Page:Last of the tasmanians.djvu/263

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THE LAST OF THE TASMANIANS.


"They are come in their pride, but no war-cry is sounding,
 With its woe-fraught note, over hill and plain;
For the hearts of those dark ones with gladness are bounding;
 And bright songs of peace breathe loud in their strain.

"They are come—they are come, and a boon they're imploring
 Oh! turn not away from their soul-felt prayer,
But to high hopes of Heaven this lost nice restoring.
 For yourselves gain mercy and pardon there."

Colonel Arthur pleased them with his courtesy. Anxious to afford them additional gratification, he ordered the band out. But the effect was different from that which he expected. The poor creatures screamed with terror, and crowded round Mr. Robinson with entreaties for protection. It was long before their fears subsided, when they would cautiously approach the drums and touch them, as if to test the power of the noisy animal.

Then a grand demonstration took place. During the festival their confidence increased, and they were induced to show forth their strength and skill, after being personally decorated with ribbons by the Governor. Ondia put a crayfish on a spear, and at a distance of sixty yards brought it down with another spear. Thus hours passed in the Governor's garden, which was thrown open to all comers on the occasion. That evening Mr. Robinson took them to his own home, and they camped about his premises.

It was on this occasion that portraits were taken of the Aborigines by Mr. Duterreau, and by my most esteemed friend, Mr. Thomas Napier, J.P., now of Essendon, Victoria, and copies of which paintings I have secured by the brush of Mr. Thomas Clark, the artist, of Melbourne.

A few days afterwards a vessel was prepared, and the Natives were induced to go on board to proceed to splendid hunting-grounds, where no soldiers and parties were to be found, and where they would never be molested. On their way to the Straits they suffered much from sea-sickness. The captain of the vessel assured me that it was pitiable to witness their distress. Their moaning was sad indeed. They appeared to feel themselves forsaken and helpless, and abandoned themselves to despair.

The children, with few exceptions, were not suffered to go to the prospective settlement, but were placed in what was known as the Orphan School, near Hobart Town. This establishment was for the care and education of neglected and orphan children