Page:Life and Adventures of William Buckley.djvu/34

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LIFE OF BUCKLEY.

friends of my youth, the scenes of my boyhood, and early manhood, of the slavery of my punishment, of the liberty I had panted for, and which, although now, realized, after a fashion, made the heart sick, even at its enjoyment. I remember, I was here subjected to the most severe mental sufferings for several hours, and then pursued my solitary journey.

How I could have deceived myself into a belief of ever reaching Sydney, and particularly by travelling in that direction, is to me astonishing; and even if I had found it possible to do so, of course I should, on my arrival there, have been confined as a runaway, and punished accordingly. The whole affair, was, in fact, a species of madness.

During my first day's lonely march, I saw, at a distance, about a hundred natives, in and about some huts built of bark, and boughs of trees, and others of the Tribe making toward me. Being greatly, alarmed, I took to the river, and swam across it with my clothes on, and in so doing extinguished my fire-stick, so that I was deprived of the means to cook my food. This was a sad loss, not only as respected the way of making what I could obtain to eat, palatable, but of preserving my health, under the great privations to which I was subjected. I was glad however to observe the natives retiring from the bank of the river to their huts, instead of following me as I expected, and, with this consolation, when I had made my way to the, beach, I laid myself down to sleep in the thick scrub, covering myself over with leaves, rushes, and broken boughs. It was a