網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版
[ocr errors]

States, hail you as such; they will acknowledge no you have been successful elsewhere in making other. Now-let the signing proceed.'

traitors'-here the speaker glared towards Omatla At a gesture from the commissioner, Omatla stepped and his warriors—but I disregard your machinations. forward to the table, and taking the pen in his hand, There is not a man in my tribe that will turn his wrote his name upon the parchment.

back upon Hoitle-mattee—not one.' The act was done in perfect silence. But one voice The orator ceased speaking, and folding his arms, broke the deep stillness-one word only was heard fell back into an attitude of silent defiance. He saw uttered with angry aspirate ; it was the word that the commissioner had done with him, for the 'traitor!'

latter was now appealing to Abrain for his signature. I looked round to discover who had pronounced it; The black's first answer was a decided negativethe hiss was still quivering upon the lips of Očeola; simply 'No.' When urged to repeat his refusal, he while his eye was fixed on Omatla with a glance of added : ineffable scorn.

"No-by Jovah! I nebber sign de d- paper• Black Crazy Clay' next took the pen, and affixed nebber. Dat 's enuf-ain't it, Bossy Thompson ?' his signature, which was done by simply making his Of course this put an end to the appeal, and mark.'

Abram was ' scratched' from the list of chiefs. After him followed Ohala, Itolasse Omatla, and Arpiucki followed next, and 'Cloud' and the about a dozen-all of whom were known as the chiefs 'Alligator,' and then the dwarf Poshalla. All these that favoured the scheme of removal.

refused their signatures, and were in turn formally The hostile chiefs--whether by accident or design deposed from their dignities. So, likewise, were I know not-stood together, forming the left wing Holata Mico and others who were absent. of the semicircle. It was now their turn to declare Most of the chiefs only laughed as they listened to themselves.

the wholesale cashiering. It was ludicrous enough Hoitle-mattee was the first about whose signing the to hear this puny office-holder of an hour pronounce commissioner entertained any doubt. There was a edicts with all the easy freedom of an emperor!* pause, significant of apprehension.

Poshalla, the last who had been disgraced, laughed It is your turn, Jumper,' said the latter at length, like the others; but the dwarf had a bitter tongue, addressing the chief by his English name.

and could not refrain from a rejoinder. * You may jump me then,' replied the eloquent and Tell the fat agent,' cried he to the interpreterwitty chief, making a jest of what he meant for tell him that I shall be a chief of the Seminoles earnest as well.

when the rank weeds are growing over his great How? you refuse to sign ?'

carcass—ha, ha!' ‘Hoitle-mattee does not write.'

The rough speech was not carried to the ears of • It is not necessary; your name is already written; the commissioner. He did not even hear the scornyou have only to place your finger upon it.'

ful cachinnation that followed it, for his attention 'I might put my finger on the wrong place.' was now entirely occupied with one individual—the

*You can sign by making a cross, continued the youngest of the chiefs--the last in the line-Oçeola. agent, still in hopes that the chief would consent.

* We Seminoles have but little liking for the cross; we had enough of it in the days of the Spaniards. Hulwak!'

SIGNATURE OF OC EOLA. Then you positively refuse to sign ?'

Up to this moment the young chief had scarcely Ho! Mister Commissioner, does it surprise you?' spoken; only when Charles Omatla took hold of the

'Be it 80, then. Now hear what I have to say to pen, he had hissed out the word traitor. you.

He had not remained all the time in the same Hoitle-mattee's ears are as open as the commis- attitude, neither had his countenance shewn him sioner's mouth,' was the sneering rejoinder.

indifferent to what was passing. There was 'I depose Hoitle-mattee from the chieftainship of constraint either in bis gestures or looks-no air of his clan. The Great Father will no longer recognise affected stoicism-for this was not his character. He him as a chief of the Seminoles.'

had laughed at the wit of Jumper, and applauded “Ha, ha, ha!' came the scornful laugh in reply. the patriotism of Abram and the others, as heartily “Indeed-indeed! And tell me,' he asked, still con- as he had frowned disapproval of the conduct of the tinuing to laugh and treating with derision the solemn traitors. enunciation of the commissioner, of whom am I to It was now his turn to declare himself, and he be chief, General Thompson ?'

stood, with modest mien, in the expectation of being I have pronounced,' said the agent, evidently asked. All the others had been appealed to by name confused and nettled by the ironical manner of the – for the names of all were well known to the agent Indian ; 'you are no more a chief-we will not and his interpreters. acknowledge you as one.'

I need hardly state that at this crisis silence was • But my people ?—what of them ?' asked the other on tiptoe. Throughout the ranks of the soldieryin a fine tone of irony; 'bave they nothing to say in throughout the crowd of warriors—everywherethis matter?'

there was a moment of breathless expectancy, as if Your people will act with reason. They will listen every individual upon the ground was imbued with to their Great Father's advice. They will no longer the presentiment of a scene. obey a leader who has acted without faith.'

For my part, I felt satisfied that an explosion was *You say truly, agent,' replied the chief, now about to take place; and, like the rest, I stood speaking seriously. 'My people will act with reason, spell-bound with expectation. but they will also act with patriotism and fidelity. The commissioner broke silence with the words : Do not flatter yourself of the potency of our Great "At last we come to you, Powell. Before proceedFather's advice. If it be given as a father's counsel, ing further, let me ask-Are you acknowledged as a they will listen to it; if not, they will shut their chief ?' ears against it. As to your disposal of myself, I There was insult in the tone, the manner, the only laugh at the absurdity of the act. I treat both act and agent with scorn. I have no dread of • The United States government afterwards disapproved of

this absurd dethronement of the chiefs; but there is no doubt your power. I have no fear for the loyalty of my that Thompson acted under secret instructions from the people. Sow dissension among them as you please ; 1 President

CHAPTER XXXIX.

THE

no

words. It was direct and intended, as the counte- going to desert them-now, in the eleventh hour, nance of the speaker clearly shewed. There was when his defection would be fatal to their cause. malice in his eye-malice mingled with the confidence 'He has been bribed,' said they. His patriotism of prospective triumph.

has been all a sham; his resistance a cheat. He has The interrogation was irrevelant, superfluous. been bought by the agent; he has been acting for Thompson knew well that Powell was a chief-a him all along. Holywaugus! Iste-hulwa-stchay.* 'Tis sub-chief, it is true, but still a chief—a war-chief of a treason blacker than Omatla's!" the Redsticks, the most warlike tribe of the nation. Thus muttered the chiefs to one another, at the The question was put for mere provocation. The same time eyeing Oçeola with the fierce look of agent tempted an outburst of that temper that all tigers. knew to be none of the gentlest.

With regard to Powell's defection, I did not myself Strange to say, the insult failed in its effect, or know what to make of it. He had declared his resoit seemed so. They who expected an angry answer lution to sign the treaty; what more was needed ? were doomed to disappointment. Oçeola made no That he was ready to do so was evident from his reply. Only a peculiar smile was observed upon his attitude: he seemed only to wait for the agent to features. It was not of anger, nor yet of scorn: it invite him. was rather a smile of silent, lordly contempt—the As to the commissioner being a party to this look which a gentleman would bestow upon the intention, I knew he was nothing of the kind. Any blackguard who is abusing him. Those who witnessed one who looked in his face, at that moment, would it were left under the impression that the young have acquitted him of all privity to the act.

He was chief regarded his insulter as beneath the dignity of evidently as much astonished by Oceola's declaration a reply, and the insult too gross, as it really was, to as any one upon the ground, or even more so; in fact, be answered. Such impression had I, in common he seemed bewildered by the unexpected avowal; so with others around me.

much, that it was some time before he could make Oçeola's look might have silenced the commissioner, rejoinder. or, at least, have caused him to change his tactics, had He at length stammered out: he been at all sensitive to derision. But no-the * Very well, Oçeola! Step forward here, and sign vulgar soul of the plebeian official was closed against then.' shame, as against justice; and without regarding the Thompson's tone was changed: he spoke soothrepulse, he pressed on with his plan.

ingly. A new prospect was before him. Oceola would 'I ask, are you a chief ?' continued he, repeating sign, and thus agree to the removal. The business the interrogatory in a still more insulting tone. upon which the supreme government had deputed ‘Have you the right to sign ?'

him would thus be accomplished, and with a dexterity This time his questions were answered, and by a that would redound to his own credit. "Old Hickory' dozen voices at once. Chieftains in the ring, and would be satisfied; and then what next? what next? warriors who stood behind it, shouted in reply: Not a mission to a mere tribe of savages, but an

"The Rising Sun ?-a chief! He is a chief. He embassy to some high court of civilisation. He has the right to sign.'

might yet be ambassador ? perhaps to Spain ? Why call his right in question?' inquired Jumper, Ah! Wiley Thompson ! thy castles in the air with a sneering laugh. "Time enough when he wishes (châteaux en Espagne) were soon dissipated. They to exercise it. He is not likely to do that now.' fell suddenly as they had been built : they broke

‘But I am,' said Oçeola, addressing himself to the down like a house of cards. orator, and speaking with marked emphasis. “I have Oçeola stepped forward to the table, and bent over the right to sign-I shall sign.'

it, as if to scan the words of the document. His eyes It is difficult to describe the effect produced by ran rapidly across the parchment; he seemed to be this unexpected avowal. The entire audience—white searching for some particular place. men as well as red men-was taken by surprise; and He found it-it was a name-he read it aloud : for some moments there was a vibratory movement Charles Omatla.' throughout the assembly, accompanied by a confused Raising himself erect, he faced the commissioner ; murmur of voices. Exclamations were heard on all and, in a tone of irony, asked the latter if he still sides-cries of varied import, according to the polit- desired him to sign. ical bias of those who uttered them. All, however, *You have promised, Oceola.' betokened astonishment: with some, in tones of joy; "Then will I keep my promise.' with others, in the accents of chagrin or anger. As he spoke the words, he drew his long Spanish Was it Oceola who had spoken? Had they heard knife from its sheath, and raising it aloft, struck aright? Was the 'Rising Sun' so soon to sink behind the blade through the parchment till its point was the clouds ? After all that had transpired-after all deep buried in the wood. he had promised—was he going to turn traitor ?

That is my signature! cried he, as he drew forth Such questions passed rapidly among the hostile the steel. See! Omatla! it is through your name. chiefs and warriors; while those of the opposite party Beware, traitor! Undo what you have done, or its could scarcely conceal their delight. All knew that blade may yet pass through your heart!'. the signing of Oceola would end the affair; and the ‘Oh! that is what he meant,' cried the commisremoval become a matter of course. The Omatlas sioner, rising in rage. "Good. I was prepared for would have nothing more to fear; the hostile warriors, this insolence - this outrage. General Clinch ! who had sworn it, might still resist; but there was I appeal to you—your soldiers—seize upon-arrest no leader among them who could bind the patriots him!' together as Oceola had done. With his defection, the These broken speeches I heard amidst the conspirit of resistance would become a feeble thing: the fusion of voices. I heard Clinch, issue some hurried patriots might despair.

orders to an officer who stood near. I saw half a Jumper, Cloud, Coa Hajo, and Abram, Arpiucki, dozen files separate from the ranks, and rush forward; and the dwarf, seemed all equally stricken with I saw them cluster around Oveola—who the next astonishment. Oçeola—he on whom they had re moment was in their grasp. posed their fullest confidence—the bold designer of Not till several of the blue-coated soldiers were the opposition—the open foe to all who had hitherto sent sprawling over the ground; not till guns had advocated the removal-he, the pure patriot in whom all had believed—whom all had trusted, was now

• Bad man-villain.

been thrown aside, and a dozen strong men had fixed and I also noticed that when she left the tree, her their gripe upon him, did the young chief give over flight seemed to be zigzag and uncertain, as if she his desperate struggles to escape; and then apparently could not make up her mind which tree to light on yielding, he stood rigid and immobile, as if his frame next. Soon after she left the tree, too, several little had been iron.

birds would twitter off, and follow the stranger It was

unexpected dénouement-alike unlooked wherever she went. for by either white men or Indians. It was a violent I had always thought-and I don't know why I proceeding, and altogether unjustifiable. This was should have thought it—that the cuckoo frequented no court whose judge had the right to arrest for the neighbourhood of trees only; but I found her as contempt. It was a council, and even the insolence frequently on the hillside, perched upon some stone, of an individual could not be punished without the and calling Ku-koo, Ku-koo, just as she did in the concurrence of both parties. General Thompson had wood. At first, I thought she must have strayed or exceeded his duty-he had exercised a power arbitrary been hunted by other birds from the woods; but when as illegal.

I afterwards saw other cuckoos on the hillside, I The scene that followed was so confused as to defy knew that she frequented both. I never saw a cuckoo description. The air was rent with loud ejaculations; far in the wood, but generally on the outskirts: tall the shouts of men, the screams of women, the cries elm-trees bordering parks or gardens seemed to be of children, the yells of the Indian warriors, fell preferred to the middle of woods, and never very far simultaneously upon the ear. There was no attempt from houses, which made me think the bird liked to be at rescue—that would have been impossible in the within sight of our dwellings. presence of so many troops—80 many traitors; but During all my watchings, I never found the cuckoo the patriot chiefs, as they hurried away from the molesting other birds, as the hawk does, and yet I ground, gave out their wild Yo-ho-ehee'--the gather could not help seeing that she was no favourite with ing war-word of the Seminole nation—that in every her feathered brethren. This jealousy or natural spite utterance promised retaliation and revenge.

was at times carried to great lengths; and I have seen The soldiers commenced dragging Oceola inside the a cuckoo's enjoyment sadly marred by a little army of fort.

persecutors, and the very life of the bird endangered. Tyrant!' cried he, fixing his eye upon the com- It seemed to me that these tiny assailants took periodmissioner, 'you have triumphed by treachery; but ical fits of anger; for I have listened to a cuckoo in fancy not that this is the end of it. You may imprison full song, when numerous little birds were in the neighOceola-hang him, if you will—but think not that bourhood, and observed that none of them noticed her his spirit will die. No; it will live, and cry aloud presence excepting her body-guard-a pair of marshfor vengeance. It speaks! Hear ye yonder sounds? tits. On the other hand, during some days, a whole Know ye the “war-cry” of the Redsticks? Mark army of little birds would spend hours in pursuing it well; for it is not the last time it will ring in their helpless victim, the air ringing with their screams your ears. Ho-yo-ho-ehee! yo-ho-ehee! Listen to of defiance and rage. Even at those times, the cuckoo it, tyrant! it is your death-knell—it is your death- occasionally emitted her notes while on the wing—not knell!'

plaintively uttered, but just as usual, which always gave While giving utterance to these wild threats, the me the idea that the bird enjoyed the fun, and rather young chief was drawn through the gate, and hurried wished to lead her tormentors a gay chase, than hide off to the guard-house within the stockade.

herself from such overwhelming odds. These attacks As I followed amid the crowd, some one touched took place, so far as ever I saw, only in the neighbourme on the arm, as if to draw my attention. Turning, hood of trees. Her life was certainly more enjoyable I beheld Haj-Ewa.

amongst the hills: there, she flitted about from one "To-night, by the we-wa,'* said she, speaking so as stone to another, her flights usually extending to not to be heard by those around. There will be several hundred yards, at the same time accompanied shadows—more shadows upon the water. Per- or followed by her faithful friends, the marsh-tits. haps'

Why they attended her, I never could quite find out, I did not hear more: the crowd pressed us apart; unless they acted as guards to warn the cuckoo of the and when I looked again, the mad queen had intrusion of enemies, or as purveyors to supply her moved away from the spot.

with food. I dare say if I had been a reader, I should have seen why the cuckoo was molested by many birds,

why she was carefully guarded by some, and spitefully BIRDS AS OBSERVED BY ME. entreated by others; but I hated reading, and liked

watching: so it was many a day before I found out the In my early days, birds of every kind were my wonderful truth, that she lays her eggs in the nests friends, and much of my time was taken up watching of other birds. The first nest occupied by a young them. I never studied much of their learned classifi- cuckoo which fell to my notice, was the water-wagcation, nor did I ever care much about having any tail's: here I found the intruder one day in June. I of my own; I simply was fond of them, and liked was unprepared for any such discovery, and at first I to watch their habits. I have often, when I ought to did not know what to make of it; and it was not until have been at school learning my lessons, stolen away tained the fact, and knew that the two wagtails

his feathers began to come to maturity, that I ascerto the wood, at the back of our house, to watch the already deprived of their rightful progeny, were toiling motions of the titmice, or try to discover the exact tree from morning till night to supply the voracious whereon the cuckoo sat. And when I succeeded in appetite of the young cuckoo. Nor did their cares getting a good view of the cuckoo, I found its attrac- cease when the bird left the nest ; for I noticed that tions quite resistless, and would be chained to the spot for some time afterwards, the foster-parents fetched as long as that strange bird remained on the tree. I food, which was eagerly devoured by this adventurer. was surprised at first-but I soon became accustomed

This is about all I can remember of the cuckoo ; and to it—to find that the cuckoo uttered a low, harsh, many a holiday have I spent in her company. I was

more led to watch her habits than those of any other grating sound, something like a gurgle in the throat, birds, because they always appeared so strange and before giving forth the clear, dreamy Ku-koo, Ku-koo; mysterious. Moreover, I loved to listen to the quiet

notes, stealing through the warm air of June or July. * Spring, pond, or water.

I have said that I often stole a day from school to spend among the copses and woods : these days were gener- birds; and I always prefer home titles, such as the ally in June or July; and to this day I never can hear mavis, the robin, the ox-eye or yellow yorlin, to the notes Ku-koo, Ku-koo, without associating them following them up with hard Latin words, such as with a certain guilt, felt long ago when I (too often) Troglodytes vulgaris, which I have carefully copied played truant.

from a book as the name given by naturalists to the Of all birds, I always thought the tits the most katy-wren! indefatigable in their search for food. They are not shy birds, but allow one to remain within a very few yards when they are at work. I remember they were

LOOKING EAST: fond of the silver birch-tree, and seemed to prefer a young or moderate-sized one to the full-grown tree.

IN JANUARY 1858. And of all the varieties of blue, greater, lesser "Lover and friend hast Thou put far from me, and hid mine long-tailed, and cole, the blue titmouse or ox-eye was acquaintance out of my sight.' the most active. Several kinds would often claim

Little white clouds, where are you flying equal right to one tree, and each pursued its avocations

Over the sky so blue and cold? without disturbing, or even noticing its neighbours.

Fair faint hopes, why are you lying The blue tit preferred the branches to the stem, and

Over my heart like a white cloud's fold?
the smaller sprays to the branches; and when one
began searching its spray, it never left it till the
search was complete. Back downwards was the

Little green leaves, why are you peeping
Out

of the mould where the snow yet lies ? favourite position; and every little chink in the

Toying west wind, why are you creeping bark was tried, tapped, and plundered. The plunder

Like a child's breath across my eyes ? was minute insects, their eggs, chrysales, and tiny caterpillars.

Hope and terror by turns consuming, I used to suspect the tits were fond of seeds also,

Lover and friend put far from me but of this I never was certain. From where the

What should I do with the bright spring's coming small branch sprung from the greater, and along its

Like an angel over the sea ? entire length, clung, traversed, and pecked, this tiny bird, accompanying the action with sundry low, shrill

Over the cruel sea that parted notes or squeaks; and when several tits were at work

Me from mine-is't for evermore ? on one tree, these notes were constant. Their motions

Out of the woful East, whence darted were very quick: a branch several feet long could be

Heaven's full quiver of vengeance sore. examined and plundered in a very few minutes-vary. ing from half a minute to about four usually; and

Day teaches day-night whispers morning, they reminded me of bees, for a few seconds sufficed

'Hundreds are weeping their dead, and thou to shew new-comers whether the branch had been

Weepest thy living ! Rise, be adorning previously visited by others. Their claws are well

Thy brows, unwidowed, with smiles. --But how? adapted for clinging, and their necks are very supple; so much so that the bird, while hanging to a horizontal

O had he married me-unto anguish, branch of an inch or two in diameter, can twist its

Hardship, sickness, peril, and pain, head round to the upper part, and examine and probe

If on my breast his head might languish, it, without changing its position. It generally con

In lonely jungle or burning plain : fines itself, however, to the under part and sides of the branch.

O had we stood on the rampart gory, The nest of the tit used to be an object of much

Till he--ere Horror behind us troddelight to me. I never harried one, but seldom could

Kissed me, and killed me, and with his glory resist putting my finger into the small hole at the side,

My soul went happy and pure to God! to find if there were eggs or young birds.

Such a colony—some dozen or more in one nest not larger than a cricket-ball: no wonder the parent tits require

Nay, nay—God pardon me, broken-hearted, to make the best of their time to supply food for all

Living this dreary life in death;

Many there are far wider parted at home. However, they manage to rear their numer

Who under one roof-tree breathe one breath. ous brood; but that would be impossible were both birds not constantly engaged in getting food. They may

But we that loved--whom one word half broken both stay away, too, from the nest for some time at a

Had drawn together close soul to soul, stretch, for it does not require the heat of the parent As lip to lip—and it was not spoken, to keep the young ones warm in their dry ball of

Nor may be, while the world's ages roll. feathers.

Another little bird (the least of British birds, I I sit me down with the tears all frozen: believe), the wren, or katy-wren, as we used to call it, I drink my cup, be it gall or wine : was strange in its habits. I always found it in hedge- I know, if he lives, I am his chosen; rows, or close to drains or small streams. Unless for I know, if he dies, that he is mine. its shrill note, I should seldom have noticed its whereabouts, for the colour of the wren is too dark to admit If love in its silence be greater, stronger of the bird being easily seen. I never saw the wren Than hundred vows, or sighs, or tears, feed. Its motions were very quick, and it seemed an Soul, wait thou on Him a little longer easily scared bird. Its favourite resorts were up

Who holdeth the balance of thy years. drains, or amongst the tangled briers that fringed the sides of some tiny brook: there it would sit, or hop

Little white clouds, like angels flying, from one little spray to another, emitting its sharp Bring the young spring from over the sea : note, so loud for a bird of its size; and if startled from Loving or losing, living or dying, its retreat, would seek the nearest drain-mouth, and

Heaven, remember-remember me! vanish. I always deemed the wren a shy bird, and cannot say it was ever a great favourite ; but it had Printed and Published by W. & R. CHAMBERS, 47 Paternoster

Row, London, and 339 High Street, EDINBUROH. Also sold by its mystery, too, for I never saw it feeding.

WILLIAM ROBERTSON, 23 Upper Sackville Street, DUBLIN, and It puzzles one to remember the Latin names of all Booksellers,

OP POPULAR

LITERATURE

Science and Irts.

CONDUCTED BY WILLIAM AND ROBERT CHAMBER S.

No. 220.

SATURDAY, MARCH 20, 1858.

PRICE 11d.

decided on abandoning Port Phillip, and steering THE WILD WHITE MAN.

across Bass's Strait. He eventually founded the penal In the year 1803, the British government, observing colony of Tasmania. the successful progress of the convict settlement at But before this removal occurred, eight of the Port Jackson, fitted out an expedition for the for- prisoners absconded. Five of these were subsequently mation of a similar establishment on the southern recovered; but the others never returned, and were coast of Australia. The great inland bay of Port supposed to have perished of hunger, or to have Phillip had been explored during the previous year been slain by the natives. by Captain Flinders, in the Investigator ; and his For thirty-two years, Port Phillip remained unfavourable report of the surrounding country greatly settled, and, in fact, was supposed to be unfit for the influenced the government in their choice of a habitation of civilised man. In the interval, however, locality.

sundry partial explorations had taken place. Hume The command of the expedition was given to and Hovell had penetrated overland to the Geelong Colonel Collins. The convicts—367 in number country; and the Sydney government had failed in were all males. Of these, only seventeen received a second attempt at convict colonisation. Sturt had permission for their wives to accompany them; and discovered the source and embouchure of the Murray with the exception of seven little ones, who were too River; M'Killop had ventured to Lake Omeo, and young to be left behind, their children were forbidden gazed upon the eternal snows of the Australian Alps ; to undertake the long and dangerous voyage, which and Henty had established a whaling-station at Portwas then regarded with extreme distrust. A detach- land Bay. But the honour of practically demonment of about fifty soldiers, with three lieutenants, strating the capabilities of Port Phillip belongs to formed the military guard ; and various civil officers, John Batman. In May 1835, this gentleman sailed four surgeons, and a chaplain and seven soldiers' from Launceston, in Tasmania, and landing on the wives, completed the matériel of the new settlement. western shores of the bay, at a point named by him

In these days of breathless enterprise, when our Indented Head, he at once observed that the land countrymen hurry to and fro over the whole earth, in that region was excellently adapted for either and undertake a voyage to the antipodes, or an tillage or pastoral uses. The natives were also very expedition to the north pole, with equal coolness, friendly; and having, by the aid of interpreters, been it is interesting to note the gloomy forebodings made to comprehend the object of the white man's of these early voyagers to the southern world. The visit, they cordially welcomed and granted him a means of so doing are furnished by the diary of the large tract of land. Rev. Robert Knopwood, chaplain to the expedition. Delighted with the successful result of his enter*The land behind us,' he writes, “is the abode of prise, Batman returned to Tasmania for seeds and civilised people; that before us, the residence of implements, leaving six of his men, with three savages. When, if ever, we shall enjoy an inter- months' supply of provisions, in charge of his newly course with the world, is doubtful and uncertain. acquired property. During his temporary absence, a We are leaving the civilised world behind us to strange event occurred. enter upon a career unknown.'

The natives were so little alarmed at the presence The expedition sailed from Plymouth in the month of the whites as to mix freely with them, and often of April, but it was not until October that the shores assisted them by various friendly offices, which were of Australia were descried. Collins and his officers requited in kind. One day, however, a savage of chanced to land on a sterile and desolate portion of fiercer aspect than usual made his appearance. He the coast; and after sundry disappointments, arising was very tall, and of monstrous bulk; his matted from the absence of fresh water, the barrenness of hair hung wildly about his shoulders, and his features the soil, and other causes, a spot without the Heads were nearly hidden by the profuse growth of his -as the rocky barriers at the entrance of Port Phillip beard. A loose 'rug' or wrapper, made of the skins are termed—was selected as the site of the intended of the kangaroo, was his sole garment; and in his settlement. A more unfortunate choice could scarcely hand he carried a long and formidable spear, conhave been made; it was found impossible to subsist structed of the close-grained wood of the country, and in such a locality ; nor were they successful in their its point and rows of inverted teeth hardened by the endeavours to discover a favourable district. Acting, action of fire. therefore, on the discretionary powers wherewith he As this uncouth being approached the tents, their was invested by the government, Colonel Collins inmates perceived with astonishment that his skin

« 上一頁繼續 »