
instead of four under your auspices, but for a flock of five hundred
being likely to walk on their own legs, I don't altogether depend on
the word of Mr. Cockatoo* farmer Baxter. In brief, Sir, who drove them
there? I dare say you know as much about it as anyone residing in that
locality."


[* A colonial sobriquet for small agricultural farmers--vulgar.]


"If you mean for to suppose, Mr. Ersey," replied Baxter, "that I throws
sheep's eyes on your sheep, Sir, or carries 'em to a hospital by
moonlight, you're very much astray from good calculation, for I don't
know nothin' whatsumever about your sheep or your beef, and what's more
I don't want to know; but I know this that there's very enticin' grass
round about Avoca, and I b'lieve sheep is very good judges between
good grass and bad grass, just as well as Mr. Juniper would know the
difference between a juicy beef-steak and the leg of a 'possum. Besides
sheep have got light legs and can travel far and fast as well by night
as by day, with good noses to tell 'em where they're a goin' to, and
if they meets with a flock belongin' to Mr. Micklebrains, though they
may know that you're their master and can't abear the sight of the
other sheep's master, still in they goes and mixes and kicks up their
heels for fun and fraternizes, as the sojers did with the people in the
French Revolutionary war as I've read in the history of them scrambles.
Then away they goes to show one another the nice bites, just as much as
to say--'never mind about our masters tearin' one anothers' eyes out
like big fools, we'll grow fat and be jolly, and leave fightin' to them
and the dogs.'"

"To what purpose is this oration, Sir?" said Earlsley, who violently
struggled to keep down his rage. "Did I ask for information on these
points, Sir? Will you be good enough to give a plain answer to a plain
question; my question was--how did that flock of five hundred sheep
find its way to your immediate neighbourhood, when it is well known
that my sheep are not at all accustomed to rambling except on their own
ground? Give me no more of your nonsensical ideas about what sheep are
likely to think or say."

"Well, Sir," said Baxter, "all I've got for to say is just this
here--You gets told by Mister Maxwell--and it's very kind of Mister
Maxwell to tell you, Sir--that he seen five hundred of your sheep
near Avoca, and you then as soon as you gets that information, the
first thought you gets into your head is, 'It's that Baxter!' If your
stock-keeper goes and tells you that a fat bullock can't be found, or a
temptin' two-year-old a missin', then, again, 'It's that Baxter, he's
down in his harness cask.' If a skinny old horse goes away and dies in
a gully and you never sees him no more, 'It's that Baxter'--that's all
the cry. Now, it's well known that your sheep don't like the sight of
me--they can't abear to look at me, and whenever they sees me a comin'
they scamper off as if Old Nick had them by the tails, and it don't
stand to no reason that because they can't abear the sight o' me that
I'm likely to take a particular fancy to them. Sheep will stray, and
cattle will ramble, and old horses will die in gullies, and if I was
twenty Baxters I couldn't prevent them. There's that cur Jeames of
Mrs. Trapfarthing's passes my place five times a week, whistlin' to
three or four dogs to come after him; I don't know where he goes to
nor what he does, still it's nobody but Baxter! There's my neighbour
Bill Jenkins--people call him Bloody Bill, because his wife is a most
always employed in washin' a bloody shirt--goes out every night of his
life to shoot 'possums and them there things, and keeps wanderin' up
and down Peppermint Forest like a regular Dick Turpin--what if there's
five hundred o' your sheep on Black Sall's mash, won't the fact of Bill
Jenkins postin' up and down Peppermint Forest drive them sheep to Avoca
instead of lettin' them go home? still it's nobody but Baxter--Baxter
here and Baxter there. Baxter's a free man, Sir, and don't care for
nobody!"

"Do you mean to tell me, Sir," said Earlsley, with a frown, "that you
positively know nothing about those sheep, or how they got there?
Did not a constable find sixty of my fat sheep in your very paddock?
Remember, I'm a magistrate."

"If you was the judge that tried Moses for shootin' the Egyptian, Sir,"
replied Baxter, "I can tell you no more. If I finds your sheep in my
paddock out they go directly--would you have me keep 'em there? If I
finds Mister Micklebrain's I turns 'em out as well. I practizes no
favor in them things. If the constable saw your sheep in my paddock
it's a proof he was'nt blind; he saw 'em before I did, that's all. I
tell you, Mr. Ersey, with all respects, that I'd like you very well
if you was'nt so mighty suspicious. If I was like you, Sir, I'd hang
myself to my wife's clothes-peg. As I am, I would'nt put my neck in a
halter for all the sheep and cattle you can clap your brand on."

"Very well, Sir--very well," said Earlsley hastily, as if afraid that
Baxter was about to give him some more unpleasant advice; "quite enough
from you for the present. Now, Mr. Juniper, may I take the liberty of
asking you a question?"

"Certainly, Sir," said Juniper.

"Do you recollect about ten days ago two men calling at your place?"

"Not particularly," said Juniper; "a good many men call now and then."

"These men," said Earlsley, "were not exactly like the general run
of men--they were somewhat remarkable. One had a tall black hat with
the crown beaten in, blue swallow-tail coat, with two brass buttons
on right breast, black trowsers, dirty striped red and white shirt,
with greasy black neck-cloth: the other man was dressed like a
stable-keeper--in dirty sleeved waistcoat, ostler's cap and sheepskin
leggings, he had a patch on the left eye, and a scar on the right side
of his mouth."

"I think now, as you described them minutely," said Juniper, "they did
call at my place. I remember them now very well."

"Do you remember what they said, or any thing peculiar about them?"

"No, Sir, all they said was, 'Can you give us a job, Master?' I had no
work for them; they then asked for something to eat; I gave them some
bread and salt beef, and they told me they were going up to Launceston
side to the shearing and harvest."

"Well," said Earlsley, "it is my duty to caution all of you--those men
were desperate characters--absconders from St. Mary's Pass--bushrangers
in fact, when they get arms, which they soon will get. The first went
down to Falmouth and robbed a poor potatoe farmer, taking his clothes
and a few shillings; then they doubled back to Cullenswood, and meeting
with a hawker beat him within an inch of his life, and plundered his
pack. They then went towards Campbell Town, taking the opposite side
of the river, and calling at your place on the way. Have you heard
anything about them since?"

"Not a word, Sir," answered Juniper.

"Then keep a sharp look out, and keep your arms ready for action, I
dare say their eyes were not shut while they were prowling about your
place. Now I have another question to ask you: do you remember about a
month or five weeks ago three men calling at your place--two tall men,
and one short man--dressed something like Smithfield drovers, riding on
horseback and leading two cart horses in halters?"

"I do, Sir; they stopped all night; I helped to give them hay for
their horses myself; we put them in the stock-yard as there was'nt
room in the stable: they were very decent men, and wanted to buy my
saddle-horse Buffalo, but I would'nt sell him."

"Yes," said Earlsley, "and if you had they would have given you in
payment a cheque on the sentry-box at Ross chain gang, or some such
likely place. Did you notice anything particular about those men?"

"Nothing particular, Sir," replied Juniper; "I showed them round the
farm; they admired the live stock, especially the cows and pigs."

"Ah! I dare say," said the magistrate, with his usual cadaverous
chuckle; "they admired the cows and the pigs, did they? You have a good
many cows, I believe; please to tell me, Sir, how many cows you have? I
have a particular reason for asking."

"I have seven cows at home giving milk, and fifteen out in the bush
dry, and suckling calves."

"Are they all branded?"

"Yes, Sir, JJ on the near quarter."

"Then, Sir," said Earlsley, "it is without pleasure I inform you in
an official manner to that six of your cows, branded JJ on the near
quarter, were sold in Hobart Town, about 14 days ago, by the three
identical men for whose horses you were kind enough to procure hay
with your own hands. Those two cart horses that they led in halters
were stolen from Mr. Simon Grasstree, the celebrated model farmer of
Cape Portland: the men are now in custody, and will be examined by
me primarily in about a week, at my office at Fingal; the day being
specified, you will receive a summons to attend, and if they are
committed for trial they will be sent to Launceston, and you will have
to go and identify the cows."

"Why, bless my soul, Sir," said the astonished Surveyor, "I can swear
my cattle were all right the day before those three persons came; I saw
them with my own eyes and counted them, fifty-seven altogether."

"How many were there the day after, Sir?" asked Earlsley, in a caustic
tone.

"I don't know, Sir; I never counted them since."

"Then 'pon my soul," said the magistrate, "I really was beginning to
think that you did after all know how many links in a chain make five,
but I believe I'm mistaken."

"Who on earth can those scoundrels be?" said Maxwell, hastily, as if
afraid that Juniper's temper might break out.

"O, I knows who they was," chimed in Baxter, with the utmost gravity.

"Ah! you do, do you? I thought so," said Earlsley, in a voice of
triumph.

"Who were they, the villains?" said Juniper.

"Why, Tim Baxter, in course," said that individual, calmly raising his
grey eyes right to the face of the indignant Justice of Peace, who,
seeing Maxwell bury his face in his handkerchief, turned to the carrier
and said severely--

"I am not addressing my conversation to you, Sir. Depend upon it this
insolence, Sir, will not and shall not be forgotten."

"Can't commit me for contempt of court, Sir," said the imperturbable
carrier, "this is no court."

"I can make it one, Sir," said Mr. Earlsley, "if I think proper; I can
administer an oath here, or examine a witness here, or place a prisoner
with his back to the wall with a chair in front of him and call it a
bar, Sir, and I can be my own clerk, Sir, and can summon Mr. Maxwell
to act as a constable and aid me in the King's name, Sir; and if you
presume to oppose me by word or look in the execution of my duty I can
command Mr. Juniper to tie your hands behind your back, fling you into
a bullock cart, and drive you to the lock-up where I can keep you on
bread and water, Sir. I can do all that, Sir."

"Well, Sir," said Baxter, as coolly as possible, "if you can do all
that without a legal warrant I intend, as soon as I can collect all the
money that you and other settlers owes me, to sell off all my traps and
go to Roosia."

"That would involve an interesting calculation respecting what
this country would loose and Russia gain," said Earlsley and added
immediately, turning to Eugene--"Have the goodness to order my horse to
the door, if you please."

While the horse was being brought, Mr. Earlsley addressed Maxwell
thus--"You may depend upon it, Sir, that it requires no ordinary man
to live at all in a country like this. You have learned from the
conversations that have just taken place a little about the dangers
and annoyances to which we are daily subjected. You have received some
slight proof of them yourself in having your daughter nearly beaten to
death, your wife all but speared through the body and frightened out of
her senses: you can hear the din of war sounding from afar--bushrangers
arming and sending spies all over the land; black savages mustering
in deadly hate, with the war-cry of 'Kill, burn, and destroy;' and,"
continued the excited magistrate, taking off his spectacles and
glancing furtively at the two pairs of stock-keepers' boots that
dangled within three inches of the floor, enclosing the respectable
feet of Messrs. Juniper and Baxter--"you and I, Sir, and a great
many more honest and respectable men, are surrounded by a low set of
sheep-stealers, cow-receivers, and moonlight roving vagabonds, who go
out under the pretence of shooting 'possums, when we all know very well
that their 'possum shooting does not amount to much."

"I hope for better days, Sir," replied Maxwell. "I sincerely trust that
the day is not far distant when this will be as free and as happy a
country as any in the world."

Mr. Earlsley made no reply, but shook hands with Maxwell, bowed coldly
to Juniper, glared fiercely on Baxter, mounted his horse, and cantered
off.

"Give me honest Tim Baxter, before Justice Ersey any day in the week,"
said the facetious carrier, thrusting his pipe into the fire in order
to obtain a light. "Good-by, Mister Maxwell, and may your angel
daughter soon come round again and be a glory to her parents, and an
honor to the country she lives in. Good day, Sir; good day, Mister
Juniper. My dray will be goin' to town in a fortnight, if either of you
gentlemen want anything brought up--never lost anything by me I hope?"
and he bowed finally with the air of a man bobbing for apples in a tub
of water, and withdrew.

Mr. Juniper then rose to take leave. Maxwell thanked him for his
present of pork, saying with a smile that it was so very fat he did
not know how he should get it disposed of. Juniper answered--"Oh,
never mind; you'll find it go down best in a pie." He then shook hands
with the settler of Bremgarten and with Eugene, and set out on his
return to the place where his canoe was moored. On the way he thought
of various things, hummed portions of various tunes, and talked aloud
about his six cows and the villains who stole them, not forgetting to
congratulate himself upon his prospect of getting them back again. Then
he thought of Earlsley and his supercilious dogmatical treatment of
respectable and professional men, and wondered when he would be made
a magistrate so that he might command impertinent constables to touch
their hats to him. Turning to look in the direction of the rich man's
house, which he could not see on account of the thickness of the wood,
he roared out in sonorous tones--


Poor Guy they cannot kill again,
Because he's dead already.

Bow, wow, wow,
Toll loll de riddle diddle,
Bow, wow, wow."


The settler and his family were once more left to themselves, and a
discussion took place between Maxwell and his wife as to what their
future movements should be. The conditions under which he held his
grant of land were not yet fulfilled; but they had been evaded in many
cases, and properties disposed of contrary to established rules, by
owners who had scarcely ever seen the land they had acquired in the
easiest possible manner. Our settler did not like the idea of evading
a single condition of tenure, yet the numerous trials he was called
upon to endure, to which there seemed to be no reasonable prospect
of termination, almost broke his spirits down, so that his heart was
heavy and sad; and he thought, with some show of justice, that as the
Government had held out certain inducements to him and others to come
and cast in their lot in a distracted country, one, moreover, in which
it seemed to be a disgrace to live, the loss, if there was any, should
fall not upon persons situated as he was but upon the Government alone.
His wife, although she concurred in these views, was decidedly opposed
to any sudden change. She had recovered her wonted good spirits, and
now urged the necessity of patient perseverance if they wished to gain
an ultimate independence. She dwelt on the probability that the natives
would not trouble them again, especially when they knew that proper
precautions were taken against any future attack. As for bushrangers,
she said she was not afraid of them; they would only rob, and the
loss of anything or of everything they possessed in their house would
not be attended with utter ruin. She begged her husband to remember
that if he returned to Ireland his ill health would inevitably return
to him; if he went to New South Wales they might be worse off than
they were even then, and if to America he would find a very variable
climate and savage Indians to contend with. The same might be said of
the Cape and New Zealand. Finally she reminded him that a merciful
Gold had already graciously interposed and preserved the lives of
their two beloved children; that He would still preserve them from all
evil, having promised in His sacred word that He would never leave nor
forsake them; and if it was His will that they should die, it would be
a satisfaction to know that they had not flown away like cowards on the
first appearance of danger, but had bravely held their ground to the
very last.

These arguments and his own high sense of honor prevailed. He inwardly
resolved not to allow any consideration short of sickness or death to
turn him aside from the path of life he had chosen, until he should
be in a position to retire on an easy competence. And he kept his
word. Mr. Earlsley was surprised, when he came the next day to dress
Griselda's wounds, to find Mr. and Mrs. Maxwell almost as cheerful
as ever. Not a word was said about selling off. The business of the
farm proceeded as usual, Eugene walking about as a sentinel with a gun
on his shoulder. If the penetrating magistrate ever entertained the
idea that his bright pictures of colonial life would frighten the new
settlers from their home in the bush he was deceived. He found them, if
possible, more firmly established than ever.

Mrs. Earlsley came over shortly after her husband, attended by two
constables armed to the teeth. She brought with her her daughter,
Caroline, and her new nursery governess, Miss Leary. She expressed
great sympathy with Mrs. Maxwell, and her wounded daughter, whose
praises she dwelt upon with a great display of feminine eloquence.

"I have brought Miss Leary to see you and your daughter, Mrs. Maxwell,"
said the kind lady. "As we have given the young children holidays for
two or three weeks, Miss Leary is quite at your service, and will be
happy to assist you to the best of her ability; we know you must have
plenty on your hands now."

"I am exceedingly obliged to you, Mrs Earlsley," said Mrs. Maxwell,
"and to Miss Leary also; we shall not readily forget your kindness.
However I am very strong, thank God, and not so badly off as I might be
if I were surrounded by young children. I think our escape from death
has been miraculous."

"I believe it was very providential," said Mrs. Earlsley. "I cannot for
a moment imagine how your daughter escaped; and such an extraordinary
circumstance that of carrying her brother--she must possess great
strength; she is quite a heroine of romance."

"I suppose Griselda could not have carried her brother far if she had
not been laboring under powerful excitement," observed Mrs. Maxwell.

Mr. Earlsley reported that Griselda was still going on favorably
but recommended that she should be kept as quiet as possible, in
consequence of which Mrs. Earlsley and Miss Caroline did not exchange
with her more than a few words. The former lady said--"Now, Miss
Maxwell, you are to keep yourself very quiet; you must make haste and
get well with Miss Leary's help, and when you are well enough, I will
come for you myself, and you shall spend a few weeks with us at Clifton
Hall; we have a piano, and Harriet and Caroline will do their best to
amuse you."

Griselda thanked Mrs. Earlsley, and said it would give her the greatest
pleasure to go, provided her mother was willing to allow her.

"And," said Caroline, "when you come, Griselda, we shall form a party
on horseback to see the new road at St. Mary's Pass, we know Mr.
Fitzfrizzle, the Superintendent, and it is such a lovely glen. It will
be supremely deliciously delightful."

"I believe you will go out of your wits, Caroline," said her mother,
"you want a few blows on the head with a waddy to bring you to your
senses. She is the most extraordinary girl, Mrs. Maxwell, you ever
saw; she is always either swinging on gates or riding horses about the
paddock without anything but halters on, and always talking the most
ridiculous mischief into the bargain."

"You know, mamma," said the young lady, "I always scrupulously follow
your example in everything--papa says so."

"Hush you provoking little chit--your papa says no such thing, at least
to me," said her mother.

"Indeed, mamma----" again exclaimed the lively girl.

"Hush, I say," said Mrs. Earlsley, "if you do not instantly obey me I
shall find a way to compel you. A pretty house we should have indeed if
I were to set such an example as you pretend to say you follow."

Mrs. Earlsley took her leave, requesting Mrs. Maxwell to let her know
if she could do anything more for her. "It would give her pleasure
if she could do anything more." Mrs. Maxwell felt very grateful, and
thanked her visitor accordingly, adding that with Miss Leary's kind
help for a few days she had no doubt that all things would resume their
usual tranquil state.

Maxwell took advantage of the carrier's visit to Hobart Town to get
a fresh supply of blankets, arms, and provisions. He also set about
making preparations for building his new house, and in addition to
keeping up an almost sleepless vigilance over his premises, he had to
look after his sheep, his cultivated paddocks, and his workmen--thus
finding his head, as well his hands and legs, more busily employed than
ever.




CHAPTER XIX.--MORE TROUBLES.

Under the attentive care of Mr. Earlsley, who now seemed to take great
interest in his new neighbors, although they had at first unwittingly
aroused his jealousy, Griselda rapidly recovered her usual health
and spirits. A visit to Clifton Hall was planned and paid both by
Mrs. Maxwell and her daughter, and the conversation of the two young
ladies--the grave Harriet and her romping sister--was enjoyed both in
and out of doors, on foot and on horseback, for two or three happy
days. It was no slight cause of thankfulness with the settlers that
they found themselves residing near such kind people, who were ever
ready to offer help in time of need, and to bring consolation to the
desolate hearth and the afflicted mind. From the time of Griselda's
convalescence the operations and labors of the farm went on as usual.
The visit of the natives had at least taught Maxwell the necessity of
caution, and though his employments and responsibilities continued to
increase, he did not diminish his watchfulness. He added two or three
more men to the strength of his establishment, still keeping Jacob
Singlewood as shepherd and bullock driver, although he occasionally
suffered considerable annoyance on account of that individuals
tergiversation and idleness.

The first Tasmanian summer experienced by our settlers passed away
without the occurrence of any incident worthy of note; and as the
weather was mild and genial they enjoyed with suitable occupations
the long pleasant evenings, when the noontide heat had subsided, and
the mellow twilight gradually darkened into more sombre shades. In
rambles along the river's bank such hours were generally passed; the
young gentlemen armed with guns for protection, and fishing rods for
amusement; the ladies with their books or bags of work. The seasons for
hay-making, shearing, and reaping passed rapidly away, adding greatly
to the farming experience of Maxwell and his sons, but without bringing
much pecuniary benefit. The glorious days of the golden fleece had not
yet dawned, but to compensate for this the crop of wheat was good,
although it was all but spoiled and its owner nearly driven out of his
senses by the persevering visits of a herd of wild cattle belonging
to nearly every settler in the island. All the corn that could be
spared from the family was sold to the Government at a high price. As
the value of wheat was then fluctuating between ten and twenty-five
shillings per bushel, Maxwell exerted himself to fence in, plough,
and sow additional paddocks. Mrs. Maxwell became fonder of cows and
established a dairy on a small scale, employing a smart man to milk.
Her butter began to get a good name, and she became ambitious to shine
also in the article of cheese.

In the course of the following year Eugene took his departure for
Sydney: an arrangement having been entered into with Colonel Arnott
that he should reside on the sheep station in New South Wales, and
learn the profession of sheep farming in all its branches on a large
scale, for a few years. This circumstance created a blank in the family
circle at Bremgarten, and the mother of the absent member, of course,
felt the loss of her son more keenly than anyone else. By Maxwell it
was thought in some degree necessary for the enlargement of his son's
experience, and the increase of his worldly knowledge; especially as
his friend the Colonel had announced his intention of acting in a very
liberal manner. Should the climate, however, disagree with Eugene it
was stipulated that no impediment should be thrown in the way of his
immediate return home.

From the date of this last event a gap of about four years occurs in
our history. We could easily fill it up with extracts from a farm
journal kept during the time by Maxwell himself, which now lies on our
library table, but we are obliged to press onward to topics of greater
interest to the general reader. The journal bears the stamp of having
been written by a sensible, practical man--one who, although worldly
to the extent of wishing to provide respectably for his family, was
never forgetful of his great obligations of GRATITUDE to the Giver of
all good and perfect gifts. Though he did not often see a Church of
England clergyman at his homestead, he made it his duty and considered
it a pleasure to transmit a certain portion of his annual income to
the highest quarter, as his contribution towards the support of those
messengers of peace and a Divine Saviour's love; while at the same time
he was compelled to acknowledge that the aristocratic class in that
church was overflowing with wealth and luxury, and the great bulk of
the working men were obliged to struggle with heart-breaking poverty.

The journal contains a pithy account of every day's transactions,
being, in fact, an almost endless catalogue of small calamities, such
as--Cattle, in wheat again--Bullocks lost--Jacob insufferably idle,
cannot put up with him much longer--Rode to Avoca for letters--Juniper
called and talked a great deal, forget all he said--Cheering letter
from Eugene--Charles found bullocks; Jacob could not find them, believe
him to be asleep all day under trees--Sold 100 fat wethers to Mr. John
Smith for £150, bill at three months--Charles was kicked by Blackbird
while putting him in the pole of the dray, leg sore and swollen--Rode
to Earlsley's and dined, coming home horse fell into a hole, was
thrown, but not hurt--Sunday, family prayers and reading, circumstances
are improving, dear wife and daughter in excellent health, thank
God!--Weather very hot--Hired laborers to quarry stone--Threatening
fire broke out near the quarry, mustered all the men and put it
out--Cattle in the wheat again, can hardly sleep at night thinking of
them: and so on ad libitum. Thus we see that Maxwell and his wife
were now experienced colonists, and the annoyances and privations of a
life in the bush were borne with cheerfulness under the expectation of
a certain future independence. Their flock of sheep and herd of cattle
had materially increased. The value of produce, from potatoes up to
wool, had risen considerably, and the prices to be obtained for all
kinds of stock were extremely encouraging.

The pockets of the settler became well lined, in consequence of which
an expression of something between self-complacency and benevolence
dwelt upon his features. The new house was finished, furnished, and
this now occupied by the family; while the old one was abandoned to the
mercies of the winds and floods. It was an unpretending structure of
freestone, but the interior was tastefully finished with the beautiful
Huon pine and odoriferous cedar. The furniture had been purchased by
Maxwell in Launceston, the northern capital of Tasmania, which he
had occasion to visit on business about once a year. A large-sized
room, fitted up with superior elegance and taste, was designated,
par excellence, the parlor: it could boast of a luxurious carpet,
two easy chairs, a sofa, a large telescope table covered with books
and periodicals, large windows fringed with handsome curtains, and a
cottage pianoforte, upon which our heroine practised in sweet solitude
her favorite songs and pieces of music. We think we see her now in her
simple and graceful morning dress, the charms of the fair and modest
girl expanded into the more attractive charms of the beautiful and
modest woman. We think we hear her breathing forth strains, accompanied
by the harmony of her delicately-touched instrument, entrancing our
soul and raising us, albeit for a moment, far above this world of clay
and stone.

The new house had been built higher up on the banks of the river, so as
to be secure from floods, and it faced the distant hills on the south,
having in aspect the reverse of the old cottage, whose front looked
upon the river and the dark mountains on the other side. The house was
joined in the rear and on one side by a large garden, newly planted
at considerable expense with fruit trees of various kinds. The front
opened upon a small but handsome park, enclosed by a post-and-rail
fence, in which a few horses and cows were permitted to graze, and
through which a partially gravelled walk conducted visitors from the
entrance gate to the door. On the other side of the dwelling was a
paddock, which had been in cultivation for a couple of years, and was
now at the time of which we speak bearing a promising crop of wheat,
which in another week would be ready for the sickle. Nothing separated
the standing corn from the house except a few tall shady gum trees that
had been left for the sake of shelter, and a narrow belt of land on
which the tall, rank, yellow grass grew and flourished as such grass
only can. Near one corner of the garden stood a well-built four-stalled
stable, and not far from the stable a wooden shed had been erected
for shearing sheep in and pressing wool. Within a short distance of
this there stood a barn built of timber, with a milking-shed attached,
and a men's hut at some distance. There were only two men on the
place just then, for Jacob was away with two more dressing sheep from
one run to another. A female servant occupied the kitchen within
the house. The comforts of country life were to be found in various
directions: a carriage and pair was not yet set up, but a handsome
gig, drawn by a high-stepping good-looking hack, was often seen on the
roads in the neighborhood; and the lady and gentleman in it were Mr.
and Mrs. Maxwell. Charles had his well-fed hunter and his couple of
kangaroo-dogs--dogs that would never think of disturbing sheep, but
would run down and kill their game while you were whistling a strain
of Tom Moody; while Griselda rejoiced in the possession of a beautiful
side-saddle, and her spirited pony, Pompey, the highly-prized gift of
Mr. and Mrs. Earlsley, was the admiration of all and the envy of a few
of the neighboring Tasmanian maidens.

With respect to the social aspect and internal peace of the colony
things did not go on quite so merrily as a marriage bell. The natives,
though they showed no further disposition to molest our friends at
Bremgarten, committed various depredations at different times and
places which filled the minds of the colonists with alarm, and kept
them in a serious state of fear and uncertainty. Their ferocity,
approaching in numerous instances to an inextinguishable thirst
for blood, had its origin principally in the countless wrongs they
from time to time received at the hands of lawless, ignorant, and
wicked white men, whose detestable outrages were often visited with
ten-fold vengeance on the heads of the innocent, the peaceful, and the
conscientious. The terror caused by the onslaughts of these degraded
savages had scarcely time to subside when the news would fly through
the devoted island that several gangs of still more degraded prisoners
had broken through their bonds of control, betaken themselves to the
bush, seized upon arms and ammunition, and commenced an indiscriminate
course of plunder, accompanied in a few cases by barbarous beating and
cold blooded murder. We may be permitted even at this distance of time
to sympathise with the sufferers--whether the deeply injured savage or
his innocent victim; the over-punished outcast of Macquarie Harbor,
or the unoffending settler who fell before his violence; but it is no
part of our purpose to encroach upon the domain of history. That want,
long severely felt, has been happily supplied: and the name of WEST
will be treasured with no little veneration in future years, when some
second expatriated Marius, from New Caledonia, shall sit in solitary
desolation amongst the ruins of Hobart Town.

A complication of circumstances at this period rendered the situation
of the Maxwell family both unfortunate and defenceless. The
sheep-shearing being over, and the corn nearly fit for the sickle, as
before stated, the absence of Griselda's father was in a measure a
matter of necessity, in order that he might attend personally to the
sale and delivery of his wool, and purchase supplies for the ensuing
year. He had taken his gig with him at considerable risk, for he
had received intimation that a young relative had just arrived from
England, in pursuit of that desirable object, fortune, to whom he had
offered a temporary home. It devolved upon Charles in the absence of
his father to procure men to get in the harvest, and in addition to
this duty he had made arrangements for attending a sale of stock at
Campbell Town, having a few hundred surplus sheep to dispose of; his
absence on this journey would probably extend to three days. Thus were
Mrs. Maxwell and Griselda left without any protection save what could
be expected from a single farm servant--Charles having taken the other
man with him--and he very slightly capable of energetic action in case
any emergency should arise. They had a female servant certainly, but it
was a matter of regret that she was very little to be depended upon. To
add to Griselda's anxiety and responsibility under these circumstances,
her mother was very ill. She had been attacked some time previously
by rheumatism on the sciatic nerve, and so acutely painful did that
complaint become before its progress could be arrested, that the
slightest movement caused intolerable anguish. Indeed, the afflicted
lady declared that she had no respite from pain--she could not sleep,
to stir was agony, to lie still was torture. Nothing could exceed
Griselda's grief as she witnessed the suffering of her mother; and a
visit from "the doctor" was looked forward to with intense interest,
though dreaded at any other time, except in an unprofessional way, as
much as a visit from a ghost.

The summer of which we now speak had been from its commencement
particularly hot and dry. Indeed, during the preceding winter scarcely
any rain had fallen, though an occasional shower of very short duration
served to keep life in the grass, and as the spring advanced to ripen
the corn, which required some favorable peculiarities both of soil
and situation to prevent a total failure through unforeseen drought.
The atmosphere both by night and day was sultry and oppressive in the
extreme, and loaded with the thick smoke of distant fires, through
which the rays of an overpowering sun fell upon the parched earth with
a ruddy and scarcely natural tinge. The mountains, though at no great
distance, were hidden from view as by a dense fog; and the adjacent
hills so wrapped in murky gloom that their proper color was completely
changed, and their distance apparently more than doubled. A lively
breeze, too, swept from the northward, but instead of clearing the
air and driving the smoke away to other regions, it only added to the
intense heat, and brought thicker gloom in its train. It was a hot
wind but not quite so severe as a Sydney brickfielder,* and it rustled
amongst the dry leaves of the forest with melancholy sound. The burning
glow of the sun's rays was reflected from the dry withered grass, in
which if a single spark fell it would set the country on fire for miles
around. The day on which Charles Maxwell drove his sheep to Campbell
Town was just such an one as we have endeavored to describe--a by no
means pleasant one, it may be imagined, for such a dusty employment.


[* See General Mundy's "Our Antipodes," Chap. II; and Frank Fowler's
"Southern Lights and Shadows."]


During the course of that day Griselda's eyes wandered restlessly
from point to point of the compass, scanning the country round in
every direction with the harassing foreboding that the dreaded bush
fire might break out within the precincts of the farm. Her fears were
unfortunately but too fully realized, for about midday she saw with
dismay a dark column of thick smoke rising from amongst the hills on
the northern bank of the river, and shooting up into the sky. The
locality of this new source of danger was, as nearly as she could
judge, about half-way between Bremgarten and Mr. Juniper's residence.
Her mind, which was distracted with anxiety for awhile, soon became
sufficiently calm to comprehend in a few rapid thoughts the extent
of the danger to which her helpless mother and their homestead, with
crops and fences, were exposed. Unwilling either to alarm or leave her
mother, her first thought was to send the female servant in search
of the man, then to write a hurried note to Mr. Earlsley requesting
assistance, intending to despatch it to him that very evening; but
the woman returned without being able to find the object of her
search. Under these trying circumstances Griselda had no resource but
in prayer and patience. She repaired to her mother's chamber, and
explained to her as gently and hopefully as she was able the nature of
affairs as they stood, at the same time revolving in her mind various
plans for apprising the neighbors of the danger which threatened her
father's farm. Mr. Juniper, she thought, would surely see the fire,
and instantly comprehend the danger they were in. Mr. Earlsley would
certainly see it, and send off a strong party of men from the station
early in the morning--men, indeed, whose presence she dreaded, while
she was ready to fly for their assistance. At all events she decided
to remain quiet until the morning, and then follow whatever plan the
necessity of the case seemed to demand. But she could not divest her
mind of the fear of a great impending calamity. She looked out upon
the night to watch the progress of the flames as they rose over the
summits of successive hills, and descended towards the bank of the
river, across which the slightest gust of wind could easily waft a
burning leaf, or sheet of flaming bark. There was even no hope then in
the scarcely perceptible dews of night, as the fire burned furiously by
night as well as by day, it being January--generally the hottest month
in the year.

With her mind full of doubts and fears, mingled with many hopes and
prayers that her Heavenly Father would not desert her in whatever trial
she might be called upon to endure, Griselda sought her pillow, and
fell into her untroubled rest, while half-anticipating the distracting
cares which the following morning might reveal to her eyes. Arising
at the earliest dawn her first care was to send directions to the man
to go as quickly as possible down the river to see if the fire had
crossed, and to ascertain how far it was from the homestead. Awaiting
his return in some anxiety she passed away the time, after her morning
duties were performed, in watching the rising sun, which looked as
if his fierce rays were flung back in his face from the surface of a
bright red mirror--a burning world. The atmosphere was still heavy
with thick smoke, for the wind had subsided during the night, but it
would probably rise again about ten o'clock, as had been its wont for
some days; and there was every likelihood of the fire springing up
again about that time more furiously, perhaps, than before. Griselda
stood watching, from the garden behind the house, the hills covered
with blazing trees, and she could distinctly hear the sullen crashes,
multiplied by a variety of echoes, of those which were brought to the
ground by the raging element.

After an absence of some hours the man returned and reported that the
fire had not crossed the river--that it was nearly out, and was more
than a quarter of a mile away from the bank on the other side--that
he had gone nearly as far as Mr. Juniper's and had not seen a human
being--finally, his opinion was that there was no danger whatever.

Griselda knew, however, from having heard the stories of Mr. Juniper
and others, that there was very little weight to be attached to the
man's opinion, and determined not to abate her own vigilance in the
least. She directed him to find employment on the spot, so that he
might be ready to go for help should the necessity arise. She then
went and sat down by her mother's bed, to wait with patience and see
how matters were likely to turn. Between nine and ten o'clock, when
the beams of the sun began to wax insupportably hot, the wind arose as
she expected, and she again went forth with a heart full of trembling
expectation, and saw through the sultry gloom the dreaded column of
smoke rising from the banks of the river. Seeing that no time was to be
lost she instantly decided upon despatching her note to Mr. Earlsley.
She sent the man off with it desiring him to use every exertion, and
return soon. Her own course of action was quickly resolved upon. Her
pony Pompey was grazing in the paddock: a little time was lost in
catching him, but it took only a few moments to adjust the side-saddle
and bridle, to don her summer hat, and gird herself with a riding
skirt. Leaving implicit directions with the female servant how to act
in case the standing corn caught fire before she returned, and bidding
her mother to be of good courage, she sprang lightly into her saddle
and with her little whip urged her pony to a gallop.

Griselda saw at a glance that if the fire crossed the river it would
rage with fury through a thick belt of growing timber called the
Peppermint Forest, and would burn not only her father's fences but
his standing corn also; that if the corn once took fire, the timber
barn at the back of the house, together with the stable and adjacent
offices would certainly be consumed; that this wind, blowing as it did
from the barn to the house, would, in all probability, carry burning
fragments to the shingled roof, and thereby cause the destruction of
their dwelling; and that her mother's life would probably be placed
in the greatest danger; and under the influence of an indescribable
agony she urged her horse to his greatest speed. The excitement of the
exercise nerved her hand and gave courage to her heart, and she flew
on over the scrubby path along the smoothly gliding river, between the
tall giants of the wood, now stooping low to avoid a withered branch,
now stretching forth her hand to push aside the thorny bushes that
bent over the track, leaping the bush fences and prostrate trees that
happened to lie across her path. Thus she pressed on until suddenly
drawing bridle, she paused and gazed with renewed dismay on the scene
before her.

The fire had crossed the river and had advanced considerably into the
forest on the southern side. The smoke was suffocating; and the noise
made by the flames as they leaped amongst the brushwood, and rose and
caught the green leaves of the wattles and stringy bark, resembled
an incessant volley of musketry. Griselda, almost deprived of breath
and presence of mind, half-turned her horse with the intention of
flying back, conveying her mother to a place of safety, and leaving
the house to its fate. She considered, however, that she would have
time to seek the assistance of Mr. Juniper in the hope of saving her
father's property if it could be saved, and on she sped once more.
But now she had to ride through the fire itself. With her eyes half
blinded with the smoke, with flushed cheeks and scarcely daring to draw
breath, she whipped her horse through the flame which left unscathed
her cloth riding habit, and flew on over the smoking branches, until
arriving opposite the cottage of the obliging surveyor, she drew rein
and tried to alarm the inmates with the sound of her voice; but this
she soon round to be impracticable. Not daring to trust herself to the
river which was not passable at that place, she pressed on again for
the ford. Her generous and sure footed pony, seeming to comprehend the
necessity of the case, bore her safely on, and with reeking flanks
sprang into the delicious water and buried his parched muzzle under the
surface at once; but his young mistress, though she would have given
anything for a cooling draught herself, thought of her mother and urged
him on. In breathless haste she rode into the farm yard and knocked
loudly at the back door, the garden fence preventing her going to the
front.

The old cook, Heffernan, lazily presented himself. "Is your master at
home?" asked Griselda.

"No, Miss," he replied; "he's out on the hills checking the fire."

"Can you go to him? Have you anyone to send? Our place will be
consumed--my father is in Launceston and my brother at Campbell Town."

"I've nobody, Miss, barring myself and Mrs. Rim, but I'll get her to
come an' mind the place an' go myself, if it was to be my last journey:
have a drink of tay, Miss?"

"I would prefer water, if you please: thank you--now go as fast as you
can and tell Mr. Juniper, if he cannot come himself, to send us some
assistance, and my father will thank him."

Griselda now turned her horse's head and rode back by the same path.
When she got home it was twelve o'clock. She had travelled a distance
of ten miles; and thankful to see that the raging fire was still at
some distance from the wheat paddock, she sat down and partook of the
refreshment the servant had prepared.




CHAPTER XX.--PROGRESS OF THE FIRE.

As soon as our heroine had recovered sufficient strength, she thought
it advisable to prepare for the evacuation of their dwelling, in case
of being doomed to disappointment in her hopes of assistance. With
this object in view she proceeded to get her mother dressed, which was
a matter of no small difficulty, as Mrs. Maxwell was almost helpless,
and the necessary movements caused the greatest pain. However, after a
considerable time had elapsed the operation was completed, and a plan
was organised which it was determined to put in execution should the
fire unfortunately find its way into the corn. This was, that Mrs.
Maxwell should be carried by her daughter and the servant down to the
water side and left there until a conveyance could be procured to take
her altogether away from the smoke and heat. Some necessary articles
of clothing were hastily collected together and tied up in bundles,
and all the little valuables that possessed a family interest were
placed in a small box, of which Griselda took the charge. A supply of
provisions was not forgotten, and a large pot was put on the kitchen
fire, filled with water to make tea for the men when they should
arrive. These and other active preparations were going forward when
the messenger returned from Mr. Earlsley's, followed by four or five
rough-looking characters, one carrying a spade, another an axe, a third
a hoe. Miss Earlsley had written to Miss Maxwell saying that her papa
was away at St. Mary's Pass, and would not be at home before the next
day. Griselda requested Mr. Earlsley's men to use every exertion to
stop the fire. She then directed her father's man to yoke up two pairs
of bullocks, put one pair to the cart and let them stand close to the
house for her mother's accommodation, and with the other pair to take a
cask of water to assist in stopping the progress of the fire. The man,
after gulping down a pint of scalding tea, and taking a lump of bread
and a large piece of boiled mutton in each hand, hastened to obey.

When Earlsley's men arrived at the place where the fire was raging,
they stood still and shook their heads. Various exclamations passed
from one to the other, such as--"A hundred men could'nt stop it;
we can't go near it; we may as well sit and look at it," &c. To do
them justice, however, they armed themselves with green boughs, and
selecting places where the flames were not so very violent, began
beating them out as fast as they could; but the smoke drifting into
their faces, they were obliged every moment to retreat several steps.
It is probable that they would not have exerted themselves thus, if the
fire had not been so near the farm; for the laborers of that period
were of but little use in such cases, unless they had an experienced
man to direct them, and whose orders they would obey. They were thus
employed--now rushing in and beating out the flames, now retreating
with their hands guarding their faces, when a loud "coo-ee" was heard,
and on their replying, a voice shouted--"Not there--not there,
men--have you no sense? You're wasting time and strength for nothing!
Come here." The men went and were presently confronted by Mr. Juniper,
with four stout fellows at his back, his face begrimed with sweat and
charcoal, the skirts of his coat hanging in tatters, and his entire
person dripping with water. He had forded the river up to his chin, and
now with the glance of a field marshal eyed the fiery enemy approaching
with rapid strides.

"What tools have you got?" asked Juniper of the men.

"Axe, spade, and hoe, Sir;" was the answer.

"Come this way then, and get ready to work. I wish they would send a
cask of water or a bucket of wine, or something."

Leading the way towards the paddock fence, which was now scarcely
more than fifty yards distant from the crackling conflagration, Mr.
Juniper told the men to get their tools and set to work. He selected
as clear a space as could be found, about ten yards from the fence,
and commenced marking out a track about eighteen inches wide, which
he directed two of the men to shave under the roots of the grass with
their spade and hoe, working from each other in a line parallel to the
fence. The other men stood by to take turns at this work, while two
were despatched in all haste to the house for more spades and some
tea. The prospect of saving the wheat even by these energetic measures
would have been but slender if, as by the greatest miracle, the wind
had not veered round a little and blown more from the eastward, for the
express purpose it would seem of giving time. Just then Mr. Maxwell's
man arrived with the cask of water, thus unexpectedly provided by
Griselda's forethought, and Mr. Juniper was loud in his approbation.
The man had brought a bucket and watering pot, which were instantly
filled and placed at certain intervals for present use by the excited
bachelor. The track having been now made for some distance, Juniper
prepared to ignite the grass beside it, so that the new fire should
burn back and thereby arrest the progress of the advancing flames.
Several men were ordered to stand by with boughs to watch the track in
case the fire should cross, while others continued at work with spades,
lengthening it at either end. This operation progressed favorably for
a while. Mr. Juniper was boisterously eloquent in his encouragements
and exhortations to the men. Griselda had sent out a few bottles of
home-made wine, with a good supply of tea and provisions. The evening
was drawing on and the men were beginning to congratulate themselves
on the prospect of their labors being soon over, when a loud shout was
raised that the grass close to the wheat was on fire!--It was true. A
piece of burning bark had been carried by the breeze, which changed
in capricious gusts, across the track. If the wind had been a little
stronger, the bark would have been blown into the corn.

Nearly worn out by their previous exertions, Juniper and his assistants
saw this new trouble with dismay, but they ran up as fast as possible,
and began beating the flames with their boughs. The flames arose high
in the air, choking first one and then another, singing Juniper's
eye-lashes, setting his tattered coat on fire, and threatening to
baffle all his efforts. The playful breezes accelerated their progress,
and they darted along the ground through the dry grass and withered
leaves with the rapidity of lightning; seizing upon the paddock fence,
gliding through to the other side, and commencing to devour like an
eager epicure the over-ripe grain. The cry was now for water, water,
but the cask had been emptied, and two men had gone to the river to
fill it again. Here Juniper and seven men labored as for their lives.
As they laid about them like madmen with their boughs they were joined
by another man--a tall sallow-faced stranger, whom nobody had seen
before. This individual threw a fresh bough upon the blazing corn with
almost super-human energy, and shouted "Courage--courage! We'll beat
it yet!" The men redoubled their labors, though blinded with smoke and
panting for breath, the burning fence was pulled down, and in a few
minutes Mr. Juniper shouted, "It's all our own lads, but it was a close
shave!"

A messenger now arrived with some more wine, and after Juniper had
taken a draught, a little was handed to the stranger at his request.
While he drank the surveyor scanned his face and person with curiosity.
His appearance was remarkable--differing in a great measure from that
of working men in general. Juniper absorbed by an idea which he could
not suppress, determined to question him, and said, "Are you at work in
these parts, friend?"

"Yes," replied the man, showing at the same time a disposition to move
off.

"Who is your master?"

"Mr. Baxter, I'm one of his bullock drivers."

"You are not!" said Juniper, "I know you--stop! I arrest you in the
King's name."

"Do you?" said the stranger. "Look at that--follow me and you are a
dead man."

He pulled a pistol out of his breast pocket and cocked it as he spoke.

"Follow me men and take him, he is a bushranger--there's fifty pounds
on his head, or two hundred acres of land--come on."

Juniper advanced, but not a man stirred to follow him. The outlaw,
if he was one, threatened loudly to blow his brains out if he came
any farther, and he stopped. The stranger retreated into the burning
forest, laughing in derision.

"He won't come and help us to put our fires again," said one of the men.

"Why did'nt you help me to secure him?" said Juniper, "there's fifty
pounds, a free pardon, and a grant of land for him dead or alive."

"He never done no mischief to uz, Sir," said another man, "we never
seed him afore, and how could we take him with the eyes nearly burnt
out of our heads?"

"Well, you have lost a prize, that's all," said Juniper.

This incident afforded matter for a good deal of conversation and
conjecture, and was a kind of relief after the excitement of the fire.
The conduct of the outlaw was inexplicable. All the bush-lawyers
present agreed that it was far more likely for a bushranger to burn a
crop of wheat than to save it from destruction. Nobody could understand
it, and even the oldest wiseacre in the circle was obliged to leave the
matter in dark obscurity.

Meanwhile Mr. Juniper did not neglect the main object of his
solicitude--the fire. He travelled up and down with his bough, and
issued various orders to the men from time to time. The track had been
completed in one direction as far as the bank of the river, and on the
other considerably beyond the corner of the paddock, where the fire was
still making its way over the plain. The shades of night began to fall,
and the poor surveyor, overcome with fatigue, found himself heartily
wishing that somebody would come and relieve him by taking the charge
off his hands for a while. His wishes were happily and unexpectedly
gratified, for three horsemen rode up; one of them, an overseer of
Mr. Earlsley's, communicated the welcome intelligence that a number
of fresh hands were coming, and that Mr. Juniper and his men might
go home. After giving some advice, answering a number of questions,
telling the overseer about the sudden and singular appearance of the
bushranger, and recommending that a party of constables should be
immediately sent in pursuit, Juniper left to return home.

In the course of the night Mr. Earlsley's overseer employed his men in
brushing in the remains of the fire, so as to lessen the probability
of its breaking out again the next day. Early in the morning Juniper
resumed his post, feeling considerably refreshed after his night's
repose. He never left the place during the day, but walked up and down
with a hoe, rooting up everything that was likely to carry fire across
his track, and throwing in the burning sticks and branches from which
the treacherous wind was likely to blow fresh sparks. A few stumps and
trees which blazed upwards at a considerable distance from the ground
gave him some trouble and anxiety; but on some he threw buckets of
water, brought for the purpose in a bullock-cart, and on others he
heaped up spadesful of loose earth to prevent the sparks blowing from
them. It was well for him and for Maxwell that the wind did not blow
directly from the westward; if it had, with the number of blazing trees
around and the great heat of the atmosphere, his labors had all been in
vain.

Griselda paid him a visit while he was thus engaged. She came on
horseback, shook hands with the old bachelor, and asked if she could
do anything more to assist him, thanking him at the same time for his
disinterested exertions. He replied that she had already done all that
lay in her power. "Had it not been for you," said he, "every stick in
the place would be in ashes; but be ready to move, Miss Maxwell, we are
not sure of it yet--if the wind chops round it'll be a case, and then
the fire will be with you before I shall. It must be watched to-morrow,
and the next day as well. How is your mother, Miss?"

"A little better, thank you, but very helpless. I expect papa home
to-night--good-by, Mr. Juniper."

"He won't come before he's wanted--good-by, Miss Maxwell."

The reader will now have the kindness to accompany us to the small
village of Avoca, where just as Mrs. Trapfarthing's clock is striking
four, a gig of unpretending appearance, containing two gentlemen, stops
at her door, and the travellers alight. The landlady came forward,
smiling and curtseying, and invited them to walk in. She knew Mr.
Maxwell very well, and enquired respectfully after his health, but the
other gentleman was a stranger to her. A youth, probably "Jems," came
to hold the horse, and Maxwell begged the landlady to let him have a
bottle of her best ale, as it was such very hot, thirsty weather. She
invited him into the parlor, but from some whim he passed into the
little bar behind, where he and his friend drank their ale standing at
the counter, upon which a large jug capable of holding much more than a
gallon stood quite full of water; for the widow was a good manager and
liked to be particular. While they were so engaged, and talking about
the state of the country, a man walked quickly in from the back yard,
who looked with a sleepy air first at the stranger, then at Maxwell,
and immediately burst out with--"Hallow, Misther Max'ell, how do you
do, Sir? I'm glad to see you agoin' home, for I b'leve yer crops is
all burnt, though I wont be sure, for master wouldn't tell me; but if
they is, I'm sorry for it; for blow me like a feather off the table of
creation, Sir, if I don't think you're the best and honestest gentleman
in the country side."

"I am obliged to you, Heffernan," answered Maxwell, "did you say that
my crops were burnt?"

"I can't be quite sure about it, Sir; an' I would tell you all master
said about 'em, if I didn't make it a pint never to speak about him
when I comes away from home to get some refreshment."

Here Mrs. Trapfarthing observed that she did not believe a word of it;
that if true she would have certainly heard of it before, and that
Heffernan had always some such ridiculous story on the tip of his
tongue.

"Oh, very well, missus," said Heffernan, bending over the bar with a
curious air of mock politeness; "you can b'lieve what you like, an'
misb'lieve what you like, an' no harum done; but by Jinks! it does my
old heart good for to see you alooking so well. You put me in mind
of one of master's old sows that made him a present this morning of
fifteen healthy young squeakers."

As the luckless Heffernan finished his speech he bent more over the
bar in a familiar attitude, far from expecting any chastisement for
this gratuitous compliment. The lady he addressed stood rooted to the
spot for a moment with petrified horror. Her face grew pale, and fire
flashed from her eyes as it only can from those of offended female
dignity. Rapidly as thought she dashed off the old man's Jim Crow hat,
seized the most prominent locks of his hair with her left hand, and
with Herculean strength lifted the great jug of water and turned it
bottom upwards over his head.

"Bless my soul," said Maxwell, capering about to avoid the flood, "what
a delightful shower bath! Have you any left, Mrs. Trap----"

Heffernan, shaking himself like a drenched spaniel, interrupted with,
"You'll--pay for-this, ye b--ch."

"Out of my house, you hoary misconceivable villyan," said the enraged
landlady, "you shameless and abominable old sinner, out of my house,"
and panting with fury she caught up the jug again and hurled it with
all her force at the retreating offender as he was in the act of going
out of the door. It grazed his head, struck him a smart blow on the
shoulder, and falling on the pavement outside was broken to pieces with
a loud crash. Nor was the vengeance of Mrs. Trapfarthing yet satisfied.
She pursued the now terrified delinquent into the yard, caught up the
fragments of the broken jug, and hurled them after him--nay, into the
very street she flew, and overwhelmed him, as he quickened his pace to
a run, with a tempest of stones and gravel.

Maxwell now thought it high time to be off and set out accordingly.
He had not gone far on the road towards his home before he discovered
the thick smoke that rose out of the burning forest, and expressed
his fears to the young man who travelled with him that his sheep-run,
if not his crops and dwelling, was on fire. He whipped his horse to
go faster, but the animal being fatigued, he was obliged to curb his
impatience. Relieved at lengths by the sight of his paddocks and house
untouched by the flames, he mentally ejaculated a prayer of gratitude,
and about seven o'clock in the evening drew up at his own door.




CHAPTER XXI.--EDWIN HERBART.--EVENING AMUSEMENTS.

When Maxwell got down from his gig his fair daughter flew to welcome
him. She threw her arms around his neck, and kissed him with all the
affection of a simple and generous heart. As soon as that pleasing
duty was performed she turned to the young stranger, held out her
hand, and murmured a few words expressive of her pleasure at seeing
him. If a deep blush mantled over her features the reader must not be
hasty in setting it down to any other feeling than that of happiness
at being called upon to welcome, in the far-off wilds of Tasmania, a
relative whom she had known in the days of her youth. Her father passed
in hastily to see his wife, and Griselda showing the stranger into
the parlor merely said, "Cousin Edwin, we are delighted to see you,"
and ran away to prepare the tea. This young gentleman, Edwin Herbart
by name, walked into the parlor, with a smiling countenance, and
examined the little ornaments that were arranged on the mantle-piece.
He was about twenty years of years. In figure he was tall and
well-proportioned. His hair, dark brown in color, fell in, perhaps,
rather too luxuriant curls over his ears, and even upon his neck; but
not in the least concealing a noble and highly intellectual forehead.
His eyes, the most expressive feature in his singularly attractive
face, were large and brilliant, dark-grey in color, and surrounded by
a fringe of long lashes. He could boast, too, of a delicate pair of
whiskers; but had not begun to cultivate a moustache, as they were not
then fashionable amongst civilians: still, without this appendage,
considered by so many almost indispensable to manly beauty, no passing
observer could behold Edwin Herbart's mouth and teeth, and fail to
be struck, almost fascinated, by the expression of frankness and
high-toned moral feeling conveyed. And yet our hero was not, either in
face or figure, like Count Van Horn, a perfect model of manly beauty:
his complexion was neither fair nor delicate; on the contrary, a ruddy
hue of health generally suffused his face even to his forehead; while
his hands, embrowned as they were by exposure during his long voyage,
removed every impression of effeminacy, or indolent self-indulgence.
He looked proud, and proud he certainly was proud, we say, it was his
great fault--a great fault indeed when he had nothing whatever to be
proud of except a clear conscience and an unsullied name, great things
in themselves certainly in the estimation of a few fools; but rather
despicable in the eyes of sensible people if accompanied by an empty
purse! His poverty was nearly as great as his pride, perhaps much
greater, for whatever was the height to which the latter soared, the
former had descended to a very low estate indeed. But his case was
not actually desperate, for he had when he landed in Tasmania, on the
invitation of his father's cousin, Maxwell, the sum of ten pounds in
his pocket, and an outfit of clothing and some favorite books which
many a young gentleman beginning the world would consider a fortune
in themselves. But with all this he knew he was poor, and felt it
bitterly: it was an awful stumbling-block to a young man of high
spirit, liberal ideas, and sleepless aspirations after fame; it was a
misfortune and, in the eye of the world, a disgrace. The great Franklin
first entered the city of Philadelphia covered with dirt, a Dutch
dollar and a shilling's worth of coppers in his pocket, and walked
through the streets with a penny roll under each arm and one in his
mouth. Might not Herbart yet become a Franklin! Cincinnatus was a very
poor man, and we do not find that Xerxes and Croesus were very happy in
their wealth and greatness. But it is of no use bringing up Franklin
and Cincinnatus to our modern self-satisfied friends, who sleep, as
it were, in blankets of bank notes, and who immediately demolish such
interlopers as Herbart at a single blow, by denouncing them as "needy
adventurers," deserving only of supreme contempt.

Take him for all in all, Herbart cut no despicable figure. He was
well built and well dressed; his frame was strong and muscular, and
stout in proportion to his height. His address was polite, while his
conversation was delicately pure, and there was a certain mildness
in his manner which went far to secure a tolerable share of respect
and esteem. He was, like his interesting relative Griselda, a native
of the Emerald Isle, of whose charming capital his father was a
plodding citizen, famous for his keen notions of business, his strict
punctuality, and his undeviating integrity. Having great commercial
influence as one of the leading stockbrokers of Dublin, he became
extensively connected with the aristocratic portion of the dealers
in stock, and by slow degrees and patient watchfulness he succeeded
in amassing a small fortune, which, had he continued his patient
carefulness, or retired at the proper time, would have kept him in
comfort all his days, and provided handsomely for his family. But in an
evil hour his prudence deserted him. The demon of speculation stalked
abroad. The old gentleman was tempted, and he yielded. On the principle
of "double or quits" he staked his all and--lost it.

Thus was Edwin left--and he had no business to grumble about it seeing
that it is the case of thousands--with a clear course before him and no
favor, to become the architect of his own fortune.

His parents were both living when he left them--also a younger brother
and two amiable sisters--in the hope of being able to find a home for
them, as well as himself, in some smiling paradise of the antipodes.

The times were altered from what they had been, when he stood with
tears in his eyes on the North Wall, watching through the gloom
the vessel that conveyed his Griselda away. Then he had tolerable
prospects--now he had none: then he was proud, hopeful, and happy--now
he was no less proud, but his mind was gloomy, restless, and anxious.
It was some consolation to him to know that his beloved mother and her
children could not come to absolute want as she was in the enjoyment of
an annuity of three hundred pounds, destined in the natural order of
events to descend to her heirs.

Having thus introduced him to the family circle at Bremgarten we
will leave him to take his chance, merely concluding our imperfect
description by saying that his education though not first-rate was
pretty good, and his mind well stored with miscellaneous information,
he having been from his earliest youth extremely desirous of acquiring
knowledge.

The servant entered the parlor with the tea equipage, and Griselda
took her accustomed place at the table. A certain gloom hung on the
young people owing to the illness of Mrs. Maxwell, and when her husband
entered and sat down to tea he answered an enquiry of his guest by
saying that Mrs. Maxwell was a little better, but still, he was sorry
to say, in great pain. It was the nature of the complaint to come
on with slow and gradual steps, like a silent and cautious enemy,
then take full possession and render the life of its victim almost
unendurable; then when finally conquered by the skill of the physician,
it would retreat as slowly and stealthily as it had advanced. An
animated conversation then sprang up. Maxwell and his daughter had many
questions to ask, the latter especially requiring to be told all about
her well-remembered friends, her relatives, and schoolfellows. Thus the
evening wore away, Maxwell conducted his guest to the small chamber
that had been prepared for his use, and bade him good night.

The next day, after breakfast, the two gentlemen went out together
to the fire, the embers of which were still smoking, and the burning
trees had not yet ceased to fall at intervals. They found Mr. Juniper
on guard, sitting comfortably under a spreading tree smoking his pipe.
He rose up, and Maxwell, shaking him cordially by the hand, thanked
him for the exertions he had used in arresting the progress of the
conflagration. "Edwin," he said, turning to his companion, "if when you
have a farm of your own, you should happen to find as good a neighbor
as Mr. Juniper, you will be well off. This is my cousin, Juniper, Mr.
Edwin Herbart."

Juniper and Herbart bowed and shook hands.

"How did this fire originate, Juniper?" enquired Maxwell.

"I should very much like to know that, Sir," answered Juniper. "It came
from the other side of the hills at the back of my place. I just had
time to burn a train round my paddocks when my old cook came and told
me that it had crossed the river and was in full gallop for your wheat
as fast as a horse could go, and that Miss Maxwell had been to look
for me. I lost no time, swam across the river, and found some of Mr.
Earlsley's men killing themselves for no good; got them to help me, and
made this track; worked for life and death; never was at such a fire
in my life, and the heat and smoke enough to knock the breath out of a
rhinoceros.

"It was very severe, certainly," said Maxwell, "we travelled all the
way from Launceston in a dense atmosphere of smoke: as to the heat it
was almost more than we could bear; when we got to Avoca whom should we
meet but your cook, Heffernan, and he told me my crops were all burnt."
Here the speaker made Juniper acquainted with the treatment the old man
had received from the widow Trapfarthing.

"Serve him right," said Juniper, laughing loudly, "the incurable old
fool. He was determined to have a spree, and I'm glad he met with a
cool dose. He goes away at the busiest times, when the thirst for rum
comes over him, and if I didn't take pity on him and beg him off he'd
be working in chains at Macquarie Harbor this moment."

"He ought to be grateful to you, Sir," said Edwin Herbart.

"He never is, Sir," said Juniper, "he doesn't understand what gratitude
is, and there's not one in a thousand of them that does--you might as
well try to extract Scotch whiskey from a gum-tree stump."

"Did Mr. Earlsley come to see the fire?" asked Maxwell.

"No; but he sent his overseer with some men. We had unexpected
assistance, too: when the fire crossed and got right into the wheat and
flared up over my head, who in all the world should come and lend us a
hand but a runaway convict--a bushranger!"

"No--is it possible--you don't say so!"

"It's a fact, 'pun my life. I knew him as as well as I know you. I
was in the police-office at Campbell Town once and he was there.
The magistrate sent him under escort to Launceston, but on the road
he knocked down the two constables, took their arms, and became a
bushranger. When we put the fire out I told him I knew him, and
arrested him in the King's name."

"Did you really, though? And what did you do with him?"

"Why, when I arrested him, I called to the men to come and help me, but
not one of them would stir--they are such a set, Mr. Maxwell,--and the
scoundrel pulled out a pistol, backed in among the trees, and laughed
of at me."

"And so he escaped?"

"Yes, he did for this time, but it was the fault of the cowardly men."

"Do you know his name? Can you describe him?"

"No, Sir; I heard his name once but I forgot it, because he has kept
himself very quiet for a bushranger; he is a tall man, with piercing
black eyes, with a neck and shoulders like a bull, and the strength
and activity of Barbary baboon. There's fifty pounds on his head and
a grant of land, besides a free pardon and passage to St. Giles's,
London, to a prisoner, Mr. Bertram."

"Not Bertram--Herbart;" said Maxwell.

"That would be a good prize to some poor prisoner," said Edwin.

From Juniper's description of the outlaw, Maxwell thought he recognised
his friend of the forest, though of course he could not be quite sure.
He said nothing of the matter, but agreed with his informant that the
stranger's sudden appearance and conduct were most extraordinary. The
movements of this singular individual were shrouded in deep mystery.
How he managed to go about with arms and elude the vigilance of
soldiers and police for years, was a circumstance that puzzled Maxwell
extremely.

Extending their walk round the greatest part of the fire they turned
away from it, and strolled along the paddock fences until it was time
to return to dinner, to which Maxwell invited Juniper. Proceeding to
the house they found the doctor, who pronounced Mrs. Maxwell in a
favorable state, and held out hopes that she would soon be as well as
ever. In the evening Charles returned from Campbell Town, and welcomed
his cousin with kindness. He brought men with him to reap the wheat,
and the very next day commenced to initiate Edwin into the mysteries of
Tasmanian bush life.

When the labors of the harvest were over and the heat of summer had
given place to the salubrious breezes of autumn, Mrs. Maxwell had
so far recovered her health as to be able to accompany her son and
daughter and Edwin, whose farming experience would not yet justify him
in commencing on his own account, in their little evening excursions
along the banks of the river. Here when tired of rambling they would
seat themselves on cloaks spread on the grass, and wile away the
time, either Charles or Edwin reading aloud for the ladies as they
worked with ever busy fingers. On one particular occasion, when it was
Edwin's turn to read, Charles strolled by himself along the river,
trying to catch some of the small fishes which abounded in it; but
being unsuccessful he returned, and was about to throw himself down
beside his sister when a dark shining object lying on the ground close
to where his mother was sitting caught his attention. It was a black
snake, five feet in length, and it lay coiled in a half circle, with
its sharp eyes fixed upon the new-comer. Without saying anything,
Charles lifted his fishing rod and prepared to strike; the reptile no
sooner saw the movement than he made a rapid and desperate attempt to
escape into some long grass, flattening his head and shooting out his
fangs with rage. He was too late. The fishing rod descended with great
force on his back, cutting him nearly in two, and in another moment he
was wriggling down the stream, Charles having flung him in from the
point of his rod. Mrs. Maxwell was greatly alarmed when she found she
had had such an unpleasant neighbor, but it was not the first she had
been close to, nor in all probability would it be the last.

Charles sat down, and turning to Edwin, said suddenly--"Edwin, are you
not a poet?"

"No, Charles, nor am I likely ever to be one."

"Don't you write verses?"

"A man may write verses, and not be a poet."

"Yes, but if he didn't think himself a poet he wouldn't write verses,
would he?"

"Perhaps not; but in my case I don't profess to be a poet, though I
will plead guilty to having written a few rhymes."

"Well, you have a subject now--'Lines on a dead snake,' or 'Ode on a
snake that was killed by a man.' Come, let us have it."

Mrs. Maxwell laughed: "Do you call yourself a man?" said she.

"I never," said Edwin, "wrote anything in a hurry in my life. I wrote
some verses once in a lady's album; they cost me a whole night, and I
had a headache for a week afterwards."

Griselda and her mother laughed.

"Have you written a sonnet yet, to our dark river here?" said Charles.

"No: I never thought of it," answered Edwin.

"Have you ever written a sonnet to any river, to a mountain, or to the
moon?"

"Why, I believe you are getting poetically cranky this evening,
Charley. I have written in praise of my native stream the Dodder, since
you will have it."

"Ah, the pretty Dodder, I remember it well; I wish I was up to my neck
in it. We would like to hear your verses."

"I do not think they dwell in my memory," said Edwin, "but if the
ladies do not object I will try to re-call them--under protest that,
as I have no opinion of them myself, the utmost I can hope for is
indulgence."

"We shall be very happy to hear them," said Mrs. Maxwell, and Griselda
ventured to say, that if they were good, she would be obliged to Edwin
for a copy as she remembered the little river with great affection.

The poetical youth then repeated the following lines:--


Romantic Dodder! In the murmur
Of thy swiftly gliding stream,
I think I hear a soft, faint echo
Like the music of a dream.

While wandering on thy verdant bank,
Where brilliant daisies richly growing,
All tell me truly how they love
To dwell where thou art flowing.

Far in the deep and sheltered glade,
Beneath the bright laburnum flower,
That hides the lonely student's cell,
And sweetly shadows maiden's bower:

Or winding through the gardens fair
Where children, romping, playing, skipping,
In summer robes as gaily dressed,
With tiny hands thy water sipping.

Now gliding by the meadow's margin,
With the bird's unceasing twitter,
Heardest then the mower's jest
So well repaid by milk-maid's titter?

Onward by the village green,
The grey stone bridge thy ripples spanning--
Faster by the noisy mill
Thy face the gentle breezes fanning.

Gushing o'er the stony dam,
From point to point with mimic thunder,
Sparkling in thy snowy spray
While infant barks are dashed asunder.

Roam thou to thy ocean home,
No longer to mine eyes displaying
The rosy hues of years gone by
When on thy dear and green bank straying.

And still, O Dodder--still thou art
To me the loveliest queen of rivers,
Just as the wren the king of birds is.
Where the branch of hawthorn quivers.


"Is that all?" said Charles.

"Yes, and quite enough too."

"What do you think of it, mother?"

"I cannot well praise it in Edwin's presence;" said Mrs. Maxwell, "but
I think it is poetical and pretty."

"I thought," said Charles, "that the eagle was the monarch of the
ornithological kingdom: you have just now crowned the wren."

"Did you never hear the old rhyme," said Edwin,


"The wren, the wren, the king of all birds,
On Stephen's Day was caught in the furze!"


"Well, I forget; it's so long since I was in the nursery. What do you
mean by infant barks being dashed asunder?"

"I suppose," answered Edwin, "you flatter yourself you are a particular
cunning and clever critic--the editor in embryo of 'The Grand
Snapdragon Austral Asiatic Review!'"

"Yes," said Charles, "I'll tear you to pieces as a tiger-cat would a
chicken. But what are the infant barks?"

"Perhaps," suggested Griselda, timidly, "Edwin transported himself
to the banks of the Nile to assist Pharoah's daughter in drawing the
infant Moses to the land."

"Or," said her mother, "to the backs of the Tiber to arrest the
progress of the bark in which Romulus and Remus unconsciously slept on
their way to the sea."

"No," said Edwin, "the idea I intended to convey was concerning little
flat bits of wood cut out like boats with sticks stuck upright in them
made to resemble masts, and square pieces of paper skewered on by way
of sails. I have often seen fleets of them on the Dodder going stern
foremost to the intense delight of the lads of the village."

"Oh, I see," said Charles, "I thought you intended to convey the idea
of a boat load of puppies."

At this refined wit Mrs. Maxwell and her daughter laughed, so did
Edwin, and they were very merry and very happy--all except one
individual.

"It is time to return home," said Mrs. Maxwell, rising and taking her
son's arm, while Edwin volunteered to carry the ladies work-basket, and
offered his arm to Griselda.

When tea was over Mrs. Maxwell asked Edwin if he had ever written any
tales either in poetry or prose. Edwin replied that he had composed one
or two short tales in prose, but they were mere sketches and destitute
he knew of literary merits.

"We shall be happy to hear one this evening, if agreeable to you," said
Mrs. Maxwell; "we get no new books here, and we shall look upon your
productions as literary novelties."

"I would be happy to gratify you, Mrs. Maxwell," said Edwin, "but I am
quite sure I have not written one that is worth reading."

"Well, we will tell you what we think when we have heard it. If your
prose is as good as your poetry I think it will be at least worth
listening to."

Edwin went for his manuscript, and read the following story, entitled--


The Legend of Prince Adamarantha of Borneo.

Nearly in the centre of the great island of Borneo, hitherto unexplored
by European travellers, there existed three thousand years ago an
extensive plain, bounded on every side by lofty and impassable
mountains. It was composed of the richest soil in the world, which was
covered by a thick sward of bright green grass, and shaded from the
intense heat of a tropical sun by dense groves of evergreen trees,
intermingled with rare shrubs, and plants bearing flowers of the
richest hues and perfume. The size of this plain was about one hundred
square miles. It was watered by many pleasant rivulets, but only one
stream worthy to be called a river meandered through it from east to
west. This river expanded in the middle into a large lake, and seemed
to repose in placid beauty at the base of a solitary mountain, which
presented to the shining water an abrupt precipice six thousand feet in
height. It was to all appearance a fearful wall of solid rock, as black
as ebony, as smooth as polished marble, and it glittered when the sun
shone upon it like a mirror. Its opposite, or southern side, descended
to the level of the plain with a somewhat gradual slope. The river
on issuing from the lake, held a smooth course, until it penetrated
the mountains which bounded the plain on the western side. Here a
narrow rocky gorge received the now turbulent flood, which leaped and
foamed and boiled through the chasm, as if in haste to escape from its
peaceful solitude above, and mingle its waters with those of a great
world below.

The sylvan beauty of this charming plain was to be seen in all its
loveliness from the summit of the remarkable mountain which rose in
awful and precipitous grandeur to the sky, and any adventurous wanderer
in search of the fearfully sublime might easily climb to the loftiest
crag of the dizzy height and gaze on the vast tracks of meadow and
forest, of sloping hill and flowery valley, of lake and river below
and all around him. A cordon of magnificent lakes connected together
by numerous beautiful cascades, trackless woods--whose silence was
unbroken save by the voice of the tempest--open vales, and hundreds
of rich marshes might be seen from this elevated spot. Thousands of
glittering objects were observable shining on the distant mountains,
forming as it were the boundary of other worlds beyond. Crystals of
feldspar, agate, and jasper, and sparkling diamonds abounded there in
profusion--boundless and inexhaustible wealth, but no eager hands to
gather it.

Close by a little rivulet which, falling from a fissure in the
precipice found its way through to a dense jungle into the lake at no
great distance, there stood a miserable hovel made of twigs and rushes
before whose rude doorway a little fire was constantly kept burning.
This was the hut of Adamarantha, a prince of a distant sea-side nation,
who had fled from a murderous uncle--the usurper of his throne--and
had selected this lonely and romantic spot as a safe though somewhat
undignified retreat. Adamarantha was an enthusiast and a dreamer: he
might have succeeded his father in peace, but it required an exertion
which he could not make. He thought and dreamed about it certainly,
but while he did so the opportunity of contending successfully with
his enemies was lost. He was considered as not fit to govern; some
thought him a fool, others a madman. A generous easy-going youth he
was; he hated trouble, detested care, delighted in idle listless
reveries, and squandered his wealth on the incapable, the cunning, and
the ungrateful, followers by whom he was surrounded. His dreams of
ambition, wealth, and power were incessant and superb, but while he
dreamed his eyes were fixed on vacancy and his hands unemployed.

When Adamarantha fled from the sword of his father's brother he was
accompanied by three faithful friends who preferred sharing his fallen
fortunes to shining in the court of a villain, but they perished one
by one in the wilderness. He alone, torn and bleeding, with a love of
life which he had never felt before, and an energy of purpose which
he never until now thought he possessed, clambered through the wild
forest subsisting on the fruits which he found in abundance, and up
the rocky pass beside the foaming torrent, and was surprised to find
himself in an earthly paradise, uncultivated indeed, but delightfully
cool, and blooming with perpetual spring. He found by experience that
the greater the dangers through which he passed the fonder he became
of a life of which in the midst of pomp and luxury he had often been
weary. The labors he had performed on his harassing journey had given
him a taste for existence, an appetite for his food, and a zest for the
pleasures of freedom, to all of which he had formerly been a stranger.
In this state, and while his mind was under the influence of excitement
and bodily exercise, he built his rude hovel and enjoyed his newly
found liberty for a few months. He ranged the adjacent woods at will
without the fear of meeting with a human enemy. He shot wild fowl with
arrows, and speared the delicious fish which abounded in the lake,
rowing himself out in a bark canoe for the purpose. With these and the
fruits which grew wild, the luscious pineapple, the pomegranate, and
delicate mangosteen, he satisfied the cravings of hunger, his health
and enjoyments being increased by the excitement of the chase and the
pure air of the mountain and lake. He was now as happy in his extreme
poverty, as he had before in his great wealth been miserable.

But it was not long before a change came over him. From being an ardent
lover of hunting with his bow and arrows, he dropped again by degrees
into the state of a listless dreamer. The change was not indeed without
its novelty which amused him for awhile, and he was surprised to find
how slowly, yet pleasantly, the time passed as he lay on the banks of
his rivulet, gazing around on the calm surface of the lake and anon
turning his eyes upward to the dark summit of the Black Mountain as it
started out in bold relief in the clear air, seeming as if about to
fall and crash him as he lay. His castles in the air were now built
with tenfold energy--the energy and a rapidity of uncontrolled thought.
His dreams bore with them a romantic charm which haunted him while he
slept. Having once again given way to these fascinating reveries he
became almost too idle to think. He lay for whole days with difficulty
summoning energy sufficient to enable him to catch a fish or keep his
little fire alive. From this drowsy lethargy he would often start and
sigh for the realisation of his visions. He wished for his former
wealth and the power of which he had been deprived; for, he argued with
himself, if he had these he could command pleasure and happiness to an
unlimited extent.

In this manner a few more months passed away, and the condition of
the dreamer became pitiable. His clothing had fallen off in rags; his
wild shaggy hair hung around his face in elfin locks; his mind became
tortured by the miseries of hope deferred. He had pictured to himself
the dark mountain at whose base he lived as the closed entrance to a
subterranean world which was governed by a genius or deity of awful
and universal power; and he often wildly apostrophised the spirit of
his dream in words in which the intense agony of his soul was conveyed
with startling abruptness to the solitary woods, around him. "Genius of
yonder mysterious mountain," he would exclaim, "come forth and give me
what will change my misery into happiness!"

He had accustomed himself to these words, and repeated them so often
that he lost all hope, if he ever entertained any, of being favored
with any reply, and his surprise and terror were consequently without
bounds when, as he uttered his usual exclamation in a voice of despair,
he heard close beside him the distinct and solemn question--

"What will change thy misery into happiness?"

Adamarantha started to his feet in dismay, looked widely round him and
recoiled several steps, shaking with indescribable fear. A thick mist
floated before his eyes, so that for awhile he could see nothing. It
cleared away, and he saw standing before him an extraordinary figure,
the like of which he had never seen or imagined. It was that of a lean
and withered old man, hoary with age, but perfectly erect; his skin the
color of an orange, and drawn so tightly over the frame-work within
that it resembled old parchment pasted to a skeleton. His head was
bare, and a few tangled locks of snowy hair hung over his shoulders.
His eyes were more piercing and terrible than those of any other demon
of whom Adamarantha had ever heard, and around his lank body he wore
a robe made of ourang-outang skins. His height was above that of the
tallest man, and his bearing and presence those of a supernatural being.

"What will change thy misery into happiness?" he repeated in a
dreadful voice.

"Wealth and power," said the trembling enthusiast, "whereby I may
regain my lost kingdom, and be revenged on mine enemies."

"Wealth is power," said the Genius; "follow me."

Adamarantha followed in silence. The spirit, whether of good or evil,
led him across the narrow plain that separated the lake from the
mountain, and stopped when within fifty paces of the latter. Pointing
at a shining object that lay at his feet, he commanded the dreamer to
pick it up: It was a diamond of great size and the purest water. "Throw
it against the mountain," said the uncouth figure, and Adamarantha
did so. In a moment with a noise that seemed to shake the earth to
its foundations, an enormous door opened in the dark rock, and ere
Adamarantha had recovered from his astonishment a steed of unparalleled
beauty and splendid proportions bounded forth on the plain, caparisoned
as for a long journey. The gate in the mountain closed behind him with
another thundering sound. The horse was black as jet. His eye glanced
fire. He pawed the ground and lashed the air with his tail impatiently.
"Mount," said the Genius, "and away--wish for wealth and power while
thou art in the saddle, and thy wishes thou shalt have; but BEWARE, let
him never have another master than thyself--let him not bear a wish
concerning the female sex--and teach him not with whip or spur lest
thou see him perish." As he said the words the figure vanished in a
misty cloud, and the now rejoiced dreamer leaped into the saddle.

How long the sable charger carried him in a wild and headlong course
over hill and through valley, swimming rivers and leaping chasms,
tearing with bird-like speed up the sides of the impassable mountains,
and down into the depths of rocky, frightful gorges, Adamarantha did
not know; but the speed with which he flew gave an unknown enjoyment
to his existence, and caused the current of life to flow with renewed
vigor from his heart. At length the strange steed turned and entered
the alluvial plain along the banks of the quiet river, and approached
the Black Mountain with rapid strides. The thoughts of his rider had
had time to assume a definite shape, and he found himself indulging in
one of his usual day-dreams. He wished to see himself clothed in purple
and gold, and to possess a palace where his wretched hovel stood:
furnished with all conceivable splendor, with a retinue of servants
to attend him; a band of musicians to lull him to sleep; and heaps of
gold and silver. As his steed bore him to the spot where his wigwam
had lately been, the beams of the setting sun glittered upon an object
which filled him with astonishment and delight. It was the palace he
had erected in his imagination. With a thousand gilded minarets, tier
above tier of splendid colonnades; windows arched with marble and
decorated with carved pillars, surmounted by architraves of elaborate
workmanship; and a grand entrance surpassing in magnificence the most
brilliant conception of any architect who ever lived, it fairly dazzled
and bewildered the dreamer.

As his horse stopped before a flight of white marble steps which led
up to the great door, a company of obsequious individuals came forth
bowing low. He alighted, and his noble horse was led round to the
eastern wing of the building, where another vast door opened to receive
him. Adamarantha entered the palace, followed by his new attendants,
and was immediately saluted by others bowing to him in all directions.
The vast vestibule was hung with tapestry, on which were painted the
most extraordinary and beautiful scenes. Without allowing his new
master time to look around upon the gorgeous novelties that on all
sides presented themselves to his view, the grand chamberlain led the
way into an inner apartment, large, splendidly furnished, and profusely
adorned with statues and pictures. A chair of gold and crimson velvet
was here placed before a table loaded with every delicacy. Meats and
fruits were in abundance, in gold and silver dishes. Costly wines
sparkled in ruby goblets. Around this hall were arranged statues
and vases, the former of marble and bronze, the latter of emerald
and porcelain, filled to overflowing with gold and silver coin. As
Adamarantha paused before a large mirror, he saw that his person was
altogether changed, and as he took his seat at the refreshment table a
strain of enchanting music resounded from an elevated platform, whereon
a large band of musicians was stationed.

Six moons had waned before the enthusiast had completed the inspection
of the various apartments and countless wonders of his new residence.
To describe them is not the object of this legend. But before the
seventh moon had entirely disappeared he grew weary. The grandeur
of his palace ceased to charm, and the enchanting music failed to
please him; the obsequiousness of his servants grew tiresome, and he
found himself longing for fresh novelties. He called for his charger,
Rodamonto, and rode forth. The horse flew over the plain and across
the mountains as he had done before. "Give me," cried the rider, "a
park and gardens the most beautiful in the world, and give me power as
well as wealth. I must have an army that will conquer the world." His
ride was ended. On his return to his palace he found it surrounded by a
park of unrivalled beauty--shady groves of palm and acacia overhanging
delightful avenues, flowers rich beyond description, and fruits that
seemed new and strange to him met his eye on all sides. But what gave
him more pleasure than all these was a compact army of ten thousand
men, heavily armed and gallantly horsed, which he found drawn up before
the entrance gate.

Another moon came and went, the prince spending his time most agreeably
in reviewing and exercising his troops. He then set forth at their
head on his expedition to the city that had been the seat of his
father's rule. On the way he promised himself the sweets of vengeance,
and recalled to his mind the names of those persons who had been his
enemies, planning their destruction. But when he arrived before the
gates of the city, and with hostile demonstrations summoned it to
surrender, he was answered that the king his uncle had already died of
a horrible disorder, which was now raging and carrying off hundreds
of victims daily: that the late king's son and daughter, the artful
Watalonga, and the beautiful Marioncella, lay at the point of death.
And the deputation urged him with tears not to enter the city as a
conqueror but as a friend, and kindly use his influence to alleviate
the misery that pervaded it. When he heard these tidings his heart
melted; he internally wished that the pestilence might be stayed, and
from that moment not another victim died.

He now entered the city at the head of his troops amid the acclamations
of assembled thousands. His claim to the crown was duly examined by
the authorities and acknowledged. His cousin Watalonga, much to his
chagrin, was set aside, and Adamarantha was crowned king with great
pomp. For awhile his ambition seemed satisfied. To secure himself upon
the throne he would have put Watalonga to death, if he had followed the
advice of his ministers, but being averse to bloodshed he was contented
with banishing him to a distance. The ambition of a man in whom
love of self predominates is not easily satisfied, and so it proved
with Adamarantha. On various pretexts he picked quarrels with the
neighboring states. He went forth with his armies, always on his sable
charger, and never rested until he had subjugated the whole country
from sea to ocean under his irresistible sway.

Meanwhile the passion of love was making fearful ravages in his heart.
He had seen the beautiful Marioncella, and for the first time in his
life he loved. He had seen her ten years before, but then she was a
little child and he was too ideal to receive any permanent impression.
Now he saw her robed in the majesty of a beauty which he had considered
too ethereal to belong to a creature of gross flesh and blood. She was
tall, her hair and eyes were black and lustrous, her skin shaded with
the color of the olive, and her figure faultless. But Marioncella was
as proud as she was beautiful, and gifted moreover with the qualities
of a confirmed coquette. The throne was to her no mean prize, but so
great was the force of habit that she determined to tantalize her royal
lover, who now openly demanded her hand in marriage, before finally
consenting to crown his felicity. With this object in view she sought
on various pretexts to amuse him, to trifle with and keep him at a
distance, and at the same time bring him to her feet as often as she
pleased, without giving him any definite answer. She was mistress of
many accomplishments, but above all else she prided herself upon her
skill in horsemanship: conscious of being a graceful rider, she aimed
at being without a rival in the art. When the King, worn out with
impatience, at length insisted upon a definite reply, her laughing
answer was, "I will be thy queen on one condition--that thou givest me
the horse which so often carries thee to victory."

"Lady," he replied, "I could doubtless compel thee to become my queen,
but although my power is great, my reputation is dear to me. Know,
however, that wert thou to bring me as thy dower a thousand worlds like
this in which we live I would not give thee my horse, which thou wilt
do well not to covet."

These words filled the haughty beauty with grief and dismay. She
thought the king was jesting, but soon found she was mistaken. The idea
of a refusal had not entered her mind, and it overwhelmed her with
despair. But her indomitable pride came to her aid: confident that the
charms she possessed would ultimately compel him to yield, she mentally
resolved not to consent to become queen until her desire was gratified.

Adamarantha having made himself master of the island had now nothing
more to perform; he once more became idle, gloomy, and restless. He
frequently visited his palace of golden minarets under the Black
Mountain, in search of fresh novelties, but he found that, though
possessed of all that his fertile imagination could conceive, except
a bride, the happiness he had sought for continually fled from
his grasp. The more he pondered upon the reason of this the more
miserable he became. He lay for whole days on his luxurious couch;
he wandered up and down his charming avenues; sauntered amongst his
pictures and statues; stood before his vases full of gold and silver;
reviewed his idle troops; and sailed on the waters of his lake in
his silken-curtained barge--the same unhappy discontented being.
Unable longer to endure the anguish of idleness, the dark thought
of self-destruction came over him. But how to accomplish it was the
question. Should he ascend to the top of the Black Mountain and cast
himself on the pinnacles of his palace, or should he cause himself
to be rowed to the middle of the lake, and then bury himself in its
waters. While revolving these matters he received a message from
Marioncella, requesting him to honor her with a visit.

Through the influence of this maiden, her brother Watalonga had been
released from captivity, and raised by gradual steps to be the first
minister of the realm; Adamarantha having entertained the idea of
binding him to his service by the ties of love and gratitude. Vain and
hopeless idea! His promotion on the contrary filled him with envy,
hatred, and with schemes for his sovereign's destruction. He had
discovered while in exile the residence of a powerful magician, and
communicated his discovery to his sister. She instantly determined to
avail herself of this wizard's services in placing her lover under
the influences of enchantment, so that he might be the more easily
persuaded to yield to her the possession of his valued steed. She went
herself to the sorcerer's cave and told her story.

"It is a case, lady," said the magician, "fraught with danger and
difficulty, but we will try to subdue this haughty king. I will place
my spells upon him whilst thou shalt send for him to thy palace; repeat
thy request, and if he refuses beg him at least to receive a cup of
wine at thy hands, and accept this jewelled riding whip as a present."

Marioncella returned home and dispatched her message. She waited with
trepidation till her royal lover should appear, and was charmed when
she saw him leap from his magnificent charger, and hastily enter her
palace gate. He advanced towards her with a smile, and said as he took
her hand, "Lady, art thou yet ready?"

"Yes," she replied, "if thou wilt give me the steed I covet."

"Never," said the king, "shall that horse have another master, and his
temper would brook no mistress. Is there naught else I can give thee?"

"Nothing," answered Marioncella, disconsolately; "yet, my king, deign
to drink this cup of wine, and accept this little gift as a token of my
love."

He drank the wine, and carelessly took into his hand the jewelled
riding whip, not noticing that the hand of Marioncella trembled.
The wine made him feel so desirous of sleep that he lay down on an
embroidered couch and slept. He arose after some hours' rest, bade
the princess adieu, and called for his horse. The animal was brought,
but as his master approached, the steed quailed and was seized with
a sudden fit of trembling. Adamarantha, struck with astonishment,
looked about to see what could be the cause of the horse's uneasiness:
presently his eyes rested on the whip which he held in his hand. With
a gesture of impatience he broke it in two, threw it from him, vaulted
into his saddle, and disappeared.

Marioncella, on witnessing this scene from the window of her palace,
was overcome with disappointment and confusion. She sank upon the
couch on which her royal lover had so lately lain, and gave way to a
passion of tears. Her attendants tried to console her, but the more
they tried the more did her sighs and tears increase. A thousand
times did she regret the foolish and perverse position she had taken
up, but her pride forbade her to abandon it. Had it not been for her
childish coquetry she might now be queen--the wife of a young king for
whom she had a tender regard. She raved; she tore her beautiful hair;
she beat her breast with frantic screams; she banished her maidens
from her presence. The prize which she thought within her reach--nay,
in her very grasp--had receded to an immeasurable distance. She was
inconsolable.

When Adamarantha once more bestrode his potent charger he felt
cheerfulness and love of life return to his soul. He went to his palace
in the city, and was informed that his prime minister, Watalonga,
was absent in the provinces dispatching important business. But this
intelligence was false--devised by the cunning Watalonga himself on
purpose to throw the king off his guard. He was in concealment not far
off. His plan for the murder of the king was now matured, and it was
settled that the royal throat should be deliberately cut that very
night if he slept in his palace in the city. The king's time, however,
was not yet come. He visited his palace, and finding that no urgent
affairs required his presence, he threw the reins on his charger's
neck and abandoned him to his discretion. When this was done the steed
knew what his master's pleasure was, and he flew with the speed of a
tornado to the valley of the Black Mountain. Before he arrived at his
magnificent home a sudden thought struck the king. "Let," he exclaimed,
half aloud, "my enemies, those who are plotting against my life, be
assembled together in the banqueting hall of my palace when I return."

When he alighted at the palace gate his chamberlain met him with great
ceremony, and informed him that his prime minister, Watalonga, along
with a few of the great officers of state, awaited his presence in the
banqueting hall. The king was surprised.

"Is there a woman with them?" he asked.

"No, Sire."

"She is innocent then," said Adamarantha to himself, "yet her wine
was powerful." Without taking any notice of Watalonga or his officers
he retired to his sleeping apartment, and reposed till morning. Then he
entered the banqueting hall and looked long and sternly upon the group
before him. Suddenly he turned to his prime minister and said--

"If I had made thee king, Watalonga, what would have been my
recompense?"

"Eternal gratitude and love," replied the minister.

"Thou liest!--it would have been death or a living tomb," said the king.

The conspirators seeing that their plots were discovered, fell on their
knees and implored the royal mercy. The king rang a bell, and a number
of armed guards entered the hall. "Let all," he said, "but Watalonga
return to their homes, and let them beware how they appear a second
time in this place; but take Watalonga to the summit of the Black
Mountain and hurl him from thence. It is thus Adamarantha punishes
ingratitude."

It was in vain that Watalonga implored mercy, the king was inexorable,
and the guards hurried their prisoner away. At noon the next day the
dreadful sentence was executed, and his mangled body lay at the foot of
the mountain.

When the tidings of this tragical event reached the ears of Marioncella
she was seized with consternation. She imagined that the king in his
wrath would seek to execute vengeance upon her as he had already
done upon her brother. She rose up in haste, determined upon again
consulting the magician whose spells had already been so powerless. In
great fear and doubt, but not without hope, she entered the cave of the
magician and said--

"Sorcerer, thou hast deceived me!"

He turned upon her a look of pity mingled with contempt, and
replied--"Lady, I have not deceived thee, but the power that worketh
against thee is mightier than mine. Nevertheless, we will try this
obstinate king once more: if we succeed, well; if not, thy destruction
will follow. Hast thou courage to dare thy fate?"

"Yes," replied the princess, "I will die sooner than be humbled."

"Take, then, these golden spurs; when he has drunk the wine thou wilt
give him he will sleep. Buckle these on his feet with thine own hands,
but mark that he sees them not, and watch the result. I will double my
enchantments."

She returned to her palace with renewed hope, and immediately
despatched a messenger on a swift horse to beseech her gracious lord
the king to condescend to visit her once more; she was ill and almost
weary of life. Such was the message. To add to the enchantment of the
magician--and insure her victory over her lover she had determined to
feign illness.

Ere a messenger, however, arrived at the palace of the Black Mountain,
Adamarantha had departed on a long journey on important business of
state. Report said that he was about to withdraw his affections from
his cousin Marioncella, and marry some less fastidious maiden. The
messenger returned to his mistress, and told her what was whispered
abroad. The agony of Marioncella at this intelligence was almost
insupportable, but she renewed her orders to her messenger, commanding
him to follow and find the king at all hazards, cost what it would.

The sun had travelled over his daily track, and cooled his burning face
in the depths of the distant ocean seventeen times since the departure
of the messenger, when Marioncella was surprised by the sudden arrival
of the king. He came as usual on his sable steed Rodamonto, and as he
alighted at the gate of the princess's palace he whispered, "I will
never part with thee, my noble steed." An equery took charge of the
horse and Adamarantha sought his cousin. He found her in an apartment
cooled by fountains, reclining on a couch amid the richest perfumes and
brightest embroidery, surrounded by a group of sorrowing maidens. They
made way for the king.

"Thou art ill, my cousin," he said, bending over her. A deep sigh
answered him, while with a gesture she dismissed her attendants.

They were now alone, and the king's stubborn heart began to relent.
He was penetrated by the spectacle of the haughty beauty thus to
all appearance humbled to the dust--"Ask what thou wilt," he said,
passionately--"I will give thee my kingdom. I will build ships, go
forth and conquer other kingdoms, and thou shalt be my bride."

"Yes," said the princess, in feeble accents, "I now know that thou wilt
give me--only say thou wilt give me--the sable charger that so often
carries thee to victory."

"Maiden!" he replied, "I will give thee all I possess--palace, land,
and slave--but my steed I never can part with, even by an idle breath."

Marioncella sank back on her couch with a profound sigh and
murmured--"So perish all my hopes." After indulging in a flood of
tears, while the king sat immovably at a little distance, she arose
slowly and going towards a table whereon cake and wine were placed,
filled a ruby cup, and presenting it to him kneeling, she said--

"If for the last time, my king, my cousin, deign to accept at my hands
this cup of wine--I would mingle with it my tears, for my heart is
broken."

Adamarantha paused for a moment, but at length he took the cup, and
said--

"Is this wine of the purest vintage, or how comes it, Marioncella, that
I can drink wine from other goblets and not be stupefied?"

"It is," answered the princess, "of the purest vintage--it is as pure
as the heavenly fluid that distils from the summit of Kimi-Balu, as I
am the soul of honor."

"I take thee at thy word," said the king, and he drained the goblet to
the dregs.

No sooner had he done so that he reeled back to the couch, and fell
down at full length upon it. The trembling Marioncella waited for a
while till she heard the heavy breathing which assured her he was in a
deep sleep; she then cautiously approached and buckled on the golden
spurs as the magician had commanded her.

After sleeping for many hours Adamarantha awoke. The beams of the
morning sun darted through the window and rested upon him as he lay.
He arose hastily much disturbed in his mind, partook of a slight
refreshment with a dissatisfied air, and called for his horse. The
noble animal was brought, and, as on a former occasion, trembled when
his master approached him. The king was much surprised, but having
no whip in his hand now, he thought there must be some other cause
unconnected with himself, and never thought of looking at his heels.
He mounted and rode away, his horse exhibiting various signs of
trepidation; but as the spur had not yet touched his side, all went
well.

The princess watched him from her window, thinking he could not see
her, but he looked up and bowed to her--as he passed. It could be
difficult to tell which she admired most, the horse or his rider. She
was watching for favorable results, but she saw none. Still she was not
hopeless, for he had not thrown away the spurs.

It was evening when Adamarantha approached his palace, his horse
trembling as usual like a bird on the wings of the tempest. The sun
was setting and threw its rich golden beams on the pinnacles of the
enchanted palace, which stood the most brilliant object of a charming
landscape. Before it lay the sleeping lake, in itself an object of
quiet sylvan beauty. Behind it stood the gigantic mountain, whose
summit seemed to support the heavens and kiss the ruddy and shining
clouds that nestled as it were about its neck, and reflecting from its
black and polished front the azure glow concentrated upon it by the
softly beautiful sky. Around it grew the stately trees, and flowers of
gorgeous colors; while the guards in brilliant armor kept watch amongst
groups of marble nymphs in groves of garcinia, anonad, citron, and
areca palm, and countless shrubs with ravishing perfumes. Adamarantha
checked his horse on a distant eminence and surveyed the scene before
him. He burst into a paroxysm of rapture and said aloud--"What if
Marioncella could see this palace; and why should I not give her my
steed? I have all I can wish for--he is no further use to me--I will
give him to her, and she shall be my bride at last." As he spoke he
raised himself in his saddle--the spurs touched his horse's flanks: the
animal reared, plunged forward, and fell groaning to the earth. The
king at this moment, seeing the fatal spurs, cursed his treacherous
mistress. He saw that his charger was dying--was dead! In an instant
a fearful typhoon swept over the plain, and a dull heavy crash louder
than a thousand thunders burst upon his terrified senses. He looked
for his palace, it was gone--the waters of the lake were frightfully
agitated--the mountain had fallen, and had buried palace, gardens,
trees, and guards under a heap of sparkling ruins.

While the unhappy king stamped on the ground with rage at seeing
his beautiful palace destroyed in a moment, and his incomparable
steed lying dead beside him, he became conscious of the presence
of the demon or spirit of the mountain. He turned and beheld the
extraordinary spectre smiling maliciously. Still burning with fury,
Adamarantha dared him to do his worst. The fiend almost laughed as he
replied--"Contemptible mortal! thou didst wish for wealth, and wouldst
not work for it; for happiness, and yet livedst for thyself alone.
Return to thy poverty, and learn that happiness cannot be purchased by
wealth, and that harrassing care is rarely, if ever, separated from
power."

The remarkable manuscript from which this legend is transcribed further
informs us that the capricious maiden, Marioncella, was destroyed by
her own machinations to secure the gratification of a ridiculous whim.
When her attendants went to her the same evening they found her lying
on her coach cold and dead. On the subject of the subsequent career of
Adamarantha, it merely says that he found his way back to his chief
city after a painful journey on foot, assumed the reins of government,
governed wisely for many years, and died at a venerable age, having
never been heard to complain of the evils of idleness after the loss of
his remarkable steed.


*  *  *  *  *  *  *

When Edwin ceased reading Mrs. Maxwell, after a short silence, said
that it was an interesting story after the manner of the Arabian
Nights, but had the fault, she thought, of being written in too florid
a style. Mr. Maxwell had fallen asleep in his chair. Griselda thought
it was better than many stories which she had seen and read in actual
print, and the moral to be drawn from it very good. Charles than began
to laugh, and broke out with--"Why, you don't call it an original
story! It's only a second edition of Aladdin and his wonderful lamp. I
would never write such miserable twaddle."

"I question very much if you could write it," said his mother, "or
anything like it."

Edwin said that it afforded much pleasure to a snap-dragon reviewer to
get hold of something upon which he could display his great talents
for fault finding. As a mariner must look for tempests, so an author
must expect criticism; and he only hoped that the criticism he should
receive would never be more severe than what he had experienced that
evening. He then wished his friends good-night, and retired to his
room. His romantic ideas were concealed by a calm and placid face, but
in his heart there burned a consuming fire. What was it fair and gentle
reader?




CHAPTER XXII.--VISITORS.

After the great fire which had so nearly burned his wheat and his
house, Maxwell was not long in making the discovery that the labors
connected with agricultural farming did not altogether agree with him.
He was now getting up in years and wool was getting up in price. The
trouble attending a flock of sheep, however large, was nothing when
compared with that of growing grain and preparing it for market. True,
he had a son who was now of an age to qualify him for taking an active
share in the management of the farm: but the fact was, Maxwell found
out that a flock of sheep, where one of sufficient size could be kept,
paid better than agricultural operations. Besides, there were many
small farmers who had not the means of procuring a flock of sheep,
and to them he thought the rich flock-owners would do well to leave
the cultivation of the soil. He accordingly laid down his paddocks
in clover and artificial grasses, with the exception of a couple to
keep the establishment in oats and hay. He entrusted his sheep, of
which he now possessed about three thousand, to the care of the worthy
Jacob Singlewood, and took his ease; amusing himself with gardening
and burning, when the hot weather was past, the rough grass and scrub
which were thick enough on some parts of his property. Mrs. Maxwell
still continued to pay great attention to her dairy, and met with very
gratifying encouragement from the parties to whom she was accustomed to
dispose of the produce. She had a great number of cows, of which during
his residence at Bremgarten, and more for amusement than anything else,
Edwin Herbart assumed the management--that is, he superintended the
milking operations which were now performed by assigned servants, men
who had learned the art in England. He arose at sunrise, mounted his
horse, scoured the bush in search of the stray cows, and brought them
home to the yards. If they were refractory, he brought them to their
senses by a gallop and a few strokes of his stockwhip. If the calves
were to be branded or a pair of bullocks to be broken in, or a number
of cattle to be driven to a sale, he was always ready and willing to
perform the duties. He became, in fact, Mr. Maxwell's right-hand man,
to use a colloquial expression. He also assisted his cousin Charles in
the management of the sheep, and accompanied him in various hunting
excursions.

Sometimes parties of pleasure were formed and picnic entertainments
arranged on purpose to brush off the cobweb of care, and tinge with the
charm of novelty the monotony of life in the bush. On such occasions
Griselda, accompanied by her brother and Edwin, would proceed on
horseback to Clifton Hall, and being joined by Miss Earlsley and her
sister would pursue, never dreaming of danger, an erratic course
through the forest, cross the river at Kangaroo Billy's Ford, and
charge right up to the dwelling of the pork loving bachelor of Skittle
Ball Hill. Upon one remarkable occasion they found the guileless
Juniper in the act of frying a Johnnie cake; the word was passed, and
Johnnie cake became the order of the hour. Poor Juniper was kept going
till his face was the color of a well-burnt brick. Charles Maxwell, who
delighted in fun, kept the fire liberally supplied with wood; Edwin
assiduously danced attendance with a dish of mutton fat, from which
he occasionally launched big lumps into the hissing pan; Griselda,
who partook but sparingly of the cake in question, yet enjoyed the
sport, was prevailed upon to insert her delicate fingers in the dough.
Miss Caroline Earlsley suggested coffee, and the idea was hailed with
delight. Coffee was made. Mr. Juniper begged to apologise for the
absence of his cook: he (Mr. Juniper) hated cooking, and had starved
for the last three days on Johnnie cake and tea, because his amiable
cook was drunk.

"I like Johnnie cake," said Charles, with his mouth full, "and the best
man to make Johnnie cake that I know of in the world is Mr. Juniper;
when I eat a Johnnie cake made by that master hand, I don't want to eat
anything more for four-and-twenty hours!"

"They're so beautifully cooked," said Edwin.

"And so fat; they're perfectly prime," said Charles.

"And as for the coffee," said Caroline Earlsley, "it is coffee,
such bewitching strength, such a delicious aromatic flavor: I really
think that Mr. Juniper is perfectly clever at coffee."

"At drinking it, I suppose you mean, Caroline," said Miss Earlsley.

"At making it, I mean," replied her sister. "I suppose you roast your
own coffee, Mr. Juniper?"

"I do, Miss, and if you can suggest any improvement I'll be proud to
adopt it," said Juniper.

"There is no room for improvement, it is perfect," said the young lady.

"Did you ever eat one of Mrs. Earlsley's wattle-bird pies?" asked
Juniper of Edwin.

"No, I have not yet had that pleasure," replied that young gentleman.

"Then, Sir, you have a pleasure, to come; I never tasted anything
better in my life."

"Mamma would be very proud if she heard you say so, Mr. Juniper," said
Caroline.

"It is quite true, Miss; I never could make out how your mother manages
to make such beautiful flaky pie-crust."

"I can tell you," said Caroline. "She rolls the paste out into layers
about as thin as a sixpence, and before she puts them together she rubs
them all over with olive oil by means of a feather from the wing of a
grey old gander."

"O, for shame! Caroline," said Miss Earlsley, "you know she does
nothing of the kind: she puts in plenty of butter, Mr. Juniper, or lard
will do quite as well. And I think we have plagued you enough, it is
time to go."

Juniper, who had been hitherto employed with his frying pan, now turned
round--"Why, bless my heart," he said, "you have not eaten the Johnnie
cakes after all," and he eyed with an anxious air the plate with twelve
or fifteen cakes piled on it in the middle of the table.

"Never mind," said Charles, "we have helped you to make a good
supply--no trouble in cooking any more now for a week at least.
Good-by, Mr. Juniper."

"Good-by, Mr. Juniper," was echoed by the ladies, and Griselda added,
"Come over to tea to-morrow evening, Mr. Juniper, we are going to have
a little party; Mrs. Earlsley and her daughters are coming. It will be
my birthday."

"And may you see many happy returns of it, Miss Maxwell," said Juniper;
"I will be happy to go, thank you; but I expect I will have to go to
Avoca first to get my cook out of trouble."

With many laughs at Mr. Juniper and his plate of Johnnie cakes
the happy party cantered away down the hill, crossed the ford at
a splashing pace, left Griselda at home, and rode on to Clifton
Hall,--the young men being bound, of course, to see the Misses Earlsley
safe to their father's door.

The morning of Griselda's birthday, which was doubtless a bright and
sunny day in England, was in Tasmania miserably wet, cold, and foggy.
At nine o'clock a horse and gig were observed to stand at the door of
Mrs. Trapfarthing's hotel at Avoca, and two gentlemen issued from the
house, making preparations to take their seats in the vehicle. The
first who emerged was a young man, fashionably and expensively dressed,
whose fine black broadcloth was encumbered with a massive gold chain,
from which an ornamented watch-key hung suspended below the extremity
of his well shaped waistcoat. He was of a tall, handsome figure, and
his face sufficiently well-looking to win favor for its possessor in
the eyes of many, even if all other appliances were wanting. But the
diamond that sparkled in the head of the gold pin which was negligently
stuck into the bosom of his shirt, and the jewelled rings which could
be seen on his fingers as he drew on a pair of thick leather gloves
before taking the reins and whip into his hands, told plainly that
the face, handsome as it was, was rendered doubly attractive by a
well filled-purse. He was followed by a short elderly gentleman, from
under whose dandy hat a few stray locks of very snowy hair peeped
out at various distances, and whose fresh-colored jolly-looking
face was ornamented with a formidable nose, on and about the tip of
which the carbuncles had assumed and long maintained a rosy, if not
a crimson--indeed, perhaps sometimes a purple hue. He was closely
wrapped up in a comfortable great coat, and as he followed his younger
companion, was endeavoring with great exertions and only partial
success to adjust a small but very rich Indian shawl round his neck in
order to protect his throat from the effects of the inclement fog that
now sat upon the face of nature. While the first individual occupied
himself in examining the horse and harness, the old gentleman growled
audibly as he strove to make his hands meet behind his neck--"Aye, as
selfish as a cow over a bucket of turnips to the last: never thinks of
helping his old father until after his help isn't wanted."

"Allow me to assist you, Sir," said the obsequious landlady, who
happened to overhear the old gentleman's remark. "The morning is cold,
Sir, and gentlemen of your age would always do well to take care of
themselves and keep themselves well rapt up from the frosty winds."

"Yes, ma'am," replied the old gentleman, "I beg you will be good enough
to turn those ends round my neck--don't be in a hurry, if you please.
I'm neither so young nor so active now as I was when I rushed into the
ranks of the enemy at Porto Novo, and helped Sir Eyre Coote to drive
back the Indian tiger, Hyder Ali, growling to his jungle again."

"Is it possible, Sir, that you fought with a tiger?" said Mrs.
Trapfarthing.

"A tiger, Ma'am!" said the stranger, "yes Ma'am, with both brute tigers
and human tigers--with a thousand of them, and would again. Show me
the man that insults the widow, that bullies the weak, or plunders the
poor, and see if I won't make a pretty ridiculous object of him in
a considerably short space of time!--Not so tight, if you please, I
wasn't born to be hanged, and have no fancy for being strangled--prefer
being honorably stuck like the great Julius at any time."

"I beg pardon, Sir, I hope that will do;" said the fat landlady.

"That will do, thank you;" said the old gentleman.

"We are ready to start now, father," said the young gentleman.

"Did you ask for directions to Mr. Maxwell's place, Sir?" asked the
elder in an emphatic tone.

"No, I thought you were asking for them;" replied the younger.

"You thought--you're always thinking of something, and never doing
anything. I don't know what on earth will become of you when I'm laid
under the sod. Does it never occur to you that in going through life it
would be right to make sure of the bread before you begin to sing out
about butter?"

"Will you be good enough," said the younger gentleman addressing the
landlady, "to direct us to Mr. Maxwell's residence?"

"Better late than never, as said to myself once when I sank up to my
chin in a bog, and found the bottom at last;" growled the senior.

"The second turn off the main track to the left, Sir;" said the
landlady with a sweet smile.

"Thank you; now father, will you get up?"

The old gentleman, after nodding a familiar good-by to the landlady,
clambered up to his seat and they drove on.

The travellers maintained silence for a considerable time, the road
being tolerably smooth; but when they entered the thicker parts of the
forest it became rough with the roots of trees, tussocks of grass,
and stones. The old gentleman, to whose mind the shaking of his body
evidently communicated no very amiable temper, said to his companion--

"Don't drive so fast; one would think you were going to pick up a Field
Marshal's baton, you are in such a hurry--a thing, by the way, you're
by no means likely to pick up. I wonder when this infernal journey will
be over; nothing but jolt, jolt, shake, shake, bad roads and worse
driving day after day."

"The roads are bad, and I can't drive any better," replied the young
man.

"Can't drive any better!" said the old gentleman, staring steadfastly
at his son from under his bent brows; "can't drive any better. Oh! one
is never too old to learn something now. Your favorite word can't is
not likely to accelerate your progress either in the eyes of brave men
or fair ladies. There! could'nt you have avoided that stone? It is only
the trouble of drawing the rein this way or that way, and you won't
take that trouble. You are, to speak plainly, without any exception the
greatest fool I ever had anything to do with."

The young man kept his temper wonderfully well, considering the
ferocity with which he was attacked, and merely replied--

"That is plain speaking with a vengeance; wish you would drive
yourself, Sir; you may be sure I will not return you your compliments."

"Wonderful spirit!" said his father, ironically; "what next? If you
can't drive a gig clear of a rock on a bush road in Tasmania, where
you are not hemmed in by trees or precipices, be so good as to inform
me what you can do? You would have been a valuable assistant to Robert
Clive in the defence of Arcot, where your grandfather fought like a
lion and had his head cut open in fifty places, when a hundred and
twenty Europeans and two hundred Sepoys held their own against ten
thousand men under Rajah Sahib, of whom one hundred and fifty were
French soldiers; and when half-dead with hunger the Sepoys of the
garrison went to Clive in a body, not to transfix him with their
bayonets, or to beg him to surrender, but to tell him to keep all the
rice for himself and his countrymen, and give them only the water in
which it had been boiled! And when the Rajah, tired of the struggle,
offered large bribes to Clive, were they not rejected with scorn? When
he sent word that he would storm the fort and not leave a man in it
alive, what was the answer he got? That his father was an usurper, that
his army was a rabble, and that he had better think twice before he
sent such poltroons into a breach defended by English soldiers."

The young man made no reply, thinking probably that the ill-humor of
his venerable parent would be likely to exhaust itself if suffered
to take its own course. The old gentleman accordingly relapsed into
silence, and continued quiet for some time, until another jolt over a
small stump set him going again.

"I believe the shades of Hades could'nt shew more beastly roads than
the people of this place can, after having had the benefit of prison
labor for so many years. It is quite clear that there is no Clive or
Warren Hastings here, or the labor of the prisoners would have been
more wisely directed. To travel in a country like this a man must have
the energy of Agathocles, who crossed over to Carthage on a hostile
excursion, and burnt his fleet to deprive himself of the power to go
back again,--and the bones of a Hannibal, who walked over the Alps,
crushing the rocks to pieces before him by means of bullock drays
loaded with wood for fires and rum puncheons filled with vinegar. And
to settle down in a place like this, with these black miserable hills
on each side, and this foggy forest that's enough to give one the
horrors for a century, people must be natural born fools or idiots
to do such things. I thought Maxwell had more sense. It is to be
hoped that the intellect of his fair daughter is not thrown back to a
level with that of Agrippina, the wife of Ahenobarbus, who, when she
presented him with a son, told his friends that whatever sprang from
him and Agrippina was sure to be the ruin of Rome, and sure enough
the young hopeful gained a splendid immortality under the name of
Nero. If the contemplated union between you and Miss Maxwell is to be
so fruitful as that, you will do well not to proceed further in the
business, but leave the country the same empty-headed, cigar-smoking
coxcomb of a would-be Benedick that you were when you landed in it."

Here the old gentleman indulged in a low chuckle, and the young one
looked as if he could without much remorse upset his redoubtable sire
into a sand-pit, but he made a feeble attempt to whistle an air, and at
last gulped down his indignation in silence.

"Young men like you," said the elder after a slight pause, "are never
satisfied until they rush blindly and stupidly, and without any sort
of a patient investigation whatever, into any trap or snare that can
be set for them either by their own feelings and passions or by the
cupidity and trickery of others (though I exonerate Maxwell and his
daughter from everything of that kind), and lo! as soon as they're
safe in the net, they find on a sudden that they have lost their
liberty--tied, in fact, to a woman's apron-string--and may spend
their whole lifetime afterwards in wishing that they had'nt been and
done it in such a hurry. Of what use let me ask you, is a man in this
world if he cannot look before he leaps? Of what use, is the man who,
not possessing two ideas of his own to throw together and compare
one with the other, will obstinately shut his ears to the advice and
remonstrances of men old enough to be his grandfathers, who have
forgotten more sound sense and knowledge than he is likely to pick up
even if he lived like Sir Isaac Newton, picking up pebbles on the sea
shore all his life--who, not satisfied with going the downward road to
poverty by an easy and gradual descent like a pleasant avenue winding
down into a pretty valley, must needs set spurs to his jackass and
make his exit all at once and with a crash, while one would be saying
'snuff.' Of what use is it to speak to such a man? I don't say you're
such a man and I don't say you're not, but you have many things to
learn yet, and amongst the rest is patience; the patience that won for
Cromwell and Marlborough their victories and renown, and enabled Gibbon
to wade through oceans of books and write his inimitable history for
twenty years; the patience that taught the second great Governor of
India to wait for his wife, while he was accumulating influence and
power, to be divorced from a husband who sold her to him in a private
bargain as I would sell a monkey. Aye, those were the pleasant days
to which old memories love to cling. I was present at the marriage of
Hastings with the Baroness Imhoff, and at the ball which followed it,
when a scene occurred that I never can forgot; when the Governor went
himself and brought in General Clavering, more dead than alive, out
of his bed--whom he had brow-beaten in council and deprived of the
Governorship by his superiority of mind merely to pay homage to his
bride, whose other husband had only turned his face to England a day or
two before; and what a talk there was when we buried poor Clavering in
a few days with military honors. I little thought then that I should
live to travel in a mountainous, rascally, cut-throat hole like this,
with hills that look as if nothing but ink had rained on them since
they were created; amongst regiments of scoundrels in yellow uniforms,
with the cymbals and triangles of the gibbet sounding about their
legs--and driven over the cursed roads at which St. Thomas a'Becket
would have rapped out his choicest oaths, by a whip that thinks of
anything but what he ought to think, and would drive into a coal pit,
supposing there was one, with his eyes wide open."

The young man smiled though gloomily, but said nothing, being content
to give his father full liberty of speech unquestioned, while he tried
to whip a little more life into their jaded horse. The old gentleman
again relapsed into silence, which continued until the younger
traveller perceived the second turn to the left, which would lead them,
as the landlady of the inn said, to Mr. Maxwell's house. It was not
long before they discovered the house itself and drove up to the door,
without a welcome even from the watch-dogs.

Having descended from their gig, the two new arrivals now stood at the
door, the one knocking at it with his knuckles, the other thumping with
his whip handle. In due time, although the old gentleman, after and
in spite of his long lecture on patience, manifested a very impatient
spirit, a slow step was heard in the passage and the door was opened by
a female servant, who seemed considerably astonished at the sight of
the two strangers.

"Does Mr. Maxwell live here?" asked the old gentleman.

"Yes, Sir," said the servant.

"Is he at home?"

"No, Sir."

"Is Mrs. Maxwell at home?"

"No, Sir."

"Is Miss Maxwell at home?"

"No, Sir."

"Come, now, like a clever wench, and tell us in the name of Old Nick,
but take your time over it, who is at home?"

"They went up along the river a while ago, Sir, to meet Mrs. Earlsley,
I think."

"You think! you're a good and apt creature at the profession of
thinking. Do you think you could manage to tell a man to take our
horse, to show us into the parlor or the kitchen yourself, and give us
something to eat and to drink? I don't think your master will be angry
when he comes home."

"Please to walk in, Sir, and I'll go and look for a man."

The old gentleman walked into the parlor and threw himself on the sofa,
but his son staid outside to watch the horse till a man should come and
take him; but no one appearing he at last led the animal round to the
back yard himself, where he met the servant woman, who explained that
the men were all away and no one on the place but herself. The young
man consequently found himself compelled to occupy his jewelled fingers
in taking the animal out of the gig and making him comfortable in the
stable.

When he entered the parlor he found his father stretched on the sofa
nearly asleep. The servant-woman entered after him and asked whether
she should make tea, as master and missis being both out she could not
get any wine.

"And when will your master and missis be in?" said the old gentleman,
rising.

"O, very soon, Sir; perhaps in two hours," said the woman.

"Very well, we can wait two hours, but mind you may think about getting
something ready, for I've lived eighty years in the world and don't
intend to be starved out of it--do you hear me plainly? You seem to be
in a hurry."

"Yes, Sir," said the woman, as she disappeared. And we will also leave
the two visitors to themselves for the present.




CHAPTER XXIII.--THE ALARM.

FORGETTING their ordinary fear of the bushrangers and natives, the
Maxwell family had resolved themselves into a committee of the whole
house, and decided on taking a walk along the banks of the river
for the purpose of meeting Mrs. Earlsley and her daughters, who
had accepted an invitation to an early tea to celebrate Griselda's
birthday. They set out in high spirits, Maxwell walking between his
wife and daughter, while Charles and Edwin, rambling at a little
distance with their guns, sought for wattle-birds and any other small
game that happened to be available. The day, which had been obscured in
the morning by a dense fog, had turned out exceedingly fine. The damp
and cold vapors had disappeared before the warm rays of a brilliant
sun. The grass, renewed in life by several refreshing autumnal showers,
had thrown off its dull yellow color, and assumed the bright green it
had worn in the early spring. The little blue-caps, ground-larks, and
paroquets twittered constantly, undismayed by the noise of the guns
and the smell of powder. Everything wore on that pleasant afternoon a
gay aspect, except the face of Edwin Herbart. His face was the index
of his heart, and that was wrought up to the highest pitch of mental
misery--greater, almost, than even his strength of mind would enable
him to endure.

Our readers will scarcely thank us if we enter into a minute and
didactic disquisition concerning the thoughts and feelings, the joys,
sorrows, exaggerated imaginings, expectations, and disappointments of
this young man. If (they may ask) he is a fictitious character--he
is a type of many now rolling in carriages in Tasmania--why waste so
many words about him? The author who trifles with our patience in
delineating the character of a mere imaginary phantom in terms which
the super-excellent Scott himself would have hesitated to use in
portraying that of a Louis XI. or a Coeur-de-Lion, deserves not our
confidence, and we shut up your book, Mr. Impertinence, with contempt.
Nay, but, kind reader, while we acknowledge the justice of your
complaint, bear with us, we beseech you, a little longer.

We explained on a former occasion that Herbart had come out to Tasmania
upon Maxwell's own invitation. When his father's failure in business
made him first think of leaving his native land to seek his fortune in
the colonies, he spent some time in deliberating with his friends in
what part of the world he would be most likely to find it. He thought
of India and America, but had no friends in either place, and when
Australia was mentioned Mr. Herbart remembered his cousin and former
friend, Maxwell, who had gone to Tasmania and got on pretty well, as
his letters home had abundantly testified. The old gentleman thereupon
wrote a letter to Maxwell on various subjects of general interest,
casually mentioning his son as a candidate for colonial prosperity. On
receipt of this letter Maxwell immediately replied, inviting Edwin to
make his house his home until something should turn up to suit him, and
promising to forward his young friend's interests as much as laid in
his power.

Edwin had now resided at Bremgarten for some months. He had hitherto
been treated with uniform kindness by all the members of the Maxwell
family, but though he applied repeatedly for some employment which
would render him independent of Mr. Maxwell's hospitality, he could
obtain none. He might indeed have obtained some low situation under
Government, but was averse to accepting any that did not carry with it
the stamp of respectability, on the principle that "evil communications
corrupt good manners;" and Maxwell had not sufficient influence at
"Court" to procure for his relative a respectable situation. Edwin
consequently turned his attention to farming pursuits, and in the
capacity of an overseer made himself extremely useful to Maxwell,
as we have already related. Maxwell, however, had never desired his
services, and had entered into no engagement with him. He paid his
self-constituted overseer no salary--merely gave his men general
directions to obey Mr. Herbart as the overseer, and allowed him to
reside at Bremgarten on sufferance. But Edwin was by no means satisfied
with this arrangement. He had lived for some months in the hope that
Maxwell would let him occupy a separate farm of one hundred acres,
which had been already marked out as fit for cultivation, in point of
fact, Maxwell had some time before promised to do. Whether he regretted
having made this promise or saw sufficient grounds for delaying to
fulfil it, it was quite evident to Edwin that he alluded to the subject
with reluctance. It was also evident to Edwin, or the peculiar nature
of his situation made it appear evident to him, that both Mr. and Mrs.
Maxwell had considerably abated their former confidential intimacy, and
now (he thought) looked upon him with a degree of coldness which was
not calculated to make his temporary home a happy one.

As a set off to this it was some satisfaction to find that his cousin
Charles acted towards him with the same unvarying friendship. He was
fond of Edwin, and always treated him with kindness and consideration.
He remained the same jovial, agreeable fellow, taking pleasure in
bush-riding, kangaroo-hunting, and opossum-shooting by moonlight; and
his pleasure was always heightened when Edwin was the companion of
these excursions. There was still another individual--another member
of the family who exercised an influence perhaps greater than that of
all the rest put together over the forlorn youth. This was the fair
Griselda. What attitude did she assume towards the "unhappy outcast,"
as Edwin during his hours of mental depression frequently called
himself. Her manner towards him had long since become one of cold and
distant politeness, lacking the affectionate freedom of a sister, and
still more the gay familiarity of one totally indifferent to what her
parents or he himself might say or think. She conversed with him but
rarely, and when she did it was with gravity; she treated him on all
occasions, whether her parents were present or not, with a restrained
civility, but she never advanced one single step beyond this, nor did
she ever by word, look, or gesture give him any reason to suppose that
he occupied a higher place in her estimation than any other mere casual
acquaintance. She was even at some pains, as he strongly suspected,
to convince him to the contrary, if he could judge by sundry little
performances which young ladies of eighteen generally know how to play
off when they wish to repel the advances of a too-forward individual.
All this, he sometimes thought was got up by Griselda on purpose to
please her father, for, he argued with himself, she must be aware that
her father despises those who have the misfortune to be poor. At other
times he suspected that his fair cousin pitied, although she might not
love him, and that she wished him away, knowing he would be happier
anywhere else. Perhaps she herself despised him for his poverty! the
thought was distracting. Revolving these ideas and suspicions in his
mind without intermission by day, and too frequently on his sleepless
bed by night, it is no wonder that Herbart became a most unhappy young
man. His situation was made worse by the keenness of his perceptions,
and the poetical sensitiveness of his disposition. He was now living
under the same roof with a being who from his very childhood was
associated with all the highly-colored visions which had ever presented
themselves to his romantic imagination. To say simply that he loved
Griselda would convey but a weak and slender idea of his passion. If
we said that he worshipped at a distance her advancing or retreating
figure--her shadow--her bonnet or her gloves, as they might lie on the
parlor table--the paper upon which she had written her name; or could
have reverently knelt and kissed the tiny flower which bent beneath
the slight pressure of her footstep: we might be accused of using
periphrastic terms in stating at circumstance of trivial importance and
everyday occurrence. Yet it was literally true. Edwin fell before his
gentle conqueror an unresisting slave, and found that he loved Griselda
with a love inferior only to that which he treasured in his heart for
the Divine Author of his existence.

Such being the case, and his love as he well knew being perfectly
hopeless, it became expedient that Edwin should seek another home. He
accordingly determined within himself to leave Bremgarten on the first
eligible opportunity that should enable him to do so with decency.
He had accompanied the family in their walk on the present occasion,
at the request of Charles, who made the proposition on purpose to
afford him the gratification of a little sport. But he was in no very
pleasant state of mind. He saw Griselda walking with her father, and
could scarcely remove his eyes from the fascinating object. The time
had gone by when she was accustomed to walk by his side, and playfully
take his arm. It was in vain that his friend Charles tried to amuse and
encourage him; in vain that his own good sense whispered frequently
the single word 'patience.' The more he tried to reason himself out of
his insanity the more strongly rooted it became. But why have we dwelt
so long on this painful subject? Because even now there may be other
Herbarts, of real flesh and blood, placed in similar positions, whom we
would warn to fly before it is too late--to content themselves with any
employment however humble, so long as it raises their self-respect by
making them independent--to escape before the silver chain with which
it is possible they may be bound becomes too strong to be broken.

They had extended their walk considerably farther than they had at
first intended, every moment expecting to see their lady visitors
approaching in their usual conveyance; but they did not appear; and
the Maxwells, thinking it would be late by the time they got back, had
just turned to go home, when they descried a horseman coming towards
them at full speed. It was not usual for persons to travel on the track
they were on, it being a private one through the paddocks, and Maxwell
waited, in some perturbation, to hear the news, thinking that probably
something had occurred at Clifton Hall. His surprise and alarm became
very great when he recognised in the horseman his acquaintance Baxter
the carrier, who, before he came within a hundred yards, shouted, "Get
back to your house, Sir, as fast as you can; bar your doors and get
your arms ready, for Mr. Ersey's house is attacked and surrounded by
bushrangers! The military is disarmed, and the constables is all tied
to trees, and is all to be shot: for it's Brady's gang! And when Brady
meets with a constable he don't show him no mercy whatsomever."

At the mention of this formidable bushranger the ladies grew pale,
but Maxwell, when the carrier came nearer and allowed his excitement
to cool down a little, questioned him as to how he had procured this
astounding intelligence.

"I had occasion," said Baxter, "to go to Mr. Ersey, bein' afeard that
Bill Jinkins would grab him first when he came to the office, for to
speak to him about some pigs o' mine that that tarnation villyan put
in pound, as he says they wus rootin' up his taters, though I don't
believe they never did; and when I went up to the Hall, ridin' quite
easy and unsuspicious, and was about fifty yards off, it struck me
as curious that I didn't see no sogers about, only five or six black
lookin' fellows watchin' me round the corners; and when I comes to
a stop to see what they would do, I sees a man that looked like a
constable tied to a tree not far off; so I says to myself says I, 'It's
Jem Crawford and Brady sure enough;' and while I was thinkin' about
what I should do, out comes two fellows--I'd swear one of 'em was the
blood-thirsty McCabe--from their hidin' places, and walks towards me
levelin' their guns, and callin' out, 'Come on here you cowardly thief,
or we'll stop your gallop for life;' and when they saw I was goin' to
turn tail they banged away both barrels apiece, and depend on 't I
walked my chalks like a mounted lamplighter, without waitin' for any
more perlite languidge."

"Did they fire at you?" asked Maxwell, half inclined to doubt the
carrier's veracity.

"They did, Sir, in course."

"Well, you are lucky they didn't hit you; had we not better collect
some friends and go to Mr. Earlsley's assistance?"

"Yes, Sir;" said Baxter, "if you want to leave your wife a widdy and
your children orphans, go; why, there's thirty or forty on 'em, and
where could we get a party? If you go near 'em they'll shoot Ersey and
the sogers first, then set fire to the house and burn the ladies, and
then they'll come out and polish you right off to keep their hands in
practice for the next job. No, no; get home, Sir, and put yourself
on the defensive; and if they come to you, blow their heads off out
of the windys if you can. I must be off to the township and tell the
lieutenant; but they won't stop long at Ersey's now since they know
that somebody's away with the news."

So saying the carrier set spurs to his horse and rode away, while
Maxwell and his family returned with all expedition to their home,
not without casting many anxious looks in the direction of Clifton
Hall. The evening had advanced apace as they entered the house by the
more convenient entrance, to wit, the back-door. Here they were met
by the servant woman, who informed them, that two strange gentlemen
had arrived, and were in the parlor. Maxwell was the first to go and
see who the new-comers were, but he had scarcely time to open the door
before a loud voice, not in the least cracked by the weight of eighty
years, roared out--

"Well, Maxwell! here we are, blown right out of a forty-inch mortar,
and come to see you at last."

"Colonel Arnott!" shouted the astounded settler; "is it possible?--and
Mr. Henry--a hundred thousand welcomes! My dear and highly-respected
old friend, how do you do?"

"I'm middling, Sir, I thank you," said the Colonel, returning the
friendly pressure of Maxwell's hand, "although your infernal roads are
enough to make the flesh fall off, and leave my broken bones exposed to
public view."

Henry then came in for his share of welcome and hand-shaking. Maxwell's
eye then glanced at the two hats that lay on the table, and perceived
that they were bound with crape up to the crowns.

"My dear Colonel," he said, "have you lost--have you to mourn the
death of any dear member of your family? have you sustained any sudden
bereavement?"

"I have, Sir," said the Colonel, applying his handkerchief to the
corner of one eye; "I have lost my dear Charlotte, my second highly
valued wife. She was a good soul while on earth, and now she is a saint
in heaven, Sir, and stands by the door ready to open it, along with
my first jewel, Henrietta, when their poor outrageous old sinner of a
husband comes and knocks at it, begging to be allowed to come in and
sit in a corner. Better, Sir, to be a crossing-sweeper there than a
duke here, or a prince sitting upon a red-hot anvil down below, with
two furies to blow the bellows."

"Is it possible that Mrs. Arnott is dead?" said Maxwell; "so young, so
accomplished, so brilliant."

"It is true," said the Colonel, "and if she had not been brilliant she
might now be alive and well. She was suddenly cut off while attending
to her darling trees and flowers, by a coup de soliel--that scourge
of hot countries which passes by those who have thick skulls and little
brains, and, like a dainty epicure, seizes upon the really clever,
sensible, and intellectual people. But where are the dear madam, and
the young scraper of scabby sheep, and the lily of the happy valley?"

"The ladies will be here directly, Colonel," replied Maxwell; "as for
my son I don't know where he is, he came in with me just now; I have
not yet enquired for Eugene, but I suppose he is well. We have, I
understand, a large party of bushrangers close by at Mr. Earlsley's
house, and came home in haste to put ourselves in a posture of defence.
But I beg your pardon, have you had any refreshments?"

"No, Sir," said the Colonel, "and if you had'nt come just as you did
I'd have bombarded the pantry, and devoured the kitchen wench. Ah! my
dear madam how are you to-day! Not washed away by this black river
yet,--you see I'm so fond of war and bloodshed that I must pop in just
in time to defend you from a pack of murdering villains!"

"This is indeed an unexpected surprise and pleasure," said Mrs.
Maxwell, as she entered the room and shook hands with the old officer.
"I need not say that you are most truly welcome. Mr. Henry I am
exceedingly happy to see you."

"I rejoice, my dear Mrs. Maxwell, to see you looking so well," said
Henry.

"Ah! you may say that Harry, so, she does look well," said his father,
"I am beginning to think more favorably of this place already, and of
your sense, too."

Mrs. Maxwell immediately observing the crape-covered hats on the table,
turned in silence to her husband in search of an explanation. He saw
the expression of her face, and said with emotion--

"Our highly respected and kind friend, Mrs. Arnott, has gone to her
eternal rest, Elizabeth."

Mrs. Maxwell had not expected this intelligence: her keen sensibilities
and feminine sympathies were at ones aroused, and she hurriedly left
the room weeping.

"Now, my dear friends," said Maxwell, after a short silence; "I think
if we go into the next room we shall find something on the table to
which I hope you will do justice. Why did you not, Colonel, as an old
bushman and campaigner, get that woman to give you something to eat?"

"I would not have troubled her, Sir, she's too deep a thinker for me,
I'd have got it myself if you had been away five minutes longer; but
now let's fall to, and see that you haven't got any gunpowder in your
pepper-box, for my nose will set fire to it."

Proceeding into the dining-room the two visitors sat down to discuss
a cold collation, which had been prepared for a little social party,
consisting of the Earlsleys and Mr. Juniper, as a kind of friendly
reunion on Griselda's birthday, had not the bushrangers spoiled all by
their ill-timed visit to Clifton Hall. Instead of troubling themselves
about the visitors, Edwin and Charles immediately proceeded to their
common room, which they facetiously styled "the barrack," and busied
themselves in examining their fire-arms and ammunition. They found
occupation for sometime in drawing charges of shot, and substituting
ball, cleaning pistols, and making other necessary preparations for
a vigorous defence. When these were completed they both descended to
the dining-room to hear what order would be issued, and to assist in
a general council of war. The surprise of Charles was very great when
he opened the door and found himself face to face with the Colonel. He
had heard his mother and sister talking together on the stairs in an
earnest whisper, but never suspected the presence of the worthy old
gentleman. The latter held out his hand while he raised a glass of wine
to his lips, and after draining it off said--"Well, thou future father
of consuls and senators, where hast thou been all this time? Is this
the respect thou payest thy general, never to come near him? Get thy
arms ready, thou scamp, and call the garrison together."

"Just what we have been doing, Sir," said Charles, who shook hands with
both the visitors.

"We?" said the Colonel; "what new recruit have you got there, a Ralph
Mouldy, a Simon Shadow, or a what's his name?"

"My cousin, Colonel," said Maxwell; "Edwin Herbart."

"Herbart," said the Colonel; "I once knew a brave man of that name,
a colonel in the East India Company's service--was he a relative of
yours, Sir?"

"My father had an uncle, who fought and died in India--a
lieutenant-colonel of native cavalry, Sir," said Edwin.

"The same, 'pon my honor; glad to see you--make you my aide-de-camp
this minute: this is my son Harry, a brave fellow, Sir, when behind a
gum-tree."

Edwin bowed and advanced with the intention of shaking hands with
Harry, but that young gentleman contented himself with a distant
inclination of his head; and turning to his father he said gravely--

"For more than twenty years I have lived under your roof, Sir, and
eaten your bread; and I have yet to learn what occasion I ever gave you
to doubt my courage. Had you not owned me for your son I would not have
lived with you a single day."

The old gentleman seemed ready for an explosion, but recollecting
probably that he was now in Maxwell's house, not his own, he filled his
glass again, drank the wine, looked keenly at Harry, and said--

"For the sake of your mother who is in Heaven I spare you, you foolish
boy; but 'pon my faith you're enough to make a jackal grin from ear to
ear."

The attitude assumed by both father and son was too serious to permit
laughter, and the subject was happily changed by the entrance of Mrs.
Maxwell and her daughter: both the visitors rose, and the Colonel
exclaimed--

"Ha, here is my sweet rose of Lucerne herself, my pretty lily of the
delightful valley--image of my fair Henrietta, how are you?"

Griselda advanced with a grave air and a heightened color; taking the
old officer's hand she kissed him on the cheek, and then presented her
hand to Henry, who pressed it in silence and resumed his seat. The
young lady sat down beside her mother at a distance from the table,
seeming absorbed in strange if not sad reflections. After a pause she
recollected that she had not enquired for Isabel, and with an apology
for her forgetfulness asked the Colonel how her dear friend his
daughter was.

"She is well, thank you, Miss Maxwell--very well; at least she was when
we left Hobart Town. She came over with us and is now with a friend."

"I hope," said Mrs. Maxwell, "it will not be long before we have the
pleasure of seeing her here."

"You are very good, ma'am. If you have room I know she will be
delighted to spend a month or two with you," said the Colonel.

"We have plenty of room," said Mrs. Maxwell, "and her society here will
be a perfect blessing; we are so very dull sometimes."

"And afford me an unspeakable pleasure and happiness," said Griselda.

"I thank you on Isabel's behalf, my dear lily," said the Colonel.
"Now, Maxwell, is it not your time for tea, are you not going to eat
anything? what are you thinking about?"

"I am thinking, Sir, of what is best to be done about these
bushrangers," replied Maxwell.

"True, 'pon my honor, I had forgotten the rascals; you had better
call your servants into the house, barricade the doors and windows,
establish a look-out on the roof, till the enemy retreats. If he comes
to-morrow in broad daylight we can make a sally, and give battle
outside."

"I hope and pray," said Mrs. Maxwell, "that you will not think of doing
anything of the kind."

"Really, my dear madam," said the Colonel, "I would sooner die than
offend you, but I should like very well to know where you learnt your
military experience?"

"I have none my dear Sir," replied the lady, "but I claim a voice in
matters relating to the personal safety of my dearest friends."

"Did you not say, Maxwell, that some man saw them, and rode off to
alarm the town?"

"Yes, Baxter the carrier saw them and said that they fired four shots
at him."

"Well, Sir, if that is the case they won't stop long at your neighbor's
house, nor are they likely to come here; they are off to the mountains
before this I'll bet a guinea. But we shall do well to be prepared for
the worst: if you can find a man that can be trusted, one that will
volunteer, to reconnoitre the scene of the late attack, send him, by
all means: your neighbors may be all tied and helpless."

"I will go," said Edwin.

"And I'll go with him," said Charles.

"Very good," said the Colonel, "but I think one will do; it won't be
wise to weaken' the garrison too much, my well-looking aide-de-camp
there can manage the business: if you have an old bushman that has any
sense, Maxwell, let him go too, and if one happens to be shot the other
can bring us the news."

Mrs. Maxwell now addressing herself to Edwin hoped he would not go into
unnecessary danger. Her husband went to summon his men, and Charles
to bring down the arms. Edwin drew up to the table to partake of the
creature comforts which were upon it, in order to fortify his inner
man against the coldness of the night. Presently a confused stamping
of feet was heard in the passage, the doors were shut and secured,
Maxwell then entered the room followed by another individual, and
said--"Colonel Arnott, allow me to introduce my very good friend and
neighbor, Mr. Johnson Juniper--Juniper, Colonel Arnott; Mr. Henry
Arnott, Mr. Juniper."

The surveyor bowed low, saying--"Very proud to know you and glad to see
you gentlemen."




CHAPTER XXIV.--A NOCTURNAL EXPEDITION.--DINNER TALK.

THE worthy bachelor of Skittle-Ball Hill seemed to be rather flurried.
He had ridden over to Avoca, he said, to beg off his unfortunate cook
for about the fiftieth time, and expected to meet Mr. Earlsley there,
it being the appointed day for the sitting of the weekly court; but
Mr. Earlsley did not make his appearance. He (Mr. Juniper) had spoken
to another magistrate, however, concerning the besotted knight of
the saucepan, and the delinquent was again let off with a sentence
of ten days' solitary confinement. The absence of Earlsley created
considerable discussion and conjecture, but though many reasons were
assigned for his non-appearance, the true one was never suspected.
Mr. Juniper commenced his journey home with the intention of going
on to Bremgarten if he heard no news by the way, but he luckily
encountered the terrified carrier, who gave him the same information
he had already imparted to Mr. Maxwell. On the receipt of this
intelligence Juniper hastened home, "planted"--i.e., hid--his
firearms and other valuables, and immediately started for Bremgarten
with the determination of assisting Mr. Maxwell in the defence of his
establishment. Upon his arrival there, and after he had explained these
matters in an excited manner, the settler expressed his thanks, and
Juniper sat down to partake of refreshment; also to give his opinion on
the state of affairs.

He was very glad, he said, to see such a strong party mustered at
Bremgarten, parenthetically laying down his knife and fork to count
them upon his fingers. There were, in addition to Maxwell and his son,
the Colonel--whose experience in military matters made him a valuable
acquisition,--his son, Mr. Herbart, and four men,--altogether, with
himself, ten fighting men. As for his own hut at home, he would never
think of defending it; it was not worth defending: he had left his
shepherd in charge of the house, and the bushrangers were welcome to
take all the stores they could find. But Maxwell's case was different.
He had a large supply of tea, sugar, and other stores, as well as a
wife and daughter to protect. Juniper therefore thought it advisable to
abandon his own place and help Maxwell to defend his. Far from taking
any credit to himself for his chivalrous generosity, the simple-minded
bachelor blamed himself for not having brought his arms: he had two
excellent guns, which he had planted, which would be of great service,
although his opinion concerning the bushrangers coincided with that of
Colonel Arnott--that they, having been seen by the carrier, and having
allowed him to escape from them, would immediately beat a retreat to
their hiding-places in the Ben Lomond Tier. With respect to the plan
of sending scouts to ascertain how affairs stood at Clifton Hall,
Juniper cordially approved of it, though he regretted the necessity
of Herbart's undertaking the duty, as his valuable assistance to them
might be missed when most needed. It was, however, finally decided
that Edwin and the head shepherd, Jacob Singlewood, each with a loaded
pistol, should start immediately on the proposed expedition, and they
set out accordingly just as the night was beginning to fall.

The night was not only very cold, but very dark, and notwithstanding
that he was well wrapped up Edwin felt chilly and nervous, while he
heard Jacob's teeth chatter like an infant's rattle. But as the novelty
of their employment began to wear off, and by reason of rapid walking
the blood began to circulate, all uneasy feelings from cold quickly
gave way to those of cheerful exhilaration. The moon was expected
to rise about midnight; it was therefore a point of prudence to
reconnoitre the Hall before her light could discover them to the enemy,
supposing them to be still in occupation. Repressing his companion's
tendency to enter into conversation, Edwin walked on rapidly, but not
without meeting with a good many mishaps. He tumbled more than once
head foremost over prostrate trees; he frequently got entangled amongst
thickets which he could not see; he plunged several times into shallow
holes full of water, and would have walked right into the South Esk if
Jacob, who walked close behind him, had not pulled him back. It took
him, therefore, three good hours to accomplish the distance, about
five miles, and at last he found himself within a short distance of
Earlsley's mansion.

He now halted to deliberate with his companion whether they should
advance boldly or creep cautiously. There was no light or even sound
to guide them; and in case of alarming any sentinel, whether friend
or foe, should they allow themselves to be taken prisoners, or, first
making sure that he was a bushranger, blow his brains out on the spot,
and then run away to a distance? Jacob strongly advised this plan, but
Edwin was afraid lest the outlaws should take vengeance on the family.
Commending himself to the guidance of Providence he took out his
pistol, and to avoid being too readily seen by any one on the watch,
went down upon his knees and commenced a cautious advance towards the
house. He ordered Jacob to imitate his movements in all respects, and
not on any account to rise from his knees or discharge his pistol
rashly. In this manner they approached until they could see the doors
and windows pretty plainly, but they did not hear or see a living soul.
They lay thus for some time listening and watching, but could hear
nothing except the croaking of the frogs in the neighboring marshes,
nor could they see anything in the likeness of man or beast. At length
Edwin decided on attracting attention, if possibly there was any one
to attract, and with that view took up a small stone and threw it
forcibly against the front door. The missile rattled upon the door with
considerable noise and a dead silence followed which lasted about two
minutes; then Herbart distinctly heard a voice evidently confined in a
distant apartment call out, "Who's there?"

He now arose and advanced to the door and applying his lips to the
keyhole, replied--

"A friend! is there anything the matter inside!"

The same voice immediately answered in a louder tone, "Yes; come in if
you can, we are all tied and cannot stir."

Edwin tried the door and found it unfastened. He walked in, but being
quite bewildered by the darkness called out again--

"Where can I find you?"

"Who are you?" enquired the voice.

"Edwin Herbart, from Bremgarten."

"Oh, you are like an angel from Heaven; just step along the passage,
Mr. Herbart, and feel for the second door on the right: only just cut
this infernal rope and I'll soon get a light."

Edwin did as he was directed and soon came to the door indicated. He
found it locked, but the key fortunately had not been removed, and he
stepped into a dark room.

"Is that you, Mr. Earlsley?" he said.

"Yes, Sir," said the magistrate, "it is all the infernal murdering
villains have left of me; have you got a knife! Guide yourself round
the table, cut this rope here behind my back. I'll see them hanged yet,
the foul inhuman devils, or I'm not made of flesh and blood."

When the cords that bound the unhappy Earlsley were divided he could
hardly make use of his limbs; he arose, tottered, and sat down again
muttering, "Good God! I have hardly a whole bone left in my body."

"Is it possible they have ill-used you, Sir?" said Edwin.

"Ill-used me!" said Earlsley; "they beat me till I was insensible. But
we must go and release the others: did you come alone?"

"No, Sir; Mr. Maxwell's head shepherd is with me."

"How did you get the information!"

"The carrier Baxter rode over from Avoca to complain of Jinkins the
sawyer for impounding his pigs, and when he got near enough he saw the
ruffians, who invited him to come on, and when he took flight fired
four shots at him, so he says. He gave the alarm, so it is likely the
soldiers from Avoca will be here presently."

"They must be all asleep at Fingal, or else blind drunk;" said
Earlsley, groping his way into the passage and thence to the kitchen,
where with some difficulty he managed to light a candle at the nearly
extinguished fire. He then opened the door of an adjoining apartment
and entered it, followed by Edwin and Jacob. There they discovered a
number of men, soldiers, constables, and farm servants, some sitting
on chairs, some lying on the floor, but all tied so securely that not
one of them found it possible to set himself at liberty. Even if able
to free themselves they were overpowered by fear, for the bushrangers
had sworn with the most horrible oaths that they would set the place on
fire if any of them moved hand or foot before the next morning. Their
hands were now cut, much to their relief, and Earlsley proceeded up
stairs to release his wife and daughters, who together with the young
children, Miss Leary, and two female servants, had been locked up in an
upper room. Beyond the severe fright and deprivation of their liberty,
they had not been molested by the outlaws. They had not undressed, and
now came down to thank Mr. Herbart for his chivalrous exertions to
relieve them, and to prepare refreshments, of which they now stood much
in need.

The magistrate, though stiff and sore from the ill-treatment he had
received, commenced to investigate the amount of his losses. He took
Edwin into his store-room, whence he found that quantities of tea,
sugar, flour, and tobacco had been abstracted. Various articles of
clothing had disappeared; plate and jewellery had been seized wherever
found; the ladies' drawers and boxes had been rummaged and plundered,
and the whole house turned into a scene of the greatest confusion. The
wine and spirits, too, and the contents of the larder had been carried
off. In a word, poor Earlsley's mansion had been completely ransacked;
many things were wantonly broken, and everything knocked about into the
wildest disorder.

According to the statement of the sentinel on duty at the time of the
attack, it took place about four o'clock on the preceeding morning,
when as he stood in his box, enjoying his pipe--for it was excessively
cold--(he had no business to smoke while on guard), and just as the
moon was obscured by black clouds, he was suddenly seized by a strong
hand, a pistol held to his mouth, and told that if he stirred or
spoke he should be a dead man that minute; his musket was taken from
him, and his hands were tied behind his back. In this condition he
was ordered into the kitchen, which served as a guard room as well,
where his two comrades reposed on a bench in their watch-coats. These
men were instantly secured and their arms seized. The kitchen was now
filled with about twenty of the dirtiest and most ferocious-looking
desperadoes imaginable, and the leader--a man who was said to have
been in his better days a lieutenant in the Royal Navy, made immediate
preparations to take entire possession of the house, and with this
object in view ordered six of his men to go round to the huts, secure
all the servants, and march them into the kitchen. A corporal and three
men who slept in an adjoining cottage, along with three constables, and
half a dozen farm laborers were made prisoners, marched to the kitchen,
and threatened with death if they made either noise or resistance.
The outlaws regaled themselves with whatever provisions they could
find, waiting patiently, till the door leading from the kitchen to
the interior of the house should be opened by the servant, for it was
always locked at night. At 7 o'clock the step was heard, the door
unlocked and opened, the woman, before she had time to comprehend how
matters stood, laid hold of and the door shut again, the captain saying
to her at the same time--"Keep silence at your peril, be obedient and
nobody shall hurt you."

What followed it is scarcely necessary to tell. Earlsley was made
prisoner as soon as he emerged from his bedroom; his wife, children,
and female servants were locked up in it. He was widely known as an
inflexibly severe magistrate, and hated accordingly by transgressors
of the law. To their demand for money he denied that there was any in
the house. They refused to believe him, beat him severely, calling it
a just punishment for his unmerciful sentences, and advised him to be
more lenient for the future. Leaving him tied to his chair and locked
up in his study, they proceeded to search the house for valuables, and
while so engaged were alarmed by the sudden appearance of Baxter. They
then hastily loaded four of Earlsley's horses with plunder and took
their departure; had they taken or shot the carrier they would, as they
told the soldiers, have visited Mr. Maxwell on the following morning.

It was now past midnight. The moon having risen, Edwin and his
subordinate partook of some refreshment, and were about to return home,
when a loud knock at the front door re-awakened the half-slumbering
alarm of the magistrate's household. A challenge was given, a friendly
answer returned, the door was opened, and a military officer in a cloak
and with a drawn sword in his hand, followed by nearly a dozen soldiers
and a few constables, entered. They had travelled from Avoca, and
might have arrived some hours sooner, but bewildered by the darkness
of the night they had lost their way repeatedly, and had they not been
provided with a guide, although he was scarcely better than a blind
one, they could not have found it before daylight. Edwin and Jacob now
started on their return to Bremgarten.

"It was a lucky job, Musther Hubburt," said Jacob, "that we come, old
Earlsey would ha' been froze to death, or starved with hunger."

Herbart assented that it was a lucky job, but he was not inclined for
conversation. In due course they reached home, and on making themselves
known were admitted by Maxwell who had not retired to rest. The Colonel
and his son had gone to bed. Maxwell, Charles, and Juniper lay in their
clothes in the parlor ready for action at a moment's notice, while
the men occupied the kitchen. Candles had not been lit and the fires
were kept as low as possible lest the glare of light might attract
the vigilant enemy. Edwin gave a history of his adventures and of the
proceedings of the banditti, and was then allowed to retire to rest.

On the following day, the departure of the bushrangers being taken for
granted, things went on in their usual course, only a greater degree
of watchfulness was observed. The settler and his guests assembled to
breakfast, during which the conversation we may be sure was of a most
exciting and animated character. The old Colonel, refreshed by a sound
sleep, and burning with martial excitement, ate, drank, and talked in a
manner which it would be in vain attempt to describe or report. Juniper
was lively and agreeable; Henry was very attentive to the ladies; the
ladies were in good spirits; and Charles and Edwin listened with quiet
enjoyment to the anecdotes of Clive, Hastings, and Wellesley, from the
atrocities of Suraja Dowlah to the victory of Assaye, which teemed from
the old warrior's lips. Breakfast over Juniper returned home, promising
to come again in the evening, and bring his arms with him. Edwin and
Charles rode over to Clifton Hall, and there learned that Lieutenant
Dawlish had gone in pursuit of the robbers at the head of a strong
party, but had not returned. The family were well excepting, of course,
the magisterial victim of bushrangers' vengeance; whom, it was deemed
fortunate, they had not despatched altogether.

At two o'clock the family at Bremgarten set down to dinner. Maxwell
paid the greatest possible attention to his guests. The Colonel seemed
to have forgotten the two saints in heaven, who stood at the door in
momentary expectation of hearing his well-known knock, and exerted
himself considerably to amuse his amiable hostess. Henry devoted
his very particular attentions to Miss Maxwell, and we cannot say
that Griselda seemed to manifest any very high displeasure at that
circumstance, although her gaiety was tempered with a certain degree
of reserve; she conversed with Henry with her usual simple grace, but
a close observer might easily discover a certain air of abstraction,
which betrayed a deep, perhaps unhappy, train of thought.

"My dear madam," said the Colonel, "you will confer infinite happiness
on the roughest old dog in the world if you will condescend to take
wine with him."

"Do you know, Maxwell," he continued, when, the smiling, bowing, and
sipping were over, "that to live in this world, and arrive at the
dignity of eighty years, requires an immense amount of double-minded
roguery, consummate impudence, and stoical hardness of heart."

"That is new doctrine, Colonel," said Maxwell; "I have yet to learn
what on earth roguery has to do with longevity."

"I'll state my premises by a short anecdote, Sir, and you can arrive at
the conclusion yourself. When I got tired of living in the bush in New
South Wales, I came and bought some land near Sydney, and built Cook
Villa. The house was finished. I took possession. I had a beautiful
watchdog and two splendid horses. One evening three very old men came
to my door, and begged hard for charity and a night's lodging. I went
to them:--

'What are you?' said I,

'We're two old blind men, Sir, and one lame one, that's weary of our
lives!'

'Where are you going to?'

'Back to the towns, Sir!'

'Where have you been to?'

'To the South Head, Sir!'

'What the deuce were your doing there?'

'Why, Sir,' said the spokesman with a whine like a dying crocodile, 'we
are very unfortunate men; we tried to get a living by asking charity
from our fellow creatures who is stuffed up with the things of this
life, yer honor, but it was no go, we could'nt move their stony hearts,
Sir; and sooner than die of starvation we agreed for to do something
desperate, and we thought the best thing we could do, yer honor, would
be to put ourselves out of the way as quietly as possible. So we bound
ourselves by a solemn oath to go to the South Head, and take one
another's hands and leap off the rock right into the sea. Well Sir, out
we went, and when we came to the South Head we was conscience struck at
the great sin we was going to commit; so we agreed to go back and get
absolution, and promise never to do it again.'

'What countryman are you?' said I.

'I'm an Irishman, yer honor, from the town of Killemaule, in the bog of
Allen, and this here is an Englishman from the mines o' Cornwall, and
that there is a Scotchman from the Carse o' Gowrie.'

'How old are you?'

'I'm eighty year this day, Sir, and this here is eighty-five, and that
there is ninety-one.'

'Well,' said I, 'I think you are three of the most venerable rascals in
the country;' and having so said I gave them five shillings apiece, and
told my groom to shake down some straw in the gig shed, and let them
sleep there; but not to let them go in the morning till I gave them a
letter to Mr. Blank, the secretary of the Benevolent Society. Well,
Sir, would you believe it? my three conscientious old gentlemen walked
off pretty early in the morning after having poisoned the watch dog;
and I never saw them again, nor yet the two fine horses that I took
such pride in, from that day to this.'

"You don't mean to say they stole your horses?"

"They did, Sir."

"That was a serious loss Colonel, they were very great as well as
venerable scoundrels--the pleasure of taking wine with you? Perhaps
they were young men in disguise. I suppose your prejudice against
gentlemen of eighty years and upwards comes a little home to number
one?"

"Why, Sir," answered the Colonel, "a man is not bound to say anything
to criminate himself; but if you want my character you must go to
Harry, he'll give it to you when I'm asleep, and I'll bet you a dozen
of claret that it will be a nice one."

"I can form a pretty good estimate for myself," said Maxwell.

"Not you, Sir, by the cross of St. Patrick; I beg a thousand pardons,
my dear madam and fair rosebud, for presuming to swear in your angelic
presence," said the Colonel, bobbing his nose down to the table. "You
didn't live in the same house with me, sir, since you were a baby. I
never called you a fool or an ass twenty times in one day: you hav'nt
put up with the most abominable temper in the world for twenty years,
like that picture of injured innocence there. I have lived a life of
up-hill work for eighty years, and waded in the blood of the enemies of
my country, but I never committed an act of base, deliberate meanness
in my life. I hav'nt got the impudence to deny that I am a violent old
fellow, but I am always led by the nose into it by the perverse folly
or filthy cupidity of other people. If I made money I scattered it in
proportion, reserving only what I thought would keep my children from
want. I never made a god of it. When I was poor and met with a man
still poorer, I shared my crust with him. I don't deny my unworthiness:
I can't expect to live long. I've got some religion; I believe in the
Saviour; I know that we are all such offenders that we could not be
saved except through a Saviour who never offended. Bless your soul,
sir, the good God would not notice us at all if we were not taken hold
of by a Saviour. I know it, and knowing it as I do I trust to it, and
am ready whenever the angel of death comes to me and says, 'Come, your
mainspring is worn out, old fellow,' to die full of hope and happiness:
and if I should die under your roof, Maxwell, you will bury me in a
corner of your garden (I shall not want it consecrated by a bishop),
and your fair daughter shall plant a willow or a cypress on the spot."

"With your permission, father," said Henry, with some emotion, "when
that event takes place, you shall be buried where my dear mother
sleeps, and the willow or cypress may be planted by the same hand."

As he spoke he turned his dark eyes on Griselda, who blushed deeply. At
that moment Edwin asked his fair cousin to take wine with him. Henry
Arnott looked surprised, and smiled rather disdainfully as he filled
her glass.

"You have never told us, Colonel, where you were born?" said Mrs.
Maxwell.

"No, ma'am, I believe I never have,--I was born in or near Woolwich
dockyard. The day was a remarkable one, for a very singular and
tragical event occurred upon it. My father was then a captain in the
Artillery, and had received sudden orders to sail for India; my mother
had just come down from Edinburgh Castle. The fatigue of the journey
caused her to be taken ill, ma'am, before her time, and there being no
place quite handy at the precise moment, but the quarters of a barrack
sergeant, she was taken in there and laid on the sergeant's bed, with
the sergeant's wife to wait on her until the regimental doctor made his
appearance. It was dark night when my time came. The sergeant was a
tyrant, and the men hated him. One of them had sworn to take his life,
and for that purpose had loaded his musket and left his ramrod in the
barrel. Just as I came squealing into the world, Sir, there took place
a tremendous explosion outside the window, and the ramrod passing close
to the doctor's elbow, actually stuck in the wall six inches above my
mother's head!"

"O, that was frightful--dreadful--shocking!" said Mrs. Maxwell.

"Terrible indeed," said her husband.

"Yes, ma'am," resumed the Colonel; "but that was hardly the worst
of it, for the sergeant was in the next room at the time, and being
a brave man rushed out to see what the matter was. He was instantly
received on the point of a bayonet, and killed on the spot."

"And what effect had it upon your poor mother, Colonel?" said Mrs.
Maxwell.

"A very bad one, I believe, ma'am," answered the old officer; "but she
got over it, and we all sailed for Calcutta in a fortnight. I never saw
England since."

Mrs. Maxwell, after expressing the utmost astonishment at the strange
vicissitudes which had attended the Colonel from his very birth, arose
and with her daughter left the room. The Colonel, who seemed anxious
for a private conversation with his host, said--"Now, you youngsters,
be off: make plenty of ball cartridges, and practice a little; some
powder and lead thrown away on a gum-tree will not be wasted; and
look out that we are not taken by surprise." The young men departed
accordingly.

"Did you notice the conduct of that scamp of a son of mine, Maxwell,"
said the Colonel, "talking about taking your daughter to Sydney to
plant a cypress on my grave? The impudence of the vagabond! Why in all
probability he'll be dancing a hornpipe while she's planting the tree."

"I noticed with surprise my daughter's confusion, Sir," said Maxwell,
"but I had no idea he made any direct personal allusion to her."

"Ah! but he did though. I can never teach that fellow any sense, though
I believe he is a good fellow at bottom, but he doesn't know the female
heart as I do. He rushes blindly on, making himself sure of victory,
forgetting or trampling upon the possibility of defeat. You are not
ignorant, I hope, that our chief object in coming here was to arrange a
matrimonial alliance between your amiable daughter and this impetuous
young Romeo."

"Until this moment," said the settler, much astonished, "I was
profoundly ignorant of it."

"Well, Sir, it is true. When he first saw her at Cook Villa he set
his heart upon her. He has been pestering me about it ever since. He
is the most stubborn and self-worshipping imp of Satan that ever was
born, though I dare say he'll make a good husband enough. Now I have
enlightened you, what are your sentiments?"

"My sentiments," replied Maxwell, "will be more or less guided by those
of my daughter."

"Certainly, we must consult Miss Maxwell's inclinations. But what do
you say on your own account? Will you advance his suit or retard it? Do
you see anything objectionable in an alliance with my family?"

"On the contrary, my dear Colonel, I would hold it a distinguished
honor, but I hope you or your son do not rush into this affair without
due consideration. My daughter is not an heiress, and having two
brothers her portion must necessarily be small, therefore I----"

"O who the deuce are you talking to with your heiresses and your
portions? I tell you, Sir, I am in earnest. I have set my heart on the
match just as much as Harry has--the short wedded life of my gentle
Henrietta, who never breathed a sneer or a reproach comes back to me
again--and I do not mean to be choked off by your miserable stuff about
money. I can give him his fortune, what I always intended to give him,
and not a rap more, if it was to save him from being hanged. And I can
give her her fortune and settle it on herself, so that he can't touch
it. This I will do, in case she consents to become my daughter-in-law."

"I cannot but feel highly flattered, Colonel, by your unexpected and
startling proposal, but I think my daughter should not be pressed for
an immediate reply. The young people are almost strangers to each
other. Time should be allowed for some insight into disposition and
temper. I might answer for one, but know nothing of the other. If
you are satisfied to wait a little the matter shall have my warmest
support, provided that I think your son will be likely to make my
daughter happy: I would not make her aware of Mr. Henry's sentiments
just yet."

"Well, Maxwell, I respect you for your caution, but as for Harry he
won't wait long. I think Mrs. Maxwell might very well broach the
subject to the young lady and ascertain her sentiments; a dutiful
daughter as she is will no doubt be guided by the opinions of her
parents, and if you talk the good lady mamma over, I bet a dollar the
thing is settled."

"I will mention the subject, Sir, to Mrs. Maxwell, and be guided by her
advice."

"And to prove to you that my words are not mere vapor, I will make
a fresh will this very night: your neighbor, Mr. Juniper, and my
aid-de-camp, young Herbart, can sign it as witnesses."

"No, Sir," said Maxwell, "I think it will be better not to mention the
matter to him at all."

"Why, Sir, he need not know the contents, but he may witness the
signatures."

"True, I forgot that; well, Colonel, just as you like, he is a
well-conducted young man but is subject to strong depressions of
spirits at times. He is very useful to me, but I wish he could get a
more independent situation elsewhere."

"If he would go to Sydney I could get him a good situation at once; you
can mention the subject to him, and if he likes to go I'll give him a
letter that will make his fortune."

"I will seek an opportunity of doing so. The young man, Colonel, is of
a very romantic disposition, and requires to be broken in to steady
ideas and habits of business. I think there is some good stuff in
him, and no despicable quantity of poetical nonsense. His father was
a clever man, but latterly he made several unfortunate speculations,
and ruined himself. Edwin is poor, proud, good tempered, and
industrious. I have been thinking of letting him cultivate a farm in
this neighborhood, though there are certain weighty reasons against it.
Still I esteem the poor lad, and should like to be of service to him."

The conversation now turned upon Isabel, and the best method of getting
her up from Hobart Town. In these days there was no mail coach, so that
both the inconveniences and dangers of travelling in Tasmania were of
a very formidable nature. After many plans had been proposed, it was
at last decided to send her brother for her, on horseback, leading
Griselda's pony, and she could return with him by easy stages. Henry
himself, on being consulted, expressed his willingness to set out on
the following morning.




CHAPTER XXV.--EVENING CONVERSATION--ANOTHER VISITOR.

In the evening Mr. Juniper came with his arms, as he had promised,
with the intention of passing the night at Bremgarten, and helping to
defend the premises in case of an attack. A party of constables also
came, bringing the intelligence that five of the bushrangers had been
captured by Lieutenant Dawlish and his party, but the rest had made
their escape up inaccessible passes, from whence they could pick off
their assailants one by one. The three most notorious outlaws then
under arms--Crawford, Brady, and McCabe--were still at large. The four
horses and a good deal of plunder had been recovered, but the articles
of plate and jewellery were either concealed or carried off by a light
company in advance. The soldiers had been so alert in the pursuit
of the enemy that the latter were only able to escape by climbing
over great rocks, and firing from behind them upon their pursuers,
desperately wounding two soldiers, and killing one poor constable. In
short, there seemed no doubt that had the bushrangers possessed the
nerve and coolness appertaining to a good cause, the loss of life might
have been far greater.

The result of this skirmish was, however, but a momentary check. The
settlers knew that so long as an efficient leader was left he would
never be in want of recruits. Men were continually absconding from the
different stations, and in a short time an army might be equipped that
could destroy everything, and every well-disposed person from north
to south. It behoved the colonists, therefore, not to abate any of
their vigilance. It was seldom that the bushrangers offered violence
to the settlers, their families, or servants, though their threats
were often sanguinary and productive of great consternation; but the
loss of their stores, which had been transported for many miles, at
great risk, trouble, and expense, was a serious evil. It often happened
likewise that a mere show of resistance was instrumental in saving a
homestead. The outlaws, though certain to be hanged if taken, were very
much afraid of being shot, and often surrendered without striking a
blow; perhaps their captors would find it convenient to hold out hopes
to them of their lives being spared: but the majority were desperate,
reckless fellows, displaying the usual variations of irresponsible
power to be found in the heroes of past history, from the brigand to
the emperor.

When tea was over Colonel Arnott and his host closeted themselves
together in the dining-room, while the rest, including Griselda and her
mother, took possession of the parlor, to enjoy music and conversation.
Griselda was asked by Henry to favor the company with a little music;
she complied, and played a few airs with taste and spirit. Edwin, in
an insinuating tone, then asked her to oblige them with a song and she
immediately warbled forth "Home, Sweet Home" in a very touching manner.

Mr. Juniper asked Miss Maxwell if she could sing the song beginning
with "Oh! whistle and I'll come to you, my lad!" at which the room rang
with laughter, while Griselda replied that she had not yet learnt it,
but would be happy to hear him sing it, or any other song agreeable to
him. Juniper wanted no second asking. The song he selected has not,
we believe, been given to the public on any previous occasion, and
our taste may be questioned for inserting it here. The singer sang it
to the air of "The Blacksmith," substituting the whimsical chorus of
'Cock a doodle,' for the better known one of 'twankadillo.' For the
sake of peace we do not like without provocation to rip up old sores,
and we mean no more disrespect to France than she meant to England
when a score of martial colonels implored Louis Napoleon to send them
into his ally's heart sword in hand; and when the French press upon
the termination of the Italian war, spoke the language of war and
detestation against poor 'perfide Albion'--


I.

I'll sing of the soldier so famous in story,
Who fought for the land of his love and his glory;
Who with brave Abercrombie on Egypt's red earth,
Poured forth his heart's blood for the land of his birth.

Cock a doodle, cock a doodle, cock a doodle doodle do,
Here's a health to the heroes of famed Waterloo.

II.

And again of the sailor whom the rough ocean.
Bravely handles his guns, though with painful emotion:
For he sees his poor com(e)rades, the victims of war,
Fall greatly like Nelson at dark Trafalgar.

Cock a doodle, &c.,
And long life to the heroes of famed Waterloo.

III.

I'll sing of the islands, the blest happy islands,
Where liberty reigns from Cape Clear to the Highlands:
Whence the voice of true glory comes over the sea,
Proclaiming the strength of the land of the free.

Cock a doodle, &c.,
And nine cheers for the heroes of famed Waterloo.


Mr. Juniper concluded his song amid many plaudits and a good deal of
laughter. The idea of crowing like a bantam at the end of every verse
was a new one, and was highly relished by the young gentlemen. Henry
Arnott sang a sentimental ditty, and Edwin and Charles enlivened the
company with the old English ballad about Bold Robin Hood.

While this course of entertainment was proceeding Maxwell entered the
room and summoned Juniper, Edwin, and Charles to attend the Colonel and
himself in the dining room. The old gentleman called their attention
to the paper to which he was about to attach his signature: it was, he
said, his last will and testament. The gentlemen would take particular
notice of the date, the 15th June, 18--, and watch him while he wrote
his name. Juniper was called upon to sign first as a witness, Edwin and
Charles followed. The Colonel then folded his will up in an envelope,
sealed it carefully, and handed it to Maxwell, who called upon the
gentlemen present to witness that he had taken it into his keeping.
This business disposed of they all adjourned to the parlor.

"I am given to understand, Mr. Juniper, that you are a bachelor," said
the Colonel; "is that true?"

"Quite true, Sir," said Juniper.

"How was it, Sir, that you escaped the multitudinous temptations
to which bewildered creatures of the male sex are exposed by the
fascinating, gay, and beautiful individuals of the female sex?"

"I hardly know, Sir," answered Juniper; "I have been nearly caught more
than once--but once especially I had a most remarkable escape."

"Of being married?"

"Yes Sir, and of having my head cut off into the bargain."

"Your head cut off, Sir--bless my heart, what do you mean?"

"Just this, Sir," said Juniper. "It happened long before I came to this
country. I fell in love with a very pretty and amiable young lady. I
had several conversations with her and popped the question at last. She
accepted me, but gave me to understand that her father was a violent
tempered man, who had declared a hundred times that if the first lover
who proposed marriage to her was not worth a real estate of £500 a
year, he would if he could catch him injure his person seriously.
Well, though I was frightened to speak to papa, that did not prevent
me from stealing occasionally into the old fellow's garden in the hope
of having a few sweet words with Mary Anne; and indeed she often came
out to walk there by herself, when in passing by a thick lilac tree, I
would softly call 'Mary Anne', and she would give a little scream, and
be so surprised and frightened for my safety. I saw her in this way
several times, and we exchanged vows of perpetual constancy. But the
path of love is beset with thorns. I entered the garden one evening and
ensconced myself behind my favorite tree, and had not been there two
minutes when a great powdered head peeped over the bush, and a voice
roared out, 'Here he is, Sir--here's the rascal.' 'Hold him till I cut
his head off,' shouted another voice. I sprang to my feet, but John
Thomas held me with the strength of an ogre, and I saw the old savage
coming to us, sawing the air with a cane sword, and shouting 'Hold him
till I cut his head off.' I made a fearful bound, gave the footman a
blow in the stomach that knocked him heels over into a rose bush, and
took to my own heels like lightning."

"And what became of the perpetual constancy, Sir; did it vanish like a
blustering bully before the flash of cold steel?" asked the Colonel.

"Well, Sir," said Juniper, "I do not like cold steel, and I never
troubled Mary Ann again: her father advertised me in a newspaper."

"You would not like to kill a man in a duel?" said the Colonel.

"No, Sir," answered Juniper, "I was never fond of duelling."

"I think," said Mrs. Maxwell, "Mr. Juniper was quite right; I think
duelling most dreadful: there is something very barbarous in grossly
insulting a man and then taking his life in a duel."

"You have never told me, Maxwell," said the Colonel, "where your
amiable lady picked up her military experience: did she travel in Spain
when Wellington was there?"

"Not that I know of," said Maxwell.

"Well, I'll wager a pot of beer now that Mr. Juniper has some more nice
stories to tell us. Did any obliging gentleman ever tweak your nose,
Sir, or administer wholesome correction with the toe of his boot?"

"No, Sir," said Juniper, drawing himself up; "whoever tries that on may
be soon convinced of his mistake."

"O, yes! I dare say," said the Colonel, with a well-bred sneer; "do
you know Maxwell what would be a beautiful relic for the British
Museum?--this gentleman's hide stuffed with sawdust and white feathers."

The party indulged in a laugh in which Juniper himself joined, and
Maxwell, in order to remove erroneous impressions from the Colonel's
mind, related in terms highly complimentary to Juniper his adventure
with the bushranger at the time of the fire. Mrs. Maxwell also took
that opportunity to acknowledge the services of Mr. Juniper in
arresting the progress of the fire, as, were it not for him, their
house would in all probability have been burned down.

"I believe, Colonel," she continued, "that the bush-fires in New South
Wales are much more terrible than they are here?"

"I don't know, ma'am," said the officer, "what they are here, but I
think I ought to know something about them there. I was once, ma'am,
up at my station with my son Frederick, and took it into my head to go
on an exploring expedition. We took a tent and some provisions with
us, thinking probably to be out a few nights. It was in the middle of
summer, the heat was sufficient to broil a chop on a rock, and the
grass was so dry that it would almost have taken fire if you walked
upon it with nails in your boots. On the second day we found a dry
creek, and rambling along it for some distance found a hole containing
some pure water, at which Fred was so delighted that he nearly tumbled
into it. Well, ma'am, I thought we would have tea, and in order to boil
the kettle I pulled out my flint and steel and began to strike a light
'What are you going to do, father?' said Fred. 'To light a fire, sir,'
said I. 'For God's sake,' said he, 'don't, we can do without tea; if
the bush takes fire, it will leave us as bare as when we were born.'
'Hold your tongue, sir?' said I; 'do you to think I havn't lived long
enough in the world to know how to take care of a fire--as for being
bare I shan't wonder at seeing you go out of the world as naked as you
came into it.' While I was speaking I struck a light and scraped a few
twigs and bark together at the root of a big hollow gum-tree, and soon
had a nice little fire that could not possibly do any damage, though
that cautious son of mine was not satisfied but began to scrape away
all round it to prevent its catching the grass, while I went to the
water-hole and filled the kettle. When I came back the scamp was still
scraping away, and I roared to him to take himself off, or I would
throw the kettle of water all over him--when just at that moment, Sir,
a lot of rubbish and dust shot down from the hollow tree, and bump and
squash thundered a great hairy badger as big as a mastiff, which jumped
right into the fire, then ran between my legs, knocking me down on
Fred's back, so that we scrambled thus together for ten minutes before
we could get up, and when we did the bush was in a blaze."

"Dear me," said Mrs. Maxwell, "that was great misfortune; I hope your
homestead did not get burned."

"No, ma'am, the manager had burnt a train round it before the hot
summer came on--the only wise thing I ever knew him to do--but the
grass on a hundred thousand acres was burnt as bare as the desert of
Iduma."

"What did the poor sheep do, Sir?" asked Juniper.

"The best thing they could, Sir; they had to watch the grass growing
again and nibble at it the same way as you would in a time of famine at
the tail of a rat after his body had been done for."

Mr. Juniper laughed. "Your story, Colonel," said he, "puts me in mind
of an adventure I had myself once with a wombat or badger. I was out
once with a party on a surveying excursion on the Upper Macquarie,
and as our provisions gave us a great deal of trouble to carry about
we decided on planting the bulkiest of them in a large hollow tree,
and then go forward in light marching order for a few days, with the
intention of returning of course to spring the plant when the calls
of hunger rendered it desirable to do so. We selected a fine large
tree that was hollow for a long way up inside, put in our beef and
biscuits comfortably, and built a strong wall of stones all round it to
keep out the native cats and other vermin. Well, we went to carry on
our business and came back in due course of time: the wall of stones
was just as we had left it, but when we pulled it down we found our
provisions in a most deplorable mess, the beef and biscuits scattered
about, and the tea and sugar thoroughly mixed with filth and charcoal.
We scraped them out as well as we could and then lit a fire under the
tree. In a short time a great, big wombat tumbled down. So we had the
pleasure of knowing that instead of keeping the plunderer out we had
carefully fastened him in." *


[* This adventure, with the exception of the eating part, was related
to me by an esteemed friend, Dr. V., of C. Town, as having come within
the range of his personal experience.]


"Did you kill him?" asked Edwin.

"Yes--and roasted him and ate him too--quite as good as pork," said Mr.
Juniper.

"Did you live here when people had to pay two-and-sixpence a pound for
kangaroo meat?" asked the Colonel.

"Yes, Sir, I did--not here at least, I lived at New Norfolk--and have
myself paid one-and-sixpence a pound for it. I was out surveying
for Mr. Humphrey when Michael Howe, the desperate bushranger, with
twenty-eight men at his back, came and burnt the crops and barns of
nearly all the settlers there. I was one of a party of civilians and
soldiers who fought a pitched battle with them. Whitehead was the
leader of the rangers, and Howe was his lieutenant. They hid behind
trees, and we blazed away, but got the worst of it. The captain of a
vessel, O'Birnie, was shot through both cheeks, and Mr. Carlisle was
killed. They then went and destroyed Mr. Humphrey's homestead, and,
intoxicated by success, fired a volley into a Mr. McCarty's house,
where a number of soldiers were concealed; they rose up and fired.
Whitehead was wounded mortally, and ran to Howe, requesting him to cut
his head off, which he obligingly did at once."

"What did he do that for?" asked the Colonel.

"To prevent the soldiers getting the reward, Sir," answered Juniper.

"And what did Howe do then?" enquired the old gentleman.

"He became captain of the gang, Sir, and led his army on from one
victory to another--that is to arsons, robberies, and murders. He took
up his quartets in a marsh near Oatlands with a native girl called
Black Mary; she was very useful to him, and after his comrades were all
taken and hanged she still followed, and hunted and kept watch for him.
He was hotly pursued--she retarded his flight, and he turned and shot
her!"

"Shot her!--the brute," interrupted the Colonel.

"He said himself afterwards," continued Juniper, "that he did not
intend to hurt her, but she was wounded and was taken by the soldiers;
he dropped his gun and knapsack and made his escape in the scrub."

"Was not Black Mary instrumental in capturing him, Mr. Juniper?"
enquired Mrs. Maxwell.

"No, ma'am, she was not; but she pursued him so closely with the
soldiers that he sent a message to Governor Sorell that he would
surrender on certain conditions. He had been taken, I forget whether
it was before or after this, by two men, who professed friendship,
bound and made to march towards town, one of his captors in front and
the other behind with loaded guns. He had a knife in his possession,
managed to cut the cords that tied his hands--sprang back upon the man
behind and stabbed him to the heart--then, seizing his musket, shot the
other, wounding him desperately, and then darted into the bush. The
wounded man got to town, and was sent off to Sydney. Well, Governor
Sorell accepted his terms, and he surrendered; but he was not happy,
and for his health's sake retired from the attractions of town into
the country once more. After a while he was entrapped into a hut by a
friend o' his named Warburton, where he saw two men with guns pointed
at him. 'Is that your game?' said he, without laughing; fired into the
hut, and took to his heels; the two men, Worrall and Pugh, ran after
him. Howe outrun them, but unfortunately fell down a bank; he got up
again, stood at bay, and after shouting out--'Black beard against
grey beard for a million,' fired a pistol at Worrall, who, promptly
returning the compliment shot him down, and Pugh beat out his brains
with his musket."

"He was quite a hero," said the Colonel.

"Yes, and a very bloody one," said Maxwell.

At this moment a loud knock at the front door made every one start. The
ladies grew pale; the gentlemen stared at each other; Juniper alone had
the presence of mind to blow out the candles. He then went to the door
and asked who was there?

"Does Mr. Maxwell live here?" said a voice.

"Yes, he does," said Juniper; "what do you want with him?"

"Tell him if you please that Thomas White, of Bagdad, is come to see
him on business."

"I ought to know his voice," said Maxwell, who had followed Juniper,
proceeding to unlock the door, but the surveyor stopped him saying--

"Don't open the door yet Sir, it may be a bait;" and then shouted
through the keyhole, "are you by yourself, Mr. White?"

"I have a man with me, Sir, and two horses; I came up to purchase
cattle for a contract with the Government. If you're afraid of
bushrangers there are none here."

"Well," said Juniper to Maxwell, "I think we may open the door."

"Of course," said the latter, "who would think of keeping the honest
man out all night?"

The door was opened, and the features of the Bagdad farmer were
instantly recognised by the light of a candle which Charles had relit
and brought into the passage. The new arrival was cold and wet enough
as the rain had been falling heavily for some hours. Maxwell shook
hands with White and bid him welcome, directing his son to show the
attendant into the kitchen. He then ushered his visitor into the dining
room, where a cheerful fire and a substantial meal soon restored him to
a satisfactory state both of mind and body.

Mrs. Maxwell left her guests in the parlor and entered the dining-room
as soon as she could be persuaded that Michael Howe was not really
come to plunder the house. She shook hands with Mr. White and kindly
enquired after his wife and children. "They are all well thank you,
ma'am," said he, "and I hope to find them so when I go back; but it is
come to this, ma'am, as I used to say when I was a child--Love daddy,
love mammy, love own self best. And the practical illustration is, in
this country it's every man for himself and God for us all."

Griselda just then came in and presented her hand to the sturdy farmer.
"Bless me," said he, "is this the young lady who came up in the cart
with you, ma'am, when you honored my cottage with a visit?"

"The very same, Mr. White."

"Well, ma'am," said White, "you'll excuse me, but you ought to be proud
of her; she's a heavenly vision and not an earthly one."

Mrs. Maxwell laughed, as Griselda smilingly retreated, and said--"You
have learned to flatter the ladies, I see; but I am far more proud of
her mental qualities than I am of her personal attractions."

"Now, Elizabeth," said Maxwell, "run away and amuse the old Colonel;
if he takes it into his head that we are neglecting him, he would
order out his gig at midnight and be off. I will stay with White for
awhile--make my particular excuses."

The Colonel, however, had no intention of allowing himself leisure to
think whether he was neglected or not. When Mrs. Maxwell re-entered
the parlor she found him just in the act of concluding one of his
remarkable stories. His eyes were in a vivid state of excitement as
they glanced with martial enthusiasm on Edwin's face--"knocked me
down, Sir, and planted his great ugly foot on my chest--here--and was
going to split my skull with his waddy, when I got his little toe
in my mouth and bit it off at the root--you'd have laughed to see
how he capered about, but I soon settled him with stones--regular
nine-pounders--half-a-dozen of 'em."

"And what became of his toe, Sir," asked Juniper after a hearty laugh.

"When I looked for it in order to spit it out I found that I had
swallowed it," said the Colonel.

"I should not wonder, Miss Maxwell," said Henry, in a low voice, "if
you are tired of these terrible tales of bloodshed--these blacks and
bushrangers."

"I must confess," said Griselda, "that I do feel a little fatigued with
the subjects, but we must make allowance for your father's excitement,
more especially as we are really surrounded by the outlaws themselves
in propria personæ. Could we command as many as twenty years to
pass in a moment we might possibly find more agreeable subjects for
conversation."

"You think, then, that in twenty years this island will become more
peaceful and civilized?" said Henry.

"I have very sanguine hopes that it will be greatly improved--and very
different to what it is now," said Griselda.

"I hope," replied Henry, "that your sanguine hopes will not be bitterly
disappointed, but for my part I see neither extent, beauty, nor
fertility in the island--there is no room for improvement, in fact."

"O, how can you say so?" said Griselda; "you forget, Mr. Arnott,
that you have seen but little of our island: I think it is extremely
beautiful. You should not seek for beauty in cold, damp winter--nor
yet in the cloudy heat of summer; but in genial spring and pleasant
autumn, when the sky is clear and the dark shades of the mountains are
distinctly visible--then every scene is most lovely, and the mind in a
proper state to enjoy what is good and bright."

"Well, certainly," said Henry, "a great deal does depend on the
weather, and the state of a person's mind while travelling; but
Miss Maxwell has yet to use her eloquence in favor of it extent and
fertility."

"I am willing to allow," replied Griselda, "that the island, in
the present state of human ambition, is almost too large for one
proprietor, but is scarcely enough for three or four. As to fertility,
I have heard a great deal of some districts where there are extensive
plains of rich land."

"But you have not seen them?"

"No, I have never left this valley since we came up from Hobart Town."

"I cannot say much for the beauty of this valley," said Henry, "it is
not equal, I imagine, to the Vale of Avoca in Ireland, upon which your
poet Moore has conferred a large share of celebrity. These mountains at
the back have a very wild and savage appearance."

"It may seem strange," said Griselda, "that, though born in Ireland,
I have never seen the Vale of Avoca. Our village here of that name is
generally admired, especially when seen on a fine day from the hills on
the Ben Lomond side. I suppose you have been at your father's station
where my brother Eugene resides?"

"Yes, I have been to it once or twice with my father. In going to it we
pass the Blue Mountains where there are many scenes of great beauty and
grandeur. The general scenery of Australia is, however, of a more calm,
unruffled nature."

"I am a great admirer of mountain scenery," said Griselda; "I should
like very much to see the Blue Mountains, for I have heard a great deal
of them."

"They are well worth seeing," said Henry, and lowering his voice to a
whisper, he continued--"the time may yet arrive, Miss Maxwell, when you
will see them in the society of one who is capable of directing your
attention to their greatest attractions."

"You mean dear Isabel," said the young lady much confused, but
unwilling to allow Henry to perceive it; "yes, the society of Isabel,
whether in a valley or on a mountain, will be always most truly
welcome."

At this moment Edwin approached Griselda with a glass of wine and cake;
and said--"You must be cold Griselda, at such a distance from the fire."

Declining the wine she helped herself to a cake, and assured her cousin
that she did not feel at all cold. In a few minutes she arose, and with
her mother, after the usual adieus, retired.

Henry now joined his father in discussing a glass of brandy punch.
It was already late, and the old gentleman soon went to bed. Juniper
occupied a sofa in the parlor, and White settled down upon that in the
dining-room: so leaving them to their respective dreams we will close
this chapter and speculate upon the probable contents of the next.




CHAPTER XXVI.--MOTHER AND DAUGHTER.

The visit of farmer White being purely of a business nature need not be
allowed to disturb the even current of our narrative. He was introduced
by Maxwell to the Colonel when they had all assembled for breakfast, as
a man who in the battle of Trafalgar had fought for the honor of his
country, and witnessed the death of England's greatest naval hero. The
Colonel expressed himself highly gratified at meeting with the honest
seaman, and elicited from him during breakfast a good deal of nautical
information as well as some items of early Tasmanian history.

After breakfast Henry started on his long journey to Hobart Town,
scarcely less than one hundred miles, to bring his sister up to
Bremgarten. He was mounted on one of the strongest of Maxwell's
stock-horses and led Griselda's pony. The instructions he received from
Maxwell were to travel as much as possible in company with the regular
mail-cart which had recently commenced running, and which performed
the distance (one hundred and twenty miles) between Hobart Town and
Launceston in about four days. He and his sister having their own
horses would not be tied down to the inconveniences of that miserable
conveyance. Miss Arnott might of course take a seat in the vehicle if
she thought proper, but, whether or not, it might add to their safety
to have the company of the mail driver on the road. When he was gone
Maxwell gave directions to Edwin and Charles to mount their horses
and drive the dry cattle into the stockyard so that Mr. White might
inspect them, and select those that would be likely to suit him. He had
explained that he had undertaken a contract to supply the Government
establishments in his neighborhood with meat, and was obliged to ride
a considerable distance from home to purchase sheep and cattle. The
young men set about this duty with alacrity, being accompanied by the
indefatigable White and his assistant. Maxwell, in order to amuse his
military guest, proposed a visit to his neighbor, Mr. Earlsley, to
which the Colonel consented, and to Clifton Hall they went together in
a gig.

Griselda and her mother were now left to themselves. The household
labors of the morning--rather increased of late--had been finished,
and they now sat at their needle-work by the parlor fireside. A gloom
seemed to hang over the minds of both, to judge at least by their
silent and grave demeanor. The former, so often gay, her heart bounding
with the joys of conscious innocence; her mind happy in being good, and
at peace with all the world; her heart rejoicing in the purest love and
devotion to her parents--sending forth the glowing stream of life which
heightened the charms of her beautiful features, now sat plying her
needle in moody silence. The latter appeared as if a heavy weight lay
upon her breast; her countenance was marked by the traces of anxiety
and sorrow, and whether the panorama passing within her mind was a
happy one or not, it is certain that tears found their way down her
cheeks and fell upon the work in her hand.

"Do you know, my love," said the anxious mother, "that Colonel Arnott
and his son, so far from having come here for pleasure, or to pass away
their time, have acknowledged that a very serious business has brought
them?"

"I partly suspected," answered Griselda, "from some hints which young
Mr. Arnott has already let fall that such was the case."

"And do you suspect what the real nature of the business is?"

"From the hints which Mr. Henry Arnott allowed to escape, mother, and
from former hints contained in Isabel's letters, I am led to suppose
that if the business which has brought them here be completed to their
satisfaction I am destined to play an important part in it."

"You are, in fact, Griselda," said her mother, "the sole and entire
cause of their long journey. Is it not extraordinary that the Colonel
should, at eighty years of age, take a voyage from Sydney to Hobart
Town, and then a journey into the centre of this island, amid dangers
and difficulties innumerable, on purpose to persuade a certain young
lady to become the wife of this pet son of his?"

"It is very unaccountable," said Griselda; "as if there were not many
beautiful young ladies in Sydney; but, mother, do you think the old
Colonel's mind is much wrapped up in this matter?"

"If his language to your father be sincere," answered Mrs. Maxwell,
"his very soul is devoted to the consummation of this object, or
hobby, as I may call it. He told your father that you were the very
image of Henrietta, his first wife, and as such he loved you; that
the idea of seeking you in marriage for his son, who he said, in his
usual ridiculous way, is too much of a blockhead to choose for himself,
struck him years ago; that he had waited patiently until he thought
that Henry and you were of sufficient age to understand the duties and
responsibilities of marriage; and that he was now come to do a good
action, and make the young people happy before he died."

"And has he succeeded, mother, in making his son coincide with him
perfectly on this momentous subject?" asked Griselda.

"I believe so, my love. His father, I think, even blames and ridicules
him for being too impatient to have the affair settled with as little
delay as possible."

"And do both these clever people think that I am to be taken by storm
in this kind of way without my consent being so much as asked?"

"No, my dear daughter," said Mrs. Maxwell, "I think they are not so
foolish. The Colonel said your inclinations should be consulted of
course, your future happiness cared for, and an annuity settled upon
you for life, over which Henry would have no control, provided you
consented to become his wife."

"He will find himself greatly mistaken," said Griselda, "if he thinks
to allure me by a display of wealth, for God knows what little
attractions the riches of this world have for me."

"He went farther, much farther, than mere words," continued Mrs.
Maxwell, "for he made a fresh will last night, which he got Mr.
Juniper, Edwin, and Charles to sign as witnesses, and which he
deposited with your father. He makes your father an executor purposely
that he may watch over your interests. He leaves his station and
stock in New South Wales, also a sum of money, to his eldest son;
his real and personal property in Sydney he divides between Henry
and Isabel--about thirty-five thousand pounds to the former, and
twenty-five to the latter. To your father he leaves a legacy of
five hundred pounds for acting as executor, to Eugene and Charles
two hundred and fifty pounds each; and to you, in the event of your
becoming Henry's wife, an annuity of five hundred pounds for life,
subject to no restrictions whatever."

Griselda's work dropped from her hands. "Is it possible that Edwin
would put his hand to such a will as that?" she exclaimed with
surprise; but immediately recovering herself, continued, "Is it likely,
mother, that he could know anything of the contents?"

"Quite unlikely," replied her mother; "a witness to a will has nothing
to do with the contents: he has merely to see the testator sign his
name, and then sign his own as witness; but why need it affect you so
much even if he did know the contents?"

The young lady was extremely confused: she answered after a pause--"I
did not think that Edwin would sign such a paper even as a witness
only, if he knew the purport of it; but, dear mamma, I can assign no
reason why he should not witness it or any other document he pleased."

"I trust, my daughter," said Mrs. Maxwell in a solemn manner,
"that I am entirely in your confidence--that there is no concealed
understanding between you and your cousin Edwin?"

"God forbid, mother," said Griselda, looking earnestly and with
sparkling eyes upon her mother's face--"God forbid that I should be
so wicked--the suspicion would kill me that I could have a concealed
understanding with any living being. No indeed, I have not. You are,
next to God, my sole confidant: I have never concealed any circumstance
whether small or great from your knowledge, and I never will."

"Tell me faithfully, my love," said Mrs. Maxwell, still looking
steadily at her daughter, "if Edwin has ever breathed into your ear a
single word that made you think of him in any other relation that his
present one?"

"He has not, I fearlessly assert," replied Griselda, "ever said a
single word that could make your daughter blush, or disgrace his own
noble mind!"

"Your language is imprudent, Griselda," said the matron. "I wish to
know plainly if Edwin has ever spoken to you of love or marriage? If
he has done so he would not prove himself to be possessed of the noble
mind you appear to give him credit for; it would be taking a mean
advantage of his present dependent position--conduct in my opinion
deserving of very severe reprehension."

"He never did I declare upon my honor, since we were children; and then
when we met in parties and gathered flowers on the hill sides at the
Dargle, or played together on the banks of the Dodder--but we were only
children--he used to call me his little wife." As Griselda said this
she bent down over her work to hide the deep blush that suffused her
features.

"I am glad," said her mother, "that this intimacy has not been renewed,
though for my part I have nothing to say against Edwin. He is, I
believe, a sincerely honest and well-intentioned young man, but he
has yet to fight his way upward in the world, and that may take him
a considerable time. He seems to lack the moral courage to teach him
fully that he must depend under Providence upon his own exertions,
although willing to exert himself to the utmost in the service of
others. You must not, therefore, think of him as your future husband."

"I do not think of him; I never have thought of him as such in a
serious manner, mamma," replied Griselda; "but I cannot help thinking
sometimes of the days that are past, when every recollection of my
childish years is so happy and so bright."

"Your father," said Mrs. Maxwell, "is and always was a man of sound
sense, sterling principles, and upright conduct, but he is sadly
prejudiced against this poor youth. I believe he would let him
cultivate a farm if it were not through fear of having him too near
you. He is afflicted with jealousy--that fearful disease from which
even the minds of the noble and the good are not exempt--lest this
unfortunate relative should steal your heart away; and though he keenly
feels the cruelty of driving a relation from the shelter of his house
in a strange land where the young man has not a single friend, he
contemplates dispensing with Edwin's services."

"I know nothing," said Griselda, "of the state of Edwin's mind, but
he seems to be unhappy. I am truly sorry if I am the cause of his
unhappiness: I believe his uneasiness is daily increasing perceptibly
to us all."

"Since the Colonel and his son came," replied Mrs. Maxwell, "he does
seem more unsettled; but my dear child, I want to know your sentiments
with respect to Henry: you have heard how his and his father's wishes
tend, let me know what you think."

"How can you ask me, mamma; is he not almost a perfect stranger to us?
He has to me the appearance of one wearing a mask. I know nothing of
his temper, but if it resembles his father's it cannot be an excellent
one; we know nothing of his mind, his inclinations, or his pursuits,
and we have absolutely nothing to guide us in our estimate of his
qualifications to make a wife happy. You would, I am sure, be the last
in the world to wish me to give my hand to one whom I do not love, and
perhaps may never learn to love."

"Indeed Griselda," replied her mother, "you may depend upon it that I
for one will never seek to force your inclinations. This Henry is, as
you say, a stranger to us; he has become, probably, so habituated to
conceal his real views and ideas from his father, that his countenance
has at last assumed that strange expression denoting duplicity, which
you have noticed. I would not have you for ten times five hundred a
year marry one whom you could not love or respect, or who would be
likely to cause you any mental suffering."

"You speak," said Griselda; "like my own sweet, gentle mother--my
kindest and truest friend. I confess that I have scarcely dared to look
in this young man's face, but when I did steal a casual glance, I saw a
fearful, impetuous expression in his dark restless eye, that chilled my
very blood. What does papa think of this important business?"

"He thinks, to my fancy, a great deal too much of it, Griselda,"
answered Mrs. Maxwell. "He is intoxicated with the idea. I am not
surprised at it, for we must allow it is highly flattering to him both
in his position as a gentleman and to his feelings as a father. He
thinks that Colonel Arnott is the finest old gentleman in the world,
and that his son Henry will be, when his character becomes fully
developed, a finer one still."

"Too fine," said Griselda, "far too fine for happiness. Rich, young,
gay, the sport of fashion, the victim of idleness, he would lead his
young wife about for a time as something worth looking at, something
to be admired, and then shut her up in some gloomy mansion while he
himself sought daily excitement at the gaming table, in the wine-glass,
or in gay and attractive society. Mamma, my ambition does not soar to
this unenviable height of wedded bliss."

"And why, Griselda, can you not reverse this picture? Is it not
possible that he might be a good and a kind husband, especially if,
as his father seems willing to answer for him, that he loves you
sincerely? If he were inclined to plunge into reckless dissipation,
might not your influence, gently and moderately exercised, draw him
from the abyss? Women whose husbands fall into error, and neglect those
attentions which create and foster mutual love and domestic peace,
are quite mistaken if they think of calling back wandering affection
by growing fretful or jealous, putting on sour looks, or affecting
ridiculous airs of injured innocence; but they seldom fail to succeed
if they adopt the opposite course, and persevere in it, make their home
a happy one, and receive their husbands at all times with smiles of
love and kindness."

"I think," said Griselda, "that they should study well the characters
and dispositions of those self-willed lords before they finally consent
to resign their liberty. It would be an amiable and philanthropic
work no doubt to reclaim a a dissipated husband; but it would lead to
a more certain kind of happiness to remain single, or do as you did
mamma--marry one whose tastes did not attract him to the edge of the
abyss of worldly pleasure. What Henry Arnott's tastes are I can only
infer from his manners and conversation, and although I have conversed
but little with him, the inference is not in his favor."

"He may be only a little gay and thoughtless," said the mother. "Youth
is the season for gaiety and thoughtlessness, and young men are always
more or less unsettled; moreover we must consider that the way in which
his extraordinary father addressed him, and delights in crowing over
and insulting him, is not calculated to make his amiable qualities
shine out with any peculiar lustre. But, my dear child, I seek not to
influence you; your marriage to this young man would certainly make you
independent, in a pecuniary point of view, of his wildest caprices; but
it would also involve your separation from me, and that would be a blow
I could scarcely endure. I have but one daughter, and she is too good,
too highly valued to be lightly parted with."

"Never fear, mamma," said Griselda, "unless my father coerces me into
this marriage--but he cannot, he will not do that--I will not leave
you, at least until you think proper to persuade me that it is my duty
to enter into the married state. I am too happy with you to wish for
any change even if I could be raised to the dignity of a Josephine,
Empress of the French."

"I heard from Jemima," said Mrs. Maxwell, "(but I do not tell you this
to prejudice you against Henry) what farmer White's opinion of him is
already. He is skilled, it seems, in the science of physiognomy, a
disciple of Lavater, though perhaps he never heard of that philosopher,
and as he once told me himself, seldom fails in forming a correct
judgment of a man's disposition and habits by studying the lineaments
of his face."

"What is it, mamma?"

"I should think it my duty to tell you," said Mrs. Maxwell, "more
especially if I thought you were likely to become the wife of Henry
Arnott; for then, supposing White to be correct in his surmises, it
would give you some idea of what you might ultimately expect. He went
into the kitchen after breakfast and stood by the fire, while Edwin
and Charles were getting their horses, when Jemima asked him what he
thought of the young man with the gold chain and black eyes. White
asked her why she wanted to know, and she answered that it was reported
he was going to marry her young mistress. As soon as he heard this--I
use Jemima's own words--he put on a terrible frown, almost stamped with
his foot on the floor, and said in a deep, solemn voice--'He should
not marry a daughter of mine if he rode in a golden chariot and his
horses were shod with diamonds.' Jemima pressed him to explain himself
further, but he would not, merely saying that it would be a good match
as far as money went, and as for anything else he might be deceived."

"And did you tell that to papa?" said Griselda.

"No, I have not told him yet, and when I do he will probably tell
me not to listen to such stupid nonsense. I cautioned Jemima not to
mention it to anyone. It is quite possible that there are some young
ladies in the world, though they may be happily few, who would, if
in your singular position, marry this young gentleman for the sake
of the pecuniary advantages attending such a marriage, and leave all
other circumstances to be considered when the attractive annuity was
secured; but I should be sorry to think that a daughter of mine could
be actuated by such mercenary motives as to barter her happiness for
gold."

"There is no danger mamma," said Griselda, "of my leaving you at
present, nor will I ever marry Mr. Arnott or any other person without
your unqualified approval. I hope papa will not be so unreasonable as
to insist upon my immediately conforming to his wishes to gratify the
whims of this despotic old Colonel; and it will make me very unhappy if
he should, out of consideration for me, be unnecessarily harsh to poor
friendless Edwin."

As Griselda said these words she kissed her mother affectionately,
and gathering up her work left the room. Mrs. Maxwell continued her
employment until Jemima broke in upon her reverie, and summoned her to
the kitchen to superintend the arrangements for dinner.




CHAPTER XXVII.--BREAKFAST AND A TESTY COLONEL.

The lion-hearted old soldier did not rise till a late hour on the
succeeding day, and did not make his appearance in the parlor till
long after White had concluded his business with Maxwell, eaten his
breakfast, and departed on his journey. Entering into his usual
cheerful conversation with Mr. and Mrs. Maxwell and Griselda, he sat
down to his morning meal with unimpaired appetite: what between eating,
drinking, and talking, laying down the law and taking up the cudgels
for and against everybody, he was actively employed for nearly an hour
and a half. At the conclusion of his repast, and before the last morsel
was well down his throat, he enquired of Maxwell--

"What are we going to do to-day, Sir?"

"I hardly know, Colonel," was the reply; "whatever you like. You see we
are rather dull here; no society but shepherds, sheep, and dogs."

"Oh, the deuce take society, Sir, I'm heartily sick of it; but people
never should be idle."

"There will be great difficulty in finding suitable employment for you,
Colonel;" said Maxwell, "and really I can't think of anything unless
you dig in the garden or practice rifle shooting."

"I can't dig," said the Colonel, "and don't require to beg, thank my
stars; and as for rifle shooting I can't bear it, unless I march to the
battle field and have the foe before me. Where does that neighbor of
yours live--that fellow who was going to have his head cut off for Mary
Anne?"

"Oh, Mr. Juniper," said Maxwell, laughing; "he lives about three miles
down the river, but it is five or six round by the ford; if he were at
home he might bring his canoe across and ferry us over. But it is too
far for you to walk--three miles there and three miles back--we could
take the gig and a man to clear the track, and pay him a visit."

"Very well, Sir," said the Colonel, "do anything you like so as you
keep me out of soul-murdering idleness. This Juniper is a very queer
fish; he sang a song, did he not Miss Maxwell, about Waterloo and
cock-a-doodle the other night?"

"Yes," replied Griselda, "and his manner of singing it was most
extremely amusing."

"Rather galling to our friends in France," said the Colonel, "this
perpetual crowing about Waterloo."

"Well," said Maxwell, who had been out to order the gig, "they can take
their revenge and crow about Fontenoy, Toulon, and their victorious
defeat at Corunna."

"Victorious defeat at Corunna," said the Colonel, "why they didn't lick
us at Corunna, Sir."

"Well, Sir," said Maxwell, "granted that we did make a bit of a stand
after running away for ever so long, granted that we turned round and
showed our teeth, that did not prevent us from scrambling on board our
ships the best way we could, and galloping down to the beach such of us
as had horses; then when we got to the water's edge, after shooting our
faithful horses on the spot, we jumped into the boats pell mell under
cover of the guns of the fleet. Say what you will, that was a precious
victory for Britons."

"And I say," said the Colonel, his martial blood collecting at the
point of his nose, "that Corunna was a glorious victory over an
immensely superior force. Soult himself acknowledged it. And you
would have us sooner than scramble to our ships, surrender ourselves
prisoners of war and give up our horses to carry the enemy over our
necks! But I did'nt know before that you were at Corunna?"

"I never was there," said Maxwell.

"And why do you say 'we galloped down to the beach, such of us as had
horses'?"

"That is the usual way we Britons have of expressing ourselves on
such matters, Sir. Our national pride is so great that we are fond
of identifying ourselves with our brave soldiers and sailors. I
was in Dublin when the news of Waterloo came over, and walking in
Dame street I saw a knot of dandies standing in front of Rudley's
Coffee-house--'Glorious news this, De Smith!' said one to another;
'Haw, yes,' answered De Smith, 'I rather think we gave them a bit of
a thrashing--I imagine we have clapped an extinguisher on Bonaparte's
meerschaum, and put a cold cinder into his brandy and water.' At the
same time he was thanking the planet under which he was born that he
had'nt been there."

"Yes, very good--very good, Sir,"--said the old gentleman. "French
grapes in Mr. De Smith's stomach on the eighteenth of June would
doubtless have disagreed with him."

Maxwell and his guest now pursued their way to the famous Skittle-Ball
Hill (wherever it is now to be found we are in the profoundest
ignorance), a man walking before them to clear the road of branches and
sticks as it was but seldom used. Maxwell was careful in his driving,
and avoided the roots which lay above ground as well as he could, so
as to shake the old Colonel's bones as little as possible--thoughtful
consideration which the energetic old officer was not slow to
acknowledge.

"I am glad to perceive that you know a little about driving in the
bush," said he.

"So I ought," said Maxwell.

"That son of mine, Harry," said the Colonel, "is in such matters a
careless and unfeeling rascal; he would drive five yards out of his
way just for the mere pleasure of taking my wheel over a stone, and
if I swear by the holy toe of Pope Alexander the Sixth that I'll
disinherit him if only makes him worse. The young men of the age we
live in, Sir, are an extraordinary set. Any one of them thinks that
he knows more and can do more than a hundred old men like you and me.
Give them invitations to dancing parties--ask them to go to pic-nics
to uncork bottles and flutter round a bevy of animated dolls--supply
them with money, brandy, and cigars, and place them in the front
rank of battle round a billiard table, and, by Jove, there is no end
to the praises you'll get: what a jolly old brick you will be. But
do the reverse, make them stick to their duty--stop some of their
fiddle-faddle dancing, and make them read useful books--limit them in
brandy and cigars, and prohibit their going to demoralizing taverns
and time-killing billiard-rooms, and what are you?--An old fool--a
drivelling old idiot who is not worth listening to precisely because he
cannot talk sense."

"I hope you do not include all young men in that category, Colonel,"
said Maxwell; "there is no doubt that there are good and bad of all
kinds, men and women, of all ages and conditions; it was thus before we
were born, and will be so after we are dead--perhaps for centuries to
come."

"Though I had'nt quite finished my catagraph I thank you for your
information," said the Colonel in a peevish tone. "I have heard of
old people growing young again; I have heard of clever people growing
downwards like a cow's tail; but I was'nt aware that it was time for me
to go to school again, and have you, Sir, for my schoolmaster."

The touchy old warrior paused and took snuff; Maxwell made no reply,
and the pause continued about ten minutes.

"I don't doubt," resumed the Colonel, "that the observation you
just made is as true as it is profound. We see good and bad in
everything--good soldiers and bad soldiers, good washerwomen and
bad washerwomen; the rule holds good with respect to princesses and
chambermaids. We know there are some good roads in the world, and we
feel there are infernally bad ones here. What is to be the future
history of this island of yours? Is there such a thing as a pile of
stones representing an altar of classic antiquity in it? Is there
anything Roman or Grecian about it? It is nothing but a gaol--your
Governor is only a distributor-general of lashes and leg-irons; your
neighbor, that stuck up trombone whom we dined with yesterday, what's
his rascally name?"

"Mr. Earlsley," answered Maxwell.

"Mr. Earlsley--what is he? A magistrate and landed proprietor! a
narrow-souled, worldly, insensible coxcomb. If sensitive at all only so
on the subject of his money. Did you see how his eyes sparkled when he
spoke of the high rate of interest; the increasing value of wool, and
the best way of keeping down the laboring population, and lowering the
rate of wages? You have clergymen, too, who, I have heard, pay great
attention to their flocks, provided they wear plenty of wool--I don't
mean broadcloth. There's only one ruling principle in all this country,
Sir, and you can't deny it--the all-absorbing and insatiable pocket."

"I beg your pardon, Colonel," said Maxwell, who, to his honor be it
spoken, felt bound even at the risk of offending his friend, not to
allow this sweeping denunciation to go unchecked; "I beg your pardon, I
am sorry to see you in such a censorious humor, and I cannot conceive
why you should have so bad an opinion of us. The roads are certainly
bad in some places, and there may be a backwardness in the Government
with the means at their command to make them better; but with respect
to the free settlers of Tasmania there is not a more honorable and
generous people on the face of the earth: does a case of distress
come before them they all press forward with their money; they may be
hard and cautious in business, but what is the reason? Because they
are obliged constantly to deal with rogues and sharpers, who were too
sharp for Smithfield and Monmouth-street. What good can come of a high
rate of wages when the retailers of rum, the promoters with perhaps
one exception out of twenty, of drunkenness and crime, reap all the
benefit? Mr. Earlsley has been a very good neighbor to me: has never
given me any annoyance; he has, on the contrary, given me in time of
need great assistance and kind sympathy. As for clergymen I have never
known but one since I've been in the country, and he, I believe, was
and is still an honest and consciencious servant of God. We are not
faultless. Let none but those who are perfect be ready to condemn.

"It does not matter a button," said the Colonel, "what people's
opinions are, and as for my own it may be tinctured with too great
a share of asperity. I don't deny that I am sometimes liable to
receive sudden, perhaps erroneous impressions; but I think you will
show decided wisdom, as soon as this weighty matrimonial business is
concluded, by selling your property here and investing your money in
a sheep station in New South Wales. I cannot for the life of me see
anything to attract a man of taste like you in such a place as this.
The country is on the whole well enough, I dare say, and there are good
people in it, of course, if you are only lucky enough to find them; but
over there there is more warm sun, better grass, and unlimited ranges
of pasture. I'd wager a guinea that in ten years after you make the
change your wealth will be quadrupled, and you yourself younger than
you are now--in appearance."

"That is a matter requiring careful consideration," replied Maxwell.

"Consideration?" said the Colonel contemptuously, "that's always the
cry with your weak undecided men. Give me the man who will act first
and consider afterwards. I recollect a circumstance that happened
when I was in India; it was immediately after the storming of
Seringapatam;--there was a strong house, of which the enemy retained
possession, and Wellesley thought it necessary to send for my senior
captain whom he ordered to carry it with his company at the point of
the bayonet. The gentleman, whose name was Rattlejaw, answered the
Colonel, and said that the matter required a little consideration,
whereupon the latter turned to me with a pair of eyes like patent tooth
extractors--'Captain Arnott take your company and drive the enemy out
of that house while this gentleman is considering the matter.' I said
'Yes, Sir,' of course, taking a side squint at Rattlejaw as I went
away. You would have thought he had had an alligator's egg for his
breakfast. Well, in an hour the thing was done; seventy men properly
led, mind you, brought four hundred to their marrow bones, and I went
back to tell Wellesley that there was nothing more to do. 'Very well,
Captain,' said he, 'or I may as well say Major Arnott, you can now go
if you think proper and consider about it;' then raising his voice, he
continued--'Officers will be mistaken if they think the British army is
a debating society.'" *


[* The worthy Colonel's memory seems to be defective. At the battle
of Assaye, as he said on a former session, he was only a captain, and
now it appears he was promoted to the rank of major on the taking of
Seringapatam: the latter event took place in 1799, and the former in
1803. The observation, he describes to Colonel Wellesley has been
attributed to the late General Sir Charles Napier.]


"The two cases are hardly parallel," said Maxwell; "there is some
difference between the simple discharge of his duty by a military
man, and the sudden breaking up of a home--the selling of land and
other property, and the removal of one's family to another and strange
country. I never found happiness in changing about. That I may make a
change in a few years is quite likely, but the time is scarcely come
yet."

"Men who have any ambition to be serviceable to their country in time
of need," said the Colonel, "should never fall too much in love with
one place, or become altogether wedded to a life of 'lettered indolence
and ease.' I speak of Englishmen, whether engaged in civil or military
affairs. Do you think would the name of Hampden have ever become a
household word in English homes if he had staid at home admiring the
flowers in his wife's hair, or playing hide and seek with her from the
dinner-table to the conservatory? Compare the high-born king, Charles
the First, with that untitled and unassuming commoner--compare him with
Robert Blake. What did Charles do? He played with loaded dice--made
merry with the English nation by cheating their Parliament--got their
money by making promises he never intended to keep, and laughed in
his sleeve while giving his mock assent to the Petition of Right, and
signing treaties which he regarded as so much waste paper; levied
ship-money in the most arbitrary and offensive manner, and brought
armed men to the House of Commons to arrest Hampden and other members
who dared to lift up their voices for the liberties of the nation. And
what did Blake do? He was Cromwell's admiral. Ah! there was a pair of
master minds then. He was sailing home on one occasion, and falling in
with a French frigate of forty guns, he invited the captain to come
on board, which the French captain did. 'Do you know,' says Blake,
'that war has been declared?' 'No I don't,' says the Frenchman. 'Will
you surrender your sword?' says Blake. 'Not I, by the tongs of St.
Dunstan,' says the Frenchman, much to his honor. 'Well, Sir,' says
Blake, 'go back to your ship and defend yourself as long as you have
a stump to wave in the air or a rag to fly at the masthead.' Away he
went, and the battle began, and they pelted away for two hours, when
the French captain hauled down his colors, came on board Blake's ship
again, and gave up his sword saying, 'Admiral, I'd give every rap I'm
possessed of if I could only call myself a countryman of yours.' 'I'll
take you to my country,' said Blake, 'and we'll live like David and
Jonathan for the rest of our lives.' Whereupon the Frenchman kissed
Blake, and Blake hugged the Frenchman. So it should be to this day,
France should kiss England, and England should hug France, and not
allow themselves to be gulled into war by the ambition of a vain piece
of flesh and blood, and a rabid outcry raised by penny-a-liners in the
newspapers to keep them going."

"There seems to be no cure for national jealousy," said Maxwell. "A
deeply-rooted spirit of animosity and the determination of one power
not to let the other get the upper hand seem to be the causes of all
the wars between France and England, and I am afraid that unless the
Lord is pleased to change the nature of man it will never be otherwise
until the power of either one of the two nations is altogether
crippled or destroyed. As to which is to be ultimately ruined, that
is, of course, a question of time. In ancient times Rome stood upon
no ceremony with Carthage, but in modern it would seem those extreme
measures would not be relished by other 'powers,' and the consequence
is that the same France that lies bleeding and conquered in 1815, rises
up ready, and only too willing, to cross the Channel with a hundred
thousand men."

"And let England be ready for them when they come," said the Colonel;
"let them train up their sons to the use of arms, and steal some
little time from their factories, their counters, ledgers, and
general worshipping of Mammon: let them save some of the money that
they squander on foreign embassies, seinecurists, and superannuated
obstructors, and spend it in erecting forts and casting cannons for
self-defence only mind you, and they need not arrive at the dignity of
another invasion panic."




CHAPTER XXVIII.--RECAPTURE OF A RUNAWAY.

Here they came in sight of Mr. Juniper's residence, and the instructive
conversation was interrupted by a most exciting event which just then
took place, and which required all the attention that Maxwell and the
Colonel could well spare. This was nothing else than a vigorous and
well contested race between our worthy friend Mr. Juniper himself and a
black boy, a real native, arrayed in the sable habiliments with which
dame Nature had thought proper to envelope his person even before he
was born. Maxwell pulled up under the shelter of a tree so that he and
his companion might witness the race without being themselves seen,
and the man who had walked before the horse crouched down beside a
tussock of grass so as to conceal himself from observation. On came the
fugitive round Juniper's paddocks, making directly towards the river,
now clearing at a single bound a high fence and tearing through a field
of young grain, then again leaping with another furious bound over
another fence, then out upon the bush land scampering through the long
grass, and jumping over logs, rocks, and all other impediments until he
reached the river's bank, and after running along for fifty or sixty
yards until he came nearly opposite to where Maxwell's gig stood under
the shady tree, he plunged boldly into the rapid current in the vain
hope of escaping into the forest on the other side.

After him came at the top of his speed, in all the plenitude of tiger
coat, native cat-skin waistcoat, and corduroy breeches, but minus his
hat, Mr. Johnson Juniper our redoubtable bachelor. He puffed and panted
with his round red face redder than ever, and swollen with the unwonted
excitement of the chase, and roared out at irregular intervals in a
voice rendered broken by the shortness of breath consequent upon the
high rate of speed with which he spurned the ground--"Stop him--hold
him--a pound of tobacco and six glasses of rum--to the man that catches
him!" Charmed by the refreshing sounds of tobacco and rum three or four
men had joined in the chase, and even Heffernan the grumbling cook was
seen making his way in the distance at a cautious dog trot, in the hope
perhaps of smacking his lips over each successive glass of his master's
bright, sparkling, and delicious rum.

The poor young savage, however, in making his escape from Scylla
plunged directly into the open jaws of Charybdis. He crossed the
river in safety and looked back at his baffled pursuers with a grin
of satisfaction as he leisurely clambered up the bank. It happened,
perhaps fortunately for himself, though such good fortune he did not
seem to desire particularly, that the landing place he selected was
not more than two yards from the tussock behind which Maxwell's man
had dropped, and that individual just at the precise moment when Mr.
Blackey was making a fresh start into the woods, sprang upon him with
a sudden bound and seized him by the hair. It was in vain the poor
fellow struggled to get free; he kicked, scratched, and plunged, but
it was of no use; then he opened his wide mouth, showed his teeth, and
with horrid grins tried to bite his captor. In this mode of attack he
might have been successful, but Maxwell having alighted from his gig,
came up, seized the boy's hands, and with his handkerchief tied them
together behind his back. Then, and only then, the terrified prisoner
submitted sullenly to his fate.

While all this was taking place Juniper had entered his canoe, which
lay moored a little way down the river, and paddled himself across.
When he came up to where Maxwell and the Colonel stood, he had not
recovered his breath, and the astonishing exertions he had made to
outrun the runaway made him cough and puff in a very distressing
manner. "How do (ugh! ugh!) you do, Sir?" said he, speaking with great
difficulty; "good morning (ugh! ugh!), Mr. Maxwell. Did you ever (ugh!
ah! oh! and a terrible fit of coughing and spitting) see s-such a
young--rascal in your life? Caught him on (ugh! ugh!) the tier the day
before yesterday, and fed him (O-o-o-o) on twenty-four 'possums and a
sucking (ugh! ugh!) pig, and look at the ingratitude of the scamp (ah!
oh! oh!)!"

"Twenty-four 'possums and a sucking-pig since the day before
yesterday!" said the Colonel, with staring eyes; "never knew before
that natives would eat pig.'"

Maxwell begged the distressed surveyor to sit down on the bank and not
say anything more until he had recovered his breath. To show a good
example he sat down himself, and entered into an animated conversation
with the Colonel on the subject of ethnology--the possible causes of
the great difference observable between black men and white: on the
curious organisation of the human race in general: and on the different
shades of the pigment that gives the color to the epidermus,--which
colloquy lasted nearly an hour.

"What do you intend to do with this superior specimen of humanity,
Sir?" asked the Colonel of Mr. Juniper, when his cough had in some
degree subsided.

"I'll tame him, Sir," answered Juniper, "and make a cook of him. He'll
then be in a position to take the place of old Heffernan, who is
rapidly descending into at state of perpetual drunkenness."

The Colonel looked unutterable disgust. "A cook!" he muttered aside to
Maxwell; "well, taste is a rich quality in some people, no doubt."




CHAPTER XXIX.--A VISIT TO SKITTLE BALL HILL.

The surveyor now bethought himself of inviting Maxwell and his guest
to cross the river in his canoe, and on their assenting proceeded to
inform them, while making preparations, that as he happened a day or
two before to be walking over the hills with some of his men, looking
for some good splitting trees, he had suddenly stumbled upon a fire
round which a party of natives had evidently been seated a few moments
before, but not a one could he or his men see in any direction, though
their spears lay round the fire. Prosecuting their search in a small
circle all round for a short time without seeing a single native, they
returned to the fire, and were astonished to find that the spears had
most mysteriously vanished. Impressed with awe, if not terror, they
immediately struck out for home, and as one of the men was in the act
of stepping over a log the juvenile prisoner was surprised in the act
of crouching under it. He was secured and brought home, installed in
Juniper's kitchen, and feasted as the reader knows; but not being
ambitious of a roof over his head, or cooked meat in his stomach, he
watched his opportunity and took to his heels, in the hope, probably,
of having the pleasure of guiding some of his roving associates into
Juniper's kitchen on a future occasion.

The canoe, scarcely large enough to contain one person, was found quite
inadequate for the accommodation of four, and it was not without some
hesitation that Maxwell finally consented to lie down in the bottom
with the black boy secured between his knees, while Juniper should
paddle them across, leave them on the opposite bank, and return for the
Colonel. In this manner the river was crossed in safety, Maxwell's man
remaining with the horse and gig, and the party proceeded up the hill
to bachelor's hall. The hospitable host having delivered his prisoner
into the charge of one of his men, invited his visitors to enter his
humble abode, which they did at once, and sat down to rest themselves.

The conversation turned at first on that vast field of knowledge and
speculation anthropography, for an insight into which we beg to refer
our curious readers to "Pritchard on Man." Then it changed insensibly
to the political aspects of the then respectable colony of Tasmania,
a subject in which unfortunately we take but little interest. The
newspapers of the day were referred to, the shortcomings of the
Governor, the errors and tyranny of ignorant and upstart secretaries
of state, the management or mismanagement of prison labor, and other
interesting matters were duly canvassed; when Juniper thought it high
time to admonish his cook that the dinner hour was approaching.

That useful functionary answered his master by a low grunt. He had been
talking incessantly since the visitors entered, so that they hearing
him thought he was in conversation with somebody else, but this was
not the case. He was engaged in an amicable discussion with himself
as to the probability of his master ever paying the debt which he had
just contracted to Mr. Maxwell's man, of the pound of tobacco and the
six glasses of rum. By what cunning artifice could he, Mr. Heffernan,
secure a moiety at least of the latter article for his own private and
peculiar drinking? He licked his lips in the pleasing anticipation, and
answered his master gruffly when the latter interrupted his reverie by
reminding him of the dinner.

He entered the sitting room with a dingy cloth which had seen two
months' service at least since it was last in the hands of the
laundress, and spread it on the table, leaving the corners the opposite
of square, and the drooping sides anything but parallel. He then
rattled down on the cloth with a noise like penny theatre thunder the
requisite number of knives and forks, three pewter spoons, plates, and
three cracked tumblers. Mr. Juniper opened his cupboard and produced
a bottle, the contents of which he invited Maxwell and the Colonel to
taste. To oblige him they complied, and each took a little mixed with
water. It was rum, the dear liquor on which Christian governments grow
rich, and which transforms the wise man into the drivelling idiot.
As the Colonel was about to wonder audibly what the deuce had become
of the dinner, Mr. Heffernan entered groaning under the weight of a
beautiful pie--such a good-looking pie, that might contain at least, as
Maxwell thought, one delicate morsel of lean meat for his friend the
Colonel, who he knew was no Russian and disliked fat exceedingly. The
pie was followed by a loaf of bread, three teacups with milk and sugar,
though no teapot appeared as yet.

"This is crackle pie, Sir," said Juniper, addressing the Colonel, and
sticking his knife and fork into the crust--"will you take some?"

"I suppose I must or starve," said the Colonel; "what is crackle pie?"
He had scarcely asked the question when a powerful odour as if from a
neighboring soap boiling manufactory suddenly pervaded the room.

"Crackle pie, Sir, is very good," said Juniper, "at least in my
opinion; but perhaps you would prefer a chop! I never thought of asking
you before."

"No, Sir," said the Colonel; "give me a cup of tea and bit of bread and
butter; if you have no butter, a dry crust will be acceptable, if you
please."

"Make haste with the tea, cook," said Juniper.

"Coming with it," answered that official.

"Will you take some pie, Mr. Maxwell."

"Let me look at it," said that gentleman. He did look at it
accordingly, and had his nose well rewarded for his pains. The crackle
pie was made of nothing else than greaves or the remains of mutton
fat after the candle tallow had been boiled and strained off and the
inviting crust. Maxwell, who had not just arrived from under the Arora
Australis in famished state, declined partaking of the pie; and Juniper
perceiving that the odour was rather too powerful for the Colonel's
olfactories, called in his servant and ordered him to remove it.
He then requested him to sharpen up his faculties and bring in the
tea, and then go down to Mrs. Rim for some fresh butter; telling his
visitors when Heffernan was gone that he was the most obstinate old
scoundrel in the whole world; he had told him to make a pork pie with
a few toasted greaves in it to give it a relish and, confound him, he
must have eaten the pork himself, for there was nothing in the pie but
greaves.

And yet why apologize, friend Juniper? Is not crackle pie a very
good thing? Would not many thousands of your starving impoverished
countrymen in London and elsewhere be delighted to partake of your
ample odoriferous dish? Was not Sir John Franklin obliged to eat his
boots? (Ah! poor Sir John, you were once our respected governor, and
how sadly do we think of you as you lie at rest in your mantle of
snow!) We may sneer and turn up our nose at crackle pie; we have never
eaten any, certainly, but we may be glad of a pound or two yet before
we die.

Digesting as well as he could the steaming savor, together with his
tea and bread and butter, the Colonel made up his mind to enjoy his
visit and the good things with which he was surrounded to the utmost
extent. The good-humored conversation of Juniper, who, conscious of the
deficiencies of his cuisine, exerted himself to provide an intellectual
feast by way of balance, made him laugh, though all the time he was
wishing his host and his pie, or the latter at least, safe at the
bottom of the river. Curbing, however, every inclination to give vent
to his feelings in words, he sat, and with the utmost patience listened
to the anecdotes with which the obliging Surveyor favored him:--"My
whole life, Sir," said he, "has been altogether one tremendous and
continued mistake. It was a mistake that I wasn't born into a noble
family, heir to an earldom at least. It was a mistake that led me into
this country at all, when I might be the proprietor of fifty thousand
sheep in New South Wales if I had gone there instead. When I first came
to this colony, Sir, Davey was Governor, and a precious Governor he
was--that is of the town, for Mike Howe was governor of the country.
He gave me a grant of five hundred acres on the southern side of the
Derwent, where I settled down and made myself comfortable. I surveyed
my property, marked the boundaries, and made improvements. Colonel
Davey came up one day to see me with two or three of his old drunken
cronies. I had just killed a sheep, and I can tell you sheep were sheep
in those days, and Davey and his friends ate up half of it just as
fast as I could cook it for them in chops, and they drank my rum, two
bottles, all I had in the house. 'Well, Juniper,' says Davey, 'you're
very snug here,--how would you like to be so well off, Leary?' said he
to a notorious pot-house chum of his. 'I'll be as pleased as (hiccup)
Punch, you honor,' answers Leary. His Honor grinned horribly. 'And so,
Juniper,' said he, 'you surveyed these five hundred acres yourself?'
'Yes, Sir, I did,' said I. 'And you just made five hundred acres of
them?' said he. 'Just five hundred, your Honor,' said I: 'perhaps
it might be an acre or two more or less.' 'Well,' said he, with it
distortion of his countenance that really frightened me, 'I sent Mr.
Greeneye to look at the grant, and I find by his report that you have
just made sixteen hundred and twenty-five acres of it, and as your
theodolite is a little too powerful for the neighborhood of Government
House, I'll give this property to my friend Leary, who is a jolly old
cock, and I'll give you leave to survey a thousand acres for yourself
somewhere else, but if I catch you within a hundred miles of this place
I'll pitch you into the Derwent and treat you to a swim to the Iron
Pot.'"

"And did you clear out?" asked the Colonel.

"I was obliged to do it, Sir," replied Juniper; "he was going to send a
guard of soldiers to turn me out. I tried all means to keep possession,
but couldn't. I had some revenge on Leary though, and if I ever see him
again I'll have more."'

"That's bad," said Maxwell.

"Yes, Sir," said the Colonel, "knock a man down if he insults you,
but don't bottle up malice and keep it corked. I should like to see
Davey turn me out if I had been under your hat--if he was backed by a
regiment of dragoons. And what did you do to Leary?"

"Why, Sir, it was done by means of a little mechanical invention.
He appointed a day on which to come up and take possession, so I
constructed a little three-cornered table, and put it standing on three
legs in a corner of the hut: to the inside leg, which was made to
double up under the table, I attached an invisible string, and secured
it outside the door; then I placed a large washing-tub on the table
and filled it to the brim with water, it was very cold frosty weather,
and the water was as cold as ice. I had previously dug a small hole in
the corner under the table and placed in it a black bottle containing
about a pint of strong Epsom salts, covering it over with a shingle.
Quite punctual to his appointment Mr. Leary came, and a man with him,
whom he intended to leave as hut-keeper; he came up quite cheerfully,
but rubbing his hands with cold--'You havn't got a fire, Sir?' said he.
'No, Sir,' said I, 'and my man is gone away with the things, we will
send your man if you like down to Tom Walsh's hut for some fire!' And
the man was sent--'Devilish cold,' said Leary, blowing his fingers.
'It is cold, Sir,' said I very politely, 'sorry I havn't got a fire,
but that man of mine is so very stupid; do you know that whenever he
wants to yoke up the bullocks he invariably goes to the wrong side,
and doesn't find out his mistake till he is kicked and butted right
out of the yard!' 'Does he?' said Leary--'This is a fine river of
yours, Sir, is it salt or fresh?' 'It's half-and-half, Sir,' said I,
'perhaps you'd like to taste it, Sir?' 'No thank you, not the least
desire, but Mr.------ if you had just the least drop of rum in the
world, just to put some life in a fellow you know--' 'Yes,' said I,
'I didn't forget you--in a hole under that table you'll find a bottle
covered with a shingle, the stuff is very strong--be very careful.' He
fairly rushed to the corner and kneeled down to catch the bait, while
I tugged away at the string, and down went Leary with his head in the
hole, the tub and five gallons of cold water all over him, bellowing
and swearing,--off I went to a neighbor who had invited me to stop with
him, splitting my sides all the way."

"That was very clever of you," said the Colonel, "and very Christian
conduct likewise; I have no doubt Mr. Leary remembers you with very
grateful feelings. Did not Davey take vengeance and cancel your new
grant?"

"Not he, Sir," replied Juniper, "he enjoyed the joke, and said that I
had played the avaricious horse-leech a capital trick. I was little
obliged to them at the time but it is likely that they saved my life,
though nothing was farther from their intention. It happened that about
nine months after Leary took possession, the blacks came along the
river with the intention of burning Hobart Town, planted themselves
round the hut, called the unfortunate tenant out by a loud 'coo-ee,'
and speared him dead when he got six yards away from the door."

"Speared Leary dead!" said Maxwell in great astonishment. "Why I knew
the man well when I was in Hobart Town; his daughter lives with Mrs.
Earlsley, and he is fond of brandy to this day as ever Davey was of
rum."

"I didn't say Leary was speared, Sir," said Juniper, "but his tenant
was, and if I had been in the hut you would never have heard me tell
about Leary, and the cold shower bath he got."

After the visitors had been sufficiently regaled with Mr. Juniper's
tea and conversation they rose to depart, but before proceeding down
to the river they took a turn in the garden, and went to look at
the cows and pigs which were feeding together in the marsh. Having
satisfied themselves that everything was good and in a fair way of
progression, they took their way to the river in order to cross over
the same way that they came; but they were interrupted in their course
by hearing someone shouting behind them, and turning round they
beheld the bachelor's cook running after them at a cautious pace, and
roaring something out vociferously. But not being able to make himself
understood, he had to come considerably nearer, even to the bank of
a dry ditch which Juniper and his visitors had just crossed; then,
indeed, his words came to be heard plainly as he called out for about
the twentieth time--

"You forgot, Sir--Misther Max'ell's man--the pound o' tobacco and the
six glasses o' rum."

"So I did, by jinks!" said his master. "Here, take this key; bring
me the bottle and the pound of tobacco that you'll find in the
cupboard--don't be a minute, and I'll give you a glass for yourself."

With a countenance indicative of the utmost eagerness to plunge into
some anticipated enjoyment, Heffernan picked up the key which his
master had thrown to him, and flew to execute his commission. Why had
he not reminded his master of his forgetfulness before the latter
left the cottage. No, that would have interfered with a little plan
which the artful servitor had concocted. He would wait until the two
gentlemen were about to step into the canoe on their return home,
and then follow with the important intelligence, take his master by
surprise so that he could not repudiate his engagements in the presence
of strangers, and if possible gain possession of the key. This was
Heffernan's dodge, and it succeeded to admiration. Rare talent! Sublime
intellect! O Juniper, are you for ever destined to be a prey to such
artful rogues?

Maxwell expostulated with Juniper. As for his man, he said, he was
better without any rum; he did not object to the tobacco, but did
decidedly to the rum. He would not, in fact, allow his man to drink six
glasses of rum before his eyes--the thing was preposterous. Mr. Juniper
suggested that he could have it one glass at a time. Mr. Maxwell did
not see any necessity for his getting it at all, he was very much
opposed to the practice of giving rum to laboring men except under
extraordinary circumstances; and the Colonel immediately commenced
telling an interesting story to illustrate the maxim that rum was a
very good thing when people understood the value of it and knew when
they had enough--a lesson which our police magistrates, by inflicting
fines of ten shillings and a pound, try to impress upon drunkards, but
in vain.

Meanwhile Heffernan pursued his way back to the cottage at a pace
which astonished his master, who never could have believed him capable
of using such diligence had he not seen him with his own eyes. The
old man literally swept over the ground with breathless haste, his
head bare and his dirty grey locks elevated by the resisting current
of air, assuming the appearance of a stable boy's mop. He gained the
door, bounded into the little parlor, unlocked the cupboard, seized the
tempting bottle, and pulling out one of the cracked tumblers which he
filled nearly to the brim, he turned the liquor down his throat with
a whiz in less time than it would take to kill a fly; then holding
the bottle to the window he applied his eye and noted the remaining
contents. Having replaced the tumbler and locked the cupboard, he ran
out with the bottle affectionately pressed to his breast, forgetting
the pound of tobacco, and now relapsing into his former cautious pace
for fear of meeting with an accident.

His master had watched him into the house with some anxiety. His
conscience began to reproach him for letting this inveterate drunkard
have the key, and placing him in a position of such temptation. But
seeing him emerge with the bottle in his arms without any apparent
delay he turned to his visitors and said with a little twang of triumph
in his voice that he thought Heffernan might be trusted occasionally.
To this Maxwell replied 'O!' and the Colonel ejaculated 'Ah!' The
messenger advanced apace, clutching the darling still tighter and
tighter, until he reached the dry ditch before mentioned, which he
might have easily cleared at a stride. Instead of doing so, however, he
stepped short, and doubtless through having miscalculated his distance,
fell sidelong at full length into the drain, Juniper witnessed the
fall and expected to see the trustworthy messenger emerge without
delay from his temporary retirement, but in this he was disappointed.
Running up to see to what extent his poor servant was hurt he beheld to
his consternation that faithful follower with the mouth of the bottle
glued to his lips. The bottom of it was elevated to the clouds, and
it was handed up to him in that position by the gratified Heffernan,
who heaved while doing so a profound sigh. With a shout of rage
Juniper jumped into the ditch and administered several furious kicks
to the back and shoulders of the prostrate anti-rechahite, who shouted
"murdther" most lustily. We will not take it upon ourselves to say
what might have been the result if Maxwell had not come up and dragged
the surveyor forcibly away. Thus the tobacco having been forgotten,
and the rum finding a different destination, Mr. Maxwell's man had to
go without his promised rewards; and the two visitors, being ferried
across the river by the excited Juniper, got into their gig and drove
home.

The delinquent Heffernan was carried to his bed by a couple of his
fellow servants, where he lay in a state of partial insensibility for
two days and three nights; his justly offended and so often indulgent
master breathing nothing but sanguinary threats of chains, triangles,
and Macquarie Harbor. "It would put an angel in a rage," observed our
friend to himself, "that I have to superintend all the operations of
the farm, go out into the bush and survey land for other people, cook
my own victuals, and get the name of a fool amongst my neighbors for
screening this incurable wretch from his just punishment so long; but I
swear that either he or I shall go the western hell, or work in chains
on the roads. I have kept his head above water too long already."




CHAPTER XXX.--A RUPTURE IN THE HOMESTEAD.

In the evening when the family were assembled at tea, and after the
exciting events of the day had been commented upon and laughed over,
the Colonel turned abruptly to Edwin and asked him if he would not like
to push his fortunes in New South Wales.

"Certainly, Sir," replied Edwin, "if I had a reasonable prospect of
getting on in the world I should consider myself very much in the wrong
if I did not make the trial; but I do not know a soul in New South
Wales, and am afraid there is but a poor chance for a respectable
young man when all the good things that are going are snatched up by
prisoners who have obtained their emancipation or tickets of leave."

"But what if I give you a letter, Sir," said the Colonel, "that will
make half a dozen friends for you at once, and your fortune in ten
years if you only stick to it?"

"In that case, Sir," said Edwin, "I should feel deeply indebted to you
for the rest of my life."

"Well," said the Colonel, "I'll write such a letter and you can take
it to Sydney if you think proper. If you have a head equal to that of
your uncle whom I had the pleasure of knowing in Bengal, your fortune
is made. I will just give you a sketch of yourself as you will appear
when you are forty years old: You will be a fine looking fellow, with
handsome whiskers and mustachios fit for any dragoon regiment, or to
command a twenty-gun battery squinting over a parapet at a squadron of
French men-of-war, like a weasel over a sweeping brush; with an estate
in the country yielding three thousand a year, with your cousins and
nephews riding about and superintending the same. You will have a nice
villa on the Parramatta river, or wherever you like, and will ride
about in your carriage, with your wife looking out at one side and you
at the other, like two people devotedly fond of one another, and be as
happy with your books and gimcracks as a breachless brat half way down
an empty sugar hogshead."

Edwin joined, but not very cordially, in the laugh thus raised at his
expense. When the venerable soldier pronounced the word wife he felt
conscious that his countenance had fallen and changed color. At the
conclusion of the Colonel's romantic picture he bowed, and said with
a smile--"I shall be grateful, Sir, for any introduction which will
forward the views of an honest and honorable man. It may be a matter of
indifference," he added, after a pause, "whether I ultimately settle
here or in New South Wales; but I was once presumptuous enough to
entertain hopes that I should be allowed to cultivate a farm not very
far from this place, with my highly respected relative for my landlord;
as that is evidently not agreeable, I shall without delay seek another
path to the worldly independence which I so much desire."

"There may be circumstances," said Maxwell, with evident embarrassment,
"peculiar and unforeseen--against such an arrangement; but I am
anxious----"

"You need not mention those reasons, Sir," said Edwin, "I partly
guess what they are. I am overwhelmed with grief when I think that
I have allowed myself to trespass so long on the kindness of my
friends--kindness, indeed, which I shall never forget, and for which I
hope Providence will never allow me to be ungrateful." With these words
he rose from the table, and retired from the room.

The Colonel and the Maxwell family were rather taken by surprise. The
former began to regret that he had not used more caution in opening
the subject of a change of residence to young Herbart, but comforted
himself with the reflection that there were some people in the world
gifted with such extraordinary tempers that there was no opening one's
lips to them without incurring the risk of giving offence in some way
or other, however unintentionally. He was glad, he said, to see that
the youth had such a spirit; let him go into the world, he will want
all the spirit he can muster to carry him through it. Let him be all
on fire like the planet Mercury, and a little rolling about on the
face of our cold earth will soon cool him. Maxwell and his wife were
silent on the subject; Griselda did not feel called upon to make any
observations; and Charles withdrew in order to smoke a quiet pipe in
the garden.

Edwin went out into the cool night air to check, if he possibly
could, the burning thoughts which thronged through his brain. That
the proposal of the Colonel to send him off to Sydney with letters of
introduction was a plan to get rid of him, pre-arranged with Maxwell,
he had no doubt whatever. Indeed he must have been a fool if he had not
noticed the increasing coolness of the head of the family, especially
since the arrival of his highly-respected visitors, manifested as it
was with but little reserve or restraint. It pained him to the quick to
perceive that Mrs. Maxwell was following the example of her husband,
though her conduct and deportment towards him had not points sharpened
by jealousy or dislike, as the manner of her husband seemed to have.
She evidently had a high opinion of Edwin's honor and integrity, and
was at no pains to conceal it; but if her husband was so unjust as
to take a dislike to or allow his mind to be filled with prejudices
against Edwin, she was not to blame, and her remonstrances--if she
could venture to make any on such a delicate subject--could not be
supposed to have much weight in removing erroneous impressions from
Maxwell's mind. It had not escaped the sensitive observation of Herbart
that there was something brewing amongst the elders concerning Henry
Arnott and Griselda, of which he thought--but perhaps this was one of
the chimeras of his too powerful imagination--great pains were being
taken to keep him in ignorance. The demeanor of Griselda towards him
was painfully distant, and her manner plainly becoming more reserved
and confused every day, but knowing as she did the sentiments of her
father how could it be otherwise? Thinking over all these things in
his disturbed mind, and repelling in thought the disdainful glances
of Henry Arnott, whose aspect of jealous rivalry had been only too
conspicuous during the short time of their acquaintance, it was with
a mingled feeling of regret and pride that he exclaimed--"Yes, I have
been here too long; an immediate change is necessary."

He walked out upon the lawn and up to the public road with burning
thoughts still flowing in upon his brain, and vainly attempting to
resolve themselves into some definite plan of action. A thousand
recollections of the past--a thousand anticipations of the future:
the former tinged with the fading colors of a beautiful picture seen
long ago but distinctly remembered; the latter dark and gloomy as the
moonless night, crowded themselves upon his fancy. He would gladly have
turned to the home of his fathers, and starting afresh with renewed
courage face the world under other circumstances and in some other
latitude, but this was now impossible. He would have been glad to
accept the offer of the worldly-wise Colonel, and make the best use he
could of his liberty and the old gentleman's letter, from which such
astounding effects were promised in liberal and honied phrases. But
he thought he knew the motives from which those promises, which might
after all prove vain and chimerical were made, and his indomitable
pride, ever on the watch for plausible reason to explode, forbade in
the most peremptory manner his entertaining such an idea. What was
he to do, then! Leave Bremgarten he must, and leave it he certainly
would, and that on the following morning before daylight, but whither
to direct his footsteps? That was now the important question. He asked
it of himself a hundred times as he walked hurriedly backwards and
forwards on the gravelled walk, but it was in vain that he tried to
render to himself a satisfactory reply.

The night was frosty and clear, and the air perfectly still. The stars
shone brightly, except in one quarter of the heavens, where they were
concealed behind a black, ominous cloud which bore to the eyes of the
disturbed youth the nearly exact shape of a gigantic coffin. He watched
it long and steadfastly as it rose over the hills to the eastward,
beyond which the waters of the great Pacific ceaselessly lashed the
storm-beaten coast. It had no terrors for him, that dark cloud, even
if it came to shadow forth his own last and real resting-place, and
to remind him that whatever grief and trouble should be his lot in
this world the hand of death would, so surely as the cloud lowered in
the sky, release him from them sooner or later; albeit it was quite
possible that the miseries to which flesh is heir might make life
insupportable before the hand of death should perform that friendly
office. These ideas were quickly changed for others. He listened to the
sounds of the rushing river, and dark thoughts of sleeping peacefully
under its waters or floating down to the sea on its bosom, insensible
alike to joys and sorrows, came upon him. Then as his attention was
diverted by the harsh croaking of myriads of frogs, as they lifted
their voices in the strength of united emulation, his thoughts took
another direction. Visions of a happy home--its happiness rendered
perfect by the memory that refused to recall a single shadow--sprang
into existence, not indeed for the first nor yet for the last time.
Rays of the sun of youth and boyhood, ever welcome and ever beautiful,
burst forth from the drifting clouds in which his present lot was so
unhappily cast. He thought of the pleasant woodbine-covered cottage on
the banks of his native Dodder, and of the beloved beings who dwelt
there, who thought of him he did not doubt with many tears. He thought
of the days when care sat lightly upon him; when he tumbled through
the shaded groves and sweet-scented meadows of his home; when he swam
in the glassy pools of the charming little river; or explored with
eager curiosity the mysterious recesses of some venerable ivy covered
ruin: and he wondered if he should ever enjoy such days again. Beloved
remembrances! why do ye start up so vividly agonizing the heart already
torn with anguish, by unfolding scenes of youth, home, and love, never,
O never, to be enjoyed again?

There may be charms in solitude which it is said some sages have seen;
but our eyes have been always unfortunately blind to them. There is
certainly, as the author of Childe Harold tells us, 'a pleasure in
the pathless woods,' if we know our way, and can see the light of a
hopeful object glimmering in the distance. There may be 'a rapture on
the sea-beat shore,' but to feel and enjoy it one must not have the
clouds of desolation on his heart. It may not be solitude 'to sit on
rocks and muse o'er flood and fell,' as long as there is a comfortable
home with its snug arm-chair and cheerful fire to which we have the
power to return when we will, when the anxious mother, the kind and
loving wife, the smiling sister, or the happy, thoughtless children
may 'mark our coming and look brighter when we come;' but, without
these, we are disposed to think that the rugged mountain, the alpine
torrent, the sequestered glen, and the desolate heath are not much more
solitary than the crowded city where the 'hum and shock of men' are
heard and felt from day to day. It is past our weak comprehension how
man can promise the most obscure ray of happiness to himself apart from
the sympathy of his fellow man, and we pity as much as we condemn the
misanthrope.

To resume the thread of our story, Edwin entered the house once more
and having lit his candle in the kitchen proceeded softly to his room,
where he partially undressed and threw himself on his bed. He was
alone, and apparently unheeded, by any member of the household. He
tossed about in a restless, unhappy manner, now ready to burst with
indignation against Maxwell, now boiling with rage against himself;
he thought--and oh! what tears his thoughts brought with them!--of
Griselda! and of the hidden love that absorbed his whole soul. "Why,"
he mused, "did my hard fate direct me to this place? I have loved
her from infancy, still if I had not come hither this passion might
have died like the perfume of a flower when the stem that carries
its nourishment is broken. Or why is she so very fair that even the
unfeeling and overbearing votaries of wealth and pleasure must love
as soon as they behold her? Idiot! dolt that I have been, was not the
world wide enough that no place would suit me but this, when I knew the
smouldering fire would be kindled to a scorching flame? And now I must
bear a degree of humiliation compared to which death would be ecstacy."

In the midst of such painful thoughts and vain regrets our hero fell
into a slumber, from which he was soon awakened by the entrance of his
cousin Charles. This kind-hearted young gentleman entertained a very
friendly feeling for his woe-begone relative, and lost no opportunity
of showing his friendship by speaking kind words, and administering
little items of consolation by all the means in his power, whenever he
saw the weight of gloomy thoughts pressing heavily on Edwin's mind.
He often rallied him on his too frequent fits of dejection, with
the best intentions, but with some severity of language; but on the
present occasion he undressed himself without speaking, blew out his
candle, and tumbled into bed. Here his efforts to "steep his senses in
forgetfulness" were evidently unsuccessful, and after a few restless
tossings and premonitory coughs, he asked Edwin if he was asleep. Edwin
replied in the negative.

"You've thrown down the gauntlet nicely at last," said Charles. "What
you intend to do with yourself now?"

"I intend to start in the morning," answered Edwin, "and seek my
fortune elsewhere."

"And where do you intend to go to?"

"I don't know," was the reply, "and if the truth must come, I don't
care."

"That's what Harry said--that scamp in the spelling book who was
devoured by a lion," said Charles.

Edwin made no answer, and Charles continued, after a short pause--

"But I suppose you will not go without saying good-by to father and
mother, and getting the Colonel's letter?"

"As to taking leave of your father and mother," replied Edwin, "I
should be most happy to do so, but I think my appearance would savor a
little of the contemptible. A needy adventurer departing on the wide
world with a stick on his shoulder and a shirt in a handkerchief tied
to the end of it--a humiliating spectacle indeed. No; I have but little
desire for such exhibitions. With respect to the Colonel's letter I
will not trouble him; his professions may be sound, but my private
opinion is that his heart is worldly and rotten."

"His letter at least will be no trouble to carry," said Charles.

"Not worth the trouble of carrying, depend upon it," said Edwin. "I
will not consent to receive any favor from him, and therefore will
never incur a debt of gratitude either to him or his descendants."

"But Edwin, you do not surely seriously mean to commence tramping the
country in search of a job, without money, without a friend?"

"A friend?" said Edwin, "what is that like? Where is such a thing to be
found? I came to this country on the invitation of a friend, and what
is the result?"

"Not such as I could have wished, certainly," answered Charles; "but
tempers and whims are strange thing. We shall have them ourselves when
we come to be married and have families. Many a man was a jolly good
natured fellow before he was married, and after that important event
became as lively and agreeable as a skull stuck on a stick staring in
at your bedroom window."

"That's a very appropriate simile," said Edwin, "and the thing
itself would be a pleasant object of contemplation, though I think
some people, without allusion to any in this house, would make good
skulls and skeletons too. But to drop this trifling, I must confess
I am rather puzzled about my future proceedings--whether it would be
more advisable to proceed to Launceston or to Hobart Town, and seek
employment in either place, or take my passage to some other country
where my increased stock of experience may be of some service."

"Why not go to head quarters at once," said Charles, "and apply
for a grant of land? The thing is done every day, and I am sure a
well-looking and able-bodied young fellow like you would not be
refused. They say the Governor is very liberal in that way, and I am
sure you ought to get five hundred acres at least, just to remunerate
you for condescending to come into the country at all. I will ask for
a thousand when I am of age, and if I don't get them I'll tell Arthur
to his face that I will withdraw my countenance and my person from the
beggarly place altogether."

"If I could persuade Colonel Arthur that I was some very distant
relation of his," said Edwin, "I might have some chance of success; but
as I cannot do that, and have neither property nor friends, I see no
chance in that quarter. However, if I were in town I would try, but how
to get there is one of my chief difficulties."

"You must go with Baxter's waggon, or you can walk to Campbell Town an
get a seat in the mail cart. How much money have you got?"

"Between four and five pounds."

"They'll charge you four for a seat in the mail, and no very enviable
one either. You must take the waggon, and I know where to lay my hands
on a few pounds which I will freely lend you till the times mend.
Besides, my father owes you money, and in all reasonable justice you
ought not to go without it; I heard him say myself that he would
remunerate you for your services."

"I am obliged to you Charley for your kind offer of assistance, and to
your father for his friendly intentions. But I cannot accept the former
as I do not see my way clearly how I can repay you, and I will not
accept the latter as I do not consider your father owes me anything.
I have slept in his house, and fed at his table, and my services
have been very inadequate. I have also gained some knowledge of bush
farming, which may be the foundation of future independence. With what
little I have I work my way or perish."

"Well, Edwin," said Charles, "if you become a Tasmanian bushman you
will be the proudest and most stiff-necked one that this happy island
will ever be able to boast of. I would not have toiled as you have done
for nothing, for any uncle or cousin, first or fiftieth, under the sun,
and I'll strike for high wages when you are gone, as I shall have to do
everything and go everywhere. But you won't go without knocking me up
in the morning, will you?"

"I'll not knock anybody up," said Edwin. "Never mind me, Charley, I'll
bid you now good night and good-by, and I'll come to see you on some
future day, when dame Fortune has smiled upon me; if she does not smile
on me you will never see me again. All I ask of you is to make my
apologies to your parents, and say farewell for me to Griselda."

"I will, Edwin; good night, and good-by; but I'm sure to be awake when
you are going."




CHAPTER XXXI.--EDWIN'S ADVENTURES.

The agitation of Edwin's mind did not permit him to enjoy a very
refreshing slumber, and as the clock struck four he arose from his bed
and prepared for his projected travels. He packed up a few necessary
articles of clothing in a handkerchief, and with a noiseless step left
the room and stole down stairs, letting himself out by the front door
without having, as he believed, disturbed any of the inmates of the
house. With a hurried step he proceeded on his way, casting as he went
a lingering look behind him at the house where dwelt in happiness and
peace the object of his ardent love. The dim outline, just discernible
in the starlight, seemed to him the fading shadow of a pleasant dream
from which he was awaking to the stern realities of life. He pictured
to himself the surprise of Maxwell and the Colonel when they became
acquainted with his sudden departure, and he flattered himself that
it was likely he would bear with him in all his wanderings the secret
sympathy of Griselda, and the good wishes of her mother. It would have
added firmness to his purpose and strength to his heart, if he could
have permitted himself to hope that he might one day return and woo the
maiden he loved so dearly; but this hope was now totally wrecked--its
place was occupied by gloomy despair.

He clenched his hand involuntarily and bit his lips, under the
influence of a settled but still painful resolution, and wandered
on almost heedless of what might be his fate. He was young and
inexperienced, cast alone and friendless upon a world which he had not
yet learned to encounter with anything like manly fortitude. He felt
like a child suddenly deprived of the leading strings that supported
his tottering limbs. Many considerations combined to work up his
imagination to a state bordering on frenzy; the gloomy twilight of the
breaking day; the almost pathless forests of an obscure island at the
antipodes, still tenanted by roving ruthless savages; the rising wind
moaning amongst the giant trees--all these fell like the knell of death
upon his senses. Conscious of innocence, though knowing well that man
is made of dust and must therefore suffer the doom of his race, he was
tempted to repine, and complained bitterly that this cup of tribulation
was held to his lips before it was merited by his evil works. What
folly! as if the very thoughts of our hearts from childhood as well
as our hearts and souls themselves did not merit utter annihilation.
At last weary of his troubles, which might have been magnified by
the darkness of his mind and of the hour, a reaction took place--his
fortitude deserted him. He lay down on the cold earth and wept.

After spending about an hour in this painful reverie, and watching the
gray tints of morning spreading themselves over the eastern sky, he
arose and resumed his journey. To the cottage of the carrier, distant
about six or seven miles, he now directed his steps. Though suffering
from great mental agony and physical weakness he walked rapidly, for
the morning was exceedingly cold, and he was not without the hope
that the rapidity of his movements might possibly tend to check the
fearful impetuosity of his thoughts. Knowing the road pretty well,
having often travelled it before under happier circumstances, he
walked on determining within himself that he would as much as possible
shut his eyes to the visions of the past, and look forward with hope
and confidence to the future. He was now free: the step he had long
contemplated taking he had taken at last. He reflected that if the door
of reconciliation with Maxwell and his family was closed he might yet
return to his native country and embrace again in joy those whom he had
left in sorrow. The current of his thoughts underwent a gradual change,
and it was under the influence of a returning ray of cheerfulness that
he knocked at the door of Baxter's cottage just as that worthy man,
with his wife and daughter Mary, was sitting down to a substantial
breakfast.

Baxter was astonished at the unexpected appearance of Mr. Herbart.
"What's the matter, Sir?" he exclaimed; "come in, you're perished with
cold and hunger; your nose is as blue as a Proosian's, and your eyes is
as red as brick-dust. Come, mother, put the fryin'-pan on again, and do
a chop or a rasher and eggs; get up, Mary, and let Mr. Herbart warm his
skins."

To this speech Edwin replied by thanking the worthy carrier, and asking
him how he, his wife, and daughter were getting on.

"Very well, thank you, sir," answered the carrier; "we keep our health
pretty well, especially the women; there never is nothing the matter
with them, it's only me is bad sometimes, as has to do the rough work
and the frettin.' These women, Sir, has never nothin' to do except sit
at home and keep the house in order, and they make more fuss about
that nor if they had all the anxiety and responsibility of maintainin'
a fam'ly; and then after bein' worritted to death outside in our barn
or turmut field, we comes home for peace, and has to stop our ears on
account of the grumblin'!"

"You'd better not be troubling the gentleman with that nonsense, Tim,"
said Mrs. Baxter; "take a chair by the fire, Sir, and I'll have some
more chops ready very soon."

"I beg you will not put yourselves out of the way on my account," said
Edwin, "there is meat enough on the table. Is this fine girl the same
child who so nearly perished in the bush some years ago?"

"The very same, Sir," said Baxter, "Mary Baxter is her name, and
England is her nation, and this here dirty hut is her dwellin' place,
and when she was near dyin' on the Woody Sugar Loaf Miss Maxwell was
her salvation, for she seed a angel as told her where she was."

"She has reason to be thankful to Miss Maxwell," said Edwin, "but still
more to the superior Power who directed that excellent young lady's
footsteps."

"And I hope there's nothin' the matter with Mr. Maxwell or his wife, or
daughter, Sir?" said Baxter.

"Nothing whatever," said Edwin, "they are all in excellent health and
spirits."

"And what may be the matter with you, Sir, if I may make so free?" said
the carrier.

"I am only on my way to Hobart Town," answered Edwin.

"To Hobart Town!" said Baxter, with a whistle of surprise.

"Yes," said Edwin, "there's nothing so very singular in that, is
there?--and I want to know when you are going, so that we may travel
together."

"Me!" said Baxter, "why I won't be goin' there this six months or more,
unless somebody wants me for to go very particular, and that's not
likely.

"Well," said Edwin, "I am bound for the capital, and I must get there,
and you must put me in the way how it's to be done, Mr. Baxter."

"Won't you stop talking, Tim, and let Mr. Herbart eat some breakfast?"
said Mrs. Baxter, putting at the same time a plate of mutton chops and
a hot cup of tea before their guest.

"I never saw the likes of such perversity," said Baxter, "wont let
a man talk, and yourself always a chatterin' like an empty-headed
magpie, and his name is not Hebbert, but Herbart--you'll be tellin' him
presently that he's the son of old Mother Hubbard, that was so good to
her dog." So saying Baxter grinned with a comical air at his wife, as
they all made a joint attack upon the breakfast.

While the meal was being despatched Edwin informed his entertainer
that he had left Bremgarten for the purpose of seeking his fortune
elsewhere, though without illustrating his subject by any sentimental
or poetic coloring; and concluded by asking the carrier for his advice
as to what had best be done under the circumstances.

"I'll take the matter into consideration," was Baxter's reply, "and
let you know the result of my deliberation in the course of the day.
I'm a man, Sir, as knows a thing or two, and I've seen the day when
Guvners King and Collins was glad to ask for my opinion: I used to give
it 'em, too, without any bashfulness, and they always liked it so well
that they invariably followed it, whatever it was. I remember once,
in the year seven present century, when a notorious character as had
committed thirteen murders was goin' to be hanged at Sydney, Guvner
King sees me a walkin' in front of the Commisary Stores, and he sings
out to me--'Halloo, Baxter, I want you.' 'Happy to be of service, yer
honor,' says I, pullin' off my hat. 'What do you think of Smith?' says
he, 'shall I give him another chance?' 'Sir,' says I, 'if you let that
man off ther'll be no security for life or property in the country. I'd
hang him, Sir, and no mistake, if I wus you.' 'You're quite right,'
says he, 'I will hang him; but there's one difficulty in the way--I
want a hangman, Baxter, will you act?' 'Sir,' says I, 'I beg to decline
the honor; but if you do want a hangman I'll find you one.' 'Do,' says
he. And so I did, and Smith (I wont be sure that his name wasn't Brown)
was hanged the next day; but you see if it hadn't been for me he would
have got off and done a few more murders, besides committin' about a
hundred robberies, and burnin' haystacks that nobody could number."

Baxter related this remarkable instance of the excellent consequences
of his good advice with many profound shakes of his head; and as
he attempted to swallow large bites of mutton chop and mouthfuls
of tea during the narration, it was accompanied by many coughs and
splutterings, which called forth the indignant remonstrances of his
wife.

"I wonder at you, Tim," said that lady, "that you will be going on with
this nonsense at breakfast time; why you havn't got the manners of a
pig, and can't Mr. Herbart go with you to the Heads when you take Mrs.
Earlsley's butter? He might get a passage in the vessel that takes the
butter to town."

"I don't thank you for nothin', ma'am," said her husband; "I bet a
dollar I thought of that before you did, though you're as sharp as a
drivin' end of a ramrod; but the women of this blessed country is so
precious 'cute and clever. If you ever gets married in this island, Mr.
Herbart, and don't find out that your wife is more cleverer than you in
her own settled and determined opinion, I'll make you a present of a
ton of 'tatoes, and find you a man to steal 'em while you'd be eatin'
yer dinner."

"He would be obliged to look sharp about it," said Edwin. "Have you got
such a clever practitioner in your neighborhood?"

"Yes I have, Sir," replied the carrier; "and Mr. William Jinkins, is
the man. He is called Bloody Bill Jinkins, from carryin' kangaroo and
'possums, and them things that says 'baa, on his back, makin' his shirt
like a boiled lobster with blood. Just get that respectable individual
for your neighbor, keep a few fat wethers or pigs, and see if they
won't be well weeded. Get a nice sheepdog that'll mob the sheep up
by moonlight or any other time, and that won't make no noise about
it--take your eye off of him for half an hour, and where'll he be? And
then, as if that's not bad enough, you'll get up some fine mornin' with
your character that you'd been pridin' yourself on ripped up to bits,
with every mother's son of a settler within fifty mile and more comin'
sneakin' round your place lookin' for their stolen sheep and cattle.
To lose your sheep and cattle, Sir, is bad enough, ain't it? but to
have your good name stole from you, 'specially here where a good name
is worth its weight in goold, is above a joke. You know what the great
playactor, Mr. Bard of Avon, says--you've read his productions, in
course--


He that steals my purse steals rubbish,--
'Twas mine, 'twasn't his, and he hadn't no business to steal it
But he who filches from me my good character,
Robs me of that what don't make him no richer,
And makes me so poor as a ragged old crow.


Here Edwin, in spite of his misfortunes, could not forbear laughing,
and Baxter, joining in the laugh, observed that "he didn't see nothin'
whatsomover to laugh at at all."

That day passed as we suppose the days usually did with this versatile
genius and his modest establishment. When he had finished his breakfast
he filled and lit his pipe, stuck the remnant of an old white felt hat
on one side of his head, and telling his guest to make himself at home
and rest his bones after his walk, took himself off to his daily duties.

Edwin needed rest but had some difficulty in finding it in Baxter's
cottage. His wife and daughter, busy with their washing and other
business matters, left him to sit by the fire or get up and walk out as
he thought proper; never dreaming that he needed some sleep and would
have been glad of a shake down in a corner. To add to his vexations
his ears were frequently saluted by the tones of Mrs. Baxter's voice,
which was neither musical nor gentle, making divers remarks on the
peculiarities of her husband's temper and habits, and rating her
daughter soundly for her deficiencies in industry and forethought.
Thinking that he might probably find a quieter resting place under some
bush in the neighborhood, he left his seat by the fire and went out.
The cool air now blowing in a fresh breeze revived his sinking spirits,
and he walked about for some time absorbed in thought until the feeling
of drowsiness became too strong to be longer resisted. With the view of
stretching himself on a pallet of straw he entered a wooden building
which had the appearance of a barn, and found it full of unthrashed
grain. It took him but a short time to throw a few sheaves aside and
make a nest wherein he might snugly lie, and laying himself down
accordingly he was soon buried in a profound slumber.

From this sleep, which had already lasted about four hours, Edwin was
aroused by a rude shake, and on opening his eyes he was exceedingly
alarmed to find himself confronted by a savage-looking stranger whose
belt, almost the first thing his eye rested upon, bristled with
pistols. Half-stupefied with sleep and astonishment he rose up, rubbed
his eyes and re-opened them upon the formidable figure who was, he now
felt sure, no myth but a being of real flesh and blood. Comprehending
at once the nature of his situation he had no doubt of the fact that
this man was a bushranger--one of those unfortunate and misguided men
who roamed at will over the whole island, plundering, burning, and
spreading consternation; and who were often the too willing instruments
of death upon the innocent and unsuspicious. Edwin, by nature cautious,
would not willingly have flung himself into the jaws of destruction,
but now being thus unexpectedly brought face to face with a real, and
by no means contemptible danger, he prepared to meet it with a firm
and undaunted countenance. He calmly surveyed the visage and person
of the intruder, who seemed in the prime of life, or rather verging a
little towards its decline, with a light-colored elongated face and
broad features, which wore a devil-may-care expression coupled with one
of habitual cautions. His eyes were of a light blueish grey color, and
were bloodshot from constant exposure to cold and the dews of night.
His hair and whiskers, forming together a tangled mass, had a sandy
hue. His dress was of coarse materials, rather more respectable than
what Herbart would have expected a bushranger to wear, but still such
as would well stand the wear and tear of the bush. It consisted of a
cap made of opossum skins, a pilot coat, an under-jacket and waistcoat
of strong dark cloth, trousers of dusky moleskin, leggings of tanned
kangaroo skin, and boots of extra strength and thickness. On the whole,
with his tall, thick-set figure and well-knit frame--to all appearance
of great muscular power--he was an apparition which few, except perhaps
a grizzly bear or bull-dog, would like to meet in a lonely place or be
shut up within the narrow compass of a barn.

Edwin, as soon as he had recovered from his stupor of astonishment,
asked the intruder who he was and what he wanted.

"Fair questions," answered the man, "demand fair answers, but the
proverb saith--'a still tongue showeth a wise head'--go, they are
calling you to dinner: don't say you saw me here, say nothing about me
at your peril, until I think proper to make myself known."

He accompanied this peremptory injunction by a resolute motion towards
the door, which Edwin thought it best to obey without further question.
As he left the place, however, he turned to take another look at the
strange visitor, and saw that personage taking instant possession of
his place in the straw, where he soon altogether disappeared from view.

Perplexed beyond measure, and entertaining serious doubts as to the
propriety of allowing Baxter to remain in ignorance of this important
fact of which he was in possession, Edwin entered the cottage and
sat down to a comfortable meal with the carrier and his family. The
boiled pork and potatoes rapidly disappeared, washed down by copious
potations of tea; and the hearty laughs at Baxter's rough and ready
wit added considerably to the refreshing influence of the dinner.
When the cloth was removed the facetious host, after a little playful
sparring with his amiable lady, lit his pipe according to custom, and
went out, followed on this occasion by his guest. The latter had come
to the conclusion that it was his duty, at whatever amount of personal
risk, to disregard the injunctions of the mysterious stranger, and make
Baxter acquainted with the real state of affairs. Accordingly after
proceeding for awhile along a newly-fenced paddock, he interrupted
the talkative carrier, who, while laboriously puffing at his pipe,
entertained him with a learned dissertation on the superior qualities
of his "turmuts," and the proneness of Bill Jinkins's cattle and pigs
to help themselves thereto, with the unexpected intelligence that there
was a strange man, armed to the teeth, in his barn, concealed amongst
the straw.

Baxter stood still, drew his pipe from his mouth, and turning upon
Edwin a look of vacant surprise, said--

"What's that you say, Sir?"

"I say there is a strange man, armed with several pistols, concealed
under the wheat in your barn," replied Edwin.

"A strange man, armed with pistols, in my barn. Did you see him?" said
Baxter.

"Yes, of course I did, else how should I know he was there?" said Edwin.

"What sort of a man is he?"

"Tall and stout, with thick, bushy, sandy hair and whiskers, restless
grey, blood-shot eyes, peremptory manner, and has the look of a sailor
if it were not for his leather leggings."

"What did he say to you?"

"He said very little. I asked him who he was and what he wanted, and
he answered by telling me that a still tongue showeth a wise head, and
ordered me to be of and say nothing about him to you or anyone else."

"Did he talk like a furener or a Roosian?" asked the carrier.

"A foreigner or a Russian?" replied Edwin, "why no I think not--I
should take him to be a Yorkshireman or a Highlander; but he spoke so
little, that I, being a little embarrassed, could not make out any
foreign accent."

"I knows him," said Baxter, "leastways, I thinks I knows him--but it
won't do for me to let on as I do. There's something up, depend on it,
or that gentleman wouldn't be burrowing under my corn sheaves. We'll go
back to the hut and wait the progress of events. That man, Sir, if your
description is correct, is not a robber, he's a constable, and the most
determined thief-catcher in this here blessed island of thieves; we
must stand by for a squall."

The carrier and his companion turned immediately towards the cottage,
but their attention was soon arrested by the heavy tramp of a horse
moving rapidly on the track behind them. They looked in the direction
and descried a gentleman approaching at a gallop. Edwin was the first
to discover that it was his friend Charles Maxwell, who on arriving
at the spot where they stood alighted from his horse, shook Edwin's
hand warmly, and bid Mr. Baxter good afternoon. He asked the former
to walk down the road a little way as he had some interesting news to
communicate, and requested the latter to excuse them for a few minutes.

"Yes," said the carrier, with his usual grin, "I'll excuse ye--I'll
be glad to see ye when your yarn is spun to the end, and don't say
nothin', Mr. Herbart, that's likely to alarm the neighbors, or else
we'll have old Eersy down upon us with a pile of light cavalry, the
same as won the battle of the Nile by a dashin' charge."

When Baxter was out of hearing Charles commenced the conversation by
saying--"My father is much displeased, Edwin, that you have thought
proper to leave his house in this clandestine manner. He thinks that
common decency might have dictated a less questionable course of
conduct, and considers that your impetuous temper has led you into
errors both as regards his present attitude and ultimate intention."

"I have always been and ever shall be sorry for my errors, Charles; but
in the present case I am not convinced of having committed one, though
my precipitation may have led me into a breach of etiquette requiring
some apology. You can convey to your father my very humble apology, but
I cannot express regret for the step I have taken; and to return to
Bremgarten unless under happier circumstances is entirely out of the
question."

"In that case," said Charles, "I am commissioned to hand you this
paper, and to say that my father will always be willing to serve you
when such service does not interfere with his duties to those in whom
he is bound to take a more immediate interest."

"What am I to understand by that, Charles?" asked Edwin hastily; "does
he think I want him to neglect the interests of his children for my
sake?"

"You have it as I had it, Edwin, make what you like out of it; if you
can understand it its more than I can," said Charles with a smile.

Edwin opened and looked at the paper which Charles had given him; it
was a cheque on a Hobart Town bank for forty pounds. Though such a sum
was a small fortune to him in his present situation, and one to which
by his services he might have considered himself fairly entitled, he
did not eagerly clutch at it and cram it into his deepest pocket as if
fearful of being deprived of it again. No--the unpardonable simpleton!
His eyebrows contracted under the influence of some deep and settled
purpose; he deliberately folded the paper and handed it back to Charles.

"Tell your father," said he emphatically, "to reserve his charity
for a more suitable object. If I accepted his money, years of bitter
recollections and self-accusations would be the fruit of such a
weakness. Had he given me on lease the farm which he promised I might
not now be a wandering outcast and beggar--as it is, he may keep his
money as well as his land. I do not despair of winning my way to
independence."

"What?" said Charles, "you are not such a fool, Edwin, as to refuse
this recompense you have honorably earned, and in my opinion at least
three times as much. What's to become of you if you throw the gifts of
fortune thus recklessly back into her very teeth?"

"No matter," said Edwin, "I will not accept your father's money. I am
thankful for his good wishes and his esteem, and not a little proud
that I have been able to requite his hospitality. I am sorry that I did
not take a more polite leave of him and of your mother, whom I shall
ever remember with respect and filial love."

"I have another message for you," said Charles, "and it comes from
my sister. I ought not to deliver it, perhaps, but being young and
foolish, I am not supposed to understand these matters you know.
She desired me to say that she is very sorry you have been driven
to take the step you have taken; she supposes--the little innocent!
that it cannot now be helped; that she deeply sympathizes with you,
and that wherever you go you will bear with you the assurance of her
affectionate regards."

Edwin's face became red as fire, then pale as death; before he could
speak he was obliged to lean against the fence beside which they were
walking. At length he said--

"Did Griselda speak those very words?"

"Why of course she did--she's not dumb, neither am I an inventor of
foolish romances about horse-devils, and spirits in ourang-outang
jackets, like some people," returned Charles.

"Then tell her," said Edwin, "that I shall bear with me the remembrance
of her affectionate regards to the very threshold of death; and tell
her not to let her knowledge of my fate, whatever it may be, disturb
for a moment the peace of her guileless breast."

"O, I see it all now," said Charles, "I see it all now, you love
Griselda, and I have been blind to it up to this very moment,--but take
a fool's advice, and forget all about it before you are a month older."

"If I have presumed so far," said Edwin, "my love, though hopeless, is
so far honorable that I would not for worlds ask her to forget her duty
to her parents or to herself. You tell me to forget this love, and so I
shall, when every other impression is likewise forgotten."

"This is a grave subject," said Charles, "and I am sure I would
not have delivered the gipsy's message had I known it would thus
effect you. You must not, Edwin, cherish this passion. It is not
my place to bid you hope, but I recommend you to shake off these
romantic aspirations, and you may yet be a rich and happy man, for I
am confident that Griselda's destiny is already decided. Follow my
example, I am not ambitious of love or glory--I go with Pope--


'Thus let me live, unseen, unknown,
And unlamented let me die;
Steal from the world, and not a stone
Tell where I lie.'


Now let me light my cigar and I'm off,--you have my best wishes Edwin."

So saying, Charles Maxwell entered Baxter's cottage, wished Mrs. B. and
her daughter good evening, lit his cigar and rode away, after again
pressing his cousin's hand affectionately.




CHAPTER XXXII.--BAXTER'S PRAYERS.

When his young friend was out of sight Edwin entered the cottage and
sat down in a corner in one of his melancholy moods. The interview
which had just terminated filled his mind with various contradictory
emotions. He was gratified at perceiving that Maxwell was not
altogether without some sense of justice, and some appreciation of his
past services, as evidenced by his sending him what he considered so
large a sum as forty pounds; but he could not help feeling indignant
when he reflected that even this pecuniary assistance was tendered
in a cold and formal manner. There was no invitation to return, no
distant hint that the promise of the farm would be fulfilled, no
advance towards a reconciliation. All was in Edwin's opinion heartless
and selfish. It was too bad, he thought, that the only relative he
possessed so far away from home should turn his back upon him in this
shabby manner. If he were an idle, drunken scamp, his case could not
be much worse than it was, or his treatment more severe. But in making
these mental observations Edwin was himself unjust: he did not perceive
how much Griselda was beloved, nay, idolised by her parents; or with
what amount of jealousy they endeavored to guard her from the fatal
effects of misplaced affection. He did not understand the feelings of
a father who no doubt felt keenly his heavy responsibility for the
safety and happiness of his daughter. Thus if Maxwell's prudence was
a little overstrained, and led him into measures apparently unjust
and severe, Herbart's temper led him into a similar error. The one
calmly left his relative whom he had promised to assist to sink or
swim in life's stormy sea; the other burned with indignation at what
he considered falsehood and treachery. To Edwin's excited imagination
Maxwell had made matters worse by offering him money. "Does he think,"
said he to himself, "that I am one of those mean, mercenary wretches
who worship money as an idol, as a salve for all wounds, as a cure for
all disorders? Can he imagine that his paltry gold can obliterate the
remembrance of his broken promise or his cold and chilling reserve?
Oh Maxwell, Maxwell, I thought your nature was more noble; you are
certainly changed since you wrote your first kind letter to me inviting
me to come to you: would to God that you had never written it."

Revolving such thoughts as these in his aching head Herbart sat in
gloomy silence in his corner. The evening was rapidly advancing, for
winter had already set in, and even now the hoarfrost seemed settling
down on the earth. This frost, it may be observed in passing, may have
its uses, but it is sometimes seriously inimical to the prosperity of
Tasmanian gardeners and agriculturists. The winter frosts do no harm;
but when the summer advances, when the corn is coming into ear, and the
embryos of countless clusters of fruit promising a luxuriant crop are
fully developed, you enter your garden some fine morning when the sun
is shining, and behold the luxuriant promise is blasted--your apples,
pears, cherries, and plums are as black as charcoal! You examine
your corn, it is half ruined; your tobacco (for dressing sheep) and
potatoes look as if they had been boiled; the frost has done its work
in the night silently but surely. We know of no remedy for this evil
except selecting a site for your garden on some convenient hill with
a southern or western aspect. From this advantageous position you
can watch your men at their labors; invite your friends to visit you
at Glen Sugarlip--hills are sometimes called glens in Tasmania--or
whatever its name happens to be, and set the barbarous frost at
defiance.

The carrier tried with one or two pleasant remarks to rouse Edwin from
his prostration of spirits, but perceiving the hopelessness of such an
attempt he desired his daughter to hand him "The Seven Champions of
Christendom," and settled himself down to study that immortal work.
Mary Baxter made preparations for tea, and these were nearly completed
when the dogs began suddenly to raise a loud outcry, and immediately
two strangers entered the cottage without using the formality of a
preliminary knock at the door. The first comer said "Good evenin;" as
he entered: he was a middle-sized man with a dark dirty face, wearing
a ruffianly scowl that seemed to be habitual. His black tangled locks,
which hung down over his greasy coat collar, surrounded a set of pale
gaunt features, the expression of which was decidedly the reverse of
amiable. The dress of this individual was of the roughest and coarsest
description, and was torn in several places: his manner was insolently
familiar, and his whole appearance calculated to fill the beholder
with aversion. The other possessed more agreeable features; he was
taller and better made, was in comparison infinitely better dressed,
and seemed to enter the house, fearlessly it is true, but still with
some faint traces of respect for the proprietor's family--a feeling of
which his companion seemed totally destitute. He was a well-looking man
apparently about thirty years of age, and as he entered the cottage he
tried to appear as easy and unconcerned as if he had been already known
to the inmates, but a close observer might have readily discovered that
his dark eye had a wild untameable expression, and that his livid lip
quivered with a feeling of uneasiness which he could ill conceal. The
first ill-looking intruder appeared to be without arms of any kind, but
the other was heavily armed with double-barrelled gun and pistols.

The sudden entrance of these strangers caused great astonishment to
Baxter and the inmates of his hut. He rose hastily, and gazed with
intense bewilderment on the intruders, but whether from mentally
resolving to resign himself to his fate, or intimidated by a certain
movement which the armed man made with his gun, he with apparent
coolness resumed his seat. As for his daughter, who was in the act of
laying cups and saucers on the table, she opened her eyes, her mouth,
and her hand all at the same time, so that two cups and one saucer
fell to the ground and were broken. Edwin, effectually roused from his
gloomy reverie, but without rising from his seat, stared at the new
comers. Mrs. Baxter was not present, having gone out to milk before the
men came in. The scene in the cottage was eminently theatrical, and
formed a very impressive tableau.

"Good evenin'," said the first comer.

"Good evenin'," replied Baxter. "Pick up the pieces, Mary, what the
dickens are you starin' at?"

"Any news?" said the man with the ruffianly countenance.

"What sort of news do you partic'larly require?" said the carrier.

"Why any sort o' news--anythink about the Guv'ner an' the last
hell-fire proclamation? When is the---- ould scorpion-eyed villyan
comin' up to these parts to enquire after my health, and give me a
invite to call upon him at Government House? Anythink about sojers
or constubbles? Where is the sojer-offisher who took Mike Howe to be
hanged for that ere offence agin the laws o' nature and society? When
is ould Ears'ey to be prodded to death with red-hot pitchforks? Seen
any---- sojers or constubbles lately?"

"I don't know nothin' about no sojors or constables," said the carrier;
"if you want em' there's plenty up at Ersey's or down on the township.
What do you come here for disturbin' an honest man's place with your
sojers and constables?"

"I'll tell you that soon," said the first speaker, and turning to his
companion he received from him a pistol, which he immediately cocked.
"The first man that stirs is a dead man. Come forward, Brady, and give
yer captain's message to this here game-cock of a carrier; make him
bleed boy, he's got plenty."

The man thus addressed came forward, and drawing himself up with an air
of importance, said--

"I suppose you know me, Baxter?"

"If your name is Brady, I've heerd tell on you," answered the carrier.

"And you've heard tell of Jim Crawford, too, I suppose?" said Brady.

"Tell him what Jim Crawford said," said he of the hang-dog scowl, who
was known to his comrades by the delicate soubriquet of Hell-fire Jack.

"Leave me to manage the business; I don't want your interference," said
Brady, with severity.

"Yes, I knows Crawford," said Baxter, "and he's not a bad sort of
fellow neither. How does he get his health now? I heerd he wasn't well."

"He's getting better," replied the bushranger, "and it's very kind of
you to enquire about him; he was a little hurt in the last brush with
the Mohawks, and he can't show out yet; but he desired me to tell you,
Captain Dawlish, and Mr. Earlsley, that he'd soon come down again and
exchange a few more civilities with each of you."

"He's very perlite," said Baxter.

"Yes," answered Brady, "politeness is not lost on captains or carriers;
but Jim Crawford has at this present time sent me on a special message
to you, considering that he's a very particular friend of yours, and
that you have a great regard for and are always willing to serve and
oblige him."

"What is the message?" asked Baxter.

"He told me to tell you that he was in great want of money, not having
got any at Earlsley's house; that he understood you were pretty well
in by this time, and got a good price for the last herd of cattle you
sold. He don't trouble his head whether they were stolen cattle or not;
but he sends his compliments to you, and would feel obliged by your
lending him two hundred pounds, for particular purposes, till such time
as he can pay them back without inconvenience."

"He's very considerate," said Baxter. "And what did he say you wus
to do if I told you there wusn't a stiver in the house, barrin' five
Spanish dollars and a few shillins?"

"In that case," said Brady, "I have positive orders to search the
house, and if you hold up your finger, to blow out your brains on the
spot."

"This from a friend?" said Baxter.

"Yes, from Jem Crawford," answered Brady.

"The very words, by the----" (we omit the profane oath), interrupted
Brady's comrade Jack; "come, Brady, and don't be palaverin' with this
boar-constructer, let's throw 'em all on the fire; let's break the
bones in their bodies till they're dead, and then roast em alive."

These last words were spoken in an unnecessarily loud tone; indeed it
immediately struck Edwin that it was the intention of this villain to
attract the attention of somebody outside. Brady angrily told Jack to
be quiet, and not interfere again. "Are you," he said, "the lieutenant,
or am I? Do you think I'm not able to manage these people? Be quiet, I
tell you; another word and I'll find means to gag you."

At this moment Mary Baxter uttered a loud scream, and the bushranger
Brady was suddenly seized by a pair of powerful hands. He attempted
to use his gun, but it went off in the struggle, the ball passing
harmlessly through the roof. The scream and the report brought Mrs.
Baxter from the cow-yard, and she too began to scream violently. The
confusion was at its height; neither Edwin nor Baxter interfered,
further than jumping from their seats and witnessing the conflict.
Brady had been rudely seized and thrown to the ground by the powerful
constable who had disturbed Edwin's slumbers in the barn, while his
feet were tightly held by his comrade, our ferocious friend who had
so valiantly talked about roasting the family alive. The hands of the
astonished outlaw were quickly tied with strong rope, his arms were
taken from him, and he was allowed to assume a sitting posture, while
the triumphant constable recovered his breath and wiped his face. The
crestfallen bushranger regarded his late associate with a terrible
expression of countenance, with a look in which hate, scorn, and the
desire of vengeance were strangely intermingled.

"It is you, then," he exclaimed bitterly, "who have led me into this
trap?"

"Yes," said the other carelessly, "it's done at last, Brady; but you
needn't fret about,--you'll only be hanged; your miserable life will
be ended, you needn't be afraid of heaven or hell, for it's my b'lief
there's neither God nor devil."

"If there's no God," said Brady, "there's a devil, and you are his
vilest imp from Hell--stupid and double-dyed in all sorts of villainy.
But your days are numbered--you think to take the blood-money and
prosper with it; but you'll find yourself mistaken. Crawford himself
would have shot or burned you more than once if it had not been for me.
You are a blood-drinking reptile, Jack, and you'll die the death of a
dog."

The scowling miscreant laughed--and such a laugh--angels on earth with
rosy smiles and white teeth be near and defend us! we shudder.

"I take you to witness, Brady--I take everybody to witness," said the
carrier, "that I know'd nothin' whatsomever about this constable bein'
here. I'd sooner be hanged than touch blood-money; I never did touch
it, and I never will."

"Hush, Tim," said Mrs. Baxter, "be quiet, can't you, you don't know
what scrape they may get you into. How did this constable get upon our
premises, and we did not know it?"

"Never mind, missus," said the constable, "you're all strangers to me,
and I to you, of course, but you know people will talk, and constables
aint deaf. I thought you'd be glad to see me--this gentleman, Mr.
Brady, was talking about blowing your husband's brains out."

"It's a good job he didn't," answered the carrier's wife, "and we're
very thankful to you for preventing him from doing such a thing; but
now as you have got your prisoner take him away, he can't remain
here--will you have a drink of tea, Brady, before you go?"

"It's too late to take the prisoner away," said the constable, "the
night is going to be dark, and I suspect some more of the gang are in
the neighborhood: I demand a lodging in the King's name, and by the
right of law shan't budge an inch."

"Well, constable," interposed the carrier--

"Hush, Tim, I'm going to talk," said Mrs. Baxter.

"Talk," said her husband, "you bang the world for talkin'--sit down
and drink your tea; I'm the master in my own house--I was sayin',
constable, that I'm a dutiful subject of the King's, and minds my own
business and don't interfere with nobody else's, and I say that if you
say that there's a needcessity for this here gentleman, Mr. Brady,
should be kept here all night, I'm bound in course to submit my poor
cottage to the service of the King; but I don't see no needcessity why
that other gentleman with the long hair should stop any longer either
by night or day. He's a respectable sort o' character he is, I'm too
humble a individual to entertain the likes of him, and I now declare
and protest that if he's not out of the house before I count five, I'll
knock his hang-dog eyes into one and double him up like a rotten stick
afterwards."

Baxter accompanied these heroic words with preparations for immediate
action. He took off his coat, turned up his shirt sleeves, and then
stood with his legs apart eyeing the object of his threatened attack,
who returned his stare with the same sneering scowl, and standing in
the same careless attitude he had before assumed. The carrier commenced
counting, and was on the very stroke of five when the constable,
seeing his eye dilate, quietly pushed him back, saying at the same
time half laughingly, half sternly--"Come, Mr. Baxter, we'll have no
more rows--give us the loan of your men's hut for the night and let
the men sleep in the barn; we'll take ourselves off in the morning and
not trouble you any more. I exonerate you from any participation in
my being concealed on your premises. Lend us the hut and give us some
bread and tea, for which provision set down the value thereof, and draw
on the Commissariat chest at pleasure. Jack, have you got your barkers
ready?"

"To be sure I have; why not?" said Jack.

"Watch the prisoner," said the constable; "if he attempts to escape
shoot him; you have your orders."

"Aye, aye," replied Jack.

Baxter acquiesced in the proposed arrangement, and went out to give
orders accordingly. In a short time the hut was ready and the prisoner
and his captors left the cottage. Their supper, cooked by Mrs. Baxter
as speedily as possible, was sent into them, and quietness being now
restored, the carrier's family sat down to tea with their guest.

The capture of Brady, the real though not the nominal chief of
a formidable and desperate gang of robbers, was an event of no
inconsiderable importance, and Baxter was doubtless as much rejoiced at
it as any one else could possibly be; though from motives of prudence,
in case of the bushranger's escape, he avoided committing himself by
any act which might draw down vengeance upon him hereafter. The very
fact of the capture having taken place at his cottage might, he told
Edwin, be productive of the worst consequences. He was glad in fact
that Brady was taken, as what peaceable colonist would not? but he
would have given a hundred pounds if he had been taken somewhere else.
"He didn't want no down on him," he said, "and now there would be a
down and no mistake--the best thing we can do, Missus, is to shut up
shop and be off."

Mrs. Baxter made a reply which was not very complimentary to her
husband's courage, and a matrimonial dispute arose which lasted the
whole of tea time. Mrs. Baxter had a habit of talking too freely, and
administering reproof to her husband, forgetting how much she needed
it herself; a habit which--need we say? is extremely offensive to the
strangers who may happen to be present.

Edwin passed the evening in silence and great mental pain. He wondered
what further deeds of violence he should be called upon to witness,
and thought it a strange country in which a man, let him be ever so
much inclined for peace, would not be permitted to live without war,
and seeing arise on every side these hateful passions to which war
gives birth in the human heart. He had no desire to fly from dangers
to which his relatives at Bremgarten were continually exposed. He
wished on the contrary that he might be allowed to remain near them
so that fortune might possibly give him an opportunity of flying to
their assistance in any time of danger or trouble. But if he did accept
employment in the neighbourhood his motives might be misunderstood,
and instead of receiving any praise for his disinterested kindness, he
might be rewarded in terms of insult or censure. If Maxwell had desired
his presence and assistance, he had had it in his power to secure
them. That his presence in the neighbourhood was not desired he was
reluctantly compelled to admit, and he had no idea of remaining where
the fact of his doing so might cause the slightest uneasiness to his
late friends. He accordingly decided to accompany Baxter on his journey
to the new township of Falmouth on the eastern coast to meet the vessel
which was expected from Hobart Town. Baxter had made preparations for
commencing this journey on the following day. His bullocks were ready
in a secure paddock, his wife's butter, bacon, eggs, and other things
were all packed up. In addition to these he would have to take Edwin's
luggage from Bremgarten, and dairy produce from Clifton Hall. With his
head full of this important business of the morrow he retired to bed
soon after his daughter had removed the tea things, while Edwin slept
not uncomfortably on a wooden bench near the fireplace.

At eight o'clock Baxter started with his team, accompanied by our
wandering hero and a bullock driver. Edwin bade Mrs. Baxter and Mary
good-by, thanking them for their kindness. The first place of call was
Bremgarten, as considering that it was not likely he should ever return
to that fascinating spot, Edwin had decided on taking his property with
him to Hobart Town. He decided to walk quietly along the road, while
the carrier went to the house and took the chests into his charge. It
was a melancholy morning for Edwin. The weather was dull and cloudy,
but the clouds of the sky were not half so gloomy as those which hung
over the mind of our inexperienced traveller. He could scarcely believe
that the ties which had hitherto bound him to the home of Griselda
were severed for ever; that she, the earthly idol of his heart, was
henceforth to be contemplated from an unknown distance--to be regarded
as a stranger; perhaps--oh? shocking thought!--the wife of another. He
wiped the clammy perspiration from his brow and tried to brace up his
nerves to endure any amount of pain which it might please his Father
in Heaven to inflict upon him. The dray rolled tediously along, the
driver cracked his whip, swore at the bullock, and "whistled for want
of thought." Baxter, contrary to his wont, seemed in low spirits, and
walked after the dray dejectedly. In this order they had advanced about
four miles, being about an hour and a half on the road, when a sudden
rustling was heard in the scrub on one side, and a tall man, armed
(always armed men in those times in this part of the world), crept from
the bush and commanded the party to stand.

The carrier glanced at the peremptory stranger, and his face grew as
white as a summer cloud. It was Brady!--the same unscrupulous outlaw
whom he had seen taken the evening before and securely bound in his
men's hut on that very morning. His appearance, so sudden, so utterly
unexpected, and almost supernatural, had an overwhelming effect upon
the poor carrier, whose first thought was of the uncompromising
vengeance of any bushranger who had the slightest reason to suspect
any individual of treachery. He fell at once into a violent tremor;
his knees tottered and bent under him, and finally brought him down
kneeling in the dust.

"Come on one side here--say your prayers, you cowardly scoundrel of a
carrier," said Brady sternly.

"For the love of God, Brady," said Baxter, in most imploring accents,
"don't hurt me. I didn't know nothin', so help me God! about the
constable bein' on the place: if I saw a constable on that day, or ever
gave information to one about you or any one else, may the next bite I
put in my mouth choke me for ever."

"Get me to believe that if you can," said the angry bushranger. "You're
a dog, Baxter, and deserve to die. What's to prevent me now from
riddling your heart?"

"Pray don't hurt him," said Edwin who though considerably startled had
not lost his presence of mind. "Remember his wife and child--besides he
is not to blame, you could not expect him to resist lawful authority
and assist you."

The attention of the robber was now forcibly directed to the speaker;
he turned upon him a haughty and determined look, and said with a
sneer--"Too young to command, yet impatient of control--tell us what
you know about it, Sir, were you aware that the constable was in
concealment?"

This interrogatory was unexpected, but Edwin returned the stare of the
outlaw, and folding his arms deliberately on his breast answered, "I
was."

Brady fell back a couple of paces in feigned excitement--"You were," he
said, "and what was your arrangement with him?"

"I had no arrangement with him," answered Edwin.

"How did you come to know he was on the place?"

The young man recounted the circumstances of the meeting in the barn
already known to the reader.

"Well," said Brady, "I believe I can get the truth out of you; answer
this one question--did this lying hound of a carrier know that the
constable was in concealment on his place?"

Baxter, who had risen from his knees and now leaned against his dray,
here gave a convulsive start, and cast on Edwin a look of intense
interest; his life depended, perhaps, on Herbart's answer.

"Whether he did or did not know it," said Edwin, "I am convinced he
intended you no harm."

"That's no answer," said Brady; "did he know it or not?"

"He knew there was a stranger on the place heavily armed, for I told
him so," replied Edwin.

"Yes," said Baxter, "but how was I to know he was a constable? I never
seed him--I never heard him--I didn't know no more than a child unborn
whether he was a constable or a bushranger! Would you think I'd go
to him to ask the question for to have my interiors blown out at the
barn-door?"

"Baxter," said Brady, "you are a marked man, I'll watch you, and I'd
advise you to mind what you're about. Go on your journey;--but stop,
what of that money I was talking about last night?"

"I haven't got two hundred pounds," replied Baxter, "nor the half of
it; I couldn't raise it neither to please my old mother if she rose
from the grave."

"How much can you raise?" said Brady, "make haste now, and tell the
biggest lie you ever told in your life."

"If I'm worth more nor twenty pound in the whole world, barrin' I sell
my stock, may the ground open and swallow me on the spot, cart and
all," said Baxter.

"Don't include me," said Edwin, smiling in spite of his painful
situation, "give me time to get out of the way."

"Hark ye Baxter," said Brady cautiously approaching and speaking low,
"I'll expect to find under the big rock at the Deadman's corner in
Murderer's Gully, fifty pounds on next Friday night. If the money is
not there we'll know where to go, and if the red-coats and traps are
there we'll know who sent them."

"It's impossible," said the horrified carrier, "I can't do it--I
haven't got it. Come and strip me of everything, burn my house over my
head; for a lot of blood-thirsty savages,--I haven't got it. I have to
work hard for my bread, and when I've earned it away it goes to feed
robbers. I'm a peaceable man and never meddled with you, Brady, and you
ought to leave me alone."

"Hold your tongue you dust-licking, snarling cat," replied the outlaw,
"you son and grandson of liars and hypocrites, hold your false tongue
and remember Friday night."

"I'm going to Falmouth, and won't be back till Monday," said Baxter.

"I'll give you another week," said Brady. "Friday night week, and don't
forget it."

With these words the bushranger shouldered his gun and disappeared in
the forest. Baxter, apparently much relieved, ordered his driver to go
ahead, observing to Edwin, "that a miss was as good as a mile; that
ruffian might have a bullet through his head before Friday night week:
but," he added, stopping suddenly, "we ought to go back and see how the
homestead is left, he may have murdered somebody; will you come?"

"Decidedly, if you wish it," replied Edwin.

"Then, Tom," said the carrier, "stop the bullocks and wait here till I
come or send for you," and back they both trudged.




CHAPTER XXXIII.--A TENDER INTERVIEW.

We will go back with them and explain how it was that Brady was enabled
to make his appearance at large in the woods armed to the teeth as
usual, and to frighten the carrier nearly out of his wits. He had
passed the night as we have seen in Baxter's hut, his hands secured
with a rope, in company with his betrayer and the constable. They were
taking their breakfast when Baxter started on his journey, and when he
had finished his repast the police officer announced his intention of
proceeding to the adjoining village and procuring a suitable escort,
giving his coadjutor at the same time strict injunctions to watch the
prisoner well and not leave him alone for a moment. Brady had refused
his breakfast and had not risen. He complained of cold, and requested
his former friend Jack to throw a rug over him. The unsuspecting Jack,
who condescended to joke with his prisoner now and again, complied with
this request. After a little more chat and a few more jokes, Brady
complained of thirst and begged of Jack to get him a drink of water.
The guard could not refuse this modest request; he was in high spirits,
and loved a joke, so he laid aside his gun and went forth to procure
the cooling draught the prisoner required. His kindness surely deserved
a better return. When he came back Brady stood on the floor, free,
armed and equipped for the bush. He had slipped out of bed and held
his hands over the fire until they were severely scorched and the rope
burned, and his request for water was a mere ruse to get possession of
the gun. The informer came in and found the muzzle of the gun pointed
at his head: a moment more and his brains might be scattered on the
ground: he fell on his knees and begged for mercy for God's sake.

"Fiend of hell!" said the enraged bushranger, "did you not tell me
last night that there was neither God nor devil? Away with you, you
hardened, scowling reprobate--the bullet longs to be in your head, but
my situation saves your cursed life:--beware our next meeting: if it's
fifty years to come I'll be revenged." And without saying another word
he walked away.*


[* I have tortured the incident after the fashion of severists, two
different versions of the same authenticated fact will be found in
West's History, volume II., p. 205, and Benwick's 'Bushrangers,' p. 76.]


The informer when he had recovered from his astonishment and terror
presented himself at the door of the carrier's cottage, and in a
whining tone informed Mrs. Baxter of the turn affairs had unluckily
taken. That good lady immediately banged the door in his face, saying
in a loud and shrill voice that rang through the rafters of her humble
dwelling--"You let him go, you villain, and now you're come to murder
us. Mary, bring the gun, and I'll shoot him through the window." On
hearing this Amazonian clatter, the unpitied but pitiable Jack made a
precipitate retreat and did not trouble the carrier's cottage again.

In the course of another hour Baxter and Edwin made their appearance,
hot and tired after their rapid walk. They were happy to find that no
injury had been done to the inmates of the cottage, and that neither
the informer nor the constable had been murdered. After resting awhile
and partaking of some refreshment they again set out on their journey,
Baxter having previously desired his wife to explain matters as well as
she could to the constable when he should return from the village. She
promised to do so, and the travellers started to overtake the bullock
dray.

"This here is a nice place," said Baxter to his companion; "a man don't
know here when he gets up whether he'll be dead or alive when he goes
for to lie down. A rum place to bring wife and children to, aint it,
Sir."

"For those who love dangers and excitement it is about the best place
in the world," replied Edwin; "but for peaceably disposed men like
myself I confess it seems a little too hot."

"Hot!" said the carrier, vehemently, "it bangs the world for
hotness--Indy itself is a fool to it. The top o' Mount Vesuvius is a
bed o' roses compared to it. Here are these rovin' vagabonds--it was
only the other day they wus up to their chins in salt water and chains
at Macquarie Harbor, and here they are ready to burn everything and
massacree everybody they meets with. If I hadn't a pretty strong stake
in the colony, and didn't expect to make enough in a year or two to
keep me for the rest of my life, I'd sell off every leg o' stock and
stick o' furniture and christen myself Walker before this day month."

"To judge from your age and hardy appearance," said Edwin, "you have
been in worse predicaments before; you could not, as I have heard you
were, have been engaged in the American war without passing through
strange vicissitudes of fortune, and witnessing many scenes of stirring
interest."

"I've been through many ups and downs," answered Baxter, "but then I
wus younger and better able to bear them than I am now. When a man, Mr.
Herbart, gets to the shady side of fifty he begins to long for a little
quietness and peace. I wus not married then, neither, as I am now:
marriage, Sir, if it's the right sort o' marriage, makes a man fond of
his home, and I wus fond o' mine. My wife wus once a good-tempered and
kind-hearted woman, now she is fretful and fidgety; and what changed
her? The dangers of the country. I've seen fifty blacks walk up to my
cottage door, and I've gone out and I've shook hands with them all
round: they used to bring 'possums, and try to make us eat 'em, too,
but now they never comes, and if they does, it's spears and waddies
they brings; and what's the reason? Because these bushrangers and
prisoner stock-keepers have treated them and their wives in the most
cruel manner. The missis thinks we'll be murdered some day. She gets
vexed sometimes, but I saved her from starvin' once, and married her
afterwards. Wives should consider the amount of care and responsibility
their husbands has to stumble under, and not worrit 'em to death
because their own tempers is bad."

"I quite agree with you in that," said Edwin, "but then great
allowances should be made for the ladies: they have their own troubles
and vexations of which we know little or nothing. The disordered
state of the country is of itself almost sufficient to disturb the
tranquillity of anyone's mind. But may I ask under what circumstances
you saved your wife from starving?"

"Yes, I'll tell you. I came to New South Wales in 1788 as part of the
guard of a convict ship, and in two years our provisions was nearly
all gone, for by reason of the ignorance of all on us, both officers
and men, we had no crops, and nothin' was got out of the ground. My
wife wus the daughter of a sergeant, and in a delicate state of health.
We expected a ship with provisions in every day, but she did'nt come.
The rations was reduced to two pounds flour, a pound and a half o'
pork, and a pound o' rice a week for each man and woman--hardly enough
to keep body and soul together. Well, Betsy Jones, my wife though we
were'nt married then, sunk lower and lower every day; she had been ill
before but was recoverin', and for that reason required more food than
other people, and I often used to hear her moanin' and groanin' with
fair hunger; and bein' very fond of her I could'nt abear to hear her
groanin', so I gave her my ration and went out huntin' for such things
as 'possums, kangaroo rats, and the like of them, and Betsy was glad to
take some whenever I brought any home; but I often came home without
nothin' at all, and then had to go and do what the wolves does in
America when they can't overhaul a man or a buffalo."

"What was that?" asked Edwin, much interested in Baxter's narrative.

"The wolves," continued the carrier, "goes into the swamps and fills
their bellies with mud; I used to go down to the rocks and fill mine
with seaweed--it made me precious bad though."

"I should say it would," said Edwin; "and how were you relieved from
such an awful state?"

"I'm goin' to tell you," said the carrier. "We wus all nearly at the
last gasp, the guv'nor had placed a party of men on the South Head with
orders to hoist a flag when a ship appeared in sight, and we strained
our eyes every hour in the day to see if the flag was up, but it never
wus. I've heerd a officer say that whenever he dined with the guv'nor
he always had to carry his bread in his pocket, and the size of it--you
could kick it under a dollar. Then the guv'nor and his visitors used to
toast their pork on forks and catch the drops of fat on their bread or
in saucers of rice, the rice all the time walkin' out o' the saucer and
right bang away over the floor. A ship was sent to China but she was
wrecked on the passage: a prisoner stole some potatoes and wus punished
with three hundred lashes, wus chained for six months to two other
criminals, and had his ration of flour stopped for six months--'twould
have been kinder to have shot him right off. I've heerd thunder rollin'
at a distance and in an instant a hundred voices would roar and scream
'A ship--a ship! A gun from a ship!' But the flag wasn't up, it wus no
ship at all, but the men, women, and children ran about shoutin' and
screamin' at first with joy and then with despair. You never seed such
a lot of starved and miserable wretches, and pray to God that you never
may. For me I used to dream constantly of two shops, a butcher's and a
baker's stuck close together, and I, like a bottle imp, dartin' first
into one, then into 'tother, helpin' myself. Betsy Jones was nearly
dead--nothin' supported her but the flour, she couldn't abear to look
at the rice; but the flour was nearly done, and discipline couldn't be
kept up no longer, when at last one evenin' someone roared out--'The
flag's up--the flag's up!' The effect was astoundin'--the camp that wus
before like a graveyard except for tears and groans, suddenly started
into noise and life. I went out of Sergeant Jones's tent, where I was
at the time, and saw the flag up with my own eyes. I ran back, took
up Betsy in my arms, and carried her out to see the ship roundin'
the Sow and Pigs, and we hadn't to wait long; she hove in sight, and
a beautiful sight she was, with her white sails like the wings of a
blessed angel from Heaven. There was a shout, such as I never heard;
the people danced about, shook hands, and kissed one another for
joy. The vessel wus the Lady Juliana, and she had two hundred and
thirty-five women aboard. There wus no more hunger, Betsy soon got
strong again, and she and I wus married."

"And certainly," said Edwin, "you have had reason to remember your
wedding."

"Aye," said Baxter, "I've had reason to remember it, as you say; but
bless my eyes and heart who are these here?--Mr. Charley Maxwell and
his sister, I'd bet a dump!"

They were in the act of debouching on the main track leading to Fingal,
when a young lady on horseback, accompanied by a youthful cavalier,
advanced to meet them, and was now within ten paces of the spot where
Edwin stood transfixed in dumb and bashful mystification. It was indeed
our fair Griselda mounted upon her father's gig horse. She reined in
her steed when she recognised our hero, and, "blushing like the dawning
of morn," looked as if an unexpected apparition had suddenly risen from
the earth. Recovering herself in a moment she advanced, holding out her
hand and saying, "Edwin--I am surprised--I am very glad to see you--I
hope you are quite well." These words might convey to a stranger the
impression that she cherished a too tender interest in his fortunes;
but she knew that though three times removed he was still her cousin,
and felt that this relationship was a sufficient excuse for her. Edwin
received the proffered hand in both his and kissed it fervently, gloved
as it was. Griselda, blushing a deeper blush than before, quietly
withdrew her hand, which the foolish youth attempted to retain. Charles
now came up and took his place by her side, having alighted from his
horse, and shaking Edwin's hand he said--

"Well, Edwin, what's in the wind now?--where are you off to?"

"To Falmouth, Charles."

"Do you expect a vessel, then?"

"I do."

"And what do you intend to do with your luggage?"

"Baxter will call for it."

The individual here mentioned had proceeded on his way, having first
taken off his hat to Miss Maxwell and said "God bless you, Miss"--his
invariable habit whenever he met her.

"Will it not be better to leave it where it is at present? You might
get a grant of land, you know, somewhere in these parts, and in that
case they would be handy for you," said Charles.

"No, Charles," said Edwin, smiling bitterly, "I expect no grant of
land. I will ask Colonel Arthur for some situation, and if he refuses
me I will leave the country for ever."

"Edwin," said Griselda, "you have acted very unwisely as well as
hastily. I have reason to believe that my father intended to carry
out his promise to you, though perhaps not exactly in the manner you
expected; but now, though you have not gained an enemy, you have lost a
friend. He is a man of very keen sensibilities, and the remembrance of
a slight, however unintentional, sinks deeply into his mind, and makes
a vivid and painful impression."

"If I have done wrong, Griselda," answered Edwin, "I am ready to pay
the penalty of the error: reproaches from your lips are daggers to my
heart;--you speak of slights, have I suffered none? If your father is
a man of keen sensibilities, am I an impenetrable, unimpressible rock?
Ah! Griselda, do not blame me, unless indeed your imagination can
place you in my position: if it can, and you still condemn me, I will
yield--I am a fool, and worse than a fool."

"Oh, Edwin!" said the fair maiden, her tears beginning to follow each
other down her cheeks, "do not use this language; you are not certainly
a fool, and my father does not think so. I do not blame you--I do not
reproach you. You have taken a decided step, and God directs the steps
of the true and the brave. As a relative I shall always pray for your
welfare and happiness; and do not, I pray you, make yourself unhappy by
indulging in reflections arising from the remembrance of days gone by
never to return."

"Father thinks you were very foolish to send back the money," said
Charles.

"I do not despise money," said Edwin; "it is as necessary as bread in
this world, for they who do not possess the one have little chance
of obtaining the other. I did not refuse it with the intention of
insulting your father,--on the contrary, I would gladly have accepted
it if it had been accompanied by even one kind word."

"You have been too precipitate, Edwin," said Griselda; "your sudden
flight without any apparent provocation has had the natural effect of
offending my father,--indeed my mother, also, is very much grieved and
displeased at it."

"I am sorry," replied the youth, "that she is displeased, I could throw
myself at her feet and ask her forgiveness. The provocation at the
tea-table was not certainly sufficient to justify my course of conduct,
at least in the eyes of any person a stranger to my feelings. Do you
think, Griselda, that my resolution to depart was as suddenly taken
as it was hastily executed? No, it was conceived long ago; I could
not be indifferent to the silent jealousy which withered every green
leaf in my existence. It was rendered necessary by thoughts and hopes
presumptuous and vain from which I cannot fly, and which have burned in
my heart for years."

Griselda, who could not pretend to misunderstand the meaning of this
last sentimental innuendo, turned her lead away as if to conceal her
blushes, but it was in reality to hide her tears. She certainly did
cry, the silly thing, for she herself told us all about it afterwards.
These tears, or "waterworks," as the piquant and talented author of
"Vanity Fair" calls them, are very powerful arguments in the hands (or
eyes) of the gentle sex, as every man, who is a man, knows or must
find out some day to his cost. There are a few, to be sure, who are
not to be moved by these or any other arguments short of a thrust of
cold steel; but we do not hesitate to say, 'Away with those monsters
who can exclaim,' "What! crying again: upon my honor, Angelina, your
tears will not avail you much;" and "Dang my bones if I don't give
un zummut to help un to stop up that pipe." But though so powerful
and convenient, we would advise our fair friends to resort to them as
seldom as possible--to keep them, in fact, as the very last and most to
be depended upon of all resources, or else their astonishing effects
will soon diminish and finally disappear.

We say that Griselda wept and turned away her head; if we said that
Edwin wept too, having caught the infection, that he pulled out his
handkerchief and pressed it to his eyes we should scarcely expect to be
believed. Yet we have a slight suspicion of the real state of the case
when we hear Charles exclaim--

"Why Edwin, I am surprised at you, I thought you had more sterling
sense; 'pon my honor, I would not have believed it if Baxter himself
had told me he saw you crying. For shame man. And you, too, Griselda!
I'd have you to know that in consenting to be a party to this
accidental interview I did not bargain for this display of sentimental
romance. Edwin, I should be very sorry to say a word to give you pain,
but I hope you will consider my sister's peculiar position, and make
use of no more impassioned words."

"I beg your sister's pardon, and yours young Sir," said Edwin drawing
himself up; "I have not forgotten that I am a beggar and a fugitive.
Farewell Griselda, may the good God bless you my sweet cousin; I am
happy in that relationship, though so distant. In future years when you
are bound by dearer and stronger ties, when the world with its cares
and sorrows shall blanch your cheek and turn your hair to silver--think
sometimes of the Edwin you had known in your youth, and remember him
with a sister's love."

"With a sister's love indeed, Edwin, I shall always remember you." So
saying the maiden presented her hand and leaned forward (accidentally)
until her face approached that of her cousin; he pressed his lips to
hers--another fervent "God bless you," and "good-by," another kiss and
pressure of hands, and she urged her horse from the spot.

Before Edwin parted with Charles he advised him to get home as soon as
possible, as Brady the famous bushranger was in the forest; relating
briefly the events of his capture and escape. Charles thanked him and
promised to profit by the information.




CHAPTER XXXIV.--A GLOOMY JOURNEY.

Edwin and Baxter pursued their journey without further interruption.
The boxes belonging to the former were carefully packed in the
carrier's dray, as Edwin did not appear to have sufficient courage
to visit Maxwell's residence again. As it was an object of intense
interest to him, however, he gazed long and earnestly at it with
that feeling of melancholy regret which arises when we have to force
ourselves away from a house where happy days have once been spent. He
sauntered slowly along the road until overtaken by the carrier, and the
two walked on together conversing on divers subjects as the best means
of beguiling the time and shortening the way.

They approached the picturesque village of Fingal, where a strong
party of prisoners were employed in constructing a road to the Eastern
Coast, over which the stern Earlsley held magisterial supervision. At
any other time Edwin would have been highly delighted with the scenery
of this pretty village and the dark hills by which it is surrounded.
In fact he had seen and admired the rough beauty of this part of the
island under happier circumstances, when his mind was not oppressed
with reflections of deep and solemn gloom. The weight on his mind was
not lessened by the dark and threatening appearance of the sky, which
was overcast with black, heavy clouds. It the distance a confused
rumbling sound, resembling the mighty roar of a vast cataract, could
be distinctly heard. Edwin thought it was thunder, but Baxter told
him it was caused by the wind rising in a tempest on the Ben Lomond
Tiers, and sweeping amongst the great forests lying around them in
every direction. Edwin had never yet witnessed a great thunderstorm,
properly so called, in Tasmania, and we do not think he had any very
great desire to do so: certainly he had no wish to be caught in one,
with only the forest trees for his canopy. It is rather fortunate for
this island that elemental war of all kinds is comparatively rare.
Earthquakes are unknown, or were in former times, but recently an
occasional rumbling felt in distant places would seem to warn us that
we must no longer pride ourselves upon our immunity from them. Burning
mountains have to all appearance exhausted their fuel long ago, perhaps
before the first novelist put his pen to paper and succeeded in turning
the heads of romantic young ladies, and offending the dignity of sedate
and philosophical old gentlemen. Thunder-storms are not frequent and
scarcely ever do any damage. There are floods sometimes and bush fires,
as we have seen and felt; but all other sources of danger and calamity
seem to have been knocked on the head by some powerful agency. Would
it not be also fortunate for Tasmania if that ugly and unnatural
child, political war, so lately born and so difficult to educate,
were knocked on the head, too, by way of example to all other unruly
children!

"This here part of the country," said Baxter, "used to be the quietest
in the island; now it's the most disturbedest part you ever seen. These
bushrangin' blackguards has taken up their quarters in Ben Lomond,
and it'll take a long time to root 'em out. They come with their guns
and bay'nets and frightens people out of their wits, so that a fellow
is afeared to say a word to a soldier or a constable; if you're seen
talkin' to a soldier it'll be booked against you for the rest o' your
life. If a constable or a pair of handcuffs is found in your house,
your premises is riddled with bullets, your barns and standin' corn
burnt, and you yourself, if they lay hands on you, tied to a tree and
flogged to death with sweet-briar twigs."

"You don't mean to say," said Edwin, "that they are bad enough to do
such things?"

"Bad enough!" replied Baxter. "You don't suppose that men whose feelins
has been cut out o' them long ago, and who don't care the fortieth part
of a farthing for God or man, is a goin' to stand nice about what they
does when they has the power. There's a man in Crawford's gang now,
named Mick Dunne, and what do you think they say he did once? He fell
in with a poor native and his gin; the woman he thought would make him
a useful housekeeper in the mountains, but he didn't want the man, so
he shot him then and there. The woman cried, and wouldn't leave her
husband's dead body. Dunn cut off his head, made a lashin fast to it,
and hung it round her neck as sailors does their marline-spikes, and
then he pushed her before him with the point of his knife."

"Is it possible," said Edwin, "that our civilized England could send
forth such a wretch?"

"Possible!" said the carrier, "and why not? What is human natur' when
you come to examine it? What is a man who is not edicated? A Dunne--a
Jeffries. What is a man who is edicated in nine cases out of ten? A
rich rascal, unfeelin' selfish toad, bloated up with money and land,
who frets more about the loss of a pound than he would if he saw fifty
poor people sufferin' the last pangs of hunger. What does civilized
England do with her money? Supports high officers o' state, who live
in luxury, ride about in chariots, and keep grand houses full of rich
furnitur', and powdered flunkies to dance about after 'em! And what
does she do with all the ragged brats that's born in dens reeking with
pisoned air, and rolls about all day long in gutters and kennels,
swarmin' round a band o' music like flies round a empty beer-bottle?
What does the poor hard-working people get, that's taxed over head
and ears, and can hardly sleep o' nights for thinkin' how they are to
provide for their families? A dooced sight more kicks nor ha'pence.
What I want to know is, why can't great people and rich people be
contented with less? Is not five thousand a year enough for any man,
and would not the rest, properly divided, clothe and edicate a few
hundred poor children, and relieve scores of poor distressed sinful
women?"

"You touch," said Edwin, "on a very delicate subject, Baxter, and the
same complaints may have been made since the days of Abraham. A great
poet has said--


Kill a man's family, and he may brook it,
But keep your hands out of his breeches pocket.


And a man best consults his own safety and reputation by letting great
people alone. You and I are responsible to Heaven for our own sins and
not for those of the English government. It does not trouble me much
what England does with her money; but how I am to get a living for
myself does trouble me a great deal. For the present I am determined
not to interfere in matters of which to confess the truth I understand
but little, and would recommend all aspiring amateur politicians to do
the same."

"Supposin' everybody in England and the noospapers as well took it as
easy as you do sir," said Baxter, "what a fine scramble there would be
for the good things goin'. Poor people, taxed and taxed, and groin'
poorer; rich people as feed on the public, groin' richer and richer
and fatter and fatter. His Royal Highness the Duke of Bridgewatershire
couldn't save nothin' out of £60,000 a year when he had it: he's a
amiable man, and the hard workin' people must pay for his keep. He
gives a good deal away in charity. He don't see no company; he don't
live like a prince, nor drink no wine. He dies, but he don't leave
nothin' behind him to sons or brothers or nevays that's been prayin'
for his death for years; in course not; he's a poor man an' always was."

"It is quite true," said Edwin, "that the people of England are heavily
taxed to support the enormous burdens of church and state, made
awfully enormous indeed through the liberality of those who hold the
public purse. The church has extensive property of her own from which
large revenues are derived; and church rates, I believe, are levied
to build new churches and keep old ones in repair. I do not approve
of exorbitantly paid functionaries myself, and think it a humiliating
sight to see one family living in splendour in a palace, and a hundred
families in the immediate neighbourhood in rags, starvation, and filth.
Sinecurists who never did anything to serve their country or mankind,
who do not work for the salaries they draw from the state, who have
never added anything to the riches of literature, and who would not be
missed from society at any time, I look upon to be vampires who suck
the best blood of this nation. I agree with you in thinking that many
an unfortunate wretch might have been saved from crime and premature
death if he had been properly educated. Education may lessen crime, but
it is nonsense to suppose that crime will ever be totally uprooted by
it, however careful the schoolmasters may be."

"And I agrees with you sir," said Baxter, "on the other part o' the
indictment. I could hang the scoundrels that taxes the hard workin'
people to the tune of millions, and squanders away thousands to support
a body of fat idlers, and keep 'em in pomp and luxury for no other
reason whatsoever than that the dignity of the church and state must
be upheld. These idlers need'nt starve neither; cut 'em down fifty
per cent. except the small ones. If I was St. Paul I'd a wrote in
the epistle to the Romans--'If any bishop, priest, parson, or other
delinquent * o' the church, ever presumes to receive more than a
thousand a year for wages let him suffer death.'"


[* We suppose Buster meant to say 'dignitary.']


"Baxter," said Edwin, "you must not trifle with the name of St. Paul,
or think for a moment that you or I, or any other person, can improve
upon the sacred Scriptures. They are inspired writings and perfect in
themselves; 'Jest not with sacred truths.'"

"I'm not a jestin' with the Bible," answered Baxter, "I'd be very sorry
for to do it; but I'd like to know what wages St. Paul had, or St.
Peter, or St. John? Did our blessed Saviour live in pomp and luxury on
ten thousand a year when he wus in the world?"

"No," replied his fellow traveller, "He did not. He was otherwise
employed, and His reward was accorded by the world in disgrace and a
painful death."

Here a pause ensued, and both proceeded for some time in silence. At
length Edwin said--"Did you not say you had to go to Mr. Earlsleys for
some butter?"

"Yes I did," answered the carrier, "we will soon come to his gate.
I don't know whether to tell Ersey about Brady or not; a man don't
know what to do or to say these times. If I opens my lips about him,
down he comes with Crawford and McCabe and Dunne and the rest o' the
gang, and good-by to Tim Baxter, wife, daughter and all; then if I
don't say nothin' about him and it gets of to Ersey's ears as it's
sure to do, down goes a dispatch to Guv'nor Arthur accusin' me of
fraternisin' with bushrangers, and up comes another, to be read to me
at the poliss office afore such sneerin' and grinnin' varmint as Bill
Jinkins; somethin' like this--'You we'll make it your special dooty to
inform the licensed carrier Timothy Baxter, that the Lieutenant-Guv'nor
has heerd with feelins of sublime indignation of his backwardness in
reportin' the visit of the bushranger to his cottage on the evenin'
of so and so to the proper authorities. Timothy Baxter may rely upon
it that should this conduct be again brought under the notice of
the Lieutenant-Guv'nor, his (that's my) license will be immediately
cancelled, his grant of land resumed, and his 'signed servants
withdrawn. The Lieutenant-Guv'nor denounces in the most emphatical
manner the miserable fear of personal danger, and despises every man
who don't despise the empty threats of bushrangers, howsever heavily
armed and desperate. Guv from our easy chair, surrounded by special
constables and soldiers in Guv'ment House, Hobart Town, this so and so.
George Arthur, Lieutenant-Guv'nor.' What would you think of that, Sir?"

"I would think it a hard case," replied Edwin laughing at Baxter's
humor, "but I would advise you to give the proper information to the
authorities and trust to Providence for the result."

"Then in course," said Baxter, "you'll insure my safe passage to Heaven
when my brains is blowed out?"

"That I think you can hardly expect," said Edwin, "as I cannot insure
my own safe passage, but I would advise you to give the information
notwithstanding. The bushrangers may never visit you again, and you
will thus screen yourself from the wrath of the Hobart Town potentate,
who is we all know exceedingly despotic."

"What would you think now of giving the information yourself in a quiet
way?" said Baxter, in a confidential whisper, "if Ersey don't hear it
from either you or me he'll play up all top ropes. The constable that
took Brady will tell his story in course, but it may be midnight before
Ersey knows it, and when he does know it he'll send off soldiers and
constables and make such a fluster about it that the very gullies will
ring blue murder for a fortnight."

"I have no objection in the world to give the information," said Edwin,
"but I did not intend calling on Mr. Earlsley in my present condition;
however if you particularly wish it I will go and put him in possession
of the facts, but as fair as I can see the bushrangers will suspect you
all the same."

"Yes they may," said Baxter, "and that's just the reason why I wants
you to do it, because Brady seed you with me and you goes away safe to
Hobart Town, where they can't hurt a hair o' your head. Very well--they
comes to my place to be revenged, and says, 'You snivelin' hound of a
carrier, you guv information to the beak abou' us; say your prayers in
five minutes.' Wel then I'll be able to tell 'em with truth that it was
you as guv the information, in spite of all I could do to get you not
to say nothin' about it."

"That won't be truth," said Edwin.

"Not so far from it," said the carrier, "these fellows needn't know
everything, and conscience mustn't kick up no row."

Edwin was silent, thinking it useless to try to convince Baxter of the
advantages of truth over falsehood.

They now approached the residence of Arthur Earlsley, Esq., J.P. That
potent official happening to be at home, issued from his private
sanctum when he received Edwin's message desiring to see him on
important business. Earlsley tendered his hand to Edwin, requested him
to walk in, and asked him to partake of refreshment, as it was now
past noon. Our hero declined with thanks, and informed the magistrate
that unforeseen circumstances had compelled him to leave Mr. Maxwell's
residence, and that he was now on his way to the capital to obtain
if possible a situation under the government, or suitable employment
in any capacity, it did not matter much whether public or private.
Would Mr. Earlsley--being intimate with the Lieutenant-Governor--be so
good as to favor him with a short letter, only a line or two, stating
that he knew the bearer, and considered him capable of filling any
respectable situation his Excellency might please to appoint him to,
and he (Herbart) would consider himself under a very great obligation.
On hearing this unexpected news and the request with which it was
accompanied, Earlsley looked at Edwin with a keen inquiring glance,
as much as to say--"So you have been misconducting yourself, my
gentleman;" but after a pause (having apparently satisfied himself from
the look of straightforward integrity which appeared in Edwin's face,
that his hasty suspicion was unfounded) he said--"I will do what you
require, Mr. Herbart, with pleasure; but I shall be very happy, that
is if I am correct in supposing that you and Mr. Maxwell have had a
difference, to do what I can in the way of mediation."'

Herbart thanked Mr. Earlsley, and was happy to acquaint him that he had
had no difference of any importance with his relative, Mr. Maxwell. He
was actuated only by motives arising from the love of independence.
Mr. Earlsley was too well acquainted with the world not to be aware
that the position he (Herbart) had hitherto occupied--namely, that of
an assistant whose assistance did not seem to be wanted--was of all
others the most distressing. Earlsley replied that he certainly could
form an idea or two on the subject. He was not at all surprised, quite
the reverse, expected something of the kind, and so on. Edwin then gave
the magistrate all the information he was possessed of respecting the
remarkable occurrences that took place at the carrier's cottage--the
arrest of Brady, his extraordinary escape, the meeting in the wood, and
other matters. When he had concluded the worthy dispenser of justice
struck his desk violently with his clenched hand, and thundered out
emphatically, "It was my plan, Sir, and------ the scoundrels, why
didn't they keep him when they had him? I'll stake my reputation
that Brady will be a terror to the colony for years to come; I know
him well--a more determined blackguard does not exist." Boiling with
rage, the disappointed Earlsley walked up and down his office with
hasty strides, ejaculating, "The------ scoundrels!--the infernal
villains!--the ignorant and careless ruffians!" and a great many more
wrathful sentences, until at length his paroxysm partially subsiding,
he settled down in his chair and commenced his note to Colonel Arthur
on Herbart's behalf.

The note in question ran thus:--


[Private.]

Clifton Hall,
Fingal.

My Dear Colonel,

I am requested by the bearer, Mr. Edwin Herbart, to write these few
lines introducing him to your favorable consideration. He is the young
man who came in the dead of night and released myself and family, the
guard having bean surprised and overpowered by the bushrangers under
Crawford and Brady on the 17th ult. He is anxious for a situation under
your Government, and I believe he will be found (should you think
proper to give him an appointment) a trustworthy public servant. He
has thought proper to leave the residence of his relative, Mr. Bernard
Maxwell, of Bremgarten, for reasons to which I am a total stranger.

You will receive, my dear Colonel, in due course of post, an official
account of the capture of the bushranger Brady by the notorious
Circular Head thief-taker, Jorgen Jorgensen. It is my painful duty
to report that this individual seems to have forgotten his duty,
inasmuch as he left the prisoner with but one guard, and he a careless
wretched informer, while he himself went to Avoca for an escort. The
consequences might have been foreseen. Brady burned the rope with which
his hands were tied, and overpowered his sentinel, threatened him with
certain death in case they should ever meet again, and is, I grieve
to say, once more at large. Mr. Herbart informs me that he witnessed
the capture,--also an extraordinary interview between Brady and the
carrier Baxter an hour after the former had effected his escape,
wherein the bushranger threatened the carrier with death. My informant
adds that Baxter was not at all to blame in any of this above-mentioned
transactions. In other respects the district is tolerably quiet.

I have the honor to be,

My dear Colonel,

Yours very sincerely,

ARTHUR EARLSLEY.


Colonel Arthur,
Lieutenant-Governor, &c., &c., &c.


After carefully depositing this missive in his breast-pocket, Edwin,
declining a second offer of refreshment, took his leave, not forgetting
to request that Mr. Earlsley would be good enough to present his
(Herbart's) best respects to the ladies. The magistrate made a polite
reply, and saw his visitor to the door.

Five or six miles more of our travellers' journey were passed before
nightfall. Baxter having previously made his calculations, drew up
before a roadside hovel which answered the purpose of an inn, although
the proprietor had no license to sell intoxicating drinks. It is
indispensable, we suppose, that a great government should authorise
the sale of intoxicating drinks to the hard-working bones and sinews
of the nation, on purpose to keep their idle moments employed. But
intoxicating drink is a great instrument in the hands of the devil. It
stultifies man's noblest faculties, sears the conscience, engenders
crimes of deepest dye and diseases of loathesome complexion. Dost thou
hear, great mother Britannia, the words thou speakest to thy loving
children?--"Whether you remain at home or go forth to my distant
possessions you will find establishments licensed by me, where is sold
almost unchecked and without limit to all who are willing to purchase,
the fiery fluid that will scorch your brains and put an end to your
lives in want, misery, and filth. My dear children, the temptation will
assail you at every corner--drink freely and get drunk, but if you
commit crimes I will punish you just as if you had been sober, and if
you have not the strength of mind to resist the temptation, and come to
rags and want, I will not assist you." And thus is the detestable vice
of drunkenness fostered by the most civilised government in the world,
a horrible enthralment of which even the savages of New Zealand are
perfectly ashamed.*


[* Colonel Mundy's "Our Antipodes."]


There resided in this hovel a man of rough exterior, a gaunt, raw-boned
woman, and two poor dirty children. After supper the rum bottle was
passed freely round. Edwin declined partaking of its contents, but
could not avoid listening to a conversation by no means edifying,
and devoutly wished himself in any other place. When bed time came
the hostess threw a couple of blankets and an opossum rug to the
travellers, telling them to do the best they could, and retired with
her mate. Edwin, on the recommendation of Baxter, who was now rather
mellow and very uproarious, wrapped himself up in the rug and lying
down in a corner was soon asleep. The carrier and his man, provided
with a blanket each, likewise fell off into sound slumber.

The morning came and the gloomy journey was resumed. The weather
was still unsettled and lowering. The wind blew in a strong gale
from the northward, while over the earth dense masses of dark clouds
drifted sullenly, low enough to touch the topmost boughs of the tall
forest trees which seemed to increase in number and in size as the
travellers penetrated onward. They passed through some grassy tracks
which Baxter called the Break o' Day Plains, still known by the same
appellation. A river was crossed by a large wooden bridge constructed
by convict labour. The village of Cullenswood, which could only boast
of two or three little huts covered with stringy bark was reached, and
some refreshments were obtained. The road now lay through a forest
increasing in dark and mazy impenetrability, for trees of large size
stood on both sides of the way as thick as they could well stand with
convenience to themselves. Gloomy, cold, and inhospitable appeared this
terrible forest: dark and dismal to the sight--darker and more dismal
still to the imagination of him who could fancy himself lost within its
trackless labyrinths. Scarcely a blade of grass except of the coarsest
kind was to be seen amongst the fragments of stone out of which the
gigantic trees grew and flourished.

An occasional crew is the only living thing to be seen or heard here,
and even he could not be supposed to gain his livelihood in such a
barren region as this. He has been, doubtless, to the sea-side for a
change of air, and is now making his way back to the midland plains,
to refresh himself with a tender young lamb. Sensible crow! let thy
flight be speedy, and thy beak sharp. Well may you wonder, Edwin, what
can bring even a crow to such a place. As they travel on the forest
becomes denser, the clouds grow blacker. The tempest rises and sweeps
along in fierce gusts. Like the artillery of a great modern battle, the
lightning flashes, throwing a strong illumination around, even in the
light of day; the thunder bursts with a sudden roar, and the long pent
up rain, let loose at last, comes gushing to the ground in torrents.

It was in vain that Baxter, seconded by his assistant, tried to urge on
the weary cattle. Scared by the thunder, and bewildered by the fury of
the tempest, the leaders, refusing to be controlled any longer by their
driver, turned round, and buried their heads under the belly of the
off-side pole bullock, which position they could not be prevailed upon
to abandon. The deafening peals of thunder became louder, following
each other in quick succession, and resounding through the impervious
woods with awful and mysterious solemnity. The rain increased to such
a volume that in the space of an hour the road became the bed of a
considerable river. Boughs of great size were torn from the trees and
hurled along scores of yards by the raging gale, and in some instances
the trees themselves were wrenched from their rocky foundations, and
levelled to the earth with fearful crashes. There was no clear space
where the terrified wayfarers could find safety. The heavy branches
loaded with green leaves and water, swayed to and fro with alarming
sounds above their heads. They got under the dray and huddled together,
just as the bullocks had done, up to their knees in a stream of liquid
mud, while Edwin audibly commended his companions and himself to the
care of their Heavenly Father. If one single tree at their windward
side, or even if a bough of more than usual size fell on the dray, it
would have crushed it to pieces, and no more could be told of Edwin or
of Baxter.

In the course of another hour this paroxysm of passion on the part of
the elements exhausted itself. Some fearful commotion had raged in
Dame Nature's breast, but now she condescended, if not to dry her eyes
altogether, at least to behove herself less frantically than before.
Her thunders receded to a distance; her lightnings were less vivid, and
she became comparatively quiet. What awe in thoughtful minds does she
not inspire by her wrath; and how great are the feelings of relief and
pleasure when that wrath has harmlessly spent itself and is succeeded
by a calm?




CHAPTER XXXV.--A ROAD PARTY STATION OF OLDEN TIME.

"Now then, come out o' that, Boxer, Drummer, bring your heads out o'
that an' come huther (crack, crack), gee up, ye villyans, an' get to
the station afore its dark. Come huther, I tell 'ee--shoutin' to ye
till I'm hoarse (crack, crack goes the whip, whist go the bullocks'
tails, and onward goes the dray, splash, splash through the yellow
streams, on, on before the little bit of daylight that is left fades
away into the blackness of a coal-pit). Gee up, ye infernal lot o'
midnight trampin' rogues an' vagabones. Halloa, master, death an'
thunder, here's a rum go--whoa, back, whoa!--look here, master."

The carrier, in obedience to this summons, came to the front, and saw
with dismay that an enormous tree had been blown down right across
the track, putting an effectual stop to his further progress until
the impediment could be removed by the axe. To get round at either
side was impossible, and to clear away the obstruction would require
at least four hours of unremitting labor. He saw at once that he must
remain where he was for that night, and with his usual gaity of spirits
surveyed the untoward aspect of affairs with the best grace he could
assume. But Edwin felt this new disappointment severely. He had not,
like Baxter, spent fifty years in scrambling for a livelihood anywhere
and by whatever means he could; he was a stranger to the mysteries of
roughing it in the wild bush, and felt no pleasure in encountering
difficulties under such circumstances as these. His was a tender,
almost an effeminate disposition. He had been reared in the hip of
comparative wealth and luxury, and now felt more bitterly than ever the
hardship of his lot. He had hoped on reaching the station that night
to be able to procure a dry blanket from some sympathizing individual
wherein to wrap himself while his wet clothes were being dried by
the hospitable fire; now he had to turn in under Baxter's tarpaulin
and sleep, if he could, with visions of rheumatism, toothache, and a
thousand other "ills that flesh is heir to" floating before him. The
bullocks were taken from the dray and allowed to eat the leaves of
the fallen tree, which they did with a relish imparted only by gaunt
hunger, although it was a kind of forage at which at any other time the
dainty animals would have turned up their noses. They were not unyoked,
however, for in that case they would have followed the example of the
crow already alluded to, and been many miles away before morning. Who
could blame them, poor fellows?

During the night the wind blew with great violence, and the crashes of
falling trees were listened to with great terror by the occupants of
the bullock dray, who lay huddled up together under the tarpaulin, not
knowing the moment when they might be crushed to pieces. They did not
suffer from the want of creature comforts, having made a hearty supper
of damper and cold beef which Baxter had brought with him. A pannican
of hot tea would have been a great luxury to Edwin, but to light a fire
was an absolute impossibility. To compensate for this desideratum
he was persuaded to take half a pint of rum and water, recommended by
Baxter as an unfailing remedy in all cases of "damp, sudden shiverin',
and lowness of sperits." Edwin found that it warmed his blood, and
raised for the time being his sinking heart, and for some time he lay
listening to the moaning of the wind and the rush of the waters under
the dray. The sounds acted like music on his senses. Hundreds of wild
and scattered ideas wandered through his mind in a struggling, confused
mass, leading from one strange scene to another, and merging at last
into a glorious sunshine expanding over a woody glen, through which a
clear rivulet bubbled amongst countless "rainbow colored" shells. The
vision then faded into the blackness of night and a dreamless slumber.

As soon as daylight appeared Baxter got out of his nest, raised up his
man, and both set to work to clear away the branches of the fallen
tree, in which labor they were assisted by Edwin after he had stretched
his stiffened limbs and sent the chilled blood more freely through his
veins by a rapid walk to and fro' along the muddy track. The carrier
had brought an axe in his dray, he being too old a bushman to go any
long journey without one, and it was kept going cheerfully by the three
in turns, those who were not so engaged walking along the road and
removing branches and other impediments. The sky was now clear after
the violent thunder storm, but the wind was still high, and rendered
travelling through the forest extremely unsafe. However, they were now
near the end of their journey, and it was just as unsafe to go back as
to go forward. The carrier tried to light a fire, but no dry leaves
or twigs being to be had, his efforts were vain. His very tinder,
snugly encased in a brass box, was damp, so that if a single spark took
effect upon it the fiery speck would immediately expire in a gossamer
streak of blue smoke The gun which he carried in order to intimidate
the natives in case any of them should be encountered was useless,
having got wet, and would require to be cleaned before it could be of
any service. After two hours' labor the party sat down to breakfast
on their damper, beef, and water seasoned with rum. The cattle were
allowed to grub for themselves, their operations somewhat impeded by
the chains by which they were secured in couples to different trees,
this treatment being rendered necessary by the nature of the ground,
as if they were allowed to wander for fifty yards they might have been
lost for ever.

About three hours after breakfast the road was pronounced passable, and
the travellers proceeded on their journey. They met with a few more
impediments, but none of a serious nature, and at two o'clock arrived
at the Government station at Saint Mary's Pass, safe but scarcely
sound. Here the carrier decided to remain till next day, as it was too
late to descend the Pass, and the men and bullocks required rest and
refreshment. There was an enclosed piece of ground, whereon coarse
grass grew, though not in great abundance, into which the cattle (with
the permission of the Superintendent) were turned. Edwin was then
introduced by Baxter to a curious looking, stoutish, authoritative
individual rejoicing in the name of Benjamin Buffer, as a gentleman on
his way to Hobart Town with letters of importance to his Excellency the
Guv'nor. Mr. Buffer surveyed Edwin's person from head to foot with some
deliberation, and then pointing with his finger to a little slab hut
not far off invited him to walk into his quarters.

These quarters were hardly so worthy of Mr. Buffer as he was of them.
They consisted of a slab hut divided into two small apartments with a
diminutive kitchen at the back, in which a personage in grey, with the
letters S. M. P.* and figures 122 in white paint upon the back of his
jacket, officiated as cook and housekeeper.


[* St. Mary's Pass. The figures denoted the station number of the
individual in question.]


The interior walls were plastered with mud, and this covered
carefully with strong and thick whitewash give a refreshing smell,
as well as a cheerfully cool appearance to the sitting-room. Mr.
Buffer was a gentleman of some importance at St Mary's Pass. He was
the assistant-superintendent or major-domo of the establishment,
immediately subordinate to nobody except Horatio Fitzfrizzle, Esq.,
the chief superintendent, who, being a man of gentlemanly tastes and
retired habits, and moreover being always engaged in watching through
his overseers the discipline of the men under his charge, did not
interfere with Mr. Buffer or his department. Mr. Buffer was a plethoric
individual, with a reddish face, greenish grey mackerel eyes, a short
neck, short arms, thick coarse hands, and a rolling gait. He could
read, write, and count up a little with the assistance of his fingers;
and his official notes to his chief were quite unique gems of English
composition. He was nevertheless the son of a gentleman, as Horatio
Fitzfrizzle, Esq., often took occasion to explain to the men whenever
Mr. Buffer complained of their disrespect. To acknowledge Mr. Buffer
to be himself a gentleman would no doubt have deprived the hat of
Horatio Fitzfrizzle, Esq., of a whole tuft of feathers at once. And
when the Superintendent, at the close of an eloquent address, informed
his attentive auditors for the hundred and fiftieth time that Mr.
Buffer was the chief subordinate officer, and the son of a gentleman,
and should be supported in the execution of his dooty, the men laughed
very heartily in their grey jacket sleeves, and Mr. Buffer himself
invariably turned to his friend and adviser Mr. Phoebus Cowslip, the
storekeeper, slowly winking one of the mackerel eyes and spreading out
his hands behind him in feeble imitation of it peacock's fan, giving
utterance at the same time to an extraordinary guttural grunt, but
maintaining a face of such solemn gravity that one might have fancied
the fate of Britain was hanging in the balance in his thoughts.

"Walk into, my quarters," said Mr. Buffer slowly, and opening the door
he walked in first himself to show the way. Edwin followed, glad to get
under a roof again however humble.

"Curious kind of weather this," said Mr. Buffer, looking apoplectically
at Edwin as the latter drew up his chair close to the nearly empty
fireplace; "get wet last night?"

"We all got wet," answered Edwin, "and nearly perished to death with
cold; my limbs would be rigid if I had not walked all the morning."

"Potter!" said Mr. Buffer addressing himself to the mantel-shelf.

"Sir!" said a hoarse voice in the kitchen.

"Bring in some wood, Potter."

"Yes, Sir."

A roaring fire soon blazed on the hearth, a cheering sight to our
weather-beaten traveller: the crackling of the fresh logs sounded
pleasantly in his ears, and he prepared himself to enjoy the good
things of the world as they came within his reach. As sitting in wet
boots and stockings, to say nothing of his other garments, was not very
comfortable, he requested Mr. Buffer's permission to take them off
in order to dry his cold feet. That gentleman nodding acquiescence,
drew from the recesses of a corner cupboard a long pipe, and prepared
himself for the enjoyment of a whiff of the true Virginian weed. He
leaned back in his chair, closed the mackerel eyes, and emitted the
fragrant smoke in dense volumes from the corners of his capacious
mouth. On the first occasion he had to withdraw his pipe, he turned to
his guest and opening his eyes half-way, said--"Had dinner?" then shut
his eyes again and smoked away.

Edwin was compelled by his great devotion to truth to acknowledge that
he had not tasted anything since nine o'clock that morning, but having
eaten a hearty breakfast he did not feel particularly hungry.

The eyes again opened and gazed steadily at the mantel-shelf for
about a minute, then the magic word "Potter," the "open sesame" of
prospective entertainment, came out with a cloud of smoke.

"Sir," said the ready occupant of the calf-pen behind.

"Potter, put the kettle on." The eyes closed again and the smoke issued
in volumes as before.

"Potter," said Mr. Buffer, after a short pause.

"Sir," said Potter.

"Is the kettle on?"

"Yes, Sir."

"Fry some chops."

"Please, Sir, I can't," said Potter.

"And why can't you, Potter?"

"Because, Sir, Mr. Cowslip, sent to borrow the frying-pan, Sir."

"Come here, Potter," said Mr Buffer with slow solemnity, and the
serving man appeared.

"How dare you, Sir," said Buffer, with great severity, "lend my
frying-pan to Mr. Cowslip or Mr. Anybody else?"

"Please, Sir, I didn't think it was any harm," said Potter,
submissively.

"Potter, you're a scoundrel--go for that frying-pan instantly--do you
hear, Potter?--a scoundrel--instantly!" said Buffer, emphatically.

Potter vanished, and his master once more closed his mackerel eyes and
continued to puff away at his pipe. Presently the messenger returned,
making a noise in the kitchen as if with the design of attracting
attention.

"Have you got it?" said Buffer.

"No, sir," answered Potter.

"And why not, Sir?" said his master rousing himself, and looking about
him like a lion awakened from sleep.

"Because, Sir, Mr. Cowslip is using it, and he says if you want your
frying-pan, Sir, you must wait till he's done with it."

"That won't do, Potter, we must get that frying-pan," said
Buffer, rising and putting his pipe back on its shelf. "Now, Mr.
What's-your-Name, I'll just trouble you to keep the door open, and if I
come in in a bit of a hurry shut it and make it fast." So saying, Mr.
Buffer put on his hat and went out.

Edwin stood by the door ready to shut and lock it as soon as his host
returned, and in about five minutes the sounds of a distant commotion
struck on his ear. He could not help laughing when he looked out and
saw Buffer in the act of rushing out of the store with the frying-pan
in his hand, pursued by a tallish, raw-boned gentleman with black
whiskers and a green coat, who rushed after him with strides similar
to those taken by Goliath when he advanced to meet David, and seized
the retreating proprietor of the disputed article by the coat tails
with firm grasp. But the progress of our major-domo was not to be so
stopped. He adroitly slipped his left arm out of his coat, then shifted
the frying-pan to his left hand, and drew his right arm forth--thus
leaving his coat in the hands of his baffled pursuer. Then it was that
Mr. Buffer ran for his life; perhaps he never ran so fast before, and
certainly he did not seem cut out by nature to win races by swiftness
of foot, whatever he might do by cunning. The tall gentleman, like
a second Blunderbore, followed him up closely, coat in hand. This
gentleman was followed in his turn by no less a personage than Mr.
Timothy Baxter, whom he was going to entertain, the worthy carrier
adding considerably to the outcry by shouting, "Houraw--stop him--trip
him up--knock him down--go it, long-shanks--peg away, furlong," &c.,
while a number of idle dogs rushed from where they had been skulking,
and a row of heads popped out of the windows of the overseers'
cottages, and the gentlemen in grey about the station cheered and
danced at seeing such good sport. In the midst of the hubbub Mr.
Buffer rushed into his quarters, panting and puffing, and the door was
instantly fastened by Edwin, regardless of the storm of kicks, thumps,
and furious threats with which the tall gentleman assailed it.

Mr. Buffer deposited his frying-pan, which was full of nice brown
mutton chops, hot from the storekeeper's fire, on his own hob,
and sitting down in his chair gave way to a succession of most
extraordinary giggles, mingled with gallant efforts to regain his lost
breath. The mackerel eyes twinkled with triumph and delight. The kicks
at the front door suddenly ceased, and Buffer, suspecting the reason,
called out, "Look out, Potter, he's going round to the back." But
the back door was securely bolted. Then after a pause a scramble was
heard on the roof of the major-domo's quarters. "Look out, Potter,"
said Mr. Buffer, "he's coming down the chimney--bring me the kettle
and the pannican, I'll sprinkle him." A few more vain scrambles on
the roof were followed by a prolonged rumble, as if the party above
had lost his hold and shot somewhat rapidly to the ground below. The
storekeeper, seeing that he could not force an entry without resorting
to a battering ram, thought it better to commence a parley.

"Let us in, Buffer," said the storekeeper.

"Not I," said Buffer.

"Do, like a good fellow," said Mr. Cowslip.

"Good fellow if you like, but I'll see you hanged first," said the
Assistant-Superintendent.

"I'll report you to Fitzfrizzle for stealing my mutton," said Phoebus.

"Go away, or I'll knock your nose off for sticking to my frying-pan,"
said Benjamin.

"Come, open the door, and let's go snacks. I'll send for another lot of
chops and a capital dish of fritters and sugar," said the storekeeper
persuasively.

"Is it to be honor bright and no more squalls?" asked Buffer.

"Honor bright as I wear a head," replied Cowslip.

"Then I think we may open the door," said Buffer to Edwin; "but mind
Cowslip, if you attempt to run away with these chops I'll throw
something after you that will spoil them for eating. Now Potter, lay
this table and bring in the tea, will you."

The door was consequently opened and Mr. Phoebus Cowslip made his entry,
followed by Mr. Timothy Baxter. The former flushed with his recent
exercise, pitched his hat into the corner cupboard, from which Buffer
instantly ejected it without ceremony; nodded familiarly to Edwin upon
the host's pointing at him and mentioning his name, and then sat down.
Baxter took a seat also, but seemed rather backward in the presence of
the major-domo, until that illustrious individual condescended to say--

"Come up to the fire, Baxter, and consider my house your own my friend."

"Yes, and a valuable property it would be," said Cowslip addressing
his friend Buffer, "if you were to stick to it all your life as head
guardian of the pantry, and scavenger of the pigstye."

Buffer smiled and politely enquired of Mr. Cowslip if his maternal
parent was aware of his temporary absence from his present domicile
adding that if it would appear that the excellent lady was in ignorance
thereof, he (Buffer) would make it his particular duty to find her out
and make her acquainted with the important fact. And when he had said
this he rubbed his hands, casting an amorous glance on the frying-pan
and its attractive contents.

"Now Potter," said Mr. Buffer, "we are waiting for you; these gentlemen
are nearly starved to death, and I'm getting a little peckish myself."

"Coming directly, Sir," said Potter.

"He says he's peckish," said Cowslip to Baxter in a loud whisper,
"never know him to be otherwise; he'd eat me out of house and home if
I'd let him--he'd eat a bullock in a week--he's a cannibal. He shot a
blackfellow in the bush last Friday, and goes out every night like a
ghoul to have a feed. Nice fellow isn't he?"

"Precious nice," answered Baxter, grinning and looking up to the
ceiling in pretended horror.

"You must'nt let your friend sleep with him to-night," continued
Cowslip, "it would be dangerous; there would be nothing but his bones
left in the morning--and not even them, for Potter will chop them up
and boil them down to make a pot of fat to grease his hair with: you
won't let him will you?"

"Not by no means," said Baxter highly delighted.

"If you do I'll bring you in as accessory in the middle of the fact,
and swear I caught you picking a thigh bone----" The imaginative
discourse of Mr. Cowslip was here cut short by the entrance of Potter
bearing the teapot, &c., and the four drew up their chairs and
commenced a furious attack on the chops.

"Nice gentlemen these, Sir," said Baxter to Edwin; "if you get a
Guv'ment appointment you'll be introdooced to them as knows somethin'
about life."

"I've spent my life man and boy for thirty years," said the
storekeeper, "as innocent as a baby, and no man could say I was a
rascal until after I became acquainted with Benjamin Buffer, son of a
gentleman."

"Haw, haw!" roared the carrier.

"Come, Cowslip," said Buffer, "it is quite time you clipped that free
and easy tongue of yours. I overheard your other observations just now,
and very complimentary they were. Be good enough to recollect that
there is one gentleman in the company at least."

"I'll answer for that," said Cowslip, "and Fitzfrizzle himself would
allow that I am one, although he never dubs you more than the son of
one. And as you are good enough to allude to me as such, I will not
forget to give you a lift when my friend Colonel Arthur comes to see
me."

Buffer smiled, Baxter laughed, and Edwin hid his countenance in a cup
of hot tea.

"To make you laugh at the wrong side of your mouth, Baxter," said the
storekeeper, "two constables came up from the township this morning,
and told me that a hundred and fifty blacks were seen on the beach last
week; they're gone south, and it is suspected that they mean mischief,
for they're all got spears and waddies. You must keep a sharp look-out
and don't tell them you've got any butter, or they will daub you all
over with it and lick you to death."

"P'rhaps you'll be so good as to lend me a grey-jackets' corporal's
guard to see this gentleman safe on board, and me down the pass and up
again," said Baxter.

"You must ask Buffer," replied Cowslip, "that's his department; promise
to bring him something tender for his harness-cask, and he'll do it in
a minute."

"I must consult Fitzfrizzle," said Mr. Buffer. "Can't do such a thing
on my own responsibility. I will write him a note--some more mutton
chop, Mr.----, I forget your name already."

"Herbart, Sir," replied Edwin, "I think I will trouble you for another
chop--thank you."

In a short time the appetites of all were appeased--the fritters and
sugar promised by the storekeeper appeared duly and disappeared--and
Potter was directed to clear away the things.

"Put glasses and hot water on the table, Potter," said Mr. Cowslip.

"See you've been in luck again, Cowslip," said Buffer; "I am glad to
hear it; a glass of hot grog will do us no harm, so go for the needful
at once."

"O, I'm looking to you," responded Cowslip, "you don't think you can
keep three or four bottles of real Jamaica in that box unknown to me. I
havn't got a drop in my house if it was to save me from Bufferphobia."

"I believe that's true," said Buffer, "you never could keep a drop
in your house; I lent you two bottles one day, and you finished them
in four hours. I have only one bottle now and I promised that to
Fitzfrizzle, but I will venture one small drop on account of this young
gentleman, or else not one drop should you taste, Cowslip, I know your
weakness."

"I assure you," said Edwin, "you need not open it on my account."

"O! confound the stupid fool," said the storekeeper aside to Baxter,
"get him to bite his tongue off--well, make haste, Buffer, I'm dying
with influenza, and tea always makes me worse."

The major-domo unlocked his box accordingly, and drew forth the
important bottle which he laid on the table, but perceiving that
Cowslip was preparing to pounce upon it with avidity, he took it
up again and requested that gentleman to hold his glass. This, the
storekeeper did, telling his friend at the same time that he was
beginning to feel ashamed of being in the company of such a miserable
screw. Buffer next desired Herbart to help himself, then filled out a
glass for the carrier, and after pouring out a quantity for his own
peculiar consumption he corked his bottle carefully, and put it on the
mantel-shelf close to his own elbow.

An animated conversation sprang up. Pipes were lit, and as the genial
cloud floated over the heads of the smokers it seemed to give warning
that their airy castles might possibly prove to be constructed of as
flimsy a material as itself. Anecdotes of a very delightful character
were related by the storekeeper, who was a very agreeable fellow indeed
over a bottle. He congratulated Edwin upon his intention of going by
sea to Hobart Town, for, he said, the interior of the country was
nearly impassable, the blacks were up in whole regiments, and intended
to murder everybody they could find. Edwin thought of Henry Arnott
and his sister. Mr. Cowslip told him he might make sure of a good
situation, and was, altogether, spirited and amusing.

"Come, Buffer, I'll take another thimble-full," said Cowslip.

"Not another drop of this will you taste this day, my dear fellow,"
answered the assistant-superintendent.

"O don't say that. Well you are the most niggardly ruffian that I
ever--well, it's no matter; wait till Arthur comes up, I'll give him a
wrinkle or two about you. Excuse me, Mr. Herbart, I have to serve out
some pork to the soldiers; I'll be back again directly."

"Don't hurry yourself," said Buffer is the storekeeper rose and left
the room.

In a short time Mr. Cowslip returned and took his seat, and in a few
minutes Potter came in with a message to his master from the watchman
on duty, who wanted to see him immediately. Buffer went out to his
kitchen, and Cowslip left his seat in order to address a confidential
remark to Edwin: "If you get a good situation," said he, "in town,
where there's not much to do, I'll exchange with you; a storekeeper's
billet is worth any man's while, I can tell you, though sixty pounds a
year is not much--but then there's the pickings, you know: and to get
a good situation you must dodge the Governor about everywhere--don't
give him any peace at all." As Cowslip spoke he sidled up to the
mantle-shelf on which stood Buffer's bottle of rum, then retired to his
seat again.

Mr. Buffer came back looking rather grave. He took the bottle from the
mantle-shelf, locked it up in his box, and said to Herbart, "Excuse me,
I must go to the cells; there's a troublesome fellow there feigning
madness, and nobody can go near him but me. I'll see the Superintendent
about those men, Baxter, and let you know in the morning what he says."

"Well, come along Baxter," said the storekeeper, "there's nothing more
to be got in this miserable hole. Good afternoon, Mr. Herbart." So
saying, Mr. Cowslip pressed Edwin's hand affectionately, and withdrew,
followed by the carrier, who seemed ready to burst with laughter or
something else.

Edwin was now left to ruminate by the fire alone. He felt comparatively
happy at his approaching deliverance from this land of bad report and
continually recurring dangers. He fondly hoped that he had seen the
worst, and prayed with indescribable fervor that the being he most
loved on earth would be preserved through all impending storms. While
thus silently employed, his host returned after half-an-hour's absence;
without speaking he put a dusty ink-bottle and a sheet of paper on the
table, sat down and wrote as follows:--


Stylus Richard,
per ship Ragmuffin the 3rd.

Sir,

I entertain considerable doubts concerning the sanity of the convict
named in the margin. Reason is evidently hurled from her ancestral
throne, and the once brilliant horizon of the strong man's intellect
is obscured by clouds of darkness. He sent for me just now, and told
me that a mope-hawk had whispered through the key-hole that I cheated
him out of part of his rations every day--that I was a horrid wretch
and should be flogged to death as soon as his commission as Flagellator
General arrives from the Emperor of the Polar Bears. He wound up by
assaulting me with the contents of his wash tub, which I had some
difficulty in avoiding. I have again put on the strait waistcoat. His
case, I venture with deference to suggest, might be reported to the
medical department. Baxter, the carrier, is come with butter, &c.,
belonging to Mr. Earlsley and others, to go on board the Betty. Baxter
wants five or six men to help him down to the beach; they say the
blacks were seen going south in great force.

I am, Sir,

Your obedient servant,

B. BUFFER.


This document having been carefully folded like a square comet, and
directed on the tail to H. Fitzfrizzle, Esq., was dispatched by Potter
to the Superintendent's quarters. The messenger returned in a few
minutes with a verbal reply to the effect that the Superintendent would
see Mr. Buffer presently.

Mr. Buffer sat down and smoked his pipe, observing to Edwin that Mr.
Fitzfrizzle smoked himself and did not mind the smell. The pipe was
smoked in silence and laid by; various weighty affairs hung upon the
mind of the smoker. When he spoke it was with an air of importance and
decision. He informed Edwin that Mr. Cowslip was a perfect specimen of
the natural family of the sponges, with many clever tricks at command,
and not a despicable fund of low wit, but for all that he was quite
unable to 'do' him (Buffer). "As for me," said he, in continuation with
a tremulous motion of the greenish grey eyes, "I am a somewhat silent
but very shrewd observer of passing events."

Just then a stately step was heard at the door, an aristocratic knock
followed, the major-domo said "Come in," and Horatio Fitzfrizzle,
Esq., came in. He was a dapper gentleman of middle size, with a fair
effeminate complexion, and was dressed in a respectable light shooting
coat and other garments to correspond. Buffer rose up as he entered and
so did Edwin; the former introduced the latter as "the gentleman who
goes by the Betty." Fitzfrizzle bowed, took a seat, and immediately
entered into conversation with his subordinate on the contents of the
note already transcribed.

This lasted about an hour, the superintendent rose to go. It was
getting gloomy for night was falling rapidly, and the atmosphere being
still charged with heavy clouds, did not reflect that sweetly lingering
twilight peculiar to autumn evenings, by which fond lovers in the "hues
of youth" delight to ramble. Buffer lugged out his bottle and asked
his chief if he would take it with him now or would he prefer to have
it sent to his quarters. The chief said he would take it with him, but
would insist that Buffer and his guest took a glass each before he did
so. The proposition was resisted, but in vain; the Superintendent's
will was law. Glasses and water were ordered in, and Fitzfrizzle poured
out the requisite quantity of liquor into each tumbler, then filling
his nearly to the brim with water, he said, "a toast, gentlemen,--I'll
give you a toast--'Our noble selves and the lasses we love best!'"--and
raised his tumbler to his lips with a flourish. Hastily putting it down
again and wiping his lips, he exclaimed--"By Jove, Mr. Buffer, this is
real Jamaica, and no mistake!"

Buffer tasted the liquid, turned, and spat deliberately into the fire;
then jumping about the room with foaming rage, he exclaimed--"By the
immortal thunder of Jupiter that horrible villain Cowslip has done me
at last--he has taken away my bottle of rum and left this infernal
vinegar in its place." The frantic shrewd observer might possibly have
done some damage had not Fitzfrizzle, after laughing till his face grew
purple, requested him to think no more of the matter, comforting him
with the assurance that the rum was now disposed of to the satisfaction
of the storekeeper and his friend. Then wishing Edwin and his
entertainer good night, he departed.

"How long have you been here?--do you like this kind of life?" said
Edwin, as after a comfortable tea he rolled himself in his dry blanket
in a corner of Buffer's room.

"A little better than one year," replied Buffer, "and I like it as well
as race-horses do cayenne pepper."

"Mope-hawk," said a mysterious voice outside the door, "who cheats
lunatics out of their grub?--who steals storekeeper's mutton?--who
is the shrewd observer of passing events, and keeps vinegar for his
friends to drink? Buffer----"

The major-domo sprang from his pillow, seized a chair, opened the
door in a twinkling, and hurled the article out upon the disturber of
his peace. There immediately followed a rush and a scramble, and the
"haw haw" of the carrier was heard distinctly above the tumult of the
station watchdogs.




CHAPTER XXXVI.--EDWIN HERBART'S ADVENTURES CONTINUED.

THE rays of the rising sun shone cheerfully over the forests of
St. Mary's Pass--all traces of the previous day's tempest having
disappeared from the sky--when the carrier and Edwin, being refreshed
by a hearty breakfast, bade adieu to their respective entertainers, and
resumed their toilsome journey. In addition to a party of six prisoners
to help them down the Pass, they were accompanied by four well armed
soldiers to protect them from the attacks of the natives in case the
latter showed themselves with any hostile intentions. The distance
from the Heads of the Pass to the sea may be about five miles, but the
difficulties of the route at the period of which we write were almost
of an insurmountable nature. The smooth and pleasant winding road which
now conducts the traveller in his carriage down the beautiful and
romantic glen was then only being commenced, so that our hero and his
conductor paused when they arrived at the heads. They had good reason
to pause and consider what next should be done.

They found themselves at the top of a deep fissure between two high
mountains overhanging the Pacific Ocean. The vast expanse of water was,
however, completely concealed from view by the thick foliage of the
countless trees which flourished in tropical luxuriance on the steep
sides of the corresponding declivities. Edwin gazed with astonishment
at the scene before him, surpassing everything of the kind he had ever
before witnessed. A ravine of apparently inaccessible depths lay at his
feet, and on either hand arose interminable walls of densely-wooded
hills, so dark and gloomy, although the sun shone upon them, that he
was forcibly reminded of the fabled pit of Acheron and the valley of
the River Styx. Far down at the bottom of the glen a rivulet, now
swollen to a muddy torrent, was darkly shaded in its entire course
through the glen by thick clusters of trees and shrubs, which reflected
to the eyes of the gazers above beautifully variegated tints of the
richest green glistering in the dews of the sunny morning. Here the
numerous varieties of the dark leaved acacia are seen in tangled
profusion, and the graceful and beautiful tree-fern flourishes beneath
the protecting branches of the sassafras and blackwood, concealing both
rock and ripple under a pile of glowing leaves. Here the enthusiastic
botanist might sit down in despair while his eyes wandered from one
tempting object to another, painfully undecided on which to bestow
his first attention. Edwin, who was at all times a warm admirer of
mountain and forest scenery, here found them combined on a scale of
magnificence which, if not worthy of the Himalayas, was marvellous in a
small island like Tasmania. He was once familiar with Powerscourt and
the Dargle, with Bellevue and the Glen of the Downs, but here was a
scene which might be sought for in vain in sweet Erin. Characterised by
none of her sylvan beauties, it was grand, yet savage, choked up with
mass upon mass of vegetation, yet the soil, except for the production
of giant trees, dogwood scrub, and the thousands of curious parasites
which cling to trees and rocks, and suck nourishment from yellow clay,
was hopelessly barren. It was a scene well calculated to stir up the
slumbering embers of poetic fire in the soul of a young man so romantic
and susceptible as Edwin.

This was St. Mary's Pass, the only accessible track from Fingal to
the sea, and Edwin began to ask himself in some surprise how was it
possible for Baxter to take his bullocks and dray with a tolerably
heavy load down to the water's edge by such a precipitous route. He
had not long to wait to have his doubts set at rest, for the carrier
commenced operations as coolly as if such matters were an every-day's
business. He directed his man to cut down a large and heavily branched
tree, and having notched the trunk so that it would hold a ponderous
chain he fastened it securely to the axle-tree of his dray, and then
taking the whip himself, gave the word to his cattle and commenced the
descent. A descent in such a place was fearful to eyes unaccustomed
to see poor dumb beasts at work amidst mountains. The bullocks rolled
and swayed to and fro, groaning as with an instinctive dread of
approaching destruction; and had it not been for the tree to which
the cart was chained their destruction would lave been inevitable.
The track did not take them directly into the valley, but along the
side of a steep mountain with a deep dark chasm on their left, and an
almost perpendicular bank groaning with the weight of millions of large
trees towering far above their heads on the right. The heavy rain of
the preceding day added materially to the difficulties of the journey.
The bullocks struggled painfully down the steep incline half paralyzed
with terror: now stumbling over sharp jagged rocks, now sinking up to
their bellies in yellow quagmires. At every available halting place,
Baxter allowed them to take a little rest: besides being frequently
compelled to stop while sundry impediments were removed from the track,
in performing which services the six men lent him by Mr. Fitzfrizzle
were of great assistance. At length, after passing through a deep
branch ravine at the imminent peril of drowning to the whole party,
for the turbid waters gushed with impatient violence over stones and
fallen timber, they arrived at a place where it was deemed expedient to
detach the dray from its guardian drag. The men were then sent back to
their station, and the carrier and Edwin, still accompanied by the four
soldiers proceeded to the shore.

Here they found the ocean, rough after the recent storm, breaking along
the sands and amongst blackened rocks: now rising in successive walls
of emerald crowned with snowy wreaths; anon, dashing against the shore
in loud, ceaseless peals which reverberated along the adjacent heights.
At a little distance, sheltered under the lee of a small island, lay
the cutter Betty. The communication between the vessel and the shore
was in a temporary state of suspension in consequence of the high sea,
and no convenient jetty being then in existence. Edwin had heard people
talk of Falmouth, and with his usual proneness to invest everything
with a higher value than it deserved, expected to see a thriving town
with a marine hotel, a main street, and one banking establishment at
least, but there was no town to be seen. The coast was in its primitive
state of wild bush. The town of Falmouth, at that time, existed only
on the Surveyor's charts. There were certainly two or three wretched
hovels round which a few cows and pigs picked up a plentiful supply of
food. There might be seen here and there patches of ground enclosed for
the cultivation of potatoes; but anything like a respectable house or
garden could not be found perhaps within twenty miles of the place. A
detachment of soldiers, commanded by a sergeant, was stationed there
to protect a few whalers and pensioner farmers, and to watch along the
coast the tracks of absconders and the aborigines. The carrier took
up his temporary quarters with the military guard, whom he enlivened
with his fertile wit; he unloaded his dray, unyoked his bullocks, and
commended Edwin to the care of the soldiers for a day or two until it
became practicable for the master of the Betty to take him and the
goods on board. They then proceeded to recruit exhausted nature, and
make themselves as comfortable as they could.

Having spent a night in this ocean-lashed wilderness, the carrier set
out in the morning on his return home. Edwin tendered him a pound in
silver for the service he had done him, but the kind Baxter resolutely
refused to accept of it, telling our hero to let it stand over until
he came up a Commissary General at least to marry Miss Maxwell. Edwin
sighed deeply as he thanked the carrier, and the latter probably found
his way up the formidable pass without serious difficulty, as if any
accident had happened we should doubtless have heard of, and certainly
recorded it. The weather, as luck would have it, continued fine; but
Edwin was informed by the soldiers that it was very changeable on the
eastern coast, being on one day fine and beautifully mild; on the next
perhaps the wind blowing a hurricane, the rain pouring in floods, and
the raging of the sea frightful to behold. He listened patiently to
the conversation of his military entertainers, and was able to extract
information as well as amusement from it. He ascertained that there
were a few small settlers scattered along the coast in favorable spots,
but they had great difficulties to contend with in heavily timbered
land, and the want of easy communication with the interior. Carriage
by water to Hobart Town was, however, an advantage which the settlers
in the interior did not possess, but on the whole he considered that
the interior was preferable, and afforded a wider field, as well as a
milder climate, and finer pasturage for sheep and cattle.

On the evening of the same day--and a singularly calm delightful
evening it was--the turbulence of the sea had sufficiently subsided
to allow a boat to come close to the landing place; and the master of
the Betty seized the favorable opportunity to get his passenger and
the butter, &c., on board. He lost no time in getting under weigh,
but the inconstant breeze was scarcely sufficient to fill his sails;
nevertheless the little vessel glided away from the land at the rate
of some three or four knots per hour, and before the night fell had
made good a respectable distance. The night fell and with it also
fell the much desired breeze, and the watchful master might have been
observed to cast many anxious glances towards the eastern horizon,
which was fringed with a long low bank of black clouds, whose upper
margin reflected with snowy whiteness the beams of the setting sun.
The crew of the cutter consisted of the master and four able seamen.
The former was an old weather-beaten sailor who had passed some fifty
years in the turmoil and dangers of life on the sea. He could neither
read nor write--a sufficient reason why he had not risen to eminence in
his profession,--but he was a thoughtful, careful man, fully alive to
the responsibility of his position, and evidently possessing abilities
that might not have disgraced a more respectable quarter deck. He spoke
but little, and chewed his quid placidly as he stood by the tiller
of his little vessel; but his uneasy glances at the rising bank of
cloud, growing every moment more dark and ominous, did not escape the
observation of Edwin, who stood in a contemplative mood by his side. At
length the master broke silence, and said to his passenger, laying a
forcible emphasis on every word--"I thought to gain a good offing, Sir,
before another gale came on, but I'm not far enough by forty knots;
it'll be a dirty black night, and a wild shore close under our lee for
a hundred miles and more. But we may weather it--God is good as well as
great, and men think themselves clever and 'cute,' when the snapping
of a thread, as the saying is, either on sea or shore, may send 'em to
be judged for their sins. Here, Jack, take the helm, and keep her head
well up to wind'ard, if you can go in the teeth of the gale, it'll be
all the better--and, Tom, send some cocoa aft--come below, Sir, this is
my last trip; give me a free leg ashore after this, and I'll coil up my
ropes and cast anchor."

They went down into the narrow cabin, which was furnished with a berth
on each side, and two fixed seats and a small table in the middle. The
cocoa was brought scalding hot from the galley, and our adventurer
partook freely of it, making an attempt at the same time to swallow
some cold pork and bread. But this attempt was nearly a failure, as he
was ill and unhappy, and his mind was full of gloomy forebodings. While
the master filled his pipe in silence and began to smoke, Edwin was
glad to throw himself into the berth destined for his use, and in spite
of his harassing thoughts and of the rapidly advancing tempest he soon
fell asleep.

Towards midnight the prediction of the experienced mariner was
verified, and never was there a dirtier night known on the eastern
coast. The wind arose in a fierce gale, blowing directly on to the
land. The cutter was strongly built, and might have weathered even
a fiercer gale in the open sea, but now a lee shore lay in terrible
proximity; and though she had accomplished a distance of some twenty
miles, yet compared with the extent of coast on which it was possible
she might be blown, it was the next thing to no distance at all. The
storm brought with it its usual accompaniments of thunder and rain.
The agitation of the sea became terrific and awoke Edwin from his
refreshing sleep. The master and his crew were at their posts on deck,
doing all that human skill could accomplish to work their vessel out
to sea. Her head was kept close to the wind, her sails close reefed;
her deck was swept by the waves. The anxious mariners could see nothing
of the land as the night was impenetrably black; but they felt that
their efforts to work the vessel off would be in vain. Too truly, alas!
they heard the voice of the spirit of the storm shrieking in wild and
remorseless accents--"You are in my power, and you shall not escape."

The genius of misfortune seemed to pursue the footsteps of the
unfortunate Edwin. Reduced to the lowest state of wretchedness by
sickness, and the anticipation of speedy destruction, he prayed that if
only for the sake of the mother who loved him his life might be spared.
Anon his imagination lost its vivid light, his memory its hitherto
unbroken power. He lay in his berth scarcely able to move or think,
listening to the wind roaring over his head and the waves boiling and
hissing around him, until a fierce gust laid the vessel on her beam
ends, and hurled him from his bed to the floor. The vessel righted
immediately, to be again laid similarly prostrate; and Edwin, bruised
and bleeding, scrambled up the ladder upon deck. Here his plight
became, if possible, worse than before, for he was instantly drenched
from head to foot, and had not a sailor taken hold of him he must have
been washed into the sea. The inexorable surges swept over him again
and again, but he took no notice of the master's reiterated injunctions
to go below. He felt before long that he had made a change for the
better. The wind and water combined to exercise a sweet reviving
influence over him, and he felt with pleasure the blood stealing back
to his heart again, and inspiring it with courage to face the death
which might destroy but could not terrify him.

Under these painful circumstances it took but a short time to decide
the fate of the cutter Betty. She was tossed on the waves like a
feather, blown over like a rush when she mounted on the crest of a
billow, but righting herself when she sank into each successive trough.
Through the murky gloom nothing could be discerned. The mariners knew
not where they were, and were obliged to abandon themselves to their
relentless fate. Could they have regained their position under the lee
of the little island they had left they would be safe, but that was now
impossible. One seaman suggested that the vessel should be beached, and
they might scramble on shore for their lives; another that her head
should be put to the nor'-east as affording a better chance of working
off shore; but the master preferred his previous arrangements in the
hope that he might double the nearest headland; that then he would
have more sea-room, and the wind might moderate a little. While the
discussion continued a hoarse and sullen roaring, growing louder and
louder, was heard in the direction of the land. "Breakers to leeward,"
shouted the master; "it's all over. Now God have mercy on our souls!"
In another moment the vessel struck, and her timbers were rent asunder
like a tree splintered by lightning.

The morning dawned as dismally as might be imagined, but still the
storm had not abated. Three bruised and insensible creatures lay on
the sand as they had been left by the receding tide. A stranger who
might look upon their purple and scarred features would have pronounced
them dead, as they lay for many hours without sense or motion; but
one of them, after the warm influence of the sun had penetrated the
thick driving clouds, opened his eyes and looked incredulously about
him. He sat up after several vain attempts, and gazed on the angry
billows as they rolled in upon the shore and spent themselves in spray
at his feet. Then with confused recollection of the calamity that had
happened, he fell back into his former position. These movements were
repeated several times, and as he turned his blood-shot eyes from
the sea to the land, his heart died within him as he looked upon the
inhospitable forest. He then turned to his companions in misfortune,
and thought of arousing them from their death-like stupor. He rose up
with some difficulty and staggered to where they lay close together,
holding each other with a stiff grasp. Edwin--for the survivor was our
pitiable friend--bent over them and used all the means in his power to
arouse them. His efforts were at last successful with respect to one, a
seaman of stalwart proportions; the other sufferer, the master of the
vessel, was beyond human help.

The gale still continued to blow; and the waves beating high upon the
shore, it became necessary for our shipwrecked hero and the surviving
sailor to seek temporary shelter. All around was strange to them,
and cold, barren, and desolate. Stiff and sore in every limb, their
clothing torn, their throats swollen and painful from the effects of
salt water, they made shift to retreat from their exposed situation,
having covered the body of the master as well as they could with sand;
and taking possession of a dry spot under some coarse grass lay down
together to rest. As the day advanced the weather grew more moderate,
Edwin, whose mental energies rose in an inverse ratio with his sinking
fortunes, awoke out of a pleasant sleep much refreshed, and creeping
out of his primitive bed stood up and considered his situation. It
was time to think of making some movement; it would not do to stay
there and perish. He aroused his companion, and they both directed
their steps to the beach, after slaking their thirst from a hole in
the marshy ground. They hoped to find some fragments of provision with
which to sustain life until a dwelling could be reached, and they were
fortunate in finding half buried in sand a bag of soaked biscuit, for
which Edwin returned his heartfelt thanks to the merciful Giver of all
good. With this welcome store the two wanderers loaded themselves and
set out on their journey along the coast. They pursued a northerly
direction, judging that as the vessel had made for the southward they
would soon arrive at the military station at Falmouth.

For several hours they toiled painfully along without seeing a living
creatures except an occasional kangaroo, and almost giving up in
despair the hope of reaching a human habitation. The shade of night
fell rapidly, but they were to all appearance nearer their desired
goal. It seemed inevitable that the night must be passed by the noisy
shore in the solitary woods. Suddenly the loud bark of a dog at no
great distance revived their sinking spirits. But it was necessary
to use great caution in approaching the spot from which the sound
came lest they might find themselves in the midst of enemies instead
of friends. Accordingly they retired a little way into the bush and
crept along in a stooping posture. Soon they were rejoiced to perceive
a column of smoke rising from the chimney of a hut perched on the
top of a little hill. Rejoiced beyond measure at the welcome sight
they pressed forward with accelerated pace and approached the lonely
habitation. A woman of unprepossessing exterior stood at the door
and uttered an exclamation of alarm when she first caught sight of
the strangers; her cry brought forth a hairy-visaged man, who after
a moment's scrutiny exclaimed as Edwin and his companion commenced
to ascend the hill--"You've bin shipwrecked I'se thinkin', or is you
bolters* from the Pass?"


[* Runaway prisoners.]


"We are not bolters," said Edwin in reply, much hurt by the imputation.
"We have been shipwrecked--the cutter Betty is lost. This man was
one of the crew and I was a passenger; will you shelter us?"

"Aye," said the man, "come in; you'll want a warm and a bite an'
sup--go up t' fire an' get a warm. Sling the billy, Kitt, an' make more
tay, them sojers has'nt left us a drop. Did ye say the Betty wur
lost, an' if it is whur's the skipper?"

"The skipper and three men is drownded," answered the surviving seaman.

"Drownded be they?" said the hairy man, "I'm sorry fur to hear it; I
knew the skipper, and a decent like mun he wur; but I tell'd ye, Kitt,
ther wur summut in the wind last night--I feeled it myself, a regular
scurvy-like feelin' all over."

The shipwrecked adventurers were perishing with cold and consequently
pushed closely to the fire. It was not long before the good woman of
the house had tea and kangaroo chops ready for them, and with the usual
accompaniment of damper they made a hearty meal. The sailor then smoked
a pipe, and gave his host and hostess a circumstantial account of the
storm and wreck, while Edwin threw himself on it bench and fell asleep.

The next morning the sun rose brightly, and threw his truly golden
glory over the broad ocean, still heaving and throbbing in wild foamy
billows. Edwin walked out to breathe the fresh air and to think, now
that he had time, over his hopes of a brighter fortune thus a second
time shivered to atoms. He was now destitute in every sense of the
word: all his little property lost in the sea; his bodily strength
gone; every movement accompanied by intense pain: yet he did not feel
the reality so truly miserable as he often thought he should while
anticipating the possibility of such a reverse of fortune. A never
dying hope bade him bear his fate bravely, and do all in his power to
avert the fell whisperings of despair. He recalled to his memory many
instances of men who suffered heroically, and ultimately triumphed
over adverse fortune. "When things are at the worst," he repeated to
himself, "they are almost sure to mend; I have reached the crisis of
my fate, and now must begin to look for better days." Poor fellow! the
better days were slow in coming.

Returning to the hut he ate his breakfast, and enquired how far it was
to Falmouth? Five miles. Was the direction they had taken the correct
one? It was. He was also informed that he might remain where he was
for two or three days, or as long as he liked, until his strength was
sufficiently restored to enable him to pursue his journey. He thanked
his hirsute and hospitable friend, who seemed to gain a scanty living
by growing potatoes and keeping a few cows and pigs. It was a wild
and strange place for any human being to settle in, yet Edwin learned
with surprise that this recluse couple preferred it to other spots on
account of its loneliness and inaccessibility. He gathered from the
conversation of the woman that they seldom saw anyone there except the
blacks, and sometimes a couple of constables or soldiers. Scarcely ever
the latter. Whenever the soldiers came something was sure to go wrong.
Four of them had spent five hours in the hut the day before watching
for the blacks. For her part, she said, the blacks had often come and
had never done her any harm; but if they knew that soldiers came and
planted there they might burn the hut and everyone in it.

Edwin availed himself of the invitation of his host, and decided to
remain where he was for that day. He reclined on a bench in the corner
nearly the whole of the day revolving many different projects in his
head, and wondering how he could repay his kind entertainers for
their attention. It was already late in the afternoon; the owner of
the cottage had gone out, and his wife was engaged in some occupation
outside, the sailor sat by the fire smoking. Edwin lay dozing and had
fallen into a delicious reverie. He was at Bremgarten once again, and
thought he lay on the sofa in the well-known parlor, feverish and
ill, Griselda was in the room with him, but she sat at a distance; he
breathed her name and she approached, he thought she bent over him like
a protecting angel, and kissed his forehead. He imagined himself dying,
and was conscious that his gentle relative wept, but she shrank back
hastily, and in her place stood her father, with his brows contracted
into an angry frown. The dreamer started and sat up. An appalling cry
burst upon his senses, and the woman rushed into the hut exclaiming
wildly--"Fly--fly--for your lives?"

He bounded from the bench to the door and looked eagerly out; there
was nothing to be seen but the sea in front and the forest on each
side. He went out, looked all round the hut and out into the woods at
the back. Did he dream still, or was the scene real? Crowding together
amongst the stunted trees he beheld groups of naked savages dancing
with wild gestures, and striking their spears and waddies together as
a declaration of war. They set up an unearthly scream when they saw
Edwin, who thought it best to retreat into the hut again.

"Fly," said the woman, "every minute is worth an hour--they mean
mischief--I know by them soldiers----"

"If we fly," said Edwin, "what is to become of you?"

"Never mind me," said the poor creature, "I may pacify them, but if
they surround the hut you are lost; your best chance is in the bush;
go, for God's sake."

"Come then," said Edwin to the sailor, "we must run for it; this way,
they are behind the hill."

And setting the example he ran down the eminence towards the sea,
followed by the sailor. Starting in the direction of the township they
at first kept along the beach, but Edwin, thinking that the numerous
trees would conceal them better from the view of their enemies, left
the sands and made for the woods. In doing so he had to climb over a
high bank of sand and shells, and at that moment the woods rang with
a fierce shout. The fugitives were discovered, and an instant pursuit
commenced. For a while Edwin and the sailor kept well together, but the
latter, a heavy man and not accustomed to much running or walking on
shore, soon fell behind. The pursuers seeing their victims run, became
armed with sudden courage, and advanced impetuously, headed by a tall,
ferocious barbarian. They thirsted for the blood of the a white men,
and set up horrid shouts. The unfortunate sailor stretched his legs to
their utmost power, but in vain; a spear struck him in the back, and he
screamed for help or mercy; it was in vain. A second spear struck him,
and remained sticking in the wound; a third--a fourth struck him--still
he ran on. Edwin, some fifty yards in advance, looked back at the
doomed wretch, and was horrified to see him still running with a number
of spears sticking in his back. The savages crowded after him with
their waddies lifted high in the air, each eager for the first deadly
blow. At length the unhappy man sank down and resigned himself to his
fate.

Edwin beholding this scene stood still for a a moment in paralyzed
amazement. He was a scarcely able to believe the evidence of his
senses. To fly to the rescue was his first impulse, but the utter
inutility of such a proceeding immediately struck him, while at the
same time the movements of the tall leader recalled him to a sense of
his position. Once more he took to his heels, the single savage after
him. Others immediately followed, shouting like so many demons their
shocking yells of victory. His situation became desperate; he heard the
footsteps of the dark giant close behind him as he ran, and clutching
eagerly at the faintest shadow of the forlorn hope of self-defence,
he, after drawing his pursuers fully half-a-mile from where his late
companion fell, picked up a dead branch and stood at bay. His assailant
had no spear, but his arm was raised ready for striking down his victim
with a heavy waddy. Edwin struck at him and hit him on the arm; he
struck at Edwin in fury. Our unfortunate hero fell back with a cloud
before his eyes, and ten thousand bright stars dancing through his
brain, and the savage, while about to strike the blow which would not
require repeating, sprang suddenly into the air, and fell heavily over
his prostrate foe--dead--with a rifle ball through his heart.




CHAPTER XXXVII.--ARRIVAL OF ISABEL--MR. JUNIPER BEGS LEAVE TO INTRODUCE
A FRIEND.

It is now time to enquire what our friends at Bremgarten have been
doing since we last had the pleasure of being in their company. They
have been doing nothing beyond attending to their usual business, and
listening to the many stories and remarks of their active-minded guest
the Colonel. Edwin's absence seemed to be a relief to both Maxwell and
his wife, and they now, to judge by appearances at least, put off that
garb of restraint which they had so long worn. Charles wandered about
for some time in an uneasy state of mind, and evidently missed his late
companion very much. Griselda was deeply grieved, and would no doubt
have settled quietly down into a melancholy desponding state, were it
not for her sense of duty to her parents, added to the rallying she
was now and again subjected to at the hands of the lively Colonel. She
felt bitterly that she was the cause of Edwin's banishment and of his
subsequent misfortunes whatever they might be; but it was not in her
power to avert these calamities. Day succeeded day and her gay smile
was not seen so frequently, while it might have been suspected from
her grave demeanor and abstracted manner that she often thought of the
friendless wanderer.

The story of the capture and escape of so desperate a bushranger as
Brady caused great consternation in the neighborhood of Avoca, and
the Maxwell family daily expressed their uneasiness on account of
Henry and Isabel. The weather had also, as we have related, changed
for the worse, and rendered travelling particularly fatiguing and
unpleasant. Another source of anxiety existed in the constantly
recurring atrocities committed by the aborigines. The newspapers of
the period contained accounts almost every week of some fresh violence
either by bushrangers or natives, sometimes exaggerated and sometimes
destitute of truth, but always more or less alarming to the residents
in the country. Maxwell had often congratulated himself that he lived
in a neighborhood less exposed than most others to the attacks of
these fierce enemies; but as he was not altogether safe he took every
precaution that prudence could suggest to guard against surprise. In
the midst of wonders as to where Henry and Isabel might be or how they
might be, mingled with many expressions of condolence and sympathy,
they suddenly arrived one evening safe and sound to gladden both the
hearts and eyes of their friends.

Griselda flew with a bounding heart to welcome the weary Isabel, and
they embraced each other with the affection of sisters. Both the
wanderers were received by Maxwell and his wife with the attention
their position in society commanded, and congratulated on their safe
arrival after traversing the country in the midst of so many dangers.
Isabel was delighted to find her father well. She ran into the room
where he was seated and kissed him so often that he was obliged to push
her away with some show of violence. She was dressed in deep mourning,
but whether her dark habiliments became her dark eyes and complexion
better than a light dress would have done, is we conceive a question
of taste. She had evidently grown taller, while in her carriage there
appeared a greater air of dignity than she had before been observed
to assume. She noticed Mrs. Maxwell contemplating her dark dress and
thinking probably of her mother now dead; and was led to her chamber by
Griselda with her handkerchief pressed to her eyes.

Henry being roughly welcomed by his father, now sat down to await
refreshments, giving in the meantime to all the family, except the two
young ladies, a short account of his travels. He had reached Hobart
Town, he said, in less than three days, having been subjected to many
delays and annoyances on the road. He had been stopped several times by
constables who mistook him for a bushranger seeing life on horseback,
and on one occasion he was actually fired at by a sentinel who had
challenged him, and who mistook his signs of "all right" for those of
defiance: on his riding up and expostulating with the man he was told
that it was a pity the ball had not gone through him.* The fact of
his leading a horse with a side-saddle was no protection from these
inquisitorial proceedings, as the constables always suspected him to be
some clever sharper and the horse a stolen one. On the return journey
he was accompanied by several other persons journeying on horseback
into the interior, and Isabel had been kindly accommodated with a seat
in a gig for a considerable distance by a settler who resided somewhere
on the banks of the River Macquarie.


[* Fact.]


He had seen a party of the natives loitering about the road in the
neighborhood of Hobart Town, but they seemed too much emaciated by
disease and woe-begone laziness to be formidable as enemies. They were
probably driven into the neighborhood of the town by a scarcity of
provisions in the country. He had heard of several atrocities committed
by them at a distance, and was not without apprehensions on account of
his sister; but now that the perilous journey was over he thought they
were fortunate in having escaped its dangers so well.

This opinion was acquiesced in by his friends, and when tea was ready
Isabel and Griselda came and took their seats at the table. Henry
soon missed Herbart, and enquired of Charles, sotto voce, what had
become of him? Charles, in reply, gave Henry a short account of the
events that had taken place during his absence, at which he appeared
surprised, but not at all grieved (why should he?). On the contrary,
he launched out into free and animated conversation; addressed a great
many confidential and witty observations to Griselda; made himself,
in fact, the life of the party, and put on the aspect of a gay young
gentleman who had gained a victory of no mean importance. Yet we would
not be understood to say that he absolutely rejoiced in the downfall of
a competitor whom he so heartily despised.

Ever since Edwin's departure the old Colonel had been more than
usually silent and abstracted. He had evidently taken a liking to the
youth, and now appeared to notice his continued absence and look upon
it as a matter of regret. He startled Maxwell one day by asking him
abruptly when his relative Herbart was coming back; and when Maxwell
made some kind of confused, rambling reply, the Colonel said, "Why,
you don't mean to say that he is not coming back at all?" and then
sank into an apparently sulky silence. This conduct annoyed Maxwell
exceedingly; he thought the Colonel had no business to interfere in his
domestic arrangements. The slightest allusion to his relative Herbart
grated harshly on his feelings--a fact which was well known to Mrs.
Maxwell, who from feelings of respect for her husband never mentioned
the young man's name. Griselda and Charles never spoke of him within
hearing of their father, but to each other they were not so reserved.
The increasing dejection of Colonel Arnott, whatever might be its
cause, was a subject of great concern to his host; but he consoled
himself with the reflection that he was doing his duty by paying every
attention to his guest, and that it was no fault of his if the vivacity
of a man who had reached his eightieth year could not be kept in active
play. The old gentleman seemed to enjoy very good health; he rose
punctually every day at the same hour, ate a hearty breakfast, took a
walk in the garden for an hour, and then returned to his bedroom, from
which he did not generally a emerge until dinner was announced. After
dinner he retired again to his bed or his book, came down to tea when
called, and wound up the day by playing a game or two at chess with
Griselda or her father. He was always very respectful to Mrs. Maxwell,
and spoke with great kindness to her daughter.

The arrival of Henry and Isabel aroused him for a while, and a portion
of his former gaiety returned: but his gaiety was not so consistent
as formerly, and he gradually relapsed into his late silent and
morose fits of dejection. He sometimes even expressed himself in an
unnecessarily peevish manner, hinting that he should return to Sydney,
as he had been a trouble to his friends too long. The life he was
leading was too monotonous to suit his active spirit, and his mind
began, as a natural consequence, to prey upon itself. Maxwell was
very cautious in his expressions, but with all his caution he could
scarcely avoid arousing at times the irritability of this inflammable
octogenarian.

Mrs. Maxwell, Isabel, and Griselda sat together one afternoon in their
parlor, talking and working. The Colonel had retired to his bedroom as
usual, Maxwell was probably discussing the affairs of his farm with his
shepherds and stockmen, and Henry and Charles had gone out for a stroll
in the bush. The weather, after a more than average quantity of rain
had fallen, and more than the usual amount of fierce wind had blown,
had at last settled down into quiet sunshine, though the coldness of
the air outside rendered the bright wood fire that burned in the parlor
grate a positive necessity.

"I am very much delighted, Mrs. Maxwell," said Isabel, "with the
scenery of this island of yours, though I believe the winter is not the
most suitable season in which to appreciate its beauties."

"No, decidedly," said Mrs. Maxwell, "autumn is, I think, here as
elsewhere the most agreeable season of the year. The summer is too
warm, and the universal bush-fires fill the air so with haze and smoke
that you can scarcely see a distant hill, much less admire it. The
spring is sometimes so boisterous that you are generally glad to keep
within doors. The winters are often very mild though the mountains are,
as you have seen, capped with snow, but the severe frosts are very
injurious to our gardens, and the high winds, when they do happen to
blow, fill me with most painful apprehensions of rheumatism."

"The climate is, I should say, much more agreeable to a permanent
resident than that of New South Wales," said Isabel.

"Undoubtedly, I believe it to be one of the finest climates in the
world," replied Mrs. Maxwell.

"I passed one or two very fine rivers on my way up," said Isabel; "the
first was near Hobart Town, what is the name of that river? I asked
Henry, but he said he didn't know."

"That is the Derwent," said Griselda, "it is a beautiful river indeed,
especially up towards the new town of New Norfolk; but I speak from
hearsay, never having been higher up than where it is crossed by
large boats. I have heard that the country about Norfolk Plains and
Launceston is exceedingly picturesque."

"You have some beautiful lakes, too, I have heard?" said Miss Arnott.

"Yes," replied Griselda, "but they are not accessible except to
shepherds and flocks of sheep, and some of them are situated in the
most extraordinary manner you can conceive--at the tops of high
mountains, and surrounded by high hills, just as we are here. They are
very romantic and beautiful, we have heard."

"I should say you are not very well situated with respect to society,"
said Isabel.

"We have a few neighbors," said Mrs. Maxwell, "with whom we hold
occasionally a little social intercourse. Mrs. Earlsley and her
daughters are very agreeable well-informed persons,--of superior stamp
and breeding. Mr. Earlsley is a well-educated man, and magistrate of
the district but he is somewhat dictatorial in his manners towards his
neighbors. There are other settlers further down the river who have
been all kind and friendly to us when we have come in contact with
them; but visiting is nearly out of the question here, on account of
the sanguinary disposition of the natives, though I have no doubt that
the time will arrive when the reproach of transportation being wiped
away, the tone of society will become far more healthy than it is at
present. People are so situated here that they are obliged to be very
exclusive: the majority of them have no time for anything but the
advancement of their own interests, with the view of getting rich as
fast as possible."

"We have often wished, Isabel," said Griselda, "to know the particulars
of your dear mother's sudden and lamented death, if the subject does
not give you pain."

"It is not more painful to speak of it than to think of it," answered
Isabel, "and it is a constant subject of my thoughts. I received a
shock on that occasion which I never shall be able to forget. It
happened in the middle of February. The day was frightfully hot, and
a sirocco of more than usual severity swept through Sydney and over
the harbor, carrying with it clouds of dust and smoke. The surrounding
country seemed to be all on fire. We were confined to the house of
course, by the heat of the sun, and when the dinner hour arrived
we were not able to eat anything; mamma could not even sit at the
table. In about an hour she rose up from the sofa, and desired me to
accompany her into the garden in the hope that the perfume of the trees
and flowers would enable her to shake off her dreadful lassitude. I
remonstrated, but she persisted, and we went out together. We crept
about a little, keeping in the shade as much as possible you may be
sure, when mamma suddenly squeezed my arm tightly, and in a moment,
with a slight exclamation, fell back to the ground. I screamed for
help, and after a while Henry came with some of the servants: they
carried her into the house, and medical assistance was immediately sent
for, but she only opened her eyes once again, and when they rested on
my face she smiled sadly, and went off to sleep--the sleep of death."

Here Isabel gave way to her emotions of grief, and sobbed for some time
in silence.

"There is," she resumed when she was sufficiently recovered, and had
been kissed and consoled by Griselda, "a strange fatality that seems to
pursue the footsteps of our family wherever we go, though I hope I am
not wicked enough to believe that the decrees of fate are invariably
carried out independently of the laws of God. This fatality, if I may
so call it, pursues us in the form of the angel of death, not stealing
upon us with slow and silent footsteps as it does generally upon most
other families, but darting suddenly like a tiger on his prey, as if in
anger or revenge. My father may have told you that his male ancestors
for three or four generations died suddenly. The death of his first
wife took place almost suddenly in childbirth of her only child, my
brother Frederick. She was a fair woman very much like you, Griselda,
as papa has often said, and her son has light hair and blue eyes.
When I was five years old I was taken by my nurse to see an old wise
woman of the Hindoo race who had the reputation of being able to tell
people's fortunes with wonderful fidelity. It was reported, indeed,
that a certain high officer of state had availed himself privately of
her talents and information, and like Saul at Endor, had heard nothing
to his advantage; but without vouching for the truth of this, it is
certain that my nurse and I presented ourselves before this mysterious
personage--a most forbidding-looking creature you must know. My nurse
in a language above my comprehension, gave her as far as she knew it a
history of our family for the ten or twelve years preceding, and asked
the Sibyl to give her in return a history of the future. She foretold,
amongst other matters which have not yet manifested themselves in
reality, some things that have actually taken place as she said they
would, and in the same order. For instance, she said that we would
cross the great water, but not to the country of the Feringhees,
and grow very rich. Now my father at this time had no intention of
settling in Australia. Again, she said that three out of our number
would die suddenly: one of them a violent death, but she declined to
particularise individuals. My father being a soldier to her knowledge,
she may have thought might be killed in battle, but as he escaped that
danger the violent death has yet to take place. We were five in number
then, my mother has been called first, and she died suddenly."

The speaker paused and gazed with a disturbed air on the wood burning
in the grate, which just then crackled and sparkled with a loud
explosion, and sent half-a-dozen fiery particles flying through
the room. Griselda rose, collected the burning fragments on the
fire-shovel, and returned them to the grate, saying as she resumed her
seat--

"That was an extraordinary old woman--a perfect witch. Is it fair to
ask, Isabel, as you have roused that universal weakness of woman,
curiosity, what those other matters are which have not yet manifested
themselves in reality?"

"I may reduce those matters," answered Isabel, "to one subject. It is
one on which I would not speak to any persons but those whom I esteemed
as very particular friends, and as you and your mother are classified
as such, I see no harm in telling you what it is. It relates to that
unknown but important personage, my future husband."

"I have often been surprised, my dear," said Mrs. Maxwell, "why you
have not been married--a young lady with your personal attractions and
splendid expectations."

"I never made the question of marriage a hobby, Mrs. Maxwell," replied
Isabel, "I have no desire to marry. The Hindoo Sibyl gave my nurse
to understand that my marriage was involved in great obscurity, and
that I would never be happy in the married state unless my husband
was a phoenix, whom she attempted to describe. He is to be a model of
perfection whom nobody has seen, or cares to see; an interesting youth
of my own age--neither dark nor fair--a man of mind, a poetical genius,
and as poor as any living illustration of the well-known proverb can be
supposed to be. He will be endowed with a few personal qualifications
by which I may be able to distinguish him in a crowd; amongst the rest
he was to have but one arm, or be otherwise wounded in battle, an
excellent recommendation truly, and the prophetess warned me that if
such a man crossed my path and made love, I was, if I valued my own
happiness, neither to despise nor reject him."

"And I presume," said Mrs. Maxwell, with a smile, "that this model of
perfection has not yet crossed your path?"

"One corresponding strictly with the fortune-teller's description,"
returned Miss Arnott, "has not yet presented himself, but about twelve
months after you left Sydney a sloop-of-war arrived, and remained a
considerable time. The officers were very gay, and the fair ladies
of our city made many temporary conquests among them. The captain
himself, a handsome man about forty years of age, paid very particular
attention to your humble servant and talked himself hoarse on the
floras and faunas and sylvas of the various countries he had visited.
He was particularly interesting on account of having lost an arm in an
action with an American frigate ten years previously. From a casual
acquaintance he grew into a lover, and at length surprised us all by
asking my hand in marriage. I, thinking that my destined hour had
arrived, and having papa's and mamma's approbation, consented to become
the queen of his quarter-deck as he phrased it, although he had no more
poetry in him than one of his own carronades." But while all things
progressed towards a happy denouement, Isabel was left to mourn the
loss of her lover. "He had escaped in battle, but was killed in Sydney,
or near it, by a runaway horse. I should like to know if the fatality
pursuing the footsteps of our family had taken him into its cold and
deadly embrace."

Mrs. Maxwell and Griselda both shuddered instinctively, and the former
was about to address some appropriate observations to her guest when
the dogs outside set up a loud chorus of barking, then footsteps were
heard in the kitchen then footsteps in the hall, then a shuffle of
footsteps and a smothered laugh outside the parlor door, then a knock
was heard on the said door, and Mrs. Maxwell said, "Come in."

The door opened, and the round, good-humored face of Mr. Johnson
Juniper was thrust in cautiously--"Your servant, ladies," said he.

"O, how do you do, Mr. Juniper?" said Mrs. Maxwell; "pray come in
and sit down; allow me to introduce Miss Arnott to our neighbor. Mr.
Juniper, this is Colonel Arnott's daughter--pray, Mr. Juniper, do come
in and shut the door."

"Yes, ma'am; how do you do, Miss? Will you let me introduce a
particular friend, Mrs. Maxwell?"

"Certainly, Mr. Juniper," said that lady in great wonder; "we shall be
very glad to see any friend of yours."

While she was speaking Juniper had turned and without any further
ceremony lugged in his friend by the collar. The friend seemed bashful,
and was evidently not willing to be introduced until compelled to
yield, not only to the forcible tugging at his collar, but also to a
sudden thrust administered by somebody in the rear; and thus nolens
volens he came spinning into the apartment with considerable
velocity. The three ladies started up in astonishment, while Charles
and Henry entered the room after the visitors, both choking with
laughter.

"Allow me to present Mr. Julius Cæsar Appledaddy, ladies," said Juniper
with his hand still on his friend's collar. He was a fine looking
youth of fourteen or thereabouts, dressed in a suit of fustian, which
fitted him but indifferently. He was, in short, the very identical
sable young gentleman whom Juniper had captured a few weeks previously,
who had escaped, swam across the river to the delight of Maxwell and
the Colonel, and had been recaptured in the manner already described.
He looked round the room with a frightened air, twitching his limbs
occasionally as if conscious of a painful restraint in his suit of
clothes. The ladies when their first surprise was over began to laugh,
and the laugh was re-echoed by the gentlemen, and increased until it
resounded through the whole house, so that the old Colonel heard it in
his bedroom, and came down stairs puffing with unusual excitement to
enquire what the matter was.

Mr. Juniper's friend looked uneasily at the window and then back at the
door, but seeing that an escape by either aperture was impracticable,
he made a virtue of necessity and began to laugh too. His features
relaxed into a broad grin, and he stood in a most ludicrous attitude,
gaping first at Mrs. Maxwell, then at Isabel, then at Griselda, whose
fair ringlets seemed to fascinate him for awhile. Then the Colonel
came and examined him closely, catching him by the arm and turning
him round, then pinching his nose and inserting his finger into the
recesses of his mouth; finally he drew up a chair and forced the young
lion to sit down, though the young lion would have preferred his heels
to sit upon were he allowed a choice.

"Is this the gentleman, Sir, who put away the four and twenty 'possums
and sucking pig in two days?" asked the Colonel.

"The very same, Sir;" said Juniper. "Mr. Julius Cæsar Appledaddy--an
expensive gentleman to keep."

"And why did you give him that name, especially the last?" pursued the
Colonel.

"Only a whim of mine, Sir," answered Juniper. "Julius Cæsar was a
celebrated----"

"Yes, yes," interrupted the Colonel drily, "we were born a few weeks
before the day after to-morrow, and have a fine idea about Julius
Cæsar; but the other names--Daddydapple was'nt it?"

"Appledaddy, Sir," said Juniper; "a name, in fact, entirely of my own
invention (here the worthy bachelor looked about him proudly)--my
own invention, Sir. I have a ploughman, Sir, who has a son, and when
he first came on the farm he got into the garden and made this son a
present of some of my apples. The boy, a thick lipped fat fellow, not
unlike this gentleman in appearance, followed his father about for two
or three days crying and whining, 'Gi'e I a apple daddy! gi'e I a apple
daddy!' and so, Sir, I invented the name of Appledaddy, and applied it
to him, Sir."

"And a very clever invention, too, 'pon my honor," said the Colonel,
and again the merry laugh rose to an extravagant pitch.

"Now," said the Colonel, putting his hand in his pocket and drawing
forth a sovereign, "Mr. Julius Cæsar Appledumpling, do you see this?"

He held his open hand up before the black boy's eyes, and the eyes
saw the sovereign and admired it so much that the hand, receiving a
telegram to that effect, made a sudden pounce upon the shining object.

The Colonel closed his hand, saying, "Not yet, my hero. Do you see
those two young ladies there? Now go and kiss one of them, whichever
you like best, and I'll give you this." He then pointed to Griselda
and Isabel, and gave instructions to the coal-colored young gentleman
concerning the operation of kissing and how it should be properly
performed. The youth was made with some difficulty to understand what
he was required to do, but he was infinitely more backward about it
than a great many natives of paler complexion would be if so violently
tempted. At last he rose and went towards the ladies, hesitating on
the way, but encouraged by the Colonel, and in the midst of laughter
and pocket handkerchiefs deliberately applied the tips of his fingers
to Griselda's cheek, put them then to his own lips, and beat a hasty
retreat.*


[* Fact.]


"And do you call that kissing?" said the Colonel.

"Pray, Colonel, do not insist on any more," said Griselda, laughing and
blushing.

The Colonel resumed his seat after giving the sovereign to Mr.
Appledaddy. Just then Mr. Maxwell was heard approaching through the
hall in conversation with somebody, the door opened, and Mr. Earlsley
entered the room, followed by the master of the house.

"Eh, ma'am," said Earlsley, glancing hastily round the room, and taking
in with eagle stare every individual in it, "you have got company I
see. Wish you joy; how d'ye do? Miss Maxwell, I hope you are well.
Colonel Arnott, good afternoon, Sir; your daughter, I presume?"

"Yes," said Mrs. Maxwell. "Allow me to introduce Miss Arnott to Mr.
Earlsley----"

"Or, if you will allow me to move an amendment, Mrs. Maxwell," said
Earlsley, with the gallantry of a youth of twenty, "that you will
kindly introduce Mr. Earlsley to Miss Arnott. I am delighted to make
the acquaintance of the amiable and accomplished daughter of my highly
respected friend the Colonel," and the magistrate shook hands with
Isabel, and then with the ladies and gentlemen all round, condescending
even to present his first finger to Mr. Juniper, who shook it with as
much warmth as if it had been the whole hand, with Earlsley's heart and
soul enclosed therein.

"Now who on earth has introduced this lively looking gentleman?" said
Earlsley, surveying the interesting aboriginal from head to foot.

"I was just about to make the same enquiry," said Mr. Maxwell.

The question was answered by Mr. Juniper himself, who related for the
edification of Mr. Earlsley the whole affair from the commencement, and
when he had concluded, Colonel Arnott said, turning to Mrs. Maxwell,
"Have you any 'possums in your pantry, my dear madam; Mr. Appledaddy
may like to pick a bone."

Mr. Earlsley begged to move--while he also begged his highly respected
friend the Colonel for a pinch of snuff for obvious purposes, he could
not bear the smell of new fustian--that the presence of Mr. Appledaddy,
or whatever his interesting name was, should be forthwith transferred
to the kitchen, which motion was instantly seconded by Juniper, who
seized his protegé by the collar and lugged him out in a very
ungentlemanly and disreputable manner, the ladies meanwhile using their
pocket-handkerchiefs freely and the gentlemen holding their noses,
bursting with laughter, and applying themselves vigorously to the
Colonel's snuff-box, which was sent round by the benevolent owner for
the obvious purposes to which Earlsley had alluded.

When order was restored and Juniper had returned and resumed his seat,
Mr. Earlsley proceeded to state the object of his visit. He said
that Mrs. Earlsley would have written but she thought that a verbal
message by him would answer quite as well. She sent her kind regards
to Mrs. Maxwell and her daughter, and begged the pleasure of their
company, also that of Mr. Maxwell, Colonel and Miss Arnott, Mr. Henry
Arnott, and Mr. Charles Maxwell to tea on the evening of the following
Thursday. She intended, Mr. Earlsley said, to have a few friends from
the neighborhood of Avoca and Campbell Town, and he hoped the young
ladies would find some amusement in a pleasant dance. Mrs. Maxwell and
Colonel Arnott immediately expressed their thanks for this gracious
invitation, and their pleasure in accepting it, but the former added
that their progress to and from Clifton Hall might possibly be attended
with danger in these troublesome times. Earlsley replied that the moon
would be nearly full by that time, and that a bullock or horse cart
would be the best mode of conveyance, the gentlemen being provided with
firearms. And it was settled as Mr. and Mrs. Earlsley proposed.

The conversation assumed a general tone: Earlsley asked the young
ladies to favor him with some music, and they complied: they agreed
so well together, the dark lady and the fair lady could play duets
and quadrills together without any previous practice. Earlsley was
an amusing gentleman when he thought proper so to be, and sometimes
unbent his magisterial dignity in pleasant chat and anecdotes; but he
had the peculiarity of never being able to laugh, at least externally,
though an observer with his eyes open might possibly perceive by the
ill-concealed sparkle in the eye and the half-suppressed choking sound
of the oft-repeated cadaverous chuckle that the most lively merriment
was going on within.

"We shall have Lieutenant Dawlish of the Buffs or Muffs, or something
of that kind," said Mr. Earlsley, "but really I have no eyes for
military matters and do not know whether the Lieutenant wears blue
or buff or yellow on his sleeves; but he's a clever young soldier,
Colonel, always snuffing gunpowder and talking of laurels. He is the
most successful officer we have had yet in taking bushrangers. Then
amongst other people we shall have Mr. and Mrs. Ebeneezer Jones, of
the St. Pauls, with their two sons and four daughters, and Mr. Gilbert
Stapleton, the great landed proprietor, with his wife, son, and two
daughters, with several other influential persons--and, indeed, now I
recollect as Mr. Juniper is here, my wife said that she would be happy
to see Mr. Juniper on next Thursday evening if not otherwise engaged."

Juniper looked astonished at Mr. Earlsley's condescension, as, indeed,
well he might; rising from his chair he made a very profound bow and
assured the magistrate that he would be supremely happy to give Mrs.
Earlsley the pleasure of his company, as he had no other engagement
whatever.

"I will venture to express a hope, Sir," said the Colonel, "that we
shall be favored--as such pleasant re-unions in such out of the way
places are so deplorably rare--with the company of our interesting new
acquaintance, Mr. Julius Cæsar Appledaddy."

"Why, Sir," said Earlsley amid general laughter, "a thought of that
nature passed through my own head just now, and if Miss Maxwell
promises to become his exclusive partner for the evening I will
unhesitatingly comply with your wish."

"I am sure Miss Maxwell can have no possible objection to that," said
Henry Arnott.

"What do you say to it yourself, Griselda, dear?" said Isabel.

"O, you need not ask, Isabel," said Griselda.

"To speak seriously," said Earlsley, "I had myself thought of a partner
for the gentleman, but she happens to be so exceedingly sylph-like
and slippery that I doubt if she were present whether even the comely
form of Mr. Appledaddy could detain her for a few minutes. The lady in
question was introduced to me--not in person, but in spirit, you must
know--by my friend Dr. Ross, who related to me that being out in the
bush one day by himself, he found a half-starved stock-keeper sitting
on a fallen tree in the most deplorable plight imaginable. The doctor
desired an explanation, and the miserable and hungry wretch told him
that he had been out starving for two days; that he had lost himself
while pursuing an ungrateful belle of the native race. This nymph he
had by some means or other captured and taken to his romantic retreat,
in the fond hope that his society and endearments would throw a certain
charm over his inacessible solitude. In his extreme tenderness he
bestowed upon her his only remaining white shirt, and with his own
hands put it on and buttoned it, so that she might appear worthy of
the rank to which he intended to elevate her. But the lady was not so
easily reconciled to the brilliant destiny in store for her as might be
expected, so her indulgent master chained her by the leg to a log, in
order to win more surely her affection and confidence. The course of
true love, however, et cetera and ditto, and the fair captive broke
her bonds and took to her heels. For five weary, anxious hours did that
shirt flutter and bound through the forest--o'er hill, down gully,
through lagoon, into scrub, across river; and for five weary hours did
the bereaved stock-keeper follow the fluttering of that shirt until at
last it was 'lost to sight though still to memory dear,' and there he
was after two days' rambling and scrambling in hopeless search of home,
starving on a fallen tree."

"Serve him right, the gay deceiver," said the Colonel.

"That puts me in mind of the story of the sailors putting a black girl
into a pair of breeches," said Juniper.

"O, for shame, Mr. Juniper," said Mrs. Maxwell, raising her
handkerchief, while Isabel and Griselda turned away their faces.

"There's nothing wrong in it I assure you, ma'am," said Juniper alarmed.

"Well, what about the breeches?" said the Colonel.

"Tell us the story, Sir," said Earlsley.

"Do, Mr. Juniper," said Henry.

"By all means," said Charles.

"Certainly, let us have it," said Maxwell.

"'Pon my life, Sir," said Juniper, "'tis nothing--nothing, ma'am, but a
thing that was told me long ago about the French when trading with the
natives. They saw a girl in possession of a very fine skin, of a hyena
perhaps, and wanted to buy it of her, but she refused for a long time
to part with it. At length she consented if they would give her some
useful article in exchange, and they accordingly presented her with
a pair of inexpressibles. How to array herself in these was the next
difficulty, only to be solved by the girl getting between two of the
Frenchmen and raising herself on the shoulder of each while they guided
her legs into the what-do-ye-call-ums, that's all, ma'am."

While the ladies were overcome with handkerchiefs and confusion, Mr.
Earlsley rose to go. "Well Mr. Juniper," said he, "if I had your
leisure I would certainly write an interesting book on these subjects."

"Yes, sir," broke in the surveyor, "and so I would if I had your
brains. I was just going to recommend you to do it, sir, I don't know a
better man, and you could get my friend Appledaddy's likeness taken and
stuck in for a frontispiece."

"With Mr. Juniper tugging at his collar," suggested Charles.

"You are pleased to flatter me, Mr. Juniper," said Earlsley; "but
I----; well, yes, it is possible that in the decline of my life I
may find myself engaged in a composition which might--mind I say
might--make some small stir in literary circles."

"No doubt of it," interrupted Juniper vociferously, "no doubt of it;
you know what Byron says; (and here our friend quoted his favorite part
for a wonder correctly)--


"'Tis pleasant sure to see one's name in print;
A book's a book, although there's nothing in't."


While the company were convulsed with laughter Mr. Earlsley's face
assumed its usual magisterial severity of expression, and with stinging
tartness in his tone and manner he gave utterance to this terrific
wish,--

"May the devil fly away with Byron and you on his back, sir, and your
friend Daddydapple stick to both of you for ever. Ladies, goodnight; we
shall expect you on Thursday evening."

Thus, O frowning shade of noble poet, did this little big aristocrat,
this lord of swamps and gum-trees, appreciate your glorious genius! Be
not angry with us, for thank Heaven we are not Earlsley; we go with you
and pity the weak and miserable creature.

Our poor friend Juniper returned to his comfortless home that evening
in sad and pensive loneliness, his friend Mr. Julius Cæsar Appledaddy
having mysteriously vanished out of Maxwell's kitchen while the above
pleasant conversations were carried on in the parlor. The discovery
was only made when Mr. Earlsley came out to mount his horse. As he
rode away he looked over his shoulder, and in his eye the sparkle of
internal and fiendish satisfaction might have been observed to twinkle.
The youth was gone, and with him the suit of fustian. The surveyor's
friends condoled with him on his distressing loss; but nothing more was
ever heard respecting Mr. Appledaddy. The suit of fustian was, however,
found some weeks afterwards, carefully rolled up and deposited in a
hollow tree.




CHAPTER XXXVIII.--JORGEN JORGENSON.

The day was fast drawing to a close when Edwin was aroused from his
long swoon and opened his eyes to the twilight. At first he remembered
nothing of the events that had just taken place, and after opening his
eyes and looking about him wildly for a moment, he closed them again
and sank back in a perfect state of indifference as to whether he
should open them again or not. But he was not allowed to relapse into
his former state of unconsciousness so easily as he evidently expected,
for a strong hand took hold of the collar of what had once been a coat,
and shook it unceremoniously, while a voice exclaimed in hoarse but
friendly accents--"Come, Sir, get up; we're not going to stop here all
night--stand on your pins, and thank your stars that matters are no
worse."

These words recalled his scattered senses, again on the point of
wandering away, and he made an effort to get upon his legs; but this he
could not do without the assistance of the friendly hand which still
grasped his collar. Standing up for a moment with a bewildered air he
found that his legs refused to support their wonted burden, and the
hand on his collar was compelled to allow him to sit on the log which
lay invitingly beside him. There he sat for a few minutes, conscious
that his face was as cold and inanimate as that of a marble statue, and
he looked upward and downward and all around him many times before he
seemed to comprehend the actual position of affairs.

His awakening attention was first naturally turned to the individual
to whose timely presence and intervention he was evidently indebted
for his almost miraculous escape from a violent death. This personage
was tall and well proportioned, with a good humored, open kind of
countenance, having a light complexion, sandy whiskers, and blue
eyes. He was dressed in a suit of coarse dark clothing, with his
legs protected by sheepskin leggings, and wearing on his head an
opussum-skin cap. He leaned on his rifle while waiting for his charge
to recover sufficient strength to leave the place, and attached to
his rifle Edwin perceived a bayonet dabbled with blood. He wore also
a belt, in which four pistols were arranged, and behind in military
fashion were his bayonet sheath and cartridge box; a knapsack was
strapped to his shoulders, made of green opossum skins, filled to all
appearance with extra clothing and provisions. Edwin looked at him with
astonishment, and as he scanned the features on which a quiet smile now
appeared, he slowly became aware that it was not the first time they
had met. Under the influence of this dawning recollection he again rose
to his feet and attempted to walk. The stranger perceiving his weakness
desired him to sit down again, as they were not far from Sam Tomkins's
hut, and with an exclamation to himself of surprise at not having
thought of it before he unstrapped his knapsack, drew forth a bottle,
and handed it to Edwin. It contained rum, and Edwin after swallowing
a little returned it to its owner with thanks, saying that he was now
beginning to feel strong, and would make another attempt to walk. The
stranger taking a sip out of the bottle himself returned it to its
place, and they both set out without further loss of time towards the
hut--the same from which Edwin and the sailor had fled--the distance to
which was more than a mile.

They had scarcely gone a dozen yards before Edwin nearly stumbled
over the dead body of the savage who had so nearly terminated his own
earthly career. The black Hercules lay on his face just as he fell when
shot, and the stranger pointed out to Edwin the way in which he himself
had fallen, and the marks on the grass that his feet had made when he
was dragged from under his foe. The naked savage still held his waddy
in his deadly grasp, while the fingers of his other hand were buried
deep in the soil, on the surface of which the life blood of his heart
had already dried. A few paces in the rear lay another savage killed by
a bayonet thrust, and yet another lay at a distance, but there were no
living natives to be seen. They had all vanished in what appeared to
Edwin to be an unaccountable way, for he forgot the fact of his having
lain so long insensible. The sight of these unfortunate creatures
filled his mind with melancholy thoughts. War to the knife had broken
out between the native proprietors of the land and the civilised and
powerful intruders from distant England, though it is but just to
say that the shedding of blood, except in self-defence, was strongly
condemned and severely punished by the British Governor. Isolated cases
of barbarity and torture cannot be blotted from the page of history,
especially from that of the unhappy race which formerly roamed in
freedom in the forests of Tasmania; but it must be recollected that
there are brutal ruffians in every country under heaven; that the
English Government intended justice to the miserable barbarians while
confessing that the progress of colonization could not well be stayed
by a handful of creatures scarcely removed from the hairy animals on
which they fed; and that it was impossible to impose restrictions upon
men who had themselves broken away from all restraint, who had taken to
the bush with arms in their hands, waging war alike against the native
race and their own peaceable countrymen.

Edwin felt a sickness coming over him, and the stranger, noticing the
increasing paleness of his face, took hold of his arm to support him.

"Come," said he, "you will drop down again, I see, and keep these
fellows company all night. You're a weak subject, you are: I wish I had
you as an apprentice for six months. Come on, Sir, we'll bury them in
the morning, and you can cry about them all night."

"Did you kill these yourself?" asked Edwin, looking upon the stranger
with a feeling of awe.

"If I hadn't shot the first," replied his companion, "where would you
be now? What do you value your life at?--worth a hundred such carrion
crows as these, I should think. I killed two of them, and three
soldiers killed I don't know how many--they're scattered here and
there, up and down. Come on, unless you would prefer to stay with them
all night, in which case I bid you good-by."

"Stay," said Edwin, "I am very weak; I have been shipwrecked, and
have lost everything. I received a heavy blow on my head, and the
pain is now intense. I claim your protection, for I think you must be
the constable who captured the bushranger Brady in Baxter's hut--am I
right?"

"Never mind," said the impatient stranger, "whether you are right or
wrong--I'll tell you to-morrow. Catch hold of my arm and come on. I
might have had twenty of those blacks alive, and got my free pardon,
if I hadn't stopped to get you to come to life again." So saying, he
fairly dragged Edwin away, and compelled him to move along at a smart
pace.

It was nearly dark when they gained the hut. The hairy man, Sam
Tomkins, and his wife were at supper, but they seemed to expect their
visitor, for the woman rose up, brought some fresh provision, which
consisted of kangaroo flesh stewed with potatoes, hot from the fire,
and laid it on the table before them. She then filled two pannicans
of hot tea and invited them to drink. The host, in his untutored way,
congratulated Edwin on his escape, and confidently declared, while
demolishing his portion of Irish stew, that it was the queerest concern
that ever he did see: if not strike him dumb and cranky.

The constable was surprised that the three soldiers who had gone in
pursuit of the blacks had not returned, but on this subject his mind
was speedily set at rest, as they soon after made their appearance.
Neither the health nor the spirits of Edwin had improved since he had
eaten a frugal dinner in the same hut that day, so he had not much
appetite for supper. The blow he had received on his head made it
very painful, and to allay the pain he kept it bandaged with a cloth
saturated with cold water, having learned from Mrs. Maxwell that it was
that simple treatment which alleviated the pain of Griselda's wounds
when she suffered under similar circumstances. He lay down on the bench
in the corner heedless of the conversation of Mr. Tomkins and his
guests, thinking as was his wont of the woodbine-covered cottage on
the banks of the Dodder; of the fair face and gentle spirit which made
Bremgarten holy ground; and wondering what would be the next phase of
his own eventful history.

Early the next morning the three soldiers took their departure for the
infant township of Falmouth, having told the constable that they would
lose no time in sending a messenger to Mr. Fitzfrizzle, who happened
to be a coroner for the territory, so that he might come immediately
and hold an inquest on the dead bodies. After they were gone the
constable, accompanied by Edwin and the proprietor Tomkins, set out for
a stroll towards the scene of yesterday's conflict, the last mentioned
individual carrying a spade on his shoulder, and smoking a black pipe.
As they walked on the constable asked Edwin how he was, and received
for answer that he felt considerably stronger than he did since he had
been shipwrecked, and the pain in his head had considerably abated.

"You were quite right in supposing," said the constable while walking
slowly beside Edwin, and casting his eyes round him into the bush from
time to time--"that I am the same man who made you bestir yourself in
Baxter's barn, and afterwards arrested Brady the bushranger. If that
wretched cripple of an informer had kept good watch I should have
got my reward, and been home again to my brave Denmark. I'm a Dane,
Sir, a descendant of the original conquerors of you English; and may
live to see the day when we'll conquer you again, great as you think
yourselves."

"It is possible you may," replied Edwin.

"Possible but not probable you mean to say," said the constable, "and
you may say it without fear of offending me. I know what I am and
what my country is; though smarting under the blows of a Nelson and a
Cathcart she may rise again, and England may want a Nelson and not know
where to find one."

"You are no friend to England then?" said Edwin.

"Why, it is a matter of indifference to me," answered the constable,
"whether she is great or little. She has according to my belief a
festering sore within her that will sooner or later bring her to ruin;
but what is it to me? I'm not an Englishman and I don't hate her; she
may stand or fall as she lists for all I care."

"I suppose you allude to her enormous debt?"

"Not only that, though I suppose her debt cannot go on increasing for
ever; but I mean her vanity, and her pride, and her gross mismanagement
of public affairs; her squandering of money on pomp and show, her
idolatry of royalty, her church deprived of its primitive simplicity,
important offices bartered for money and held by brainless fools,
important commands entrusted to men who however brave and good they
may be have been long worn out with years and service. Why, of what
use is it for young officers and soldiers to fight for their country
at a distance when they are snubbed and neglected at home, and their
services passed over by some honorable Jack who do nothing but toast
his shins over the fire in his elegant office--who has managed his
private affairs until he is overwhelmed with debt and ruin, and then
gets to manage the affairs of the nation until she becomes a laughing
stock to her neighbors?"

"These subjects," said Edwin, "are not new. They have been talked over
in Parliament and elsewhere, and have been written about over and over
again for years. People must not expect perfection in human affairs.
Things may improve slowly, and no doubt they will. Are the English as
vain as the French? and do you mean to say that her national pride is
not justifiable? It is better to be ruled by a fool with a check upon
him, than by a merciless tyrant with no check it all. I'm an Irishman,
and can snap at England as well as the rest of my countrymen, but I
cannot shut my eyes to the fact that of all nations she possesses the
greatest freedom, and is, by means of that freedom, the most glorious
nation in the world."

"What is her freedom?" said the constable. "Her boasted liberty of the
press is nothing but a bar to progress, and a source of confusion worse
confounded; the best man in England can do nothing but he has a host of
miserable quill-drivers worrying him to death."

"On the contrary," replied Herbart, "I think the liberty of the press
is the greatest blessing we can enjoy; the best check upon tyranny and
vice that ever grew up amongst men."

"Well, as my countryman Rothe says,--'The gift of the Dane is strength,
where others have inherited liberty.' If our press was as free as
yours, we might have pushed one another into the Baltic long ago.
But England has done some good in keeping up the balance of power,
ridding the world of savages, and introducing civilization and rum
and black-coated gentlemen, followed up by red-coated gentlemen,
wherever she pleases; and I wish her well, only hoping that if I ever
go back and write a book in Newgate, I shall not die the death that my
ancestor, Ragnar Lodbrog, died on English ground."

"And is your name Ragnar Lodbrog?" asked Edwin.

"No," said the constable laughing, "mine is a more modern and musical
name--Jorgen Jorgenson, but that is no reason why I may not have
descended from the adventurous sea-king who filled the North Sea with
terror. And even I, as an author and a commander, might yet become
famous if I could be lucky enough to find a biographer who would do me
only half the justice I deserve."

"I am to understand, then, that you have been a sea-king or something
similar, and that you have written a book?" said Edwin.

"I have written several,--a treatise on religion, and another on the
Treaty of Tilsit, a tragedy on the death of the Duc D'Enghien, a
history of the Affghan revolution, and other things; and I may write
two or three more yet. I have been a governor in my time of a large
island; made laws for people, and made the people respect the laws;
commanded an army, and would have equipped a fleet, if in an evil hour
I had not gone to England and subjected myself to arrest. This was my
first step to ruin, I gave way to my besetting sin, gambling; and now,
here I still, a felon at large, a common constable in Tasmania." *


[* My information respecting this remarkable character is derived from
one of Dr. Ross's almanacs, kindly lent me with other books by James
Aikenhead, Esquire, of Launceston. I have also to thank T. J. Crouch,
Esquire, of Hobart Town, for similar favors.]


"You must have passed through many adventures," said Edwin, "and I
should like to hear your account of some of them. You mentioned Ragnar
Lodbrog just now, but I am as much in the dark about the man himself as
I am of the death he died."

"He was a great man while he lived," replied Jorgenson. "Himself, the
son of a Norwegian prince, he married a Danish princes; and being
worsted on shore by Harald, a Danish prince, he took to the sea, and
carried all before him. He conquered Rouen, and was bought off from
Paris. He extended his excursions into Spain, and at length resolved to
try his hand on England; but here his good fortune forsook him, for in
a bloody battle with Ella, king of Northumbria, he was taken prisoner
and shockingly put to death by being cast into a den, in which numbers
of poisonous snakes and scorpions had been put on purpose to torture
and kill him."

"That was very barbarous indeed," exclaimed Edwin; "do you know if his
death was avenged by his countrymen?"

"Yes, Sir, it was; his son Hubba went to England with a huge force,
conquered Ella and put him to death with horrid cruelties. We may learn
from this piece of history that cruel tyrants should never feel quite
sure that the tables may not be turned against them some day."

Here they came suddenly upon the body of the poor sailor who had been
killed by the natives on the previous evening. There were at least a
dozen spears sticking in his body, and so great had been the rage of
his murders that his skull, arms, and legs were beaten into splinters.
While Tomkins commenced digging a grave for the unfortunate man,
Jorgenson turned to Edwin and said--"You see, Sir, what would have been
your fate if it was not for my providential bullet."

"Yes," replied Edwin, "it was a dreadful fate, and I am deeply sensible
of the exceeding great service you have rendered me. Yet, in strict
justice, what right have I to live more than the ignorant savage who
has been slain within the boundaries of his own proper home? Do you not
think that if I, who am one of those come to deprive these people of
their country, had been killed, it would have served me right?"

"It is a metaphysical question," answered Jorgenson; "it is one of
those great revolutions ordered by One who never errs, you may depend
on it,--that the savage races of the world are destined to recede
either rapidly or slowly before white men and civilization, until all
are nearly equally civilized."

"Well, without going into metaphysical questions," said Edwin, "may I
ask to what fortunate circumstance I was indebted for your opportune
assistance yesterday?"

"My profession as a bush constable ought to be a sufficient answer,"
replied Jorgenson. "I have to obey the orders of my superiors; my
superiors suspect that the bushrangers are hovering about this coast in
the hope of capturing a vessel, and making their escape; and I am sent
here to watch them, and cooperate with the military. You did not know
that on the evening on which the Betty sailed I and six soldiers
were planted under the rocks within a stone's throw of the boat. It is
well for you that they did not make their appearance, for you might
have had a bullet in your body in mistake in no time."

"I have certainly," said Edwin, taking his seat on a log at some
distance from the grave which the hairy laborer was digging, "to use
the words of Smollett, an English author, brought my pigs to a fine
market. I landed in this island full of buoyant hopes and delightful
anticipations of happiness and independence, not for myself alone,
but embracing many whom I dearly love in the pleasing dream. I go by
express invitation to reside in the house of a relative, but after
awhile am obliged to leave his house though from no fault of mine. I
come here with a few pounds, my boxes of clothing, books, and other
property, and embark on board the cutter. I am now destitute and
miserable. Death refuses to release me from my sufferings--the raging
sea vomits one up alive!--the murdering hand of the savage is suddenly
arrested! After such escapes, is it strange that I should wonder for
what fate am I reserved?"

"Not for a bloody one, I hope," said Jorgenson; "you must keep up your
spirits until you get into some settled situation. You are young, and
may yet enjoy many happy days. Is this the first time you have been
destitute?"

"Yes--I was never before without money; I have now neither money nor
friends."

"I have been just in the same position myself fifty times and more,"
said Jorgenson, "and never despaired,--something always turned up in
my favor. There is this difference between us--that you are destitute
through no fault of your own, but because fortune is unpropitious for
a while, whereas I have gone like an infatuated fool as I was, and
tempted Providence, reducing myself time after time from comparative
wealth to poverty and misery. You would scarcely believe how recklessly
I have squandered the gifts of a beneficent Creator, and the number of
lies I have been compelled to tell, to justify myself to my patrons and
friends."

"I can scarcely believe," said Edwin, "that I, the son of a simple
citizen of Dublin, really sit here on this wild shore, and amidst these
dark woods in the company of an author and historical personage like
yourself."

"It will beguile the time until the coroner comes if I relate a few of
my personal adventures; only tell me if such will be agreeable, as I
have no idea of wasting words on tired or unwilling ears."

"I shall derive much pleasure from hearing them, that is if in my
present condition I am susceptible of any pleasure at all," answered
Edwin."

"Well, the recital will have one good effect--that of diverting your
attention from your own miserable estate. I have been told that I
was born in Copenhagen in the year 1780. My father was a maker of
mathematical instruments, and a highly respectable man. He sent me
early to school, where I made considerable progress. We have this
advantage over you in England, that our schools are patronised by the
Government, and the Ministers of State themselves distribute rewards to
the best scholars. I remember on one occasion being insulted by a boy
whom I had repeatedly beaten in class. I offered him battle, but he,
instead of meeting me like a man (though we were only children), ran
through the gateway of the Round Tower, I following at full speed. This
tower was built as an observatory by Christian IV., and, though very
high, is ascended by a spiral road up which carriages may travel. I
pursued my adversary up to the very top of the tower, when whom should
we meet on the road but the King and one of his ministers coming down
in his carriage. We both brushed past without exciting notice, as I
hoped, but when I brought my enemy to an engagement I gave him a good
licking, and on the following day, at the public examination, lost my
reward on account of my disorderly conduct.

"I was fourteen years of ago when the King's splendid palace of
Christianburgh was burnt to ashes. The flames ascended to an immense
height, and were grand and awful beyond description. The palace was
situated on an island to which access could only be had by means of
drawbridges. The lakes around our fine city reflected the splendour
of this conflagration; and as I stood on an eminence looking on it at
night, and heard the fire roaring and the roofs crashing, and saw the
pictures of the old Danish knights who had long been dead moving as
the devouring element swept over the canvas, so that they seemed again
animated with life, my mind was filled with the strangest emotions.
All exertions to arrest the progress of the fire were in vain, but the
King, Christian VII., refused to believe that his everlasting palace
was being consumed, until he was removed from his burning chamber by
force.

"I was now afflicted with a desire to go to sea, and see something
of the world, and my father, worn out by my importunity, bound me
apprentice to an English collier. Here I remained for four years, in
which time I mastered the English language, read a great many books,
and made myself acquainted with nautical matters. At the age of
eighteen I left the collier and entered on board the Fanny, a South
Sea whaler going to the Cape of Good Hope with stores. When we arrived
there I shifted on board the Harbinger, schooner, Captain Black,
bound for Algoa Bay, also with stores. The captain had been in many
perilous adventures himself: he was an officer on board the Lady Jane
Shore when she was piratically seized by the prisoners and soldiers
on her way to Botany Bay, and escaped death by leaving his bed in the
dark.

"When we arrived at Algoa Bay we found two men-of-war, the
Rattlesnake, 22 guns, and the Camel, a reduced 44. In the evening
another man-of-war entered the harbor and cast anchor near the others.
I received an order immediately to pay the new arrival a visit, but
on going alongside in the boat, and being about to mount the side,
I heard people talking in a foreign language, which I suspected was
French. I returned to my vessel with a report of what I had heard,
and it was soon discovered that the stranger was the French frigate
La Preneuse, of 44 guns, which had watched the Rattlesnake and
Camel into the bay, and expected to make prizes of them in the
morning. The two English ships lost no time in showing their teeth,
though both the captains were on shore. The battle continued for six
hours, until the Frenchman spread his sails to the land breeze and bade
us good-by.

"My next change was to the Lady Nelson, tender to the
Investigator discovery ship under Captain Flinders, and we proceeded
to Sydney to join that officer. We spent a long time in surveying the
coasts of Port Phillip and this island, and then accompanied Captain
Flinders to the northern shores of New Holland, when we lost all our
anchors and cables on the coral reefs, but saved our vessel by means
of a wooden anchor, which may be considered quite as peculiar to the
antipodes as the fact that cocks crow to announce that supper is on
table. When we got back to Sydney, however, our wooden anchor had lost
its most valuable quality and wouldn't sink, so that we were obliged to
allow the Lady Nelson to go on shore.

"In 1803 we set sail from Sydney with passengers and stores for the
Derwent, and after landing them sailed to Port Phillip to bring over
Colonel Collins and the persons who had attempted to form a settlement
there. The soil was so arid and infertile, and fresh water so scarce,
that it was judged necessary to abandon the place altogether. While we
were away the settlement on the Derwent was removed from Risdon to its
present site. It was a wild uncultivated place then compared to what
it is now, for the largest gum trees thickly overshadowed an almost
impenetrable scrub. Returning to Sydney to refit, we again came to this
island and surveyed the entrance of the Tamar. Then we went to King's
Island and amused ourselves hunting the emu and killing sea elephants,
and on going back to Sydney, after a trip to the new settlement of
Newcastle, seventy miles north of Port Jackson, I left his Majesty's
service.

"A voyage to New Zealand next engaged my attention. We filled a vessel
with skins and came back to Sydney. I then entered as chief officer
of the Alexander, a whaler, and we sailed for the Derwent, where I
struck the first whale that was ever struck there. Directing our course
now to New Zealand, we filled our ship after nearly losing her in a
skirmish with the natives, and sailed for London, taking two of our
savage friends with us. Baffled in our attempts to double Cape Horn and
driven three thousand miles out of our course, we made for Otaheite for
provisions. We got plenty of fresh meat but were obliged to manufacture
salt to cure it with, which detained us two months. Again setting sail
with an Otaheitan chief and a friend of his we tried the Horn a second
time and succeeded in getting round, though not without suffering many
hardships and inconveniences through our stock of biscuit running
short. We made for St. Catherine's, in the Brazils, where we safely
arrived, and remained over three months putting everything in order.
Then we stopped three months more at St. Helena waiting for convoy, and
in June, 1806, arrived in the Thames.

"You will say that in the voyages I have just enumerated I had gone
through personal adventures, the history of which would fill a large
volume, and so indeed I had; but the most interesting and adventurous
part of my life had not then commenced. I became desirous of revisiting
my native land, and resigning the charge of my New Zealand friends
into the hands of an excellent man, Sir Joseph Banks, made my way
to Copenhagen, which I found had been just bombarded by the English
under Lord Cathcart. The most beautiful city in the world was a heap
of ruins. Fifteen hundred of my countrymen were destroyed. What would
be your feelings if you went home to your city of Dublin and found it
half knocked to pieces by British cannon? why, you would burn with
indignation as I did--you would join your countrymen and inflict
vengeance on the hated foe as I did, I took the command of a Danish
vessel armed with twenty-eight guns, that was purchased by my father
and seven other merchants of Copenhagen, and presented to the crown.
We cut our way through the ice a month before it was expected that any
vessel could get out, and coming unawares among the English traders
captured eight or nine ships. I then stood boldly over to England,
determined to immortalize the name of Jorgenson, and found myself
suddenly in sight of Flamborough Head, and at the same time within the
reach of the Sappho, sloop of war, commanded by Captain Longford,
while a little way beyond lay another, which proved to be the Clio.
To save myself was now the word--a sharp one to be sure--but the motion
wasn't quick enough. I was obliged to fight. The enemy had a hundred
and twenty men, I eighty-three, and in a few minutes we were at it
tooth and nail; the battle lasted three quarters of an hour; I fired
seventeen broadsides, and did not cease until all my powder was gone,
and my masts, rigging, and sails shot to pieces. To resist any longer
was impossible, so I struck my colors as many a brave man did before
me. Longford was made a post captain, and he deserved his promotion,
for it was no mean victory."

"Indeed I should think not," said Edwin; "he had undoubtedly a resolute
and formidable antagonist to contend with."

"Now constable," shouted Tomkins, when he had finished the sailor's
grave, "where be these dead savagers?"

Jorgenson proceeded to point out the places where the bodies of the
slain creatures lay, and on his return resumed his narrative as
follows:--"I was not in England above twenty-four hours when a letter
arrived from London, from a gentleman whom I had met in Copenhagen
the year before, requesting me to go to London to meet a gentleman
connected with the ministry. Having my liberty, though not on parole,
I lost no time in complying with his request. I soon became known to
several high official characters of those stirring times, and renewed
my acquaintance with Sir Joseph Banks, of whose friendship I shall feel
proud to the end of my life. A great stir was made in London just then
about the condition of Iceland, the inhabitants being reduced almost to
the horrors of a famine on account of the fierce hostilities carried
on between Great Britain and Denmark. Permission was obtained from the
British Government to freight a ship with provisions, and I agreed to
take the command of her. We sailed from Liverpool on the twenty-ninth
of December--a time when it was considered madness to sail into such a
high latitude, when there were only two hours of daylight out of the
twenty-four. But we had plenty of light from the aurora borealis,
and arrived in perfect safety to the great joy of the starving people.
One cargo I foresaw would go but a little way towards supplying their
wants, so I hastened back to Liverpool to get another.

"On my return to Iceland with more flour and other provisions
I discovered that an order had been issued prohibiting further
communication with the English; and not liking the idea of taking
my provisions back again I made up my mind to do a bold stroke of
business. The next day would be Sunday; I waited quietly until the
people had gone into church, when taking twelve armed sailors with me I
went on shore and walked up to the Governor's house, in front of which
I placed six of my men, sending the remainder to watch the rear, with
orders to fire on any man who should attempt to interrupt me. I then
walked in with a pistol in each hand. His lordship, Count Tramp, had
luckily not gone to church, and I found him reposing on the sofa, not
in the least expecting such a visitor. His surprise was very great, but
he wisely made a virtue of necessity, and quietly accompanied me on
board my vessel. Here was something to be proud of: the government of
a large island changed in a moment, and not a drop of blood spilt. The
people were astonished, but thinking that I acted with the connivance
of the British Government, submitted without a murmur. To strengthen my
position I secured the iron chest, and issued a proclamation, wherein
I stated roundly that the people being tired of Danish oppression had
unanimously called me to the head of the government."

"I flatter myself that there have been worse governors in the world
than his Excellency Count Jorgen Jorgenson. My proclamation, though
written in rather peculiar language, was eminently successful. The
English residents never interfered, and the Icelanders made sure it was
all right. Not being inclined to tyrannise over my fellow creatures, I
resolved to adopt popular measures. I established trial by jury, and
a free representative government; relieved the people from one-half
of the taxes, supplying the deficiency by imposing a duty on all
British goods imported and exported. I increased the salaries of the
clergy--even that of the bishop--not forgetting, as richer governments
do, the humble curates. Some of the latter had lived on twelve pounds a
year, a sum upon which the fox-hound of an English squire would starve.
The consequence was that I had pulpit eloquence on my side. I took the
public schools and fisheries under my care, and compelled all public
defaulters to cash up without delay. I next formally released (though
without authority) the people from all debts due to the crown of
Denmark, which had shamefully withheld the money subscribed for their
relief by the nations of Europe, and especially the English, after the
terrible eruption of Hekla in 1783. Neither was I idle in organising
military defences; I established an army of eight soldiers well armed
and mounted (myself being Field Marshal) and placed six guns in
position to defend the harbor. I had some thoughts of building a fleet
and appointing myself Lord High Admiral with discretionary powers. I do
not joke when I say that the laws and regulations I then made were so
good that I have reason to believe they remain unaltered to the present
day.

"I now thought it advisable to make a tour of the island. I found the
country very beautiful, with high and precipitous mountains capped with
snow and ice, but trees exceedingly scarce. The people in general paid
me the respect due to my exalted office; but I had some trouble with
the prefect of one of the northern districts. He was so insolent as to
refuse to acknowledge me as Governor, or to surrender the iron chest
which I was resolute in demanding. But I called from his door to the
people around me to collect a quantity of brushwood for the purpose
of burning him and his house, too, if he did not quickly submit, and
submit he accordingly did, though he eyed me with as much suspicion as
if he thought I was a London pick-pocket."

Edwin laughed, and observed that he did not blame the worthy prefect
for his submission.

"I now determined," continued Jorgenson, "to pay London a visit on
business of importance. I had taken possession of a Danish ship
belonging to Count Tramp, and embarked in her, leaving Dr. Hooker
and other passengers on board my own vessel. We sailed in company,
but my own ship out-sailed the prize, and I was obliged to run the
latter between a reef and the shore, a passage till then thought
impracticable. I thus gained seventeen miles, but by daylight we saw
our companion three miles to leeward with a signal of distress flying.
We bore down upon her and found that she was on fire. The people on
board were making no efforts to stop the fire or to save themselves;
they were in fact paralyzed with terror. With characteristic presence
of mind I immediately ordered out the boats and succeeded in getting
every living creature safe on board the prize. But I remained close
to windward forgetting that the guns of the burning ship were loaded,
and presently they went off in a thundering volley sending a storm of
shot over our heads. There were on board ten loaded guns and a cargo
of wool, feathers, oil, tallow, and tar; a few barrels of turpentine
would have been a handsome addition, but even without them I never saw
so fine a sight in my life. The effect was most magnificent. After this
catastrophe we returned to Iceland for provisions. I transported my
passengers to H.M.S. Talbot, which happened to be in the harbor, and
resuming my voyage reached Liverpool in eight days.

"When I arrived in London I found that the Talbot had got in before
me, and that the captain had represented to the ministry that I had
established a republican government in Iceland for the purpose of
harboring all the disaffected persons in Europe, though nothing was
further from my thoughts, and further, that I was highly unqualified
to hold the command of a kingdom because I had been an apprentice
on board an English collier and a midshipman in a man-of-war; fine
reasons, truly, with which to crush rising genius! Was not one of the
Popes a cow-boy, and Murat, King of Naples, the son of an innkeeper?
Well, at the instance of this false captain I was arrested and charged
with having broken my parole, though I had never given it at all.
They sent me to Tothill Fields prison, where I met some sparkling
fellows who initiated me into the mysteries of gambling, and then
to the hulk appointed for the reception of Danish prisoners. After
residing in both places for twelve months I was allowed to retire to
Reading on my parole of honor, and began to devote myself to a life
of literature; but going to London with permission to employ myself
as a British subject I fell in with my friends from Tothill Fields
and was in the space of six months considerately stripped of every
farthing I possessed, including the sixteenth share of a £20,000
prize in a state lottery. If you are wise you will never sit down to
a gaming table--never even look on while others are gambling. The
fascination accompanying this dreadful vice is stronger than that
of drunkenness itself. It absorbs every faculty and steeps the soul
in tremulous delight, leading only to disappointment, despair, and
remorse. The professed gamester will smile pleasantly and press your
hand as he invites you to have a rubber, but he will eye you as a
vulture does a lamb. Surrounded by a number of them I have more than
once congratulated myself on winning the game when, lo! the cash was
suddenly swept off the table, and half-a-dozen eager voices declared
that I had lost. Remonstrance was vain. Sir, you are young, and for
God's sake remember my story and never enter a gambling house."

Jorgenson here paused in his narrative in order to produce some dinner
from his knapsack as it was now mid-day. He invited Edwin to partake
with him, and calling Sam Tomkins who had not yet finished his graves,
the three sat together on a log and ate of the constable's bread and
pork. They ate in silence, and had scarcely finished their repast when
Mr. Fitzfrizzle and half-a-dozen soldiers were seen making their way to
the spot.




CHAPTER XXXIX.--JORGENSON CONCLUDES HIS NARRATIVE.--A STRANGE INCIDENT.

MR. FITZFRIZZLE came on horseback, and having no time to spare,
produced his writing materials and proceeded to business at once. He
recognised Edwin as the gentleman he had seen in his major-domo's
quarters, and condoled with him on his destitute condition after being
made acquainted with the particulars of the wreck, and the subsequent
events. He was kind enough to say that if Mr. Herbart would call at
his quarters at St. Mary's Pass a change of clothing should he placed
at his service, and he would be welcome to stay and refresh himself as
long as he thought proper. Edwin cordially thanked the kind-hearted
coroner, who without any further delay proceeded to impanel his jury.
The six soldiers were duly sworn in, and Mr. Tomkins, being a free
man, made the seventh. A corporal was elected foreman, the bodies were
examined as they lay, the evidence of Edwin and Jorgenson taken and
committed to paper by the coroner, the jury charged, told what verdict
it would be proper for them to bring in, and then requested to retire
and deliberate upon their verdict. The jury, nothing loth, retired to
a neighboring tree, and while engaged in amicable converse, in which,
however, Sam Tomkins did not join, but nodded to each soldier as he
gave his opinion, lit their pipes and began to smoke. Some time elapsed
before they could make up their minds what verdict to bring in, and
Mr. Fitzfrizzle, fearing lest he should be benighted on his return up
the Pass, ventured to stir them up with, "Look alive, gentlemen of
the jury." Whereupon they got on their legs, knocked the ashes out of
their pipes, and the corporal delivered the identical verdict which
the coroner had recommended for their deliberation, viz,--In the case
of the slaughtered sailor, wilful murder against the aborigines; and
justifiable homicide in favor of the constable and military,--a verdict
which few reasonable readers will find fault with.

The coroner, when he had received the signatures and marks of his
jury, made them a short address. He reminded them of the strict
orders of the Lieutenant-Governor that the lives of the aborigines
should not be taken except in unavoidable cases. He exhorted the
constable and soldiers to use all possible forbearance towards their
weak antagonists, and to remember that Colonel Arthur was a strict
disciplinarian who would not allow any case of wanton blood-shedding
or cruelty to go unpunished. He then discharged the jury, and turning
to Jorgenson asked him what would be his next movements, as there was
every reason to believe that the bushrangers had left the neighborhood
and had retreated into the Western Tiers. The constable replied that he
would start early in the morning on his way to Fingal for fresh orders,
and call at the station as he went by. Mr. Fitzfrizzle bade Edwin good
day, recommending him to return with the constable, and call on Mr.
Earlsley again, who he did not doubt would exert himself to procure the
favorable consideration of the Government on his behalf. He then rode
away.

Sam Tomkins was not generally a talkative individual, but on the
present occasion he leaned on his spade in a philosophic mood previous
to consigning the dead bodies to their mother earth, and after watching
the coroner and soldiers out of sight, addressed Jorgenson thus--

"Well, constable, we brought it in, didn't we though?"

"Brought what in?" said the constable, with some asperity of manner.

"The werdick," said the gravedigger.

"Was it in a horse-cart or a wheelbarrow you brought it?" asked
Jorgenson, eyeing Edwin askance.

"Naw, naw, not that away, but we brought it in though," replied the
owner of the spade, preparing to roll one of the black bodies into the
grave ready for its reception, as without further remark Jorgenson and
Edwin slowly returned to the hut. The latter had armed himself with
a spear, which he intended to keep as a memento of the battle. His
singular companion did not renew the narration of his adventures, but
was buried to all appearance in profound meditation. He had evidently
touched a chord of his past life on which hung many bitter though
unavailing regrets. He would give perhaps a fortune, if he had it, to
obliterate the remembrance of the follies and extravagances of which
he had been guilty; but in vain. How often is it that the memory of
even one false step casts a shade of bitterness over ones whole life,
and how vainly the repentant sinner wishes that the folly had not been
committed, or that the unkind word which may have left a rankling wound
open for ever had not been spoken.

After a refreshing sleep and a hot breakfast our hero and his new
friend (for though a prisoner Jorgenson had not been transported for
any disgraceful offence, and under the same circumstances we would be
happy to call him our friend) bade their host and his wife good-by, and
started for the Pass. It was a source of deep regret to Edwin that he
had no means of remunerating Tomkins for his kindness and hospitality,
but there was no help for it, and he had to bear this additional grief
as he best might. Jorgenson seemed in better spirits than on the
preceding evening, and on receiving a hint from his companion resumed
his account of himself, which we will take the liberty of condensing a
little, not wishing to swell our unpretending work beyond reasonable
limits.

"When I had lost every penny at the gaming table, for the first time
I determined to try my fortune in a foreign land, and took a passage
to Lisbon. But here my evil genius pursued me, and I was arrested by
the orders of General Trant, and sent back to England for no crime in
the world but reporting to the British Consul the assassination of Mr.
Percival by Bellingham in the lobby of the House of Commons. I returned
to Lisbon, gave way to my newly acquired propensity of gambling, and
again found myself without a farthing. I sold the clothes on my back,
and putting on a jacket and trousers (I could not well do with less)
engaged as a seaman in a gunboat, and cruised off St. Vincent for ten
days. We took a good many small prizes sent out on purpose to be taken,
furnished with false papers. Here I was promoted to the command of a
watch on account of the ready way in which I performed my duty; but my
elevation immediately drew down such a storm of jealousy and dislike
from the rest of the officers that I was made quite miserable. Going,
however, into Gibraltar I was lucky enough to be sent to the hospital
through representing an old complaint that sometimes troubled me to
be ten times as bad as it really was. I was soon sent to Portsmouth
and put on board the Gladiator, 50 guns, where from seven to
eight hundred sick men were crowded together in a state of positive
suffocation. Here I became really ill, and wrote a letter to the
Admiral craving permission to go on shore. When the doctor and captain
heard of this they both attacked me as if I was a dog, and threatened
to tie me up and flog me for "Shamming Moses," so that my situation
became worse than ever. The captain insulted me every day and said he
would teach me to apply to the Admiralty instead of to him. My first
letter having produced no result I made up my mind to try another, let
the consequences be what they would, and the next day an order came for
the captain and me to attend the admiral on shore. We went accordingly,
and I was extremely gratified to hear my enemy, the captain, get a good
rap on the knuckles, while I received permission to go where I liked.

"My footsteps were now turned towards London, where I had many friends
of high rank and great influence, by whom, notwithstanding my coarse
jacket and trousers, I was received with great kindness. In the
tranquillity of a friend's country seat in Suffolk I wrote an account
of the Icelandic revolution, which I presented to my friend Sir Joseph
Banks. My host pointed me out to his friends as his Majesty the King of
Iceland. My friends in Copenhagen now sent me a good supply of money,
which was increased by the liberality of my friends in England; I then
returned to London, made my appearance amongst my old acquaintances,
by whom I was rapturously received, sat down to the gaming-table once
more, and rose up a beggar.

"But instead of being cured by these repeated misfortunes my propensity
for gambling grew stronger every day. I was arrested for debt and
confined in the Fleet prison for two years. I had made some friends by
the timely disclosure of a plot on the part of the French Government
to conquer the Australian colonies from the English; and what money I
received from them I squandered at the gaming-table. I was presented
with sufficient to pay my debts and to procure my liberty; but instead
of doing so I dissipated it all upon this fascinating vice, and thus my
freedom was lost. To protect myself against the horrors of idleness,
I wrote while in prison a history of the Affghan revolution and the
tragedy I formerly mentioned. I amused myself in making neat copies
of these works, which I presented to different noblemen and gentlemen
of whom I had some knowledge; and they rewarded me handsomely for my
pains. At this period I was sent for to the Foreign Office, and was
offered an employment which would oblige me to proceed to Belgium,
where the British forces were already mastering under Wellington in
order to curb the blind ambition of that strange genius Bonaparte.
My debt was paid; money advanced to provide an outfit; permission to
draw when abroad for reasonable travelling expenses accorded. Will
you believe it? I gambled the money away, and instead of providing
myself with an outfit, sold everything but my shirt (so to speak), and
found myself totally destitute. My shame and remorse mounted to agony.
I exchanged my clothes for a sailor's jacket and trousers. I told a
bundle of lies to the master of a store-ship and got to Ostend, then I
drew upon London for money, but the bankers treated me as an impostor,
until luckily meeting with a military officer to whom I was known, and
who testified to my identity, I found myself again on my legs.

"I now began to taste the pleasures of a replenished pocket and
freedom. The belligerent hosts of England and France rapidly approached
each other, and it was soon evident where the decisive blow would be
struck. I travelled on therefore, and was an admiring spectator of the
action of the 16th, and the great victory of the 18th of June. What
strange emotions did the thunder of the hostile cannon create in my
breast!--every discharge the death-blow perhaps to dozens of brave and
healthy men made in their Creator's own image. To satisfy the lust of
power and dominion burning in a single human breast rivers of blood
must flow, and widows in thousands and orphans in tens of thousands
shed bitter tears of desolation! And the man is almost exalted into a
god by the vain glorious and fickle nation which he ruled with an iron
will. What a miserable farce! Rather ought his body to be impaled and
hung on a gallows ten times as high as that built in ancient times for
Mordecai the Jew, but on which hung, instead, its architect Haman.

"I went to Paris with the army, and saw the prodigious number of four
hundred thousand soldiers collected there. Meeting also with my friend
of the Foreign Office, I received orders to proceed to Warsaw, and was
furnished with a further supply of money to defray expenses. Instead of
going, however, like a gentleman, I went to a gambling-hall merely to
see how they managed matters in France, and with strong resolutions not
to play. But the temptation was stronger. I won at first, but the tide
turned, and I lost for several nights, my employer thinking that I had
started on my journey. Soon every penny was gone; I sold my shirt off
my back to a sergeant for seven francs, in cold December, and buttoning
up my coat bade adieu to Paris and set out for Warsaw on foot.

"I now entered upon a course of minor adventures which might furnish
Theodore Hook with materials for a very interesting novel, although
there was no heroine in the case. Like that gentleman, too, I
discovered that I never lost much by a timely exhibition of cool
impudence. Nothing lowers a poor wretch in this world so much as a
bashful demeanor, for the world says your timid, modest man, though
perhaps as honest as Fabricius and as virtuous as Scipio, is a
blundering idiot, and treats him accordingly. At one hundred and twenty
miles from Paris, at the little town of Joucherie, I found myself
without a sou, but I entered a cabaret and called for a good dinner.
While eating it the Mayor came in to look at my passport. Along with
this was a letter which I wished him to see, and on his looking at it
asked him if he knew the handwriting. I then explained that it was
from the Duchess of Angoulême. He bowed and smiled. 'I am,' said I,
'an Irishman going to the Holy Land,' with which information he was
so delighted that he advised me not to leave the village until I had
seen the Baronness D'Este, a religious and charitable lady. I waited
upon her with the same story, had all my expenses at the inn paid, and
received some coins to deposit at the sacred shrine. Here I remained
ten days enjoying the good things of this life.

"Continuing my journey I arrived at Rheims. The prefect of this city
was a zealous Bonapartist, and I being in want of money wrote him a
letter in which I said I had reason to believe that the Commissariat
Stores had been robbed by the English. He sent for me and I made such
a favorable impression that he at once furnished me with money and a
billet, which entitled me to receive a certain sum per mile to defray
expenses, besides the service of a horse to carry me from station to
station on the road. After travelling some time I was stopped by a
blustering village mayor, told I was a lazy fellow, and ordered to
stretch my legs, as he would not supply me with a horse; his conduct
was so offensive that I bestowed upon him a knock on the head that
made his skull ring; but seeing the villagers coming out like a swarm
of bees, armed with pitchforks and other weapons, I took to my heels
forthwith.

"At Metz I got my billet renewed through taking advantage of the
Mayors ignorance of the French language. At Frankfort I found myself
penniless, but with my usual sang froid I entered a good inn and
ordered a sumptuous supper. In the morning I told my landlord I had
no money but expected a supply in the course of the day. Leaving my
waistcoat with him in pledge I went out to seek my fortune for the
nonce, and strolled into a mathematical instrument maker's shop where
I perceived a chronometer bearing my father's name. I then introduced
myself to the proprietor, who was a Scotchman named Fraser. He was an
amiable and humane man, and in addition to kind advice he directed me
to the house of Lord Clancarty, the British minister. Here I found a
gentleman from the Foreign Office who knew me notwithstanding my shabby
attire, and my pecuniary wants were again liberally supplied. Mr.
Fraser also gave me a letter of introduction to the secretary of the
Grand Duke of Hesse Darmstad, on delivering which I had the pleasure
of being presented to his Highness with whom I had a most interesting
conversation. I spent a long time in looking over his museum and
splendid gallery of paintings. On my departure his Royal Highness made
me a handsome present.

"At Saxe Weimar I visited the Duke's splendid library of two hundred
thousand volumes, and was introduced to the celebrated Goethe, in
itself no inconsiderable honor. Travelling thence to Leipsic I surveyed
with indescribable interest the scene of that memorable battle which
lasted four days, and in which six hundred thousand men were engaged.
Beginning at last to rise in the world I hired carriage to Berlin,
where I waited on the British Minister, and had my funds again
recruited. In Berlin I remained for eight months, procrastinating
from day to day my departure for Warsaw; for, yielding to my gambling
propensities, I gained a prize in the Prussian lottery for four
hundred crowns, my ticket having cost me only three shillings. I now
gambled to excess in spite of all my former reverses--in spite of good
resolutions vowed and sworn while I lay quietly in bed--I was not happy
until I was again within the exciting whirlpool. One of my partners at
several games of whist was no less a personage than the debauched old
dragoon as he called him, who gave so much trouble to Napoleon--Marshal
Blucher. I tore myself away from Berlin at last, and went to Dresden,
where I fell among Philistines, and was completely fleeced, losing so
large a sum as five hundred pounds to a disreputable rascal who I knew
was not worth ten shillings.

"The gentlemen with whom I got connected at Dresden tried hard to
persuade me that I was in debt to them, so I was obliged to depart
suddenly without even applying for a passport, though I know I should
suffer greatly for want of one. But travelling now on foot, crestfallen
and miserable, I was too obscure to attract much notice. One evening,
however, arriving at the gate of a small fortified town, the sentinel
positively refused to let me pass unless I produced my passport. I was
terribly annoyed, being very tired and hungry, and the noise I made
brought out the gatekeeper's wife, to whom I immediately appealed.
Presenting her with two silk handkerchiefs I begged her to intercede,
as it would be ruinous for me to be shut out that night, having a
cartload of smuggled goods coming, which would stand a great chance
of being seized if I were not at hand to receive them. In addition to
the two I promised her some very advantageous bargains when the goods
came up. My story went to the honest woman's heart; I was invited into
the gatehouse, regaled with supper, and accommodated with a bed; I
fortified myself in the morning with a hearty breakfast, and in great
astonishment that my cartload of goods had not come, I walked out to
see what had detained them."

"And had you really the goods coming?" asked Edwin.

"Bless your simplicity, no; not even a tobacco pipe; but the want of a
passport sharpened my wits. I suppose you, under similar circumstances,
would have lain down under the rampart and cried your eyes out."

"I do not know," replied Edwin, "what I should have done under similar
circumstances,--crying would not help me much,--but go on with your
story."

"I have but little more to tell," continued Jorgenson; "I went to
London, and notwithstanding my delays and delinquencies received the
approbation of my employer, and a liberal reward for my services.
Led on by my evil genius, from whose clutches I had so often been
unaccountably rescued, I again sank into the vortex of gambling, and
spent three years in the wicked and senseless excitement. At length an
ungrateful and cunning wretch, a fellow lodger of mine, laid a scheme
to ruin me, and it succeeded only too well. I was arrested one day
on a charge of having pawned some property belonging to my landlady:
I was tried at the Old Bailey, and had the mortification to receive
a sentence of seven years' transportation. I was detained in Newgate
as an assistant in the hospital, until my innocence of the offence
with which I had been charged being made manifest, I had the pleasure
of being pardoned under the condition that I should quit the kingdom
within a month of the day of my liberation.

"You will now fully expect to hear that I turned a deaf ear to the
solicitations of my fast friends, that I left London forthwith, went
to the Brazils, traded successfully, retired from business, bought an
estate, and now live upon it a gentleman and a magistrate, the owner
of slaves and cattle without number; and that he who now walks by your
side in Tasmania carrying a constable's rifle is, as an Irishman might
say, 'not himself at all, at all.' But I did just the very reverse.
With a month before me and money in my pocket I did not wait for my
fast friends to seek me, but went where I knew I should find them.
The month flew by and several weeks were added to it, when as I was
actually on my way out of England I met a friend on Tower Hill whom I
was very glad to see. He kindly invited me to dinner, and while I was
eating it sent for the police. My lot now was transportation for life.
Oh, what a debt of gratitude do I owe that friend!

"Ensconced in my old quarters in Newgate again I resumed my literary
pursuits. I had published an account of my travels during three years
through France and Germany--a book which was well received by the
public. I now wrote a religious work, which raised up for me a host of
enemies. The representations of these snarling and disreputable people
to the ministry had the effect of abridging my useful avocations in
Newgate, and I was sent to this distant land sorely against my will.
It was a sad fall for a Governor of Iceland; but the discipline though
severe may possibly have been requisite to cure me of that abominable
vice of gambling, of which indeed I flatter myself I am cured for ever."

As he listened to this narrative Edwin was at one time inclined to
admire the narrator for his boldness, but his growing admiration
changed into pity, and he found himself sympathizing internally with
his unfortunate and singular acquaintance. Jorgenson, though he had
seen so much of the world, and met with so many heartbreaking reverses,
was still full of manly vigor, and trod the ground with a firm step. He
peered into the depths of the forest with such keen, watchful glances
as quite convinced Edwin that he was fortunate in being guarded in such
a perilous place by the strong arm and practised eye of the cunning
Dane. His rifle and pistols were loaded and ready for action in a
moment, and this eye did not for a single instant abate its accustomed
vigilance. After walking for awhile in silence, Edwin said--

"You have been some time in this country. I presume your experience of
it will one day be given to the world in a goodly volume?"

"There are surely strange tastes in the world," answered Jorgenson;
"but who, I would like to know, would take an interest in the
adventures of a Tasmanian thief catcher? No, Sir, I think my writing
days are over, or if ever I do take up my pen again it will be to
attempt to analyze that extraordinary receptacle of benevolence and
villainy, love and hatred, strength and weakness--the heart of man. I
knew an old man in Newgate who was under sentence of death, and whose
starving wife came every day begging for a sixpence: he sternly refused
to give her a farthing, and after his execution nine sovereigns were
found in his trousers pocket. The wealthy grasping man plumes himself
upon his cleverness in making money and keeping it when made; but he
seldom reflects that he may possibly be called upon before the throne
of God to give an account of his stewardship. The deist takes it upon
trust that there is no future state either of misery or bliss, but
can he prove it? Because his shallow intellect cannot comprehend a
transition into a world where happy spirits do not scramble for gold
and silver, he rejects the idea altogether--an easy way of getting over
a difficulty. But as I live we are in luck again: lie down flat on the
ground for your life!"

Seizing his thunder-stricken companion by the arm, the constable suited
the action to the word, and threw himself upon his face on the grass,
which being tall and rank effectually concealed his person from any
enemy who might be in the neighborhood. He had made a detour from the
track leading to the military station, and taken a path skirting the
foot of the mountains--amongst which St. Patrick's Head raises its
storm-beaten cone to the sky--with the view of cutting off two or three
miles of his journey to St. Mary's Pass. Taking off his dark furry cap,
and giving it to Edwin to hold, he pulled a quantity of the long grass
and twisting it into a kind of turban, put it on his head and looked
up cautiously. His preliminary reconnoitring over, he told Edwin in a
whisper to follow him in the same position, and forthwith commenced a
progressive movement, taking the precaution to cover the lock of his
gun for fear of an accidental explosion. Our hero followed in silence,
scrambling through the tussocks on his hands and knees--wondering what
on earth the constable had seen. At length the latter stopped under the
shade of a large she-oak tree, and concealing himself as effectually as
he could from observation, surveyed with intense interest a slaughtered
bullock, two men busily employed skinning the same, and a third man
standing by in evident expectation of speedily enjoying a beefsteak.

Jorgenson told Edwin to look, and asked him if he saw anything
remarkable in the group before them? Edwin replied that he saw nothing
very remarkable, except that he believed the third man who stood
by looking on was the same man who had allured Brady into Baxter's
cottage, and assisted the constable to secure him. Jorgenson replied
"It is the same man, and the others, to judge by their whispering and
sidelong glances, mean to do him some mischief. He is evidently an
unwelcome intruder: they are cattle-stealers; his evidence may hang
them, and they know it. Stand by me when I rush out on them in time to
prevent murder, and attack the man with the handkerchief tied on his
head, while I deal with the other; be sure and stun him if possible,
for they have fire-arms not far off."

One of the men engaged in skinning the bullock said something to the
spy, who there upon commenced gathering sticks into a heap for the
evident purpose of making a fire. The man who had spoken then struck a
light by means of a pocket tinder-box, and soon a cheerful fire burned
briskly. The informer, in obedience to further commands, gathered
more wood and piled it high up on the blazing and crackling branches.
The work of skinning the beast occupied nearly thirty minutes more,
and when the hide was entirely detached our friend Jack was called
upon to lend a hand to pull it from under its late wearer, a plump
fat beast, and tempting to a hungry stomach. The informer willingly
gave his assistance, as he was impatient to taste of the juicy flesh
nicely broiled to his own particular fancy, when he was alarmed to the
last degree upon finding himself seized, roughly thrown down on the
reeking skin, and rolled up in it like a mummy. A strong cord was then
passed round him, and regardless of his smothered screams, these two
atrociously wicked wretches lifted him up and flung him into the fire
alive. *


[* Jorgenson in one of his numerous erratic productions relates this
terrible circumstance, but until Herbart's manuscripts came into our
possession we were not aware that the Dane was instrumental in saving
the life of the wretched man. Mr. Benwick relates on Jorgenson's
authority that the man was burned to death, and in his death struggles
the hide becoming scrolled, one of his murderers brutally exclaimed,
"See how the devil grins!"]


Jorgenson with all his characteristic presence of mind was paralysed
at the sight of such a dreadful deed of villainy. He lifted his gun
instinctively and would have shot one of the perpetrators on the spot,
if Edwin had not whispered as soon as his horror-stricken tongue could
give utterance to the words--"Quick, take them alive!" Not another
second was lost. Edwin rushed forth, and with the spear he carried
inflicted a stunning blow on the temple of the man previously indicated
that felled him to the ground insensible; then running to the fire
immediately he caught hold of the steaming hide and drew it from the
flames, though his own hands suffered materially in the operation;
while Jorgenson was engaged in a seemingly deadly struggle with the
other man, a powerful and desperate ruffian, who rolled about and bit
and kicked his antagonist with all the fury of savage despair. Edwin
as soon as he had partially uncovered the face of the half-suffocated
informer ran to the constable's assistance, and it required all their
united strength to overcome and secure the miscreant. In addition to a
pair of handcuffs Jorgenson produced from his knapsack a strong cord,
with which he tied the two delinquents together in such a way that to
extricate themselves was an impossibility.

As soon as he was released from the roasted and shrunk hide in which
he had been thrown to broil in such an inhuman manner, the scowling
victim stood upright, looking alternately at the vanquished prisoners
and their nearly exhausted conquerors with an air of blank amazement.
The first thing he did upon recovering the use of his faculties was to
execute a few abnormal capers, whirling round in one direction, then
in the other; stamping on one foot and then on the other, and finally
jumping several times in the air as high no he could, and flinging his
arms wildly around him he roared out with a peculiar nasal twang--"Here
I am, Jack Spunkey, alive again, ready for anythink or nothink; what do
you want me to do, constable?"

Without waiting for an answer he drew a knife from his pocket and made
a furious onslaught on the dead bullock, cutting deeply into the rump
with the intention of broiling a steak and enjoying the food he had at
first anticipated; but Jorgenson interfered, saying--"Let that beast
alone, if you taste a mouthful of his flesh you are as deep in it for
cattle-stealing as those gentlemen who skinned him, so drop your steak
unless you want your long neck stretched for you."

"Who cares?" was the reply, and to say the truth the speaker did not
appear to care much about anything either on earth or in heaven; "a man
can't die twice, and I might as well be hanged as burnt. But I hope to
see these gentlemen, as you call 'em, swingin' yet afore my turn comes."

Jorgenson smiled at Edwin significantly. "Well," said he, addressing
the sky, "you can't say you did not receive fair warning; I wash my
hands of it. What do you say, Mr. Herbart, to a little beef?"

"Not at the risk of having my neck stretched, certainly," said Edwin.

"Your case," said the constable, "is a peculiar one. You are a
shipwrecked gentleman in distressed circumstances; my case is a
peculiar one; I am a constable on his Majesty's service; now, if you
feel inclined you can have a steak, and I have no objection to another,
and I'll cook both, though not at the same side of the fire with Jack."

"As you please," replied Edwin.

Jorgenson set about his task with alacrity. The steaks were soon done
and spread on some pieces of damper drawn from the recesses of his
well stored wallet, and without further ceremony they ate a hearty and
invigorating meal.

The two prisoners, now fully alive to their situation, looked on in
sulky silence; Jorgenson having informed them that they would get
their suppers at St. Mary's Pass. When the beef had been washed down
with some good spring water the constable gave the word and rose to
proceed on his journey. But now a new difficulty presented itself; the
prisoners with one consent refused to move. In vain Jorgenson became
enraged, cocked his rifle, and swore that he would shoot them on the
spot; in vain he drew his bayonet and pricked them severely, they
sat still in sullen obstinacy, telling him in derision to send for a
cart. Despairing of getting them to move he held a council of war,
and observing now that it was long past noon and that the days were
short, recommended Edwin and the spy to proceed up the pass with all
the haste they were capable of making, and tell Mr. Fitzfrizzle to send
two soldiers to escort the contumacious vagabonds to a place of safety.
Jack Spunkey, as he called himself, was to return with the soldiers
to guide them to the place, while Edwin could remain at the station,
and the constable would stop and guard them all night if necessary.
This arrangement was approved of by Jack, who declared with an oath
that he would obey the constable's instructions to the letter. Edwin
expressed his willingness to stay and keep watch with Jorgenson for the
night; but the latter would not hear of such a thing, saying that he
was thankful to him, but would by no means consent to the prolongation
of Edwin's hardships, and the sooner he got into comfortable quarters
the better. As for himself he was used to roughing it, the thing was
nothing new; they had better go at once, and Jack was to be sure to
guide the soldiers down to the place the first thing in the morning.

"And if I don't," said Jack, "may St. Patrick's Head turn bottom
up'ards and skiver me to the rocks, if so be as I'm not lucky enough to
fall in with Brady, the bushranger."

"If I do not see you again," said Edwin to the constable, "how am I to
requite your service? The time may come when I may be in a position
to----"

"Don't mention it, Sir," said Jorgenson, "what I did for you I would
do for any other person. I am contented now. I might be differently
situated, but I threw away my chances like a restless, undecided fool.
Good-by, Sir; remind Jack of his duty."

"Good-by," responded Herbert, "you have my most grateful thanks
for preserving my life. If you should hear of Edwin Herbart being
prosperous, do not be above letting him know where you reside, or
calling to see him; you may want a friend yet."

"That's true," said Jorgenson, "I may indeed, and when I do I'll find
you out, Mr. Herbart. I think those who profess Christianity should
help one another when they can, but we must help ourselves in the
meantime, for angels in flesh and blood are not met with every day.
Good-by, you have no time to lose."

Edwin thus parted from the trusty Dane, whose guardianship he resigned
most unwillingly, and followed the hasty strides of his new guide, in
whose loud professions of honesty and honor he felt he could place but
little confidence.




CHAPTER XL.--ANOTHER NIGHT IN A TASMANIAN WOOD.--BUSHRANGERS' VENGEANCE.

The sun was far down in the west when Edwin and his nondescript guide,
after breathless toil and surmounting difficulties innumerable, gained
the summit of the mountain and found themselves on the tableland
on a part of which the station of the road gang was situated. The
rugged nature of the ground over which he had travelled caused our
hero the most excruciating pain in every limb: his feet were covered
with blisters, and his clothing which he had had no opportunity of
changing since the day of the shipwreck, now hung in tatters, and
having been saturated with salt water greatly irritated the surface
of his skin in various places. Still he endeavored to keep up his
spirits; in fact buoyed himself up for some time with the certainty
that he would soon be safe and comparatively comfortable in the
quarters of his acquaintance, Mr. Buffer, in whose hospitable dwelling
he intended to remain for a few days, until his strength should be
restored and his numerous bruises and blisters healed. But when after
painfully following his guide for some time, and seeing no sign of
any habitation,--nothing in fact but the same interminable dismal
forest before him, through the countless pillars of which the shades
of twilight grew darker and darker, he became alarmed, and asked his
repulsive companion how soon would they be likely to arrive at the
station?

"Not to-night, nor to-morrow night neither," answered the man
laconically.

"You do not mean to say," said Edwin in great perturbation, "that you
are not going to the station, after all your promises and oaths, to
acquaint the Superintendent with the constable's situation and getting
assistance sent to him?"

"Have no intention of no think of the kind," replied the truthful Jack.
"People at station is'nt my friends--constable got a long head, and can
help himself--goin' to 'tother side of the country, this place got too
hot for me, leastways I'm beginning to think so, howsever you may think
to the contrairy," and here the unaccountable being burst into a fit of
laughter.

"Can you not direct me to it?" asked Edwin; "I am not afraid to go
there; there is no occasion for you to show yourself. Only direct me to
it, and I will reward you handsomely if we should meet again, and it
should ever be in my power. I have got nothing now except the clothes
on my back, which are in rags. Take me within sight of it, for God's
sake, and I will remember you in my prayers."

He said this imploringly, feeling his mind becoming crowded with
despairing thoughts and emotions impossible to describe; but his guide
answered indifferently--

"Station's over there, but I b'lieve you'll get lost if you go. As to
prayers, don't b'lieve in 'em no how; don't b'lieve in God or devil.
B'lieve the world's a game at pitch an' toss; some fellers gets the
heads and more chaps gets the tails, lucky and unlucky, and they'll
all die like dogs, high and low, rich and poor, big and little. What
odds,--so long as the belly's full who cares? No use in frettin', and
he what don't like his cheese is welkim for Jack to lump it?"

"Good God!" exclaimed Edwin, in despairing accents, "I am not used to
this. Help me or destroy me. Guide me to some settler's house, for
Heaven's sake, Jack, and I'll surely reward you at some future time."

"Can't do it," replied Jack, "mustn't do it no how; 'twill be dark
soon. Don't b'lieve in God or devil I tell you. Will put you on the
track to Fingal in the mornin'. You can go on your knees to old Ersy
and spin yer yarn; give him Jack Spunkey's compliments, and tell him
that I'm gone to George Town to get a confidential situation in the
water poliss; would send a lock of hair, but am afear'd he wouldn't
set no high vally on it," and here again the speaker allowed a strange
laugh to escape him.

Daylight had now nearly disappeared, and the pale glimmering of the
moon, which would in a few nights more be at its full, tinged the
sombre sky with a feeble grey light, which served but to increase
the gloom of the forest, and make the trees appear of double height
and denser foliage. Edwin's heart sank lower than ever, and it was
with a feeling akin to madness that he contemplated passing the long
hours of a winter's night in such a place and in such companionship.
There was sufficient light to enable him to watch the motions of the
crooked-brained wretch, and that was all. He was determined to be on
his guard, and in case his guide attempted to do him any injury to
defend himself to the last. Seating himself on a stone Jack drew from
his pocket a huge piece of half cooked beef which he began to devour.
He was even considerate enough to offer Edwin a piece, but the kind
offer was refused. The latter stretched himself on the flinty ground at
some distance and resigned himself to his meditations.

The long, cold, and miserable night came to an end at last. Edwin, who
was nearly perished to death, had changed his position several times in
the course of the night, and in order to help the blood to circulate
in his benumbed veins, had more than once resorted to the expedient of
walking up and down like a sentinel. It was decidedly the most wretched
night he had ever spent, and most devoutly did he pray that to spend
such another might never be his lot. His companion slept, or seemed
to sleep, as soundly as if he occupied a corner near some hospitable
fireplace. He heeded not the noises made by Edwin when he kicked the
loose stones from his solitary promenade, or the hoarse booming of the
distant bittern--a welcome sound to the silent watcher, for it reminded
him of evenings spent at Bremgarten, when he and Griselda expressed
their wonder to each other how so small a bird could make so loud a
noise. The morning came damp and foggy, barren and hungry, no fire, no
bread, no pot of steaming tea; nothing but repulsive rocks and pathless
woods.

The guide rose up and shook himself to make sure, perhaps, that his
feet and hands were without fetters, of which he had probably been
dreaming, and prepared for marching. Edwin again attempted to persuade
him to direct him to the station, that he might not only find the much
desired rest, but send the requisite assistance to the constable; but
his persuasions were vain; Jack was determined not to go near the
station, and would give no reason for his conduct except that the
people there were not his friends. He reiterated his promise, however,
to put Edwin on the track to Fingal, and he might then please himself
whether he would go back to the station, or take the information to
Earlsley himself.

As they pursued their way, Edwin who set a fair higher value on the
immense and glorious prospect of an eternal life than on the fleeting
concerns of this perishable world, took it upon himself to preach a
kind of sermon to the wild and reckless savage whom he followed; but
his exhortation was not listened to attentively. The sprightly Jack
ever seemed impatient during its continuance. He replied to it by a few
incoherent grunts quite unintelligible to his companion, who, satisfied
at length concerning the nature of the animal before whom his pearls
had been cast, followed in silence and at a painfully rapid pace.
After toiling along for some hours the forest became less dense, the
ground was less rocky, and better clothed with grass, and he could see
at a distance portions of grassy plains, which he thought he had seen
before. At last, joy of joys, he suddenly beheld the familiar though
still distant hills that overshadowed the dwelling of the lady of his
love, with the craggy tiers of Ben Lomond towering far above them. His
heart bounded as he reached the brow of a hill, looked over the valley
of the Break-o'-Day Plains, and recognised objects that he thought he
should never see again; but his guide loitered not; he descended the
hill, and had commenced to cross the plain, when a sudden shower of
hail forced him to take shelter under a tree, the thick branches of
which spread themselves invitingly over the ground.

Edwin followed his example, and sat down on the grass tired, foot-sore,
and hungry. They had not been there ten minutes, when just as the hail
shower was clearing away two strange men stood before them as suddenly
as if they had risen from the earth.

Their aspect was stern and threatening, and they had guns firmly
grasped ready for immediate use. The taller of the two was the first
to speak, and he said with a peculiar shake of his hand, which
intimated plainly that disobedience would be followed by summary
punishment:--"Come this way, mates."

The two wayfarers obeyed; as he rose from the ground Edwin looked
at his guide and observed that his lips had grown livid, and his
countenance assumed a singular expression, as if fear and defiance
had both taken possession of his heart at the same time. Whether he
knew the strangers or not, Edwin had no means of knowing, for he spoke
not a word, but walked quietly in the direction indicated, he and his
companion together, the armed men placing themselves on either side
so as to guard against any attempt at escape. A march of five minutes
brought them to a thicket of wattle trees, on entering which the two
prisoners were dismayed on finding themselves in the presence of
nine or ten well-armed ferocious-looking men, some sitting on their
knapsacks, others lying on the ground. There stood a large tree in the
centre of the thicket, and on a low branch sat a stout-looking man
with a greasy black hat on his head smoking in silence; while beside
him stood a tall, well built, and stern-featured individual whom Edwin
instantly recognised to be Brady, the formidable bushranger. Our hero
instinctively turned to observe what effect this rencontre had upon
the informer; his lips were still livid, but they had curled into a
kind of dare-devil smile. He saw probably by the expression of Brady's
countenance that to appeal to him for mercy was vain, and thought
it better no doubt--since to judge by appearances he was doomed to
suffer death for his late treachery--to 'die game,' as the phrase is.
He looked at Brady, and Brady looked at him, the one with calm if not
stupid indifference, the other with the glare of a wild cat about to
leap upon its prey. Edwin looked from one to the other, and his humane
heart recoiled from contemplating the too probable result.

"I told you you were a villain, Jack," said Brady in a terrible voice,
"and that you'd die the death of a dog, but by my immortal soul I did
not expect to have the pleasure of carrying out my own prophecy so
soon. Have the goodness to say your prayers, for your time is come."

"Don't want to say prayers," said Jack, "don't believe in 'em no how."

"Let him have a fair trial, Brady," said the stout man knocking the
ashes out of his pipe, and rising to his feet.

"A fair trial!" said Brady contemptuously; "he has had all the trial he
deserves, and if you, Jem Crawford, don't know how to act with vigor
and decision in a case like this, give up your place to one who does.
It's a good work to rid the world of a ruffian. Five minutes more to
say his prayers, and his doom is sealed."

Crawford made no reply, being quite aware of his own incapacity to
oppose the strong determination of his imperious lieutenant; but Edwin,
horrified at the idea of a summary and bloody execution, felt it his
duty to interpose, and said--

"Brady, you are not reported a cruel or bloodthirsty man, do not
blacken your reputation with murder in cold blood; reflect on the
crime of sending a sinful creature unprepared into the presence of his
Creator: be merciful, let him go with his life, and you will be saved
many a bitter pang hereafter."

"Have you done?" said Brady, his face red with suppressed anger.

"If my words have no effect upon you I will say no more," replied Edwin.

"I have seen you," said the outlaw, "in company with Baxter the
carrier, but I do not know who you are, and I do not care; but if you
are not above taking advice, be satisfied with attending to your own
affairs, and on no account meddle with me or my concerns."

"Nevertheless----"

"Be silent, Sir;" said the bushranger savagely; "your opinion is
neither asked for nor wanted."

The rest of the gang gathered round listening attentively to every
word. All of them regarded Brady with awe, but some seemed disposed to
intercede for the wretch's life. "Give him a hundred lashes and let
him go," said one. "Tie him to the tree and let him take his chance,"
said another: but Brady looked round quickly, saying--"Back all of
you! And you, you secret stabbing, detestable villain, walk to that
tree; if the constable who took me was now in your place I would not
hurt a hair of his head, because he was my open enemy, but you--false,
hang-dog wretch--walk to that tree." Jack calmly obeyed, and placed his
head against the trunk: it was the same tree on a low branch of which
Crawford had been seated, and from which that illustrious commander now
precipitately retreated.

"Are you ready?" said Brady, cocking his piece.

"Aye, ready's the word," answered Jack, and reversing the final word of
command of the fire-eating husband of Caroline Bonaparte (we hope his
mighty shade will pardon the invidious comparison), he continued--"Aim
at my head and leave me a sound heart--present--fire." Thus fell the
crack'd-brained Jack--no more to ramble with light footstep and gay
spirit over the forest clad mountains.*


[ * This fact is related by West, Benwick, and other writers, though
they differ a little in the details. In the above account I have not
departed widely from historical accuracy.]


Having perpetrated this bloody act of vengeance, Brady coolly re-loaded
his gun, while Crawford ordered two of his men to bury the body. As
they had no spade wherewith to perform that last office for the dead,
they collected a quantity of boughs and covered up the unfortunate
Jack where he fell. This done the gang began to prepare for their
departure by strapping on their knapsacks. Edwin naturally supposed
that he, being an inoffensive stranger, from whom they could gain
nothing by robbery, would be allowed to depart in peace; but in this
he was mistaken, for one of the party, an Irishman to judge by his
accent, flung a heavy knapsack at his feet, and roughly ordered him
to carry it. Not choosing to obey immediately, the fellow began to
curse and blaspheme frightfully, and swore that he would send him to
hell along with Jack if he did not do as he was told. Edwin looked
round in the hope of finding at least one friend amongst these savage
men, but he saw by their faces that they were fully determined to
support their comrade; and the Irishman beginning again to make use
of the vilest threats in the most shocking language, he took up the
load and placed it on his back. But his persecutor was not satisfied
with this compliance; he took another knapsack from one of the men,
and deliberately strapped it on top of the first. At this unreasonable
usage Edwin's spirit of resistance was aroused, he flung down both, and
then sat down himself, declaring that he would not carry anything, and
they might shoot him, too, if they liked.

The Irishman, who was destined to make the name of McCabe famous or
infamous in after-years for more than one deed of wanton barbarity,
lowered his gun as if it was his real intention to put his murderous
threats into execution; but Brady, who was also an Irishman, promptly
came forward and commanded him to leave the prisoner alone. By this
timely interference in his behalf, Edwin perceived that a spark
of sympathy for the fallen still burned, however feebly, in the
lieutenant's rugged breast. He was immediately abandoned by McCabe, who
retired without replying, and Brady, taking his own knapsack from his
shoulders and buckling it on to those of Edwin, thus addressed him--

"You seem to possess a high spirit, my friend, but you must consent
to become my fag for awhile. I'll not overload you, nor ill-use you,
provided you are quiet and obedient; but don't attempt to escape until
I dismiss you, or you may possibly feel the weight of a bushranger's
resentment."

"Why am I detained?" Edwin asked.

"If you cannot be silent," returned Brady, "your friend McCabe only
wants the ghost of a word to drive his bayonet up to the hilt in your
heart. We're all ready, Crawford."

"Forward--quick march," said Crawford.

"Make soldiers of us at once," murmured Brady, "rank us up two deep,
and bellow, 'rear rank take close order,' 'prime and load,' and the
rest of it. 'Fix bayonets' will be the next, though we have only
one, and that's McCabe's--a fellow who knows how to use it. Right,
left--right, left; keep the step, lads, or Crawford will go mad. By the
hawk's eye of my grandmother, if I ever get hanged and see a red-coat
in the crowd, I shall die, like a turkey cock, of rage, and not of the
hanging."

While the reckless Brady spoke these words the men got under arms
and commenced their march, Crawford as captain leading the van, and
Brady with his prisoner in the rear. They walked in single file for
the sake of conveniently getting over the numerous impediments of the
bush, and observed a strict silence, no man venturing to speak above
a whisper. Instead of taking the road towards Fingal they struck off
in a northerly direction, and soon came to the banks of a river, where
a short pause took place, and the men sat down to rest and refresh.
Portions of bread and meat were drawn from the respective knapsacks,
and the half-starved Herbart was glad to receive from Brady's hands a
moderate allowance of both. Washing his meal down with a draught of
water he began to feel more comfortable, though his mind was constantly
on the rack and nearly overwhelmed with the complicated nature of his
misfortunes. Once he ventured to ask Brady what were the intentions
of the gang towards him, but that individual intimated for the second
time that it was better for him to ask no questions at present. Thus
in hopeless despondency and unutterable misery he accompanied them in
silence, and did as he was ordered without being able to think of any
remedy except what a voluntary death might afford; but he shrank with
horror from the idea of so great a crime.

They crossed the river, which was neither very broad nor deep, and made
their way up the steep rocky hills on the opposite side. Edwin saw that
they were making for the Ben Lomond Tier, in the inaccessible ravines
of which he thought it was possible they might have a secure retreat.
It was a thorny path for our poor friend, and a dismal march over those
flinty hills where nothing but a thick jungle of trees stretched far
away as far as the eye could reach. When the first belt of hills was
crossed they had to scramble down into a deep gully, where there was
no inviting pasture, nothing indeed but trees, scrubby bushes, and
rocks; and emerging from that they were obliged to mount another hill
more rugged if possible than the one they had just passed. More than
once Edwin thought of throwing down his burden and making a desperate
attempt to escape; but the nature of the ground, the number of his
enemies, and above all the hopelessness of finding his way amongst
the woody hills, and the probability of his dying of hunger deterred
him. Again, he thought of laying his head on a stone and inviting his
protector Brady to put an end to his wretched life out of kindness;
but the love of home came strong upon him, and the belief that he
would outlive all these troubles and be happy yet infused a little
courage into his soul, and bade him bear up with patience. It requires
a large stock of patience to take us through the world even when
things go smoothly with us; how much more when our path is beset with
difficulties, and when thorns are scattered profusely in our way?

As they advanced deeper into the recesses of the gloomy mountains the
motions of the bushrangers became more free and unrestrained. They
talked and joked with each other and laughed as merrily as if they
were a party of jovial laborers returning home after earning full
wages for the day. Some of them even broke out into jolly songs, and
their uproarious mirth, which neither Crawford nor Brady attempted to
check, startled the birds from their favorite perches, and gave our
hero an abundant supply of food for mental digestion. He wondered how
men leading such a wayward and doubly outcast existence could be happy
or even seem to be so. They were abandoned and shunned by all classes
except those who were in pursuit of them, and a few solitary shepherds
whom they compelled to find them rum and provisions when required. They
traversed the bush at the imminent danger of being shot, and if taken
they were certain of being hanged. And yet these fellows who had broken
the laws both of God and man could be jovial and lighthearted, while
their prisoner, the beau-ideal as he flattered himself of honesty and
truth, was so utterly miserable as to pray earnestly that death might
soon put an end to his sufferings.

The shades of night were now settling down rapidly. They had entered
a narrow gorge, and traversed with haste a rough and difficult path
along one of its steep sides; for at the bottom a stream of water
tumbled in its rocky bed overhung by dog-wood scrub, and thick masses
of prickly bushes. The path, if such it could be called, lay at some
distance above the stream; but the tops of the precipices higher
up were not visible to the eye. Perfectly well acquainted with the
track, the bushrangers scrambled on without any apparent difficulty,
now up a nearly perpendicular ascent to pass one projecting crag,
now down an equally steep descent to wind round the base of another.
Edwin, unaccustomed to such work, had several narrow escapes of being
precipitated with Brady's knapsack down to the bottom of the glen;
often the loose stones rolled from under his feet, and he was obliged
to catch hold of anything he could to save himself from falling. Brady
kept close behind him and encouraged him from time to time in his
rough way to keep on his pins and not think for a moment of 'jibbing.'
The increasing darkness was by no means favorable to safe or speedy
progression in such a place, and, indeed, if it had not been for the
faint light of the moon Edwin was convinced that he could not have
followed his conductors over such a dangerous track without breaking
his bones, or perhaps losing his life.

At length they appeared to arrive at the head of the gorge, over which
the gushing stream fell from rock to rock in three or four diminutive
cascades. The ascent became steeper and more difficult, for even the
hardy outlaws themselves, in clambering up the loose shingle often slid
back for yards, though kept their footing tolerably well. One fellow,
however, was less fortunate than his companions. It was McCabe, the
ferocious proprietor of the bayonet. In attempting to jump upwards to
a point of rock, by which he thought to gain on the rest by several
yards, he lost his footing and rolled down, muttering savage oaths,
until his progress was arrested by a tree--the trees being nearly as
thick in that barren wilderness as they might be upon a rich plain. His
comrades seeing him get up rubbing his shins and elbows, assailed him
with a shout of laughter, and resumed their march. A few more paces
and they stood on the top, and clambered over a rough stone wall--the
curtain of the fortress, built to defend an open space between two
formidable bastions which human hands had not placed there. Looking
down on the other side Edwin perceived by the moonlight that they had
reached an elevated plateau, on which grew a scanty supply of grass;
and nearly in the centre of this the rivulet expanded into a small
lake, the superabundant waters of which flung themselves into the
glen whence the outlaws had just emerged. Around the plateau two or
three rude huts had been erected, and made weather-proof by sheets of
stringy bark placed against the sloping or projecting crags that nearly
surrounded it; and supported on stakes driven into the ground. This was
the bushrangers' fortress; if by any possibility it could be taken by
storm, they had evidently other places still more inaccessible to which
to retreat, for Edwin could see the lofty cliffs of Ben Lomond towering
far above his head like the turrets of a gigantic castle.




CHAPTER XLI.--THE MOUNTAIN FORTRESS.

Before the party laid aside their arms one of their number was told off
by Crawford to mount guard behind the stone wall at the head of the
precipice, to be relieved in regular military fashion in the course of
the night. Brady then took Edwin with him to the hut appropriated to
his use; but our hero was sorry to perceive that the ruffian McCabe
was to be also of their party. This forbidding individual, though
sufficiently under Brady's control to enable the prisoner to divest his
mind of the fear of personal violence, made himself nevertheless highly
disagreeable by his looks alone; but Edwin had now sense enough to
disregard the contemptible malice of this fellow. Whether the contempt
he entertained for McCabe was perceptible to that individual or not it
did not appear, but it is certain that the latter lost no opportunity
of showing his dislike, and the former made no attempt whatever to gain
the sulky marauder's good will.

Brady and McCabe entered their quarters and laid their arms by in a
corner, retaining, however, the pistols in their belts; and the former
conveyed to his prisoner, though not in very rough terms, an intimation
to the effect that any attempt on his part to possess himself of arms
or to make his escape would be visited with instant death. Edwin
replied that he was not such a fool as to rush upon his fate under
circumstances like the present, but he was prepared to suffer death
rather than submit to any unprovoked ill treatment. He also took that
opportunity to thank Brady for his courteous behaviour, and hoped that
as long as it should be the pleasure of the bushrangers to detain him,
he (the lieutenant) would not withdraw his protection. Without making
any answer Brady assisted his comrade to kindle a fire; the billy or
tea-kettle was slung, and a pot containing a salted leg of mutton put
down to boil. While waiting for supper the outlaws smoked and talked
together, leaving Edwin to his dismal thoughts; but when it was ready
a share of meat and bread and a pot of well sweetened tea were handed
to him. He did justice to his supper, and when he had finished Brady
showed him where he was to sleep. A sheet of bark and a few dry sheep
skins separated his person from the cold ground. He willingly rolled
himself in a large opossum rug kindly lent to him by his temporary
master, and in a few minutes forgot his troubles in slumber.

In the course of the night he was awakened by a loud altercation
between the sentinel on duty and McCabe, whose turn it was to keep
watch; the former urging the hot Irishman to come forth and mount
guard, and the latter telling his comrade politely to go and hang
himself. He arose, however, after a few more calls, growling like a
wounded bear, dressed, assumed his arms, and went out. This cause of
disturbance past, Herbart again addressed himself to sleep, feeling as
warm as a toast in his 'possum rug, though the night was bitterly cold
and frosty.

The morning was pretty far advanced when he was aroused by Brady, who
announced that breakfast was ready. He jumped up quickly and was about
to put on his dilapidated garments, when the swollen and blistered
state of his feet and the numerous scars that appeared on his ankles
attracted the attention of the outlaw, who recommended him to bathe
them for some time in cold water, and promised to find him a clean
shirt and larger pair of boots. He walked out accordingly to bathe his
feet in the lake, and found that the little plateau was thickly covered
with snow. On his return to the hut he found that Brady had kept his
word; a clean check shirt, a new pair of moleskin trousers, and a pair
of socks were arranged on his bed. He thanked the bushranger for his
kindness, but his gratitude was mingled with considerable pain at the
thought of being indebted to such a man.

After breakfast he felt stronger and better both in body and mind, and
went out to survey the overhanging mountains whose high and snow-clad
crests sparkled in the morning sun. He recollected that it was Sunday,
a day which from his childhood he had been in the habit of devoting
not to frivolous pleasure but to quiet rest and meditation. He did not
wander far for fear of exciting the suspicions of his captors that he
meditated making his escape. This he did not now dream of, inasmuch
as to find his way down those rugged cliffs and awful precipices
was almost impossible, and to return by the way he had come without
the permission of the outlaws was out of the question. He sat down,
therefore, on a rock within view of the lake, and gave himself up to
the reflections which his singular situation suggested. The outlet of
the romantic gorge opened as before stated, into the long narrow glen
through which it was approached, and afforded a view of the distant
hills rising from deep and unknown gullies, and covered with the same
perpetual forest. At the other extremity it seemed to be enclosed by
rocks and heights which apparently cut off all chance of retreat, and
Edwin wondered how those men could escape if they were attacked by
a strong party in front and the ramparts carried. These cogitations
were interrupted by the approach of Brady who invited his prisoner to
continue his walk up the gorge. They walked on accordingly, side by
side, and for awhile in silence. Turning round a projecting rock Edwin
perceived a cave large enough to accommodate the whole gang: it was
used as a store, and contained a few small casks of salted meat and a
quantity of flour, tea, sugar, and other necessaries. Further on Brady
commenced to ascend a precipitous cliff by means of steps, partly
natural, and partly cut in the rock; at few stunted stumps of nearly
expiring vegetation assisting his progress. He told Edwin to follow
him, which the latter did, though with incredible pain and difficulty.
At last, they stood upon the summit of the cliff, whence a magnificent
view of the country to the south and west could be obtained.
Immediately behind, there was a spur of the mountain which hung over
them, a frowning wall of naked rock, and separated from them by a chasm
of unknown depth. On the opposite side to that which they had ascended,
the approaches seemed to defy an attack, and there was a succession of
hills and glens far below. The rock might certainly be ascended on that
side as well as on the other, but a good marksman stationed on the top
would find it easy to pick off, one by one, all who ventured to ascend,
and not distress himself about it either.

On this airy pinnacle, far removed from the haunts of civilized men,
the bushranger Brady and Edwin Herbart sat together. If the former
had any feelings of sympathy for his fellow creatures, or inward
compunction at his openly defiant position against all law and good
government, he was able to conceal his sentiments under a careless and
cheerful expression of countenance. He looked somewhat proudly over
the wide lands below, as if his imagination carried him to the highest
rank of rebellious power, from which he could issue imperial commands,
and govern the whole island with undisputed sway. Edwin looked over
the same lands with different feelings. They lay stretched out before
him like a map--the hills, the glens, the plains, and the rivers
flowing peacefully amongst them. His thoughts naturally rested on the
only habitation below in which, just then, he took a more than common
interest. He could not see it certainly, but he knew where it stood,
and his heart warmed towards it, as to a home of unspeakable peace and
love. A thought struck him that it was possible the bushrangers knew
by means of some secret information that he belonged to one of the
farms below, and detained him a prisoner for the purpose of conducting
a party up to the very door. This practice had been frequently adopted
by different robber leaders: a friend or servant of the family destined
to be attacked was, if possible, secured and placed in front of the
gang: the party within, if prepared for defence, would be deterred from
firing on those without for fear of shooting the man they knew. If in
the night, the friend was compelled under pain of death to knock at
the door, give his name, and announce that all was right, in order to
make admission sure and easy. If Edwin entertained any doubts on this
subject they were speedily dissipated by the first question Brady put
to him after seating themselves on that lonely rock.

"You belong, I understand, to one of the farms on the South Esk--to
which of them?"

"I do not at present belong to any farm on the South Esk," answered
Edwin cautiously.

"That is an evasion," said Brady. "Tell me at once that it is none of
my business, and that you will answer no impertinent questions;--but
if you expect civility from me you must show me how to be civil. You
did belong to a firm on the South Esk!"

"I did."

"What is the name of the place?"

"Bremgarten."

"Bernard Maxwell is proprietor, is he not?"

"Yes."

"Is he a relative of yours?"

"He is, but it might grieve him to acknowledge the fact."

"He has a well furnished house with plenty of provisions in store--we
are nearly out of provisions here, and as for money nobody seems to
have any. That scoundrel Baxter, whose worthless life I spared, never
left the money in Murderer's Gully that I ordered him to leave, but
I'll be even with him yet. Has Maxwell any money in his house? We want
money to buy a vessel, captain and all."

"I do not know," replied Edwin; "he was not in the habit of admitting
me to a knowledge of his private affairs."

"But you know of something he possesses upon which he sets a very high
value indeed, don't you?"

"Upon my honor, I do not," answered Edwin.

"What! do you know nothing about his fascinating daughter?"

Edwin started, and looked the outlaw full in the face as he
replied--"Yes, he has a daughter--but his daughter is a person and not
a thing."

"And a most engaging person too, as I have been given to understand,"
said Brady; "but really you must excuse me--I am an unlettered man.
This young lady, I have heard, is quite a beauty, and up to all sorts
of dodges for making a man happy and comfortable. Do you think she'd
marry me if I was to ask her politely?"

Edwin smiled at this question, as if he thought it a very good joke;
but another hundredth part of an ounce of pressure on each square inch
of his temper and his displeasure would have exploded.

"You think, probably," continued Brady, "that she would sooner have
you, and perhaps you think right; but then there is no accounting
for taste. I plead guilty to being a runaway convict in arms against
the Government; but what of that?--Spanish brigands and Italian
bandit chieftains have had their fair ladies, and why not Brady the
bushranger?"

The subject upon which the outlaw chose to converse was so distasteful
to Edwin that he did not reply to it, but was fain to content himself
with the secret determination to watch the progress of events closely.

"I'll hear what she says when I go down," said Brady; "of course she
must have a voice in the matter; it is not in my nature to be a harsh
to the ladies." And to show in what a light, good tempered state of
mind he was, the speaker struck the keys of an imaginary piano, and
sang the old serenade--


"Gentle Zitella! whither away?
Love's ritornella list while I play"--


with a voice in which there was a fair share of melody.

While this desperate man was singing with a careless and pleasant
demeanor, a variety of conflicting thoughts pressed themselves upon
the listener's mind. Could he seriously believe that the outlaw
really intended to put such an outrage upon his fair cousin as to
offer himself to be her husband? If so he would revenge the insult
to the last drop of his heart's blood. Why could he not even now,
he asked himself, crush the daring thought for ever by hurling the
robber from the rock with a single blow, and then make his escape as
he best could? But if his hand was able to do this wild deed, his
soul refused to sanction it, for the simple reason that he believed
Brady's conversation was nothing but empty joking. He remembered,
too, the respectful deportment of the same gang towards the ladies at
Mr. Earlsley's, and felt justified in presuming that if they visited
Bremgarten they would use the same forbearance as they did at Clifton
Hall. Brady finished his song, and rose up saying that they had sat
there long enough. He descended accordingly to the upper part of the
gorge, where the snow was still undissolved by the sun, and Edwin
followed him, not without thinking that at any other time he would have
carefully avoided such dangerous expeditions.

Seating himself on an empty cask at the entrance of the cavern where
the stores were kept, Brady motioned to his prisoner to take a seat
beside him, and desired him to recount his adventures since he saw
him on his way to the coast with the carrier. Edwin complied with his
request, though without entering into the minute details with which
the reader is acquainted. When Brady heard that the Betty had been
wrecked, he said that it was a good job they had not seized her as they
intended to do. "We went to the coast on purpose," he continued, "but
the weather was against us, and the red-coats were stronger than we
thought they would be, but the good time may come yet and then hurrah
for liberty, with a flowing sea and a full-bellied sail, and this
cursed land blotted out from memory itself."

"To you at least," Edwin ventured to say, "it has not been a land
flowing with milk and honey."

"No," replied Brady, his eyes sparkling with suppressed fury, "to me
and to a thousand others its rivers flow with gall, and the bread eaten
in it is wormwood. Were I its master I might look upon it with other
eyes, but as it is, everything in it is venomous as a viper's fang.
Were I to listen to the dictates of revenge and passion alone, I would
kill, burn, and destroy without remorse, in whatsoever direction I
turned."

"You will not," exclaimed Edwin, "ever be so abandoned by all the
better feelings of our common nature as to kill your fellow creatures,
and burn and destroy their property. You have your recollections of
home and youth--you have power to imagine what may be your future
destiny. Man should not live for the present time alone, nor seek to
gratify the passions of his wicked heart when he is in his prime; for
there is a future, even before he is gathered to his fathers--when the
remembrance of his past deeds may be either a tormenting scourge to
him in his declining years, or a peaceful guide, leading him to seek a
knowledge of his God."

"You speak wisely," answered Brady, "but I have no ears to listen to
such words. I can foresee my doom: it hangs over my head like a black
and cursed cloud by day, and certainly does not illumine my pillow
by night like the guiding pillar of the Israelites--yet the die is
cast. I will run my career be it for months or years, and meet my
fate bravely when the time comes. Satan, in Paradise Lost, addresses
our beautiful world in these words.--


With what delight could I have walked thee round,
If I could joy in aught, sweet interchange
Of hill and valley, rivers, woods, and plains:
Now land, now sea, and shores with forest crown'd.
Rocks, dens, and caves! But I in none of these
Find place or refuge; and the more I see
Pleasures about me, so much more I feel
Torment within me--


The condition of the devil thus portrayed by the great Milton is
scarcely worse than mine, though I can hide myself in dens and caves if
he could not."

"You cannot hide yourself from the searching eye of God," said Edwin.

"True," returned Brady, "but I believe that searching eye never
troubles itself in looking after me."

"Don't be too sure of that," answered Edwin, "I believe the very
reverse."

"Well," said the bushranger, "you need not force your belief down my
throat; you may thank your stars that you are not as I am; I cannot
deny that in the first instance my punishment of transportation
was deserved, but for an offence which only merited a much lighter
punishment I was sent to Macquarie Harbor, a real hell upon earth, a
place too dreadful even for the fallen and the wretched I can scarcely
describe that horrible slow-poisoning living grave; and if you had the
imagination of Milton you could not imagine it in half its bitterness.
And for comparatively trifling offences the authorities of this
colony have the consummate cruelty to send men, flesh and blood like
themselves, to perish in moral poison, and die of cold and moisture
breeding rottenness in human bones."

"If you had enough to eat and the sun shone upon you, in what did this
extreme wretchedness consist?" said Edwin.

"Well, supposing," replied the outlaw, "that we had enough to eat,
which I never had while there, and that the sun shone upon us, those
two blessings are not sufficient to lighten the burden of labor, or
fill the mind with cheerfulness, when kindred associations all combine
to crush the soul with the blackest despair. What punishment can be
worse to a man who commenced life under happy auspices than to be
placed to herd with a vile set, to eat, work, and sleep with them, to
listen day after day to their low and blasphemous language? No, that is
not punishment enough; he must wear heavy chains, and at the word of
an ignorant and brutal overseer be flogged till his spirit is broken
and his self-respect gone for ever. In addition to these, the aspect
of the place without a voice of kindred sympathy, was enough to freeze
one's blood. Its coldness and dampness, its barrenness and desolation,
the consciousness of being shut up from the rest of the world without
one friendly compassionating eye to look upon us, hardened our hearts.
In the morning after a breakfast (Heaven forgive the liar that called
it by that name) of flour and water, we were sent to work in a dense
noisome forest in which a toad would die of the horrors. Our work was
felling trees, cutting and carrying timber. All day long we had to toil
without any dinner or indulgence of any kind, and our supper after work
was done was little better than our breakfast. To labor long in such a
hopeless place would kill or madden men of stronger nerve and muscle
than I; I could not bear it, and became in preference a bushranger."

"Your condition was indeed pitiable," said Edwin; "were there no means
by which you could work out your term of labor and become again an
useful member of society?"

"Yes, there were means: to lick the feet of the overseers and become a
spy on my fellow prisoners. Means that would not suit Brady."

"And how did you effect your escape?" asked Edwin.

"Escape from Macquarie Harbor," replied Brady, "had been long thought
an impossibility. Our barracks were built on an island situated about
twenty miles from the entrance of the harbor which is called Hell's
Gates; there is a bar of sand there which is not crossed without great
danger. From the island we were taken every day to our work in the
forest. The ground upon which the enormous trees and prickly underwood
grow densely is hopelessly barren for all useful purposes; the trees
are so thick that the rays of the sun cannot penetrate them, and the
air is humid and rank with the odour of rotting vegetation. The forest
is intersected by a deep and rapid river called the Gordon, and far
to the south and east are mountains almost inaccessible. Heavy rains
and bewildering tempests are far more frequent there than any other
part of this island. The water that tumbles in from the ocean becomes
impregnated with poison and I have myself seen the dead fish floating
on the waves. It is a fearful place where the tyranny of men, chiefly
prisoners in authority, and the tyranny of climate and the elements are
displayed in all their terrors. We had a proverb that all who entered
there gave up for ever the hope of Heaven." *


[* The horrors of Macquarie Harbor are not painted from imagination. In
the present day the force of public opinion would not suffer such an
establishment to exist.]


"But how did you escape?" repeated Edwin, horror-stricken at this
dreadful account.

Brady did not immediately reply but sat in deep thought, his right
elbow on his knee and his chin resting on his hand. At length he
continued--

"Escape, as I have said, was considered impossible. It had been
attempted by a good many, but they, with one or two exceptions,
either perished in the wilderness or were taken and brought back.
In 1822, after several had gone and never been heard of, a prisoner
named Alexander Pearce, along with seven others, seized two boats and
escaped. Their retreat to the sea was cut off, as they had not quenched
the signal fires effectually, so they destroyed the boats and entered
the dark forest. Two of the absconders returned to the settlement, and
died from utter exhaustion; another died in the bush. The remaining
five wandered on, subsisting for two or three days on wild berries and
their kangaroo jackets roasted. They reached the Gordon in a dreadful
condition and the terrible proposal having been made, Pearce and
Mathers collected wood for a fire and Greenhill and Travers killed
Bodman. They fed on his flesh for two or three days, and then crossed
the river all swimming except Travers, whom they dragged across by
means of a pole. Mathers was the next victim; Travers and Pearce held
him while Greenhill killed him with an axe. Upon his remains they lived
for four days, without advancing more than six miles through extreme
weakness. At length Travers was sacrificed, and Greenhill and Pearce
journeyed on together. Famine again assailed them: they knew that one
must die to afford sustenance to the other; they spent two days and
nights in watching each other, and at last Greenhill slept and awoke
no more. Pearce went on alone till he came to a fire left burning by
natives, at which he found opossum bones, and with slightly renewed
strength he travelled on. He came to a flock of sheep, seized a lamb,
was found by a shepherd, and gave himself up: but the shepherd allowed
him to join a gang of bushrangers and he was soon taken. He was sent
back to Macquarie Harbor, and in spite of his bitter experience, again
absconded with a man named Cox. They remained in the bush for several
days; Pearce would not starve while Cox was in his company, so he
butchered him and ate him. Returning to the coast, he made signals to a
passing vessel, was taken to Hobart Town, confessed his crimes and was
hanged."

"That is a fearful narrative," said Edwin, shocked beyond measure; "do
you believe it to be true?"

"It was Pearce's own confession," replied Brady; "it is certain that
the men absconded and never returned. The survivor could alone tell
what became of them."

"And by what good fortune did you escape from that dreadful place?"
asked Edwin, for the third time.

"I was born," said the outlaw, without appearing to heed his
companion's question, "under no mean circumstances, my father being
a well-to-do painstaking man, and my mother a comely dame of good
family; but I was a rebel from my cradle. While other boys were having
their heads crammed with the learning that would one day make their
fortunes, it was my pleasure to roam through the fields and along the
hedges killing innocent birds for amusement, and frightening passing
wayfarers out of their wits. Half-a-dozen choice spirits, of whom I
was the chief, assembled by day--frequently by night, too--and derived
great enjoyment from seeing honest countrywomen going to market with
eggs and butter, suddenly tripped up by our snares, and the contents of
their baskets broken and spoiled; we being quite above the weakness of
reflecting that perhaps they and their families would be half-starved
for a week through our wicked tricks. My own father did not escape. A
vulgar amusement of mine was to disguise myself, and roll an enormous
snowball to his door, placing it in such a position that as soon as the
door was opened it would roll in, while nobody could be seen outside.
Then it was pleasant to see from an adjacent corner the old man
patiently shoveling the snow back again into the street. Apprenticed
to a master when about fifteen, I made the discovery that I could not
bear control. Something burned either in my heart or head that prompted
me to burst through all bonds or die. It might be amusing as well
as instructive were I to relate how my master's fair daughter, Mary
Jane, took a tender interest in the spirited apprentice, and to what
stratagems I resorted to procure secret interviews with her, for I
knew that her father would spurn us both if he suspected that we loved
each other. At last he did begin to suspect, and in consequence picked
a quarrel with me by making a false accusation. I knocked him down
and fled; thus commencing at the early age of seventeen the career of
a vagabond. My subsequent adventures are not, I regret to say, to be
related with any feelings of satisfaction. What could you expect from
a youth who laughed when he saw his old father shoveling out snow, and
passionately knocked down the man whose daughter he loved?"

"Your adventures," said Edwin, "related with the eloquence with which
you seem to be gifted would I am sure prove both entertaining and
instructive. We have all perhaps some youthful follies to regret, and I
remember myself with the greatest pain having when a schoolboy abused
a kind aunt because she would not give me sixpence. Our happiness
in after-life is thus spoiled by recollections of the past; indeed,
I think now that there is no such thing as happiness in this world.
At every turn we find our expectations of happiness withered as by a
blast from a furnace; beset with enemies, deprived of our property,
our liberty, our lives poisoned by some bugbear that sticks to us like
a leech, and our energies wasted in resisting the approaches of the
insidious devil that has happened to find an entrance into our own
hearts; fortunate indeed is he who is endowed with patience to endure
unto the end in the joyful hope of finding eternal happiness in a
future world."

"Your mind is gloomy, Sir;" said Brady. "A natural consequence I
suppose of the strange situation in which you find yourself. You will
be an useful companion to me to check by occasional preaching the
ardent and daring propensities of my nature. A gentleman of your stamp
will be invaluable amongst lawless bushrangers, for you would no doubt
in time convert them from the errors of their way, and my friend McCabe
will take especial interest in your lectures. So you cannot blame us if
we retain the services of so excellent a man. I will make arrangements
presently for paying you a handsome salary."

"You have not told me," said Edwin, "how you effected your escape from
Macquarie Harbor?"

"By very simple means. The Commandant and surgeon came to see us while
we were at work; I saw the boat touch the shore and called to the men
around me that now was their time. We rushed down to seize it, but
the Commandant was awake and pushed off. Thus disappointed the men
seized the surgeon and made preparations to flog him, but I interposed
and saved him. We got another boat and pushed out of Hell's Gates,
preferring the dangers of the Southern Ocean to the living grave on
Sarah Island. After several hair-breadth escapes and pangs of hunger
endured with patience, we reached the upper banks of the Derwent and
became bushrangers."

The speaker rose and walked towards his hut, for the dinner hour had
arrived. Four days were passed by Edwin and the desperate gang in
this eagle's nest. The time was beguiled by frequent conversations
between Brady and his prisoner, in which Captain Crawford frequently
joined. On the fourth day some signs of life exhibited themselves. The
men packed their knapsacks and cleaned their arms. The captive was
ordered by McCabe to sharpen his favorite weapon, the baronet, on a
piece sandstone, and on his flat refusal to do anything of the kind,
the savage Hibernian swore at him for a d----d devil of a parson, and
he would remember it to him when he got the chance. On the morning
of Thursday, the 6th day, they marched forth fully provided for a
campaign, Edwin accompanying them and carrying Brady's knapsack as
before.




CHAPTER XLII.--MR. JUNIPER GETS READY FOR MRS. EARLSLEY'S BALL.

Our respected friend Mr. Johnson Juniper, with the impatience peculiar
to a bachelor of forty when under the influence of an invitation to
a lady's tea party, awoke from his slumbers at an early hour on the
morning of the eventful Thursday. The slightest tinge of dawn yet
visible in that part of the world was just beginning to peep into
the little window of his sleeping apartment, and he sat up in bed to
convince himself that the morning of this the happiest day of his
life was really come. Satisfied in this particular he lost no time,
but hastily scrambled out of bed, vociferating as he did so the magic
word--"Cook!"

He paused for a reply.

"Cook!" said Mr. Juniper, in a somewhat louder tone. Another pause.

"Cook!" said Mr. Juniper, in a still louder key. Still no answer.

"COOK!" roared Mr. Juniper, giving at the same time two or three
tremendous thumps on his bedroom door with one of his boots; which
unusual clamor had the desired effect of awaking the important
official, who replied while laboring under evident terror and
astonishment--

"Y--s Sir--r--r?"

"Time for breakfast;" answered his master, in an offended tone.

"It's not daylight yet, Sir;" remonstrated the cook with several yawns.

"Yes it is," said Mr. Juniper, "get up and get breakfast."

The cook was heard to sigh; indeed, we wonder that he did not weep. It
was not our acquaintance Heffernan, for that dreadful and incorrigible
old drunkard had been sent much against his will to serve a term of six
months in the chain gang at Ross, after having been informed by Mr.
Earlsley who gave him the sentence, that he should be certainly sent
to Macquarie Harbor the very next time he committed himself. The new
cook was a young man who prided himself upon his soft speech, correct
pronunciation, delicate complexion, and shining black hair, which he
kept well polished with pork slush. After a few convulsive turnings in
his comfortable bed he at length prevailed upon himself to get up in
obedience to his master's summons, and as he was a prodigiously smart
fellow when thoroughly awake, he managed to dress himself, light his
fire, and have breakfast ready in the short space of half an hour. Then
knocking in a ladylike manner at his master's door, he breathed through
the keyhole in his peculiar oily way--

"Breekfast is ready, Sir."

"That's right," said Juniper, "but I'm not ready for it yet."

The worthy bachelor was in a very unusual state of excitement. He had
lain awake nearly all night forming his plans. As the river was too
high to be crossed on horseback he would have to cross in his canoe,
and either swim his horse or trust to being able to borrow one from
his friend Maxwell. But not being quite sure that Maxwell would have
one to spare, and not wishing to put such an insult upon Mrs. Earlsley
as to march to her place on foot like a sheep-shearer or a constable,
he decided on adopting the former course, though he had his misgivings
as to whether his steed Buffalo would take the water quietly or not,
it being a long time since he had tried him. As causes of delay might
possibly occur, and it would not do to keep Mrs. Earlsley waiting for
him, he determined to make an early start and call at Bremgarten as he
went by; taking the opportunity of offering his services as escort on
the dangerous road to Mrs. Maxwell and the young ladies; his services
he knew would be highly acceptable, consequently he felt that he was a
personage of considerable importance. And then he pictured to himself
the reception Mrs. Earlsley would probably give him: would he be
asked to sit at her right hand or at her left? Would she give him a
gentle hint to open the ball with her eldest daughter and so cut out
Lieutenant Dawlish? Would she nod to him sweetly as they entered the
supper room, and request him to distribute his favorite wattle bird pie
to the smiling friends around him? Aye, chuckle Juniper under your snug
blanket, and think of the wattle bird pie and the flaky piecrust.

After giving the order for breakfast Mr. Juniper lit his candle and
commenced the important operations of the toilet. His hand was by
no means so steady as it was on ordinary occasions; nevertheless he
stropped his razor and resolved to go through the martyrdom of shaving
bravely; and he did go through it though not without two or three not
very amiable ejaculations of--"Deuce take this abominable razor!"
"oh, bother it!" and sundry violent applications of the delinquent
instrument to its well worn strop. He now looked at his chin in the
glass with dismay: here was a nick and there was a gash; on one side
a little vein was laid open, and on the other a quarter of a square
inch of skin was carried away bodily. The victim of all this punishment
frantically searched the corners of the room for cobwebs, to the
manifest consternation of the spiders; and when he had collected a
sufficient quantity he dabbed them on his chin with a smack, making
himself look like a certain powerful emperor--who wasn't emperor
then--with his beautiful imperial wisp. And yet the unhappy bachelor,
if he could only bring himself to believe it, might have been spared
this smarting annoyance by a few kind and encouraging words, spoken
in gentle tones as if from the adjacent bed-clothes--"Take your time,
Johnson, my dear."

Indulging in a few smothered though vain growls, our bachelor dressed
himself in his cleanest shirt and finest clothes. These consisted of
a suit of black, moth-eaten in places, but still not much the worse
for wear, considering they had only been worn once in the space of
five years. Having admired himself--all but his gridiron chin--to
his heart's content, in his cracked looking-glass, he walked into
his parlor, where the table was laid for breakfast, and a cheerful
fire burning, the light of which unceremoniously thrust into shade
the glimmering candle on the table. He stood for awhile before the
fire to enjoy its genial glow, thoughtfully contemplating the early
streaks of dawn as they became perceptible through the opposite window.
The sky was clear, and the air calm. The magpies had commenced their
usual morning concert, laughing and chattering to each other with
self-complacent and cunning croaks, as who should say, "Ho, Juniper!
hi, Juniper! come out, come out!" until the chorus was taken up by
birds of the feather at a distance, and brought back again with renewed
bursts of merriment. All nature smiled, and Juniper thought he would
smile too, but being compelled to think of his cracked chin he made a
wry face instead, and sat down to breakfast. He quietly disposed of
about two pounds of fat bacon and four or five cups of invigorating
tea, and when the demands of appetite were fully satisfied, drew his
chair to the fire and smoked his pipe.

In about an hour Mr. Juniper walked forth into his garden. The sun was
up, but the ground was moist with a heavy dew. He was surprised and
annoyed to find his garden gate wide open, and thinking of his cabbages
and experimental grasses, he strode hastily down the path to drive out
whatever intruders he might discover. To the complete discomfiture of
his amiable temper he found his own cunning old bull and three favorite
cows demolishing his cabbages with becoming gravity. We will not set
down the exclamations of the sorely tried surveyor as he seized a stick
and belabored the offenders. The cows and bull, not a little surprised
at such treatment, and thinking perhaps that their master was mad,
immediately cocked their tails, and rushed furiously for the open gate,
tearing down a couple of valued apple trees on the way. Once outside
they kicked up their heels ironically, as much as to say, "Who cares
for you or your stick?"

Fastening the gate he walked down the pathway again. He paused and
looked at his apple trees, and murmured to himself with a sigh--"It
never rains but it pours." Before giving orders to his gardener about
restoring the trees to their proper position he thought he would make
a circuit of his garden to see that nothing else was wrong. Yes,
everything was right, even his carefully made pit of choice potatoes
comfortably stowed away for winter's use--Ha! what's that!--did his
eyes deceive him! A tunnel into the very heart of his potatoe-pit,
and the head and shoulders of the most ravenous sow that ever any
unfortunate farmer was cursed with, buried therein in luxurious
gluttony. To seize another stick and administer a tremendous whack
on the hind-quarters of the miscreant pig did not occupy the active
bachelor a second. But the warning voice of "Take it easy, Johnson, my
dear," did not reach his ears: nor did his impetuous spurt allow
him to consider that one savage sow might possibly accomplish what
three quiet cows and a bull never thought of. The animal when she found
herself so rudely assailed, backed from the tunnel with an impetus
as if she had been shot from a cannon, and turning sharply round on
the aggressor seized him by the leg, mangled his dress trousers, and
finally upsetting him on the moist clay, snuffed the air with a martial
grunt and took to her heels.

Thrice unhappy Juniper! to be on this the happiest morning of your
life levelled with the ground by one of the lowest of the brute
creation--to have your dress trousers torn, your dress coat besmeared
with mud, your dignity and hat both crushed! Nothing on earth can wash
out this terrible stain on your honor but the blood of that wretched
sow, and fearfully and wrathfully you swore to shed it. But swearing,
my dear fellow, will not mend your inexpressibles. Our feelings of
commiseration for your woeful plight will not permit us to laugh.
Pick yourself up bravely, go and dry your soiled coat, and get your
dandy cook to brush it for you; and if you cannot find another pair of
trousers, set to work immediately and repair the damage as well as you
can. He arose accordingly and entered his lonely mansion, though not,
we regret to say, in as amiable a mood as we could have wished. His
cook started and stared in horrified surprise when he saw his master in
such an awful condition, though his own face was extremely red as if he
had been discovered in some nefarious act. The fact was he had looked
out of one of the front windows, had seen the whole affair, and now
prudently, but at the risk of choking, suppressed his laughter. Juniper
glared upon him for a moment and then said in a terrific voice--"Who
left the garden gate open, sir?"

"I do not know, I assure you, sir," answered the cook, laying a
gentlemanly emphasis on each word.

"Then you ought to know, sir, it's your business to know. Look here,
sir, how I am persecuted through the effects of your carelessness; but
you think it fine fun; you are laughing, sir."

"Upon my word and honor, sir, I----"

"Upon your stuff and nonsense, sir. Go and hide your hypocritical
countenance in your kitchen, sir. Take care of yourself or Mr. Earlsley
will have to deal with you." As the cook disappeared quickly, his
master said no more. He took off his soiled coat and spread it before
the fire to dry. Then after hopelessly examining his nether garment he
proceeded to turn his wardrobe over in the hope of finding another pair
that might possibly do.

About three hours have elapsed and we now see our friend preparing to
cross the river. His coat has been brushed and he is arrayed in pepper
and salt unmentionables. He has his shepherd with him to give him a
helping hand. His horse Buffalo is standing by with a large rope tied
to his neck, Juniper and his shepherd enter the canoe and push off from
the bank; and the horse, after curvetting for a quarter of an hour,
plunges into the water. They reach the other side in safety; Buffalo
is saddled and bridled, and as his master mounts he gives his final
order for the day--"Take the canoe back, Tom; I'll not come home till
morning;" and as he rode on his way he began to chant the Bacchanalian
chorus, "'Till daylight doth appear," which immediately set the magpies
off again cracking their sides in protracted hysterical giggles.

He had not ridden far, however, before a sudden thought made him draw
rein. He had heard that an English mail had arrived, and it was only
ten o'clock--an unusually early hour in the morning for a smart young
man to go to a tea party, even though he had ten miles to ride. This
reflection made him turn his horse's head towards Avoca: he would ride
for the post, and take Mr. Maxwell's letters to him, thus rendering his
company doubly acceptable. Buffalo was now spurred into a rapid canter,
and to do him justice he was as free to go as his rider could desire.

The day had commenced at Bremgarten as other days usually did--at
least since the arrival of the three influential visitors. The young
ladies did not fail when breakfast was over to hold an animated
discussion respecting the dresses they should wear at Mrs. Earlsley's
forthcoming ball, and the young gentlemen betook themselves to the
river's bank to enjoy a quiet smoke. As for the Colonel, he indulged
in his usual exercise, namely, walking up and down in the garden, when
the refreshing beams of the newly-risen sun, and the clear pure air of
morning, imparted a youthful elasticity to his footsteps, and revived
some of the martial fire that whilom burned in his hazel eyes. The
secluded walk of which he invariably took possession every day when
the weather permitted, for at least a couple of hours, was shaded by
fruit trees, though at this season of the year all the shade they could
afford was that yielded by branches without leaves. But to compensate
for the absence of sweet scented buds and rosy fruit, there were many
native acacias and lordly eucalypti to show by their dense masses
of dark green foliage that one moiety at least of the world of botany
was blooming in life and health, while the other peacefully slept. Here
the worthy old officer paced to and fro in solitude, no one, either
master or servant, caring to intrude upon him. We have often regretted
that our old friend was not of a literary turn of mind. If he had
amused his declining days with jotting down on paper in his rough way
the hundredth part of his adventures and experiences, and confided
his manuscript to our care the world might possibly be astonished and
delighted at some future time; but like many old men and heroes of real
life he had a profound dislike to pen and ink, and now thought his
past heroic actions of no higher value than to amuse his friends at
the dinner-table, or be growled in sonorous cadence to the trees and
flowers as he walked up and down in Maxwell's garden.

For some reason or other which we do not find noted in our budget of
indisputable facts, the projected marriage of Griselda and Henry Arnott
was suffered to remain in abeyance. It is probable (though we cannot
assert it positively) that the young lady was made acquainted by her
father with the wishes of the Colonel, and the sentiments of his son so
happily coinciding on this particular point; and being urged to make up
her mind on the subject with as little delay as possible, the sensible
girl had requested that more time should be allowed her, pleading that
she and Mr. Arnott were strangers to each other; that she was young and
inexperienced; and that she felt it to be her duty to study the young
gentleman's disposition with some attention before she could consent
to confide the happiness of her future life to his keeping. Surmising
thus far we may now assert more dogmatically that the Colonel did not
mention the matter to her at all, taking it for granted, no doubt, that
in a short time all things would be satisfactorily settled; and that
Henry did not allude to it in direct terms, naturally supposing that
the simple monosyllable 'yes' would be eagerly pronounced whenever the
important question should be popped. He agreed with Mr. Maxwell that
the young lady should be allowed time to complete her admiring survey
(at a delicate distance) of his handsome person and congenial temper:
and having now no rival at whom to contract his brows, he assumed the
gay and pleasant air which, it must be confessed, became him admirably,
and compelled our simple and blushing heroine to acknowledge within her
own heart that it was always in his power to make himself exceedingly
agreeable.

Of his powers of endurance and amiable forbearance towards his fiery
parent she had frequent opportunities of judging; for the Colonel,
as he became more naturalised in Maxwell's house, became also less
reserved in his voluble castigations, going so far sometimes as to
address his son and namesake in the presence of the Maxwells and
Isabel in terms which if addressed to us would have made us explode
with terrific violence. Henry would calmly sip his wine and listen
in silence, though with a slightly contemptuous curl just barely
perceptible on his handsome l