Page:Last of the tasmanians.djvu/154

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127
COURAGE OF A LITTLE GIRL.

described by himself at the inquest before Mr. Anstey, P.M. of Oatlands:—

"In November, 1826, I was attacked by a numerous tribe of Aborigines at my residence at Pleasant Place, in the parish of Rutland, in the county of Monmouth. On Thursday evening I left my wife and family at home, proceeding myself in search of some sheep, and returned about ten o'clock of the forenoon. I had scarcely entered my dwelling when my little boy came in crying that the Blacks were about; I seized my musket and went out, and saw two. I pursued them; when I got half-way to the tier, I saw about twenty Natives in ambush amongst some wattle trees. My wife was at the time standing at my door, with a loaded pistol in her hand, and called to me to come down, which I did. The Natives followed, swearing at me in good English. They now extended themselves, and as the trees were at that time standing close to the house, they singly skulked behind them. I was on the alert, for I observed one man on one side, and another one on the other side, with lighted bark in their hands; the women and children were up in the tier. I was much perplexed, for I was obliged constantly to run forwards and backwards. The centre of them worked down when they saw an opportunity.

"It had been a high flood the day before, and the water had scarcely left the marshes, so we were hemmed in on all sides, the river behind and the Blacks before us. Mrs. Jones had several times prevented the men from coming to the house by presenting her pistol at them, which so exasperated them that he who was taller than the rest, and seemed to be their chief, exclaimed in a great passion, in English, 'As for you, ma-am—as for you, ma-am, I will put you in the b——y river, ma-am;' and then he cut a number of capers. We had then with us a courageous and faithful little girl, who proposed to go upon a scrubby hill, about a mile distant, to tell the sawyers who were at work there, the dangers to which we were exposed; but we could not allow it, fearing she would be speared; it appeared afterwards that she had crawled along the fences, and succeeded in getting up to the sawyers. Guessing that she had proceeded thither, in about half an hour after we coo-eed, and were speedily answered by the men. The native women on the tier gave out signal, and the Blacks all fled. We pursued them, and I got