Page:Last of the tasmanians.djvu/248

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TRUGANINA, THE BEAUTY OF THE TRIBES.

one upon whom he most relied, and who proved a faithful and efficient ally throughout his subsequent Bush career, was the youthful Truganina (spelt by Mr. Duterreau, Truggernana). This was the Beauty of Bruni, and one of the romances of Tasmanian story. When I saw her, thirty years after her wonderful career with Mr. Robinson, I understood the stories told of her vivacity and intelligence. Her eyes were still beautiful, and full of mischievous fun. Thirty years before, she would have been captivating to men of her colour, and not by any means an uninteresting object to those of whiter skins. Her mind was of no ordinary kind. Fertile in expedient, sagacious in council, courageous in difficulty, she had the wisdom and the fascination of the serpent, the intrepidity and nobility of the royal ruler of the desert. Would that we could say that her purity of morals equalled the brilliancy of her thoughts, and that her love of virtue were akin to her love of adventure! She was but a savage maiden, trained in the wilderness. A lady described to me her appearance in 1832. She declared her exquisitely formed, with small and beautifully-rounded breasts. The little dress she wore was thrown loosely around her person, but always with a grace and a coquettish love of display. The Courier of Hobart Town notices one characteristic in her portrait by Mr. Duterreau: "She is the very picture of good-humour."

She was a wife, though never a mother. Certainly, her older and more sober husband had no little anxiety with his fickle partner, and no small difficulty in restraining her erratic tendencies. We know not why she, who was ever so inconstant of purpose, should have so perseveringly followed the Mission, and why she, who was a woman of the forest, should have devoted years of her life in fatiguing and perilous journeys to entrap and secure her countrymen. Some have thought vanity was her leading passion, and that the desire of distinction among Whites and Blacks induced her to become the prominent guide and interpreter. Without doubt she was personally attached to Mr. Robinson, and strove earnestly to serve him. It was for this purpose that she studied to acquire other dialects, so as to hold intercourse with the wilder tribes of the interior. Although her husband, Wooreddy (or "the Doctor"), consented to be one of the Conciliator's party, there is a story told that shortly after the departure of the Mission, in January 1830, as Mr. Robinson