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edge, peeping through the tall grass, I saw
the horrid emus, that rare and soon to be
extinct bird, come down the slopes on the
opposite side to drink in numbers; a sure
sign that white men were as yet strangers to
these plains.

We spent some days in examination, and
during the exploration met with adventures
with the aborigines, I will not now relate.
Having marked a station with my initials,
and in returning made out a route
practicable for drays, by which I afterwards made
my way with a large herd of cattle, although
not without enduring more than I could tell
in a few lines.

Our horses having picked up their flesh in
a fortnight's spell on the green plains, we got
back at a rattling pace, but, before arriving
home, met with an adventure I shall not soon
forget. It was at the first station we reached
after crossing the "barrens" that divided our
newly discovered country. A hut had just
been built for the Stockman, a big strong
Irishman, more than six feet high, a regular
specimen of a Tipperary chicken. He had
been entertaining us with characteristic
hospitality; and we were smoking our pipes
round the fire, when the hut-keeper rushed in
without his hat, crying

"Tom! Tom! the blacks are coming
down on us, all armed, as hard as they can
run. Shut the door! for Heaven's sake shut
the door!" Tom banged it to, and put his
shoulder against it, while the keeper was
pulling up the bar, and Carden and I were
getting the lock-cases off our fire-arms.
Unfortunately the door was made roughly of
green wood, and had shrunk, leaving gaps
between the slabs.

In the mean time about thirty blacks hurled
a volley of spears that made the walls ring again;
and then advancing boldly up, one of them
thrust a double-jagged spear through the
door, slap into Tom's throat. My back was
turned towards him, being busy putting a
fresh cap on my carbine. I heard his cry,
and, turning, saw him fall into the arms of
the hut-keeper. I thrust the barrel of my
piece through a hole against a black devil,
and fired at the same moment that my
man did. The two dropped; the rest
retreated, but turned back, and caught up their
dead friends. Carden flung open the door
again, and gave them the contents of his other
barrel. My black put the hut-keeper's musket
into my hand; I gave them a charge of buckshot.
Three more fell, and the rest, dropping
their friends, disappeared across the river.
All this was the work of a moment. We then
turned our attention to the stock-keeper. The
spear had entered at the chin, and come out
on the other side three or four inches. There
was not a great flow of blood, but he was
evidently bleeding inwardly. He was
perfectly collected, and said he was quite sure he
should die.

We cut the end of the spear short off, but
did not dare to take it out. The hut-keeper
got on a horse, leading another, and rode for
a doctor who lived one hundred and fifty
miles off; he never stopped except to give
the horses a feed two or three times in the
whole distance, but when he reached his
journey's end, the doctor was out. In the
mean time poor Tom made his will, disposing
of a few head of cattle, mare and foal, and
also signed a sort of dying testament to the
effect that he had never wronged any of the
blacks in any way. The weather was very
hot, mortification came on, and he died in
agony two days after receiving his wound.

The outrage was reported to the Commissioner,
but no notice was taken of it although
we were paying a tax for Border Police at
the time.

Not many years have elapsed since we
fought for our livessince I read the burial
service over the poor murdered Stockman.
A handsome verandah'd villa now stands in
the place of the slab hut; yellow corn waves
over the Irishman's grave, and while cattle
and sheep abound, as well white men, women,
and children, there is not a wild black within
two hundred miles.


PURE, calm, diffused, the twilight of the morn
Is in the glen, among the dewy leaves.
Its gentle radiance, more heavenly-born
Than the half-loving sunbeam, never grieves
A nook, unvisited. This Earth receives
The light which makes no shade, as the caress
Of God on his creation, and upheaves
Her soft face, innocent with peace, to bless,
Babe-like, his watchful eye with waking tenderness.

A gate admits us to the Hill we seek;
Through woods a track upon the turf we find:
The trees are dripping dew, their tall stems creak
And rub together when the morning wind
Lightly caresses them. We pause to mind
The note of one awakened bird, whose cry,
Quaint and repeated, is not like its kind.
Our ears are ignorant. Now up the high
And mossy slope we climb, beneath an open sky.

We reach the summit. Earth is in a dream
Of misty seas, and islands strangely born
The unreal, from reality. The stream
Of wraith-like sights which, ere he can be torn
From peaceful sleep, delights the travel-worn
At slumber's painted gate, is not more wild
Than the imagining of Earth when Morn
Bids her awaken. So a dreaming child
Looks through white angel wings, and sees all undefiled.

The blessed dream-land fancy of the young,
More truthful than the reasoning of age,
Is like this vision of the morning, sprung
Of earth and air. These lines upon the page
Of Nature have life in them. They assuage
The fevers of the world, they are the dew
Of calm,—and God is calm. How mortals wage
Their wars of weakness Light reveals to view;
Reason fights through the false, but Fancy feels the true.