Page:Life and Adventures of William Buckley.djvu/166

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143
LIFE OF BUCKLEY.

an account of these; neither is it necessary, scientific explorers having done so in various works, which the growing importance and natural resources of the province have rendered it desirable to bring before the public. The same with the birds and other creatures. It is more especially my business, in this narrative, to allude to the Aborigines.

The natives live to about the same age, generally, as civilized people—some of them, to be very grey-headed. They have an odd idea of death, for they do not suppose that any one dies from natural causes, but from human agencies: such as those to which I have alluded in previous pages of this narrative. The women seldom have more than six children, and not often so many. So soon as they have as many as they can conveniently carry about and provide for, they kill the rest immediately after birth: not to eat them—as may be supposed—but with the idea that, for the sake of both parties, and under such circumstances, death is practical mercy.

To resume the thread of my narrative. I sailed from Melbourne in the Yarra Yarra, on the twenty-eighth of December, 1837, and landed at Hobart Town the tenth of January following. On arriving, the master of the vessel, Captain Lancey, went with me to the Bank, to procure the value of a cheque I had; and he afterwards took me to the Duchess of Kent Inn, where he entertained me very hospitably. In fact, on all occasions he behaved towards me in the most generous manner.

At the Inn, I was visited by a Mr. Cutts, then the