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"Young man, will you surrender, and come where he and his rollicking companions of " lang quietly with me?"
syne” had spent many a jovial hour; and while The only answer vouchsased by the gallant silently smoking his pipe, and listening to the young smuggler, was a rapid thrust at the officer, conversation of a few sailors who were spending who as quickly parried it with his cutlass, and their eveuing there, he caught the following :saying, “ Your blood be upon your own head !”— “Aye; it is just about twenty-five years ago fired. Harry Brown bounded up in the air and since young Jack Brown was taken by that fell on his face at Gilbert's feet, stark dead, with infernal Gilbert. I remember Jack well—as a bullet through his heart.
brave a lad as ever “ran in” a tub of brandy under The neighbours, hearing the report, rushed out yonder cliff. I wonder if he is still in foreign with lights to the scene, and there found Gilbert parts, poor lad.” standing, with a pistol in one hand and his sword “Ah,” said the other, “it is well for Gilbert in the other. Even his iron heart relented, and that Jack is a few thousand miles away over the his eyes grew dim as the childless mother flung herring-pond, or I fancy some fine morning we herself upon the body of the dead boy, and poured might see George Gilbert with a slit in his sizen, forth her lament over him, iu all the wild eloquence for I've heard 'em tell as how Jack swore, in a of sorrow. And Harry Brown shortly after was letter he wrote, when he heard from a friend here borne to the churchyard, and buried under the of his boy's death, that he would have his revenge grey wall looking seaward ; and every day for —though he waited long years, and came back three wretched months did his heart-broken thousands of miles over the sea to take it." mother come to sit upon
her child's grave, to “Aye, lad; and Jack Brown will keep his oath mourn, like Rachel of old, refusing to be com- some day-depend on't. forted.
Thus talked they. It was evident they had Her mind, which had never been strong, gave forgotten bim of whom they spoke. Brown said way at last, and in six monthis from her son's nothing ; but ever and auon they could see a grim death reason fled forever. She went to reside smile curl his lip, as the forelight played over his with a relative of her husband's, as a hopeless idiot. weatherbeaten face. She was very quiet and perfectly inoffensive, and At last one of the sailors, turning to the spent long hours each day in sitting on the brow stranger, said : of the cliff, looking over the sea, asking every “Well, my hearty, you seem to take interest in passer-by "if he” (meaning her husband), “had our talk-did you know aught of poor Jack?" come back yet?”
"I did," replied the stranger laconically; "but One morning they missed her from her accus- let me ask in turn what has become of Gilbert ?" tomed seat on the cliff. They feared at first she “ He is at some ten miles from here," was had fallen over into the sea, till some villager said the answer ; when the stranger rose, called for his that he had seen her entering the churchyard, reckoning and "glasses round," and bade them good There by her son's grave, with her arms peace night. This was the last time that John Brown fully folded over her breast, lay poor Mrs. Brown saw his native place again after a long absence. as though asleep--lying there dead in the bright sunshine by her boy's grave.
The next night, in a miserable inn at the town And Brown, in his convict home, thousands of where Gilbert was now stationed, a Preventive man miles away, heard of these things by letter from and a tall, muscular stranger, in seafaring dress, his friends in England.
were in close conversation over their grog. They talked of local matters in general, and smuggling in
“there's not just narrated, when John Brown, who, by his good much chance of our making much by seizures now conduct had obtained a ticket-of-leave, and had —there are so few to make, since Mr. Gilbert amassed, by honest industry, a good sum of came bere. A mighty clever officer is he, too, I money in the colony, whither in pursuance of bis can tell you. Did you ever hear the story of his sentence he had been sent, escaped to England. taking Jack Brown, the most out-and-out smugTime and sorrow had altered the once dashing gler along this coast, some five and twenty years smuggler iato a careworn man, with hard lines on his brow, and grizzled locks, and a face so sadly The stranger replied that he had not—and lischanged, that he bad small cause to fear recogni. tened patiently to the man's yarn, in which the tion in his native place, where many of his old real facts were magnified by his vivid imagination friends were dead and gone. He felt he might to such an extent that the stranger could hardly safely pay a visit to the scene where he had spent repress a smile at times. his fiery boyhood—where he had wooed and won He must be getting an elderly man now, this his poor lost Kate.
Mr. Gilbert ?" One wild night in November the escaped con.. “I should think a few years older than you—bat vict sat on the oaken settle by the fireside of then one is apt to be deceived; for he is a gloomy The Fortune of War,” in
a tavern | sort of man, and that may make him look older."
Five years had passed since the events I have " Pooh " said the Preventive man,
“I was at school with him ; that makes me ask,” | it you unhesitatingly.” The reply was an oath-a added the stranger. “I should like to see him tighter squeeze-andagain.”
“I am no thief, George Gilbert. I swore I “ That you can easily do ” was the reply ; "he would take a heavy revenge for my son's slaughter. is the keenest officer the King has hereabouts, and I will not blow your brains out as I clearly might; anyone can see him going his rounds any night firstly, because the shot would bring your men along yonder cliffs, between nine and ten o'clock.” upon me--and secondly because" And so the two shook hands and parted.
“You surely would not murder me unarmed,” It was a dark night; the moon was vainly said Gilbert, with a cold sweat breaking out at struggling through a wilderness of clouds as the every pore. Loosening his hold for an instant, stranger walked out at the inn door, turned on his Brown drew the cutlass from the officer's scabbard, heel, and slowly sauntered off in the direction and hurled it over the cliff; then securing the pisindicated by his late companion. He had not tols in his vest, he leapt to his feet-an example walked a quarter of a mile in the darkness before speedily followed by Gilbert who, with breast heavhe heard the sound of approaching footsteps, ing and eyo glaring like a tiger's at bay, was preand a deep, stern voice asked, “Who goes paring to dush at his foe, and escape or die at there?” “One you know well,” was the unsatisfactory
Drawing a pistol once more, Brown said
Gilbert, I strove to have my revenge for my
murdered son. “ Honest men are not ashamed of their names,
I will not slay you unarmed—be
this a token,”—and he threw one pistol from him and I suspect you are after no good.”
over the cliff—" but one of us must perislı to-night. At this moment the moon shone out from a I will give you a last chance for your life—because, cloud on the two men, when Brown, shouting, villain though you are, you were once my dearest “Gilbert, do you know me nev— Jack Brown, the
friend." So saying he burled the second pistol convict ?” sprung at the officer like a tiger, besore after the first, and, extending his arms, shoutedcutlass could be unsheathed, or pistol drawn, Come on! There is a fall of eighty feet be
. grasped his throat, and falling with him to the neath us, your life or mine to-night!" ground, knelt on his prostrate foe. For a few
Then ensued a deadly struggle between these moments, stunned by the fall, the officer lay two bitter foes—both were strong men and experfectly still ; but shortly, recovering his faculties, pert wrestlers, as all men in the West country he writhed desperately in his assailant's grasp. are; but a looker-on would soon have seen that Tlough a brave man, and one who felt that his Gilbert could not hold out long against the Herculife depended on his exertions, after a few vigorous lean strength of his antagonist. After a short but abortive efforts to free himself from his position struggle, in which neither gained any positive adon the ground, or to clutch his pistols, he found vantage over the other, they paused for breath ; himself utterly powerless in the hands of one and, as the moon gleamed down on them, they powerful as John Brown-for he it was.
gazed into each other's eyes with a settled glare Tightening his grasp on Gilbert's throat, Brown of hatred, only to be quelled by death. Dropping contrived with the other hand to draw both pis suddenly upon one knee, in a manner well known tols from his enemy's belt, and, laying them on the to all wrestlers, Brown, with a terrific effort of his grass beyond his reach, Gilbert, summoning bis giant strength, hurled Gilbert over his shoulder. strength for another effort, well nigh succeeded in They were both upon the very brink of the beetling hurling Brown backwards, and drawing his weapon clift"; the wretched man fell down ten feet, when from its scabbard. Quick as lightning, the convict he clung desperately to some bushes which grew recovered one of the pistols, cocked it, and pre upon the precipice. senting it close to Gilbert's temple, bade him be His quondam antagonist looked down upon him still--or, accompanied by a fierce oath—be would for some moments in silence—but no thought of scatter his brains on the turf. The revenue officer, pity influenced him in that evil hour. By a desthough a bad man, was a brave one, yet it had re.
perate effort Gilbert had succeeded in gaining a quired something more than rational bravery to temporary resting-place for one of his feet upon disobey the command in such a situation. Gil
a stone that projected from the cliff, and was bert was still waiting a better opportunity for re- battling strongly for his life when Brown, looking sistance. He could not call for belp---for Brown over the clil's brow, muttered hoarsely—“Though had assured him that if he attempted, his cry would you showed no mercy to me and mine, I would be followed by a shot. Suddenly the idea flashed not destroy body and soul together. I give you through his mind that Brown, who seemed in no five minutes to make your peace with God;" and, hurry to harm him, might, on his return to Eng- seizing a branch he slowly descended and bent it land, be short of money, and have had recourse to down with those iron hands of his, till Gilbert highway robbery for subsistence.
could grasp it. I know not what may have been “ If robbery be your object,” gasped Gilbert, the thoughts of that proud, stern man, as he hung as well as he was able, for the ex-smuggler's hand by that frail branch between time and eternityclasped his throat—" take all I have-I will give perhaps for a moment a thought of repentance
flashed through his mind—but the old spirit broke officer's body was found by a fisherman, washed forth at the last. Brown !" cried he—"you high and dry by the tide into a fissure of the cliff. robbed me of her I loved-you now are about to The brow of the cliff above presented marks of a murder me-a dying man's curse is yours to fearful struggle—but a coroner's inquest returned night.” Brown descended a foot lower-drew an open verdict-and, beyond vague surmises, his knife-and severed the branch. There was a nothing further was known how George Gilbert wild cry—a fearful crash—then all was still. The met his death. tide was running in, the tall, pointed rocks below Years after these events, an old man received the miserable Gilbert in his fall. And knocked down by a cart in one of our sea-port as the moon shone down upon the ashy face of towns, and taken to the hospital where be soon lag the murderer her beams revealed to his horror- at the point of death. A clergyman was sent for ; stricken sight a mangled corpse.
to him the dying man confessed all that I bare
told, and died. That man was the duellist, John Brown fled. Next morning, the revenue Brown.
AUSTRALIAN SKETCHES.-No, I V.
BY THE RIGHT Hon, THOMAS M'COMBIE,
A SERIES of Australian sketches would be in- of gold in 1851, that a very considerable complete without some observation of a class portion of the labour had to be taken from that at one period occupied a very prominent this tainted source. From this convict learen position in society, and who, even at the pre- the labouring classes in what is termed the sent day, have no inconsiderable influence on bush have been tainted with various vicious the social condition of the early settled colonies peculiarities, from which they would otherwise of Australia. The avowed object of Great have been free; and they, it is to be hoped, Britain in founding New South Wales and will speedily disapper. The men who have Van Diemen's Land being to rid herself of her been convicts are termed “old bands ;" they criminals, those settlements had for a long time are mostly rude, rough men, with no moral a very indifferent character; but from this stain principle or religious feeling, and who have Victoria and South Australia are exempt, both little sympathy for humanity. They do not being free colonies, and they never have had exhibit much desire to marry and settle, as is convicts sent direct to their shores. An effort, usually the case with free emigrants ; they indeed, was made by the Imperial Government, spend their wages as soon as they are earned, in 1849, to turn the former colony into a re- and seem to have little wish to accumulate ceptacle for the polluted citizens of the mother money. From their expertness in splitting country, the Randolph was sent into Ilobson's timber, building, fencing, and, indeed, all Bay freighted with convicts, but the people pursuits of bush life, and by their remaining declared that they should not land, and the single and evincing no disposition to emerge noxious cargo had to be sent to another from their social position as menial servants, quarter. Not many years since the emanci- they are much liked by many squatters and pated convicts formed a very strong party, and farmers, particularly by such as are not married, both in Sydney and Hobart Town were sup- and look at the material rather than the moral ported by a portion of the newspaper press. prospect. When they can be kept at a distance În the island of Van Diemen's Land this from temptation they are generally civil and party is still in existence, but in New South faithful, and nearly always, while at work, inWales the convict party has merged into the dustrious. Those not acquainted with their masses, and is held in solution in what I shall character might be easily deceived into the term general society. From its proximity to belief that they were a reformed class, but they both the penal colonies, and from its great would soon discover their error, for, if excited resources and advantages as a field for the by intoxicating drinks or violent passions, the exercise of honest industry and less creditable so subdued or humble in appearance pursuits, Victoria has received a large share would behave like demons. Hardly one of of expirees (as these convicts whose term of them could be trusted in the vicinity of a sentence has been served are designated); public-house ; whatever situation of trust he indeed, so limited was the free emigration to was in he could not resist the temptation to this colony from the year 1843 to the discovery get drunk. They have nearly all lost their
own self-esteem, and have no desire to gain the by the flocks and herds of the squatters, afford good opinion of others; they herd together and a refuge to the outcasts of society. When the only seem happy in the society of such as diggings broke out many migrated to the gold themselves ; many of them seem to desire fields, but as they returned to their vicious nothing better than hanging about the country, courses they have mostly either been convicted working to live and to obtain the means of and are undergoing the punishment of their gratifying their vicious inclinations. When offences, or have again retired to the solitudes their
wages are due they go no farther of the far interior. The intelligent people than the nearest hotel to dissipate them. in Australia deplore the intrusion of so When the money has all melted away depraved a class amongst the working people, they return to work again for more, to be the majority of whom are virtuous free imspent in the same manner; perhaps upon migrants ; they derive great comfort, however, some occasion they take a trip to dne of the from the reflection, that those elements of . towns and become entangled with dissipated corruption cannot strike deep root—that as women : in such cases they return to their the impure stream of transportation has ceased former dishonest practices, until they fall into to flow into any of the Australian colonies the hands of the police. After they have (except the isolated settlement of Western served a certain time in some jail or stockade, Australia the other side of the conif they conduct themselves quietly they receive tinent), that its effects upon society will a ticket-of-leave for some bush district, where not belasting. The illimitable territory, they return to their former mode of life. The the advantages of climate and soil, will draw strange inconsistency between their quiet countless immigrants of a pure and virtuous orderly conduct when employed on a station character to Australia, while the old hands, or farm, and their violent and vicious be- being mostly unmarried, will gradually dishaviour when they are indulging themselves appear not alone from the free colonies, but also amongst their associates, will be recognised as from the old penal colonies; for the people of a marked feature in the character of this class Australia will never admit of a penal settleby all who have had an opportunity of becom- ment being formed so nigh their shores as to ing acquainted with their peculiarities. A pollute their fair territories again by the prosquatter informed me that he had an old hand fligates and criminals of Great Britain. Nor with him so long, that he became almost should the parent state attempt to debauch her attached to him; he once saw him jump into off-shoots. A great country ought to reproa creek to save the life of a man who was duce in her colonies a fac simile of herself ; almost a stranger to him, and that he could pay each should have the same language, laws, inhim for what timber he had split upon his stitutions, and virtues, as the parent state ; and word without going to count the heaps ; he such a country perpetrates a mighty crime if, had often known him assist his fellow-workmen instead of fostering its colonies with paternal about the station, not by lending, but by care, it takes advantage of their weakness and actually giving them money. This man had inability to resist, and casts its felony abroad been a considerable time with him, and was amongst quiet and virtuous colonists, thereby deemed by my informant trustworthy. Un preventing the development of free institutions fortunately some person brought a bottle of and social happiness, and engendering a proflirum to the station, and the apparently reformed gacy of manners which tends to sap the morals man got drunk. He changed his clothes and of the youth of both sexes. In a word, Great disappeared, and the next information of him Britain ought to pay as much attention to the that reached the station was that he had com- morals as to the commercial and material prosmitted highway robbery accompanied by perity of her dependencies. murder, and a reward was offered for bis If the well-known proverb, “ honesty is the apprehension. My informant was afraid that best policy,” holds in any part of the world, it he might return, not that he feared any out- is in Australia. In this “ paradise of working rage, but because he should have deemed it his men” no person has the slightest excuse for duty to have taken him to the nearest police committing offences against life and property. station. It seemed, however, that he did not Any tradesman can earn from fifteen shillings calculate upon his forbearance, for he was not to a pound a day in Victoria, and nearly as again heard of, but had no doubt been appre- high wages in the other colonies, and ordinary hended at some other time under a different labourers receive ten shillings anywhere. It is
It is fortunate for the respectable natural to suppose that no man who could do classes that the old hands seldom seek for work this would rather live by dishonest practices; in the agricultural and densely-peopled dis- but there are numbers of the convict class who tricts; they nearly all appear to prefer the cannot be honest and live by legitimate means. background of civilisation, where the wide I happened to be conversing with Mr. John region of swamps and forests, occupied merely Price, Inspector-General of Convicts, only a
ew days before he was barbarously murdered complained that his bread had been taken from by the convicts of the Success hulk, at Williams- him by the chief warder. The man was taken town, Victoria, on this subject. Few men on board the Success, but the other men rehave had such favourable opportunities of fused to work in consequence of the dispute judging of the convict character as that un- about Taylor, and Mr. Price was sent for. He fortunate gentlemen, who had been nearly all went amongst the prisoners, as usual unarmed, his life employed in superintending them. Mr. but this was not apparently so very hazardous Price had been in charge of Norfolk Island, an undertaking, there being a cordon of armed which was the Malebolge of criminal depravity warders and five or six overseers, who, however, -the penal settlement of the penal colonies. In are most frequently unarmed. There were consequence of the fearful revelations made in about eighty men in the gang, and they were reference to this place by the Rev. Mr. Naylor at work upon a causeway near the sea. When • and other philanthropical individuals, it was the Inspector-General reached them several broken up, and Mr. I'rice was removed to Van individuals complained about the bread, and Diemen’s Land, and was superintending the also of the soup. One man also asked several worst of the criminals at Port Arthur. He questions in reference to his indulgence. A knew many of the worst criminals by sight, gang of prisoners came up in the usual course and could call them by their names, and under- of work, and while Mr. Price was speaking to stood their tempers and characters. In reply them the whole body of prisoners ran up, notto my question Do you in your punishment look withstanding the exertions of the overseers, to the reformation of convicts ? he said that and having surrounded Mr. Price, attacked him the only reformation that could be expected and the overseers. The Inspector-General was from the hardened convicts was to impress struck with a stone on the head; he ran down upon their minds that honesty was the best the causeway towards the sea in a vain enpolicy; and many cannot be prevailed upon to deavour to escape, but was overtaken and struck abandon their nefarious courses even from that violently with a shovel on the head, and when being made apparent. Mr. Price pointed to a down about thirty ruffians closed upon him, number of prisoners, and exclaimed—“How can dragged him along, beat him with great I believe in reformation when there are men violence; and when at length the unfortunate here who are excellent tradesmen, able to earn gentleman was rescued, life was almost extinct. a pound a day, and who will not adopt honest He lingered a few hours in great agony, but courses to live, but who, when discharged from never rallied or afforded the medical men in custody, will return here for new crimes in attendance the slightest hope of recovery. perhaps a month !" I inquired if he found it From this sad incident it will be gathered necessary to keep the convicts on board the that the prisoners confined in these hulks are hulks in irons, and if kind treatment would the worst of the class ; and even the Success not do something towards commencing a re- men, who murdered Mr. Price, are not the formation in their character ? Mr. Price said, worst. There are a select few in another hulk, “No; that unless the prisoners on board the the President, who are never allowed to go on hulks were ironed, no man's life would be safe." shore to work, and who have to be kept ironed He quoted numerous instances of violent out and in solitary cells. Amongst this number rages, particularly of an attempt made by the Mr. Price informed me that there were some of prisoners on board the Success to murder the cream of criminals--the worst of the inhim. Fortunately on this occasion he received corrigibles, sent from Britain to Norfolk Islandinformation from one of the prisoners, and most accomplished villains, who had been lured thus escaped. Mr. Price had great courage, from the penal colonies by our gold fields. but had often escaped premeditated attempt on Mr. Price pointed to one man who had been his life in consequence of information sent him three times sentenced to be hanged within by the less hardened ruffians. He had under his own knowledge; and, in fact, there was his immediate charge about nine hundred not a man amongst them to whom crime had prisoners in the Collingwood and Pentrige not been familiar, and many were so unmanStockade, and about four hundred of the ageable as to be more like wild beasts than double-distilled criminals, nearly all sentenced human beings. For some days after the sad to from fifteen to twenty-five years' hard labour; catastrophe which I have recorded, it was esand being without any hope of recovering their pected that the convicts on board the Presifreedom by the ordinary course of events, they dent and Success would have escaped, and it were daring and reckless to a degree almost was found necessary to have the sloop-of-wat inconceivable. About a week after this con- ! Victoria and a police vessel alongside, with versation the superintendent of the Success hulk their guns shotted ready to fire. So great w23 was landing his men, as usual, to work at a the insubordination, that it was a long period place near Williamstown named Gillibrand's before the inen could be trusted out to work, Point, when one of the prisoners named Taylor even heavily ironed.