+ ~ -
 
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
 
Report an Error
Go!
 
Go!
 
TOC
 

the cross now stands, the captain drew his
sword, and killed Catelan with a single blow,
and the soldiers simultaneously surrounded
the servant and massacred him. The
murderers unpacked the hamper, but, to their
surprise, found in it only bottles of liquors
and perfumes. Although dreadfully
disappointed they divided the spoil, and returned
to the king, saying, Catelan was nowhere to
be found. The next day Philippe ordered a
search to be made in the forest, and after
some time the two bodies were found in a
pool of blood. The king was deeply afflicted
at the murder, and caused the corpses to be
buried on the spot, and a stone cross about
twenty feet high erected over the grave.

A few months afterwards the captain
presented himself at court perfumed with a scent
which was manufactured only in Provence.
This excited the king's suspicions. He caused
inquiries to be made, and was soon informed
that several had been found drunk with
liquors from Provence in their possession.
Investigations were immediately made; the
apartments of the captain and his men were
searched; and the result was the discovery
of a hamper marked with the arms of Catelan,
and several bottles of Proven├žal liquors
and perfumes. The evidence was sufficient to
bring home their guilt to the murderers, who
were speedily tried and burnt to death at a
slow fire.

TRACKS IN THE BUSH.

A STOCKMAN in my employment was, not
many years ago, missing from a cattle station
distant from Sydney about two hundred and
thirty miles. The man had gone one afternoon
in search of a horse that had strayed. Not
having returned at night or the next morning,
the natural conclusion was that he had been
lost in the bush. I, at once, called in the
aid of the blacks, and, attended by two
European servants (stockmen), headed the
expedition. The chief difficulty lay in getting
on the man's track; and several hours were
spent before this important object was
accomplished. The savages exhibited some
ingenuity even in this. They described large
circles round the hut whence the man had
taken his departure, and kept on extending
them until they were satisfied they had the
proper footprints. The track once found,
half a dozen of the blacks went off like
a pack of hounds. Now and then, in
the dense forest through which we wandered
in our search, there was a check, in
consequence of the extreme dryness of the
ground; or the wind had blown about
the fallen leaves of the gigantic gum-trees,
which abound in those regions; but, for
the most part, the course was straight
on end.

We had provided ourselves with flour,
salt beef, tea, sugar, blankets and other
personal comforts. These were carried on a
horse which a small black boy, of about
fourteen years of age, rode in our rear.

On the first day we continued our search
until the sun had gone down, and then
pitched our camp and waited for day-light.
With their tomahawks the blacks stripped
off large sheets of bark from the gum-trees,
and cut down a few saplings. With these
we made a hut; at the opening of which we
lighted a fire, partly for boiling the water
for tea, and partly for the purpose of keeping
off the musquitoes. During the night, we
had a very heavy storm of lightning and
thunder, accompanied by torrents of rain.
This, I fancied, would render the tracking
even more difficult, as the rain was
sufficiently heavy to wash out the footprints of
a man, had any such footprints been
previously perceptible. When the sun arose,
however, the blacks, seemingly without
difficulty, took up the track and followed it
at the rate of two and a half miles an hour
until noon, when we halted to take some rest
and refreshments. The foot of civilised man
had never before trodden in that wild region;
which was peopled only with the kangaroo,
the emu, the opossum, and wild cat. The stillness
was awful; and, ever and anon, the blacks
would cooey (a hail peculiar to the savages
of New-Holland, which may be heard several
miles off), butand we listened each time with
intense anxietythere was no response.

At about half-past three in the afternoon
of the second day we came to a spot, where
the blacks expressed, by gestures, that the
missing stockman had sat down; and in
confirmation of their statement, they pointed to
a stone, which had evidently been lately
removed from its original place. I enquired,
by gestures, whether we were near the lost
man; but the blacks shook their heads and
held up two fingers, from which I gleaned
that two days had elapsed since the man
had been there. At five we came to another
spot where the missing stockman had laid
down, and here we found his short pipe
broken. It would be difficult to describe the
satisfaction with which I eyed this piece of
man's handywork. It refreshed my
confidence in the natives' power of tracking, and
made me the more eager to pursue the search
with rapidity. By promises of large rewards,
I quickened their movements, and we
travelled at the rate of four miles an hour.
We now came upon a soil covered with
immense boulders. This, I fancied, would impede,
if not destroy the track; but this was not the
case. It is true, we could not travel so fast
over these large round stones; but the blacks
never once halted, except when they came to
a spot where they satisfied me the stockman
himself had rested. None but those who
have been in search of a fellow-creature
under similar circumstances can conceive the
anxiety which such a search creates. I could
not help placing myself in the position of the
unhappy man, who was roaming about as one