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being taken before a magistrate and forfeiting
a year of liberty.

"One evening, when returning from a three
days' journey, I found myself within fifty miles
of my stationat that time recently established
on the extreme borders of known land; my
horse was exhausted, for we had been travelling
since daybreak. I had dismounted, and was
steering by the Southern Cross, until I noticed
the reflection of a fire, and heard an echo of
rude laughter in the neighbourhood. Here,
I thought, are some bullock drays encamped,
I shall light my pipe and get a quart
of tea. I passed from the shadows of the
trees and stooping down impatiently to light
my pipe with a "Well mates, how goes it?"
was welcomed by the pointed muskets of a
couple of shaggy men, in garments wonder-
fully patched. Four others at the same time
ran to their arms, but seeing that I puffed
away at the lighted brand, apparently con-
cerned about no greater matter than the light-
ing of my pipe, and noticing perhaps that my
horse was exhausted, they exchanged their
proposed warm reception with the muskets
for a " Halloo, stranger, where do you come
from? Have you any tobacco? " "I am going,"
I said, " to my station on Pelican Creek, and
I have been up to the Crownland Commissioner,
to see about the boundaries of my
new run. I have plenty of tobacco, but not
a skerrick of tea or sugar." So saying I
pulled out my tobacco-pouch, which I had
taken care to supply well; for it is the best
purse to carry on a journey in the bush; and
then, unbuckling my horse's girths, threw my
saddle down before the fire. To have quitted
my new friends upon a tired horse would have
been quite impossible; my safety lay therefore
in treating them with confidence.

"The first thing to which they attended
was the filling of their pipes from my pouch;
the next thing to which they attended was
lighting them. They then inhaled and puffed
the smoke with an eagerness that I can
compare only to the zest with which men swallow
water after a long journey in a drought.

"Presently they consulted apart; while I,
preparing for the night, hobbled the fore-legs
of my horse, rubbed his ears dry, and shook
out my blanket. After a few minutes, having
made an end of whispering, one of the men
handed to me a quart pot of teathere were
three such pots boiling at the fireand,
scraping back the wood-ashes, he took
out and fairly divided a huge damper
among us all, to which he added, for my
share, the hind-quarters of a kangaroo-rat.
There were frizzling on the fire, at the same
time, certain bits of meat, which at once I
concluded to be rough mutton-chops. After
my hosts had smoked their first pipes, they
attended to the supper and commenced a
running fire of questions. Which way had I
gone? Whom had I seen? Was not my name
Lawdon? No, it was not. Was the
Commissioner coming up to my station? And did
I know a man by the name of Bald-faced
Tom? Yes; he was my best bullock-driver.
Who was my stockman? Red Irish Dan.
Then they again whispered together, and I
could overhear such comfortable words as
'The swell's all right;' 'He's jammock;' 'He
won't split.' Finally they came back; and
when they had continued smoking and eating
far into the night, they packed up the unused
tea and flour in the two sleeves of a shirt;
asked me to oblige them with the whole of
my tobacco; and advised me to sleep away
from the fire, since it was possible that the
blacks might creep up and throw in a shower
of spears. I took the hint, rolled myself in
my blanket, and, in spite of all misgivings,
fell asleep. At sunrise, awaking stiff and
chilly, I found my blanket gone.
Fortunately, I had nothing else worth taking,
about me; and my friends had not robbed
me of my horse. The great hollow gum-tree
which had formed the fire still smouldered; so
I warmed myself before it, and nibbled a bit
of the damper left behind by my departed

"On the evening of the same day, I reached
my station. A fortnight afterwards,
Bald-faced Tom came up with the light cart from
Maitland, and there was great mirth in the
prisoners' hut. The joke was in due time
imparted to me. Moody's overseerwho had
the credit, like his master, of serving out
short rations, and getting the men too freely
floggedhad met six "boys" in the Tea-tree
Flats, had been taken off his horse, stripped,
tied to a tree, and presented with a service of
three dozen lashes. Of course he was then left to
get home as he might be able, naked and on
foot. From the description, I at once knew
that these six men had been my supper
companions in the Bush.

"That was my first adventure: nothing
very terrible. The next, however, you will
find, was serious enough; and these two are
all the stories of bush-peril that I can tell you
from my own personal experience.

"I was going down to Sydney, after two years
in the Bush, only varied by an overland
journey to South Australia. My hool had
gone on a week before, and my intended
companion, Charley Malcolm, had disap-
pointed me, being suddenly prevented from
travel by affection of the heart. He had
seen (and married within the week) a pretty
Scotch girl, who had come into our district as
nurse in the doctor's family. I set out,
accordingly, alone; with a carbine at my back,
and two of the best kangaroo dogs in the
country for my escort; riding such a horse as
no man ever can own twice in a single life.
I bought him, at two years old, from the
stockman by whom he was bred (at a very
long price), and had spent a great deal more
pains in training him than we generally can
afford, in the Bush, to spend on horse flesh.
We set out, as usual, at a foot-pace, to do
thirty-mile stages, which would bring us to