Page:Life and Adventures of William Buckley.djvu/100

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
77
LIFE OF BUCKLEY.

friend; who, seeing them approaching, sprang up, even in the last agonies of death, and speared the nearest assailant in the arm. My friend was, of course, dispatched immediately, with spears and boomerangs; as was a son of his, who was with us at the time. Strange to say, not one raised his hand against me; had I done so against them, I must have been sacrificed instantly; for what could I do, being only one against so many?

The cause of this sudden unprovoked cruelty was not, as usual, about the women, but because the man who had been killed by the bite of the snake belonged to the hostile tribe, and they believed my supposed brother-in-law carried about with him something that had occasioned his death. They have all sorts of fancies of this kind, and it is frequently the case, that they take a man's kidneys out after death, tie them up in something, and carry them round the neck, as a sort of protection and valuable charm, for either good or evil. They took the son's life because he had a daughter, who he had promised to the man who killed him, and had afterwards given her to another.

I should have been most brutally unfeeling, had I not suffered the deepest mental anguish from the loss of these poor people, who had all along been so kind and good to me. I am not ashamed to say, that for several hours my tears flowed in torrents, and, that for a long time I wept unceasingly. To them, as I have said before, I was as a living dead brother, whose presence and safety was their sole anxiety. Nothing could exceed the kindness these poor natives had shown me, and