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Title: The Maxwells of Bremgarten
Author: William Moore Ferrar
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Language: English
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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.)




Advertisement in The Courier (Hobart, Tas.), Tuesday 19 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.




CONTENTS

CHAPTER I.—AN INTRODUCTION AND RETROSPECT.
CHAPTER II.—A VISITOR AND A VISIT.
CHAPTER III.—THE COLONEL'S INFORMATION.
CHAPTER IV.—INSTRUCTIVE AND ENTERTAINING.
CHAPTER V.—DELIBERATION AND DECISION.
CHAPTER VI.—OFF TO TASMANIA.
CHAPTER VII.—THE SETTLER'S FIRST JOURNEY INTO THE BUSH.
CHAPTER VIII.—A NIGHT IN A TASMANIAN WOOD.
CHAPTER IX.—AN ORIGINAL SETTLER AND HIS HOMESTEAD.
CHAPTER X.—PREPARATIONS FOR A JOURNEY.
CHAPTER XI.—OUR HEROINE'S TRAVELS AND TROUBLES BEGIN.
CHAPTER XII.—THE JOURNEY IS CONTINUED.
CHAPTER XIII.—FARMING OPERATIONS AND JOHNSON JUNIPER.
CHAPTER XIV.—FARMING OPERATIONS.—ARTHUR EARLSLEY, ESQ., J.P., AND BAXTER THE CARRIER.
CHAPTER XV.—GRISELDA'S GOOD FORTUNE—WINTER IN TASMANIA.
CHAPTER XVI.—ARISTOCRATIC VISITORS.
CHAPTER XVII.—THE SHADOW IN THE SUNLIGHT.
CHAPTER XVIII.—PEOPLE OF THE TOWNSHIP AND MRS. EARLSLEY'S SYMPATHY.
CHAPTER XIX.—MORE TROUBLES.
CHAPTER XX.—PROGRESS OF THE FIRE.
CHAPTER XXI.—EDWIN HERBART.—EVENING AMUSEMENTS.
CHAPTER XXII.—VISITORS.
CHAPTER XXIII.—THE ALARM.
CHAPTER XXIV.—A NOCTURNAL EXPEDITION.—DINNER TALK.
CHAPTER XXV.—EVENING CONVERSATION—ANOTHER VISITOR.
CHAPTER XXVI.—MOTHER AND DAUGHTER.
CHAPTER XXVII.—BREAKFAST AND A TESTY COLONEL.
CHAPTER XXVIII.—RECAPTURE OF A RUNAWAY.
CHAPTER XXIX.—A VISIT TO SKITTLE BALL HILL.
CHAPTER XXX.—A RUPTURE IN THE HOMESTEAD.
CHAPTER XXXI.—EDWIN'S ADVENTURES.
CHAPTER XXXII.—BAXTER'S PRAYERS.
CHAPTER XXXIII.—A TENDER INTERVIEW.
CHAPTER XXXIV.—A GLOOMY JOURNEY.
CHAPTER XXXV.—A ROAD PARTY STATION OF OLDEN TIME.
CHAPTER XXXVI.—EDWIN HERBART'S ADVENTURES CONTINUED.
CHAPTER XXXVII.—ARRIVAL OF ISABEL—MR. JUNIPER BEGS LEAVE TO INTRODUCE A FRIEND.
CHAPTER XXXVIII.—JORGEN JORGENSON.
CHAPTER XXXIX.—JORGENSON CONCLUDES HIS NARRATIVE.—A STRANGE INCIDENT.
CHAPTER XL.—ANOTHER NIGHT IN A TASMANIAN WOOD.—BUSHRANGERS' VENGEANCE.
CHAPTER XLI.—THE MOUNTAIN FORTRESS.
CHAPTER XLII.—MR. JUNIPER GETS READY FOR MRS. EARLSLEY'S BALL.
CHAPTER XLIII.—A SANGUINARY ENGAGEMENT.
CHAPTER XLIV.—DULL—WHICH THE READER MAY SKIP.
CHAPTER XLV.—DREADFUL.
CHAPTER XLVI.—A SEAT IN MAXWELL'S HOUSE BECOMES VACANT.
CHAPTER XLVII.—COLONEL ARTHUR'S APPEARANCE.
CHAPTER XLVIII.—A PROPOSAL.
CHAPTER XLIX.—FORTUNE'S FAVOR.
CHAPTER L.—AN EPISODE IN TASMANIAN HISTORY.
CHAPTER LI.—MAXWELL ENTERTAINS A STRANGER.
CHAPTER LII.—EDWIN GOES TO HOBART TOWN AND MEETS WITH OLD ACQUAINTANCES.
CHAPTER LIII.—MORE ACQUAINTANCES.
CHAPTER LIV.—"LOVE'S LABORS LOST."
CHAPTER LV.—GRISELDA'S DISTRESS.
CHAPTER LVI.—GRISELDA'S DECISION.
CHAPTER LVII.—HENRY AND ISABEL BEHIND THE SCENES.—MR. ROUSAL'S HISTORY.
CHAPTER LVIII.—THE CATASTROPHE.
CHAPTER LIX.—CONCLUSION.




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 Aetna, 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 in human 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—t