Page:Australia an appeal.djvu/55

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The picture of an Australian savage, thus drawn by a traveller[1] in New South Wales, I give in his own words.

"A female of one of the Aboriginal tribes in the Murrumbidgee country, formed an attachment to a convict, named Tallboy, who, becoming a bushranger, was for a long time sought after by the police for the many atrocities he had committed, but always eluded pursuit. This female concealed him with true native ingenuity, and battled his pursuers—she would fish and hunt for him, whilst he remained secluded in the retreat she chose. She often visited the stock-keeper's huts at the different stations, and whatever provision she received from them was immediately conveyed to the unworthy object of her devoted attachment. Although many knew that she was privy to his concealment, yet it was found impossible to elude her vigilance, by following her, and thus discover his retreat:—she evaded all attempts and seemed ever watchful for his safety knowing the fate that awaited him, if taken. Neither threats nor promises of rewards—enough to excite the cupidity of any individual, but one in whom a higher feeling was paramount,—could induce her even to acknowledge she was acquainted with the place of his concealment, much more betray it. Nay, it has occurred more than once, when there was a fear of discovery, that she has given voluntary information to the police of having seen him thirty or fifty miles distant, when, in fact, his place of concealment was in the immediate neighborhood. The brute, however, manifested no kindred affection, with this female, but would frequently beat and ill use her.

"Whilst she administered to him the refreshing cup of kindness, he bestowed on her misery in return. He had in one instance given way to his natural brutish disposition by ill treating the being who had done so much for him,—just as he was on the verge of discovery, indeed had himself given up all hopes of escape—when she again saved him, by engaging to point out to the police his place of retreat, and absolutely led them away under that pretence, in a contrary direction, affording her paramour both time and opportunity to seek out a safer asylum. When she arrived with the police at the spot she had informed them he last was, he was of course not there, and a strict search in the vicinity was equally unsuccessful. She then left them to continue their search after the criminal, pretending to know nothing further respecting his place of concealment. At last he was captured by venturing out too boldly during her absence, was tried, condemned, and expiated his offences on the scaffold at, Sydney.

"She wished to follow him, on hearing he was a prisoner, but that was impossible: so, reclaimed by her tribe, she was

  1. Bennett.