Page:Last of the tasmanians.djvu/362

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BONG AND HER DAUGHTER DOLLY.

another capture, brought her in safety to the station. The matron, as well as the excellent superintendent, endeavoured by suitable homilies to teach her her duty; but the spirit of the woods was too strong for moral suasion. That same night, by the aid of a young man, she gained liberty through the window, and was once more a wild tenant of the Bush.

A patriarch of the tribe was shocked at these mésalliances, and resolved for the honour of savage domesticities to capture the truant. Many a mile he traversed in tracking her course, till he secured the naughty maiden. The old man returned with his unabashed captive. What was to be done with such a self-willed lady? What would reform such erratic tendencies? She must be married. Among the dark skins she selected her future mate, who informed me that when he had finished his hut on the aboriginal station, he would lead to the altar this his blushing bride.

The romantic story connected with this subject remains to be told. It is the history of Miss Dolly Dalrymple, the first known half-caste of the colony, and so called from being born near Port Dalrymple, the port of the River Tamar.

Dolly was born in 1808. She was seen by Lieutenant Jeffreys in 1820, and described as "remarkably handsome, of a light colour, with rosy cheeks, large black eyes, the whites of which were tinged with blue, and long, well-formed eyelashes, with teeth uncommonly white, and the limbs admirably formed." She was then living with a lady and gentleman in Launceston who had undertaken her education and care.

Her mother, Bong, a genuine Tasmanian beauty, had been attracted to the side of a young sailor of the Straits. He is said to have been of respectable connexions at home, but of "a wild and volatile disposition." Dolly was not her only child; and it is in relation to another that she experienced a remarkable adventure. As may be conjectured, the men of the tribe were angry with the Whites who had stolen their gins, but especially indignant against those of the female members who preferred the society of the opposite colour. Several instances are recorded of murders on this account. The known attachment of Bong to the father of her children marked her out as an especial object of their jealous rage.

One evening, the sealers' party having been to Launceston for