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from the hut awaiting their onset. Although
the odds against us, as regarded numbers,
was fearful, I was confident that if we could
only make sure of three or four of the foremost
of them, it would go far to intimidate
the rest; so, as soon as they came within
range of our guns, we gave them three rounds,
which, however, only wounded one of them;
still it made the others check their paces and
hesitate awhile, seeing especially that we were
determined to sell our lives dearly at this
crisis; they betook themselves behind trees,
protected by which they crept nearer and
nearer to us, we taking every opportunity of
firing, but with small effect. It being now
nearly dark, we were obliged to take to the
hut, and defend ourselves there as best we
could. When inside, they threw a great many
spears through the tarpaulin, very fortunately
with no other effect than that of one of them
just grazing my head. This kind of siege was
carried on about four hours, we firing a shot
now and then when we thought we could perceive
the dim outline of one of them gliding
through the dark, and they sending an occasional
spear, and giving a yell. What we most
feared was their making an attempt to set the
hut on tire, for if successful in this (and the day
having been very warm, our tarpaulin would
have burned like so much paper) it would
have been all up with us.

We had almost given up all hopes of life,
and a sort of stubborn, dogged desperation
seized me such as I never before felt, and such
as I trust I never may again feel. We were
reduced to nearly a dozen rounds of ammunition
which we resolved to save for the rush.
About midnight I was horribly startled by
the stockkeeper announcing that on his side
of the hut (we each of us guarded one side)
he thought he could distinguish a fire-stick at
some distance, and, on looking, we could plainly
perceive it approaching nearer and nearer,
until it came within what we considered safe
gunshot, when I told the stockman, who was
the best shot, to take good aim. He fired, and
the fire-stick dropped on the ground. A good
deal of yelling followed, but they did not again
venture to show fire.

Everything after an hour remained quiet;
the cattle had long since been rushed off the
island, and the Blacks, we supposed, had gone
to rest, preparatory to an attack at daybreak.
Towards dawn, being faint and weak through
anxiety and fasting,—for we had had nothing
for twenty-four hours,—we determined on
having some tea; but before it could be got
ready we again heard the Blacks yelling most
furiously. The stockman and hutkeeper thereupon
gave it as their opinion, that our only
hope of escape was in immediately quitting
the hut, and attempting, if possible, to get
across to Barratta; so, instantly decamping, we
crossed the lagoon in a canoe, which we then
dragged across a few hundred yards of land to
the river. This we also quickly crossed. Just
as we reached the Barratta bank, we heard a
most awful hullabaloo at Wirrai, in which
noises our friends the Blacks were giving vent
to their feelings of disgust and disappointment
at not finding us at home. Before they could
overtake us, we were safe at Barratta. " To
be continued in our next," as the Editors of
periodicals often say.

In a Second Letter the Narrative is resumed.

I could see plainly depicted in the faces of
the two men who were in charge of the Barratta
station, a considerable degree of suspicion
as to the extent of our courage in the
Wirrai affair. They were both plucky men, but
their notions underwent a great change the
next day. The day we escaped, we heard
nothing more of the natives, except now and
then their distant yells; so I sent up a man
on horseback to the next station for assistance,
to help us to find and recover the cattle. But
the superintendent either would not or could
not give us any, although all his servants, to a
man, volunteered to go. I was obliged, therefore,
to allow my four men to proceed alone.
I think I mentioned that I had burned my
foot very severely, and by this time, from the
work I had had to undergo, I was in great
agony from it. But I offered the men, if any
one of them objected to it, he could remain in
the hut, and I would go in his place. They
all, however, readily agreed to go, for, in
truth, remaining behind was by far the most
dangerous post, inasmuch as the Blacks, from
their numbers, could easily circumvent the
men, or keep them at bay, while they attacked
the hut, and I could have done little myself,
in the way of defence, with only an old lockless
piece, to discharge which it was necessary to
use a fire-stick. Before they left, the stockman
took me aside, and, with much kindness,
implored me earnestly, for my own safety, to
take a horse, and step out on the plain. He
told me, at the same time, that he did not
expect to come back alive; " but," said he,
"it does not matter a straw what becomes of
us, for not one of us would be missed." This
disinterestedness struck me not a little, as
showing a high trait of fine feeling, coming as
it did from an old convict who had been
transported for life, and had once been condemned
to be hanged. However, I resolved
to take my chance in the hut, and very glad I
was that I did so afterwards, as I should have
looked very foolish, when my men returned,
seated on a horse, and ready to make a bolt.
I had waited about an hour with my old gun
and fire-stick in hand, without hearing a sound
to break the horrid stillness which seemed
at that particular time to reign paramount
around me, when a distant volley of gunshot
burst upon my ear, and then a faint volley of
yells. In a short time the sounds were repeated;
again and again, but nearer and
nearer, and more and more distinct, a
shot or two at a tune, with horrible yells
filling up the interlude until I could distinguish
my men retreating with an immense