frame, quite like that of an able-bodied negro in the southern part of the United States. His garments were coarse and rough, his hair was black and bushy, and his chin was covered with a beard that seemed to more than rival his hair in its swarthiness.
"The white man is probably a sheep or cattle raiser," said Mr. Watson, "and the black is one of his assistants."
"From that I suppose the blacks are employed about the farms and pastoral stations," Fred remarked.
"Certainly," responded Mr. Watson. "Nearly every station in Queensland has one or two blackfellows employed on it as stock-riders, a capacity in which they are very useful. They are good riders, and quite equal to your American Indians in following a trail. They will track lost cattle and sheep when a white man would be utterly unable to do so; and we have a police force of blacks, commanded by Europeans, who perform excellent service in hunting down highwaymen and other rascals who have taken to the bush."
Frank asked what was the reputation of the blacks for honesty and in other ways.
"I'm sorry to say it is not of the best," was the reply. "Like most savages, they show great readiness for acquiring the vices of civilization, but great reluctance for adopting its virtues. They are adepts at lying and stealing, though they are generally faithful to those who employ them as long as they are employed. They are like all other savages in their fondness for intoxicating liquors, and rarely miss an opportunity for drinking. Most of those employed about the cattle and sheep stations do not remain there long. As soon as they become fairly useful they demand higher wages, and in a little while their demands are so exorbitant that they must be sent away.
"When they are out of work they take to stealing cattle, and generally from the station where they were formerly engaged, and with which they are familiar. Many of them loaf around the towns, doing small jobs of work, and generally dying of drink."
"Why don't they return to their tribes?" one of the youths inquired.
"For the very simple reason that they would be put to death by their own people. A black who has been employed by a white man is forever after an outcast from his own tribe; at least such is the case with nearly all the tribes I ever heard of."Frank asked Mr. Watson if he had been among the blacks and seen them at home. The gentleman replied in the affirmative, and then