Page:Life and Adventures of William Buckley.djvu/88

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LIFE OF BUCKLEY.

they all, soon after, separated quietly, thus ending an affair which at one time promised to conclude very differently.

The next day we moved on to another fresh water lake of considerable extent, where we encamped, not very much at our ease, as we saw another tribe on the opposite shore. In the middle of the night we heard a dreadful uproar in that direction, and in the morning learned that those we had seen before dark had been fallen upon by some others whilst they were sleeping; so on hearing this we went to their assistance. On our arrival a horrid scene presented itself, many women and children laying about in all directions, wounded and sadly mutilated. Several of the poor creatures had rushed into the lake and were drowned. The few who had escaped were hiding themselves in the reeds; but on our proffering assistance and protection, they joined us, and went to our huts. The dead were left, it not being safe to lose time in burying them, as our number was not sufficient to make us safe from a similar attack. The day following we therefore left the spot, and kept wandering about for some time after, until we came again to our old quarters at Moodewari, where we remained some months.

Having come to another halt, the better way perhaps will be, for me here to state, that the tribes are divided into families; or rather, I should say, composed of them—each tribe comprising from twenty to sixty of them. They acknowledge no particular Chief as being superior to the rest; but, he who is most skilful and