Page:Last of the tasmanians.djvu/361

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320
THE LAST OF THE TASMANIANS.

lives awhile, even with the wild tribe. A writer of the year 1815 had a funny tale to tell of a pretty half-caste child, whom he observed in company with one of the Natives. Turning toward the man, he jocularly exclaimed, "That not your child—too white." The savage, ready at a joke, and willing to give a laughable turn to his partner's frailty, claimed the little one as his own, but excused its pale colour because "my gin (wife) eat too much white bread."

In the early days, a sealer of King's Island was drowned, leaving behind two pretty little half-caste girls and a boy. Some benevolent person, pitying the state of the children, made some representations to the Governor, and the Gazette appealed to the public on their behalf. Mr. Fairfax Fenwick took the boy, who soon, however, ran away from his guardian. Two maiden ladies, Miss Newcombe and Miss Drysdale, afterwards historical characters in the annals of Port Phillip, accepted the charge of the girls, and conscientiously performed their duty toward them. They were well instructed and religiously trained. Kitty was remarkably attractive in person; and, being taken by her friends to the new colony across the Straits, obtained a husband, and lived there respectably. I heard of her last removing with her husband to Ballarat. Her sister, the much-admired Mary, was more erratic than Kitty. After some changes, she settled down as the wife of an Englishman, and became the mother of a fine family. Few troubled themselves about the parental feelings of the sealer's partner, the black mother of these half-castes. Soon after her children had been forcibly removed from her, she fretted so much as to die of a broken heart.

The wayward and passionate nature of the half-caste race may be illustrated in the following story: When on a visit to an aboriginal station in Victoria, I saw a fine, fat, rosy, jolly-looking girl, about eighteen years of age, whose sparkling, mischief-loving eyes would readily attract the gaze of the visitor. She was a half-caste, and, like the rest of her people, had more of the instincts of her ebon mother than of her European father. The superintendent gave me her curious history. A few months before, she was missed from the school. After police inquiries, he traced her to the hut of an old man near the Murray, and compelled her to return with him. The day after, she eluded his observation, and was lost again. Another search,