Page:Life and Adventures of William Buckley.djvu/124

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LIFE OF BUCKLEY.

panion's relatives, to whom she returned, and I was left once more alone, occasionally however visiting such of the friendly tribes as came to my locality. All the years I had been upon the coast, and near it, I had never seen or heard of any ship, or of shipwrecked mariners, so that I had no hope afforded now of ever again regaining an association with civilized beings. I had seen a race of children grow up into women and men, and many of the old people die away, and by my harmless and peaceable manner amongst them, had acquired great influence in settling their disputes. Numbers of murderous fights I had prevented by my interference, which was received by them as well meant; so much so, that they would often allow me to go amongst them previous to a battle, and take away their spears, and waddies, and boomerangs. My visits were always welcomed, and they kindly and often supplied me with a portion of the provisions they had—assuring me, in their language, of the interest they took in my welfare.

Here I may as well say, that the native language varies according to the tribe individuals belong to, each tribe having a peculiar expression of their own. The one I was with so many years, I, of course, understood perfectly, but there were others I could scarcely make out. I saw a native from the Murray River whose language was perfectly unintelligible to all of us; indeed this is reasonable, when we reflect on the difference of the dialect, or pronunciation of words, of many of the counties of England, Ireland, and Scotland.