Page:The Eureka Stockade.djvu/16

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6

V.

RISUM TENEATIS AMICI.

I recollect towards this time I followed the mob to Magpie Gully. It was a digger's life. Hard work by day, blazing fire in the evening, and sound sleep by night at the music of drunken quarrels a]l around, far and near. I had marked my claim in accordance with the run of the ranges, and safe as the Bank of England I bottomed on gold. No search for licence ever took place. What's the matter? Oh, the diggers of Bendigo, by sheer moral force, in the shape of some ten thousand in a mob, had inspired with better sense the red-tape there and somewhere else, so I took out my licence at the reasonable rate of two pounds for three months, my contribution for the support of gold-lace. So far so good. I had no fault to find with our governor Joseph Latrobe, Esquire; nor do I believe that the diggers cared about anything else from him. "Was it then his being an esquire that brought his administration into contempt? The fact is, a clap of "The Thunder" from Printing House-square boomed on the tympanum of my ear. We diggers got the gracious title of "vagabonds," and our massa "Joe," for his pains to keep friends with us, was put down "an incapable;" all for the honour of British rule, of course.

"Wanted a Governor,", was now no longer a dummy in The Argus; but, unhappily, no application was made to the people of Victoria.

Give a dog a bad name—and the old proverb holds good even at the antipodes. My trampings are now transcribed from my diary. With the hot winds whirled in the Vandemonian rush to the Ballaarat Flat. My hole was next to the one which was jumped by the Eureka mob, and where one man was murdered in the row. At sixty-five feet we got on a blasted log of a gum-tree that had been mouldering there under a curse, since the times of Noah! The whole flat turned out an imperial shicer. (You did not sink deep enough, Signore Editor.) Slabs that had cost us some eight pounds a hundred would not fetch, afterwards, one pound. We left them to sweat freely in the hole; and all the mob got on the fuddle. My mate and myself thought we had been long enough together, and got asunder for a change. I was soon on the tramp again. Bryant's Ranges was the go of the day,, and I started thither accordingly. December, 1853. Oh, Lord! what a pack of ragamuffins over that way! I got acquainted with the German party who found out the Tarrangower den; shaped my hole like a- bathing tub, and dropped "on it" right smart. Paid two pounds to cart one load down the Loddon, and left two more loads of washing stuff, snug and wet with the sweat of my brow, over the hole. Got twenty-eight pennyweights out of the load. Went back the third day,