Page:Life and Adventures of William Buckley.djvu/52
LIFE OF BUCKLEY.
down each leg; so that altogether, they made a most horrifying appearance, standing round and about the blazing night fire. The women kept their rugs rolled tight up, after which, they stretched them between the knees, each forming a sort of drum. These they beat with their hands, as if keeping time with one of the men who was seated in front of them, singing. Presently the men came up in a kind of close column, they also beating time with their sticks, by knocking them one against the other, making altogether a frightful noise. The man seated in front appeared to be the leader of the orchestra, or master of the band—indeed I may say, master of the ceremonies generally. He marched the whole mob, men and women, boys and girls, backwards and forwards at his pleasure, directing the singing and dancing, with the greatest decision and air of authority. This scene must hare lasted at least three hours, when, as a wind-up, they gave three tremendous shouts, at the same time pointing to the sky with their sticks; they each shook me heartily by the hand, again beating their breasts, as a token of friendship. By this time I was greatly relieved in my mind, finding no injury to me was contemplated, and particularly when they all dispersed to their huts, and I was left again with my guardians.
The reader, in these colonies, will be aware that what I had witnessed was nothing more than a great Corrobberree, or rejoicing, at my having come to life again; as they supposed. After eating some roots I lay down by the side of my new friends, and although so recently