Page:Life and Adventures of William Buckley.djvu/63
LIFE OF BUCKLEY.
got hold of a sentence, or even a word, so as to pronounce it somewhat correctly; they then would chuckle, and laugh, and give me great praise.
I now became a tolerable efficient sportsman, being able to throw the spear, and handle the tomahawk very adroitly. They also instructed me in every art they knew. They taught me to skin the kangaroo and opossums with muscle-shells, in the same way sheep are dressed with the knife; to stretch and dry them in the sun; to prepare the sinews for sewing them together for rugs; and to trim them with pieces of flint. I became, also, expert at catching eels, by spearing them in the lakes and rivers; but in the latter they generally catch them with lines—the bait being a large earth worm. Having these worms ready, they get a piece of elastic bark, and some long grass, on which they string them; this is tied to a rod, and as the eel, after biting, holds on tenaciously, he is thrown or rather jerked upon the bank, in the same way as boys catch the cray-fish in England. Some of these eels are very fine, and large. They are generally—and more easily—caught by the natives during the night, and are eaten roasted. They used to take me out on calm evenings to teach me how to spear salmon, bream, &c. Their manner is to get some very dry sticks, cut them into lengths of ten or twelve feet, tie several of these together into a kind of faggot, and then light the thickest end; with this torch blazing in one hand, and a spear in the other, they go into the water, and the fish seeing it, crowd round and are easily killed and taken. This—as the