Page:The aborigines of Australia.djvu/104

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PERSONAL BRAVERY. 91

been displayed by aborigines, one is particularly deserving of notice. A traveller, while pursuing an equestrian tour in the earlier days of the settlement, suddenly came upon a solitary aboriginal who had strayed from his tribe on a hunting expedition. The black, who had never before, in all probability, seen a white man, and certainly had never seen such an animal as a horse with a rider on its back, having partially recovered from the first effects of surprise and wonder, and probably terror, which the sudden appearance of so strange an apparition produced, retreated a few paces, and then, turning round and throwing himself into an attitude of defence, poised a formidable spear which he held in his hand, evidently resolved to hurl it with effect should the horseman, who in the meantime had halted his steed, advance. This first scene of a romantic little drama — which scene is submitted for the consideration of all and several of our Australian artists — continued for a few minutes, during which the aboriginal, from the expression of amaze and terror which commingled with that of determination and ferocity in his countenance, regarded the horse and rider as one being. In order to put an end to this involuntary representation of statuary, and probably dreading that the spear which his confronter held poised in air might receive an impulse anything but favourable to his own personal safety, the European slowly and cautiously dismounted, and, standing a few paces from his horse, made friendly