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hundred, nobody about to cross the threshold,
looking in the faces coming out, could form
the least idea, from anything in their expression,
of the nature of the sight. I have
studied them attentively, and have reason for
saying so.

But, I never derived so strange a sensation
from this dismal establishment as on going
in there once, and finding the keeper moving
about among the bodies. I never saw any
living creature in among them, before or
since, and the wonder was that he looked so
much more ghastly and intolerable than the
dead, stark people. There is a strong light
from above, and a general cold, clammy
aspect; and I think that with the first start
of seeing him must have come the impression
that the bodies were all getting up! It was
instantaneous; but he looked horribly
incongruous there, even after it had departed. All
about him was a library of mysterious books
that I have often had my eyes on. From
pegs and hooks and rods, hang, for a certain
time, the clothes of the dead who have been
buried without recognition. They mostly
have been taken off people who were found in
the water, and are swollen (as the people
often are) out of shape and likeness. Such
awful boots, with turned-up toes, and sand
and gravel clinging to them, shall be seen in
no other collection of dress; nor, such neck-
cloths, long and lank, still retaining the form
of having been wrung out; nor, such slirny
garments with puffed legs and arms; nor,
such hats and caps that have been battered
against pile and bridge; nor, such dreadful
rags. Whose work ornaments that decent
blouse; who sewed that shirt? And the man
who wore it. Did he ever stand at this
window wondering, as I do, what sleepers
shall be brought to these beds, and whether
wonderers as to who should occupy them,
have come to be laid down here themselves?

London! Please to get your tickets ready,
gentlemen! I must have a coach. And
that reminds me, how much better they
manage coaches for the public in the capital
of the Mooninians! But, it is done by Centralisation!
somebody shrieks to me from some
vestry's topmost height. Then, my good sir,
let us have Centralisation. It is a long word,
but I am not at all afraid of long words when
they represent efficient things. Circumlocution
is a long word, but it represents
inefficiency; inefficiency in everything;
inefficiency from the state coach to my hackney
cab.

BLACK THURSDAY

As the voyager approaches the shores of
Victoria, the first welcome land which greets
him is the bold promontory of Cape Otway.
If it be at night, the blaze from the lighthouse
on its southern point sends him its
cheering welcome for many a league across
the ocean which he has so long traversed
in expectation, and calls forth rapturous
hurrahs from the throng of passengers who
crowd to the forecastle. If it be day, the eye
rests on its lofty forest hills with a quiet and
singular delight. These heights fully respond
to the ideal of a new land only recently
peopled. Clothed with forests from the margin
of the sea to their very summits, they
realise vividly the approach to a vast region
of primæval nature. The tall white stems of
the gum-trees stand thickly side by side like
so many hoary columns; and, here and there
amongst them descend dark ravines; while
piles of rocks on the heights, alternating with
jagged chines and projecting spurs of the
mountains, present their solitary masses to
the breeze of ocean.

Amongst the rocks of this wild shore there
are sea-caves of vast extent and solemn
aspect, which have never yet been thoroughly
explored. The forest extending fifty miles or
more, in all directions, is one of the most dense
and savage in the whole colony. Until
lately it was almost impassable from the
density of the scrub, and from the thick
masses of vines (that is lianas, or creeping
cord-like plants, chiefly parasitical), which, as
in the forests of South America, climb from
tree to tree, knitting the woods into an
obscure and impenetrable shade. Excepting
along the track from Mr. Roadknight's
station, near the sources of the Barwar,
through the heart of the forest to Apollo
Bay, a distance of forty miles, you might cut
your way with an axe; but would find it
difficult to make progress otherwise. The
greater part of the promontoryconsisting of
steep hills covered with gigantic trees
intersected by shelving valleys, and dark with
congregated fern-trees, beetling precipices,
and stony declivitiesaffords no food for
cattle. In one day, however, known to the
colonists as Black Thursday, a hurricane of
flame opened its rude and impracticable
wildernesses to the foot of man; but presented
him, at the same time, with a black and
blasted chaos of charred trees, and gigantic
falled trunks and branches.

It was in this forest, in the early morning of
this memorable day, the sixth of February,
eighteen hundred and fifty-one, that a young
man opened his eyes and sate up to look about
him. He had, the day before, driven a herd
of fifty bullocks from the station of Mr.
Roadknight thus far on his way towards his own
residence in the country, between Lake
Corangamite and Mount Gellibrand. He had
reached at evening a small grassy valley in
the outskirts of the forest watered by a creek
falling into the western Barwar; and had
there paused for the night. His mob of cattle,
tired and hungry, were not inclined to stray
from the rich pasturage before them; and,
hobbling out his splendid black horse Sorcerer,
he prepared to pass the night in the simple
fashion of the settler on such journeys. A
fallen log supplied him with a convenient
      

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