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was the part owner of a considerable sta. Re-entering the house, and ringing the tion in the bush, — and the scraps of in- bell, he demanded that dinner should be formation which he had picked up from prepared; and as the servant banged out Ralf, and his knowledge of horse-flesh, of the door by no means pleased with the materially assisted in the lie.

liberties taken by the stranger, he called Some of the greenest youths, on their after her, way out to the land of promise, admired “Hi say, you, what's yer name? Mother and courted this knowing man of the Igh-an-mighty, 'oose 'ouse is that one world, and paid for their admiration ac- hover there?" cordingly for Mr. Cane understood "If 'ee speaks civil, sir, I'll answer 'ee; tricks of cards and dice, as well as other but I ain't agoin' to put up with imperence descriptions of gambling. He had heard from 'ee or any other pusson, I ain't, and nothing of Ralf since parting with him, so I just tell 'ee,” replied the woman, inbut determined to go to Cambaranga on dignant at being “ called out of her proper the chance of finding him there, or, at name.' any raté, of getting reliable information as

“Well, don't go band get yer back hup to his wbereabouts.

hover it. Hi'll ’ave a look myself. Hi'm A short stay in Brisbane impressed at ’ome 'ere, you know," --and so saying, him with the dignity and importance of he marched over to the large bouse and the larger squatters. He found that Mr. entered M‘Duff's room. Cosgrove was a considerable personage in "Ah! 'ere we har, what's this? Hold the colony, and accordingly his own influ- boy's papers, rubbish; my eye, what a lot ence over Ralf induced him to take quite of hold 'ats hand 'elmets ! I think a an authoritative interest in the Camba- 'elmet just suits me” (trying one on and ranga station. There was only a super- looking at himself in the glass). He then intendent there, while he was the intimate amused himself by tumbling the various friend and tutor of its heir. He had some simple toilet articles over, snapping the intentions of managing the place himself. Colt's revolver which lay on the table, and He might, perhaps, for convenience' sake, suddenly observing a bath, decided upon retain the old manager as overseer, but indulging in that luxury, which the state that would depend on circumstances. of his cuticle rendered highly necessary. Such was the general purport and tone of With his usual free-and-easy habits, he his meditations and conversation to all helped himself to two or three different who would listen. It afforded amusement towels, leaving them lying on the floor to those who knew the true state of when done with, and also coolly exchanged things; but the boundless arrogance of his own tarnished socks for a fresh pair, the man deceived himself as well as some the soiled articles keeping the used towels admiring greenhorns. On the whole, he company. He next proceeded on made a considerable sensation, and at last search for liquor, and in one of the toilet started up country, in company of a few drawers came upon a key which opened young friends who were en route for their a small closet in the room containing various destinations, and who were invited M‘Duff's private store - for, as may be by him to “spell” a few days at Camba- imagined, Mr. Cosgrove was not the man ranga. Mixing worldly shrewdness with to supply any luxuries free of charge to the most consummate ignorance, blend- those employed by him. While engaged ing the grossest vulgarity with a certain in this manner, the kitchen-woman came experience of manner, something of a over to see what he was about, and she coward, yet not without a kind of bull-dog could hardly believe her eyes when she pluck and ferocity, he was by turns ad- met the stranger carrying out some bottles mired, laughed at, and feared; but on the from the sacred store for M‘Duff was whole, as a man of influence in the coun- a perfect autocrat on the place, and his try, his fellow-travellers regarded him room forbidden to all

. with deference.

“Doan't 'ee take they bottles, sir," she No one appearing to unsaddle his horse cried; “they be Mr. M ́Duff's; he woan't but an old black gin, who had not as yet like 'ee touching 'em.” mastered the art of undoing a buckle, Mr. “Now, Mother Igh-an-mighty, clear out Cane was forced to do the degrading work o' this, or maybe you'll get

the sack, and of taking off his horse's accoutrements M‘Duff too. Hi'm agoin' to be master himself, relieving his feelings by swear-'ere. Hi'm Mr. Cosgrove's friend." ing volubly at the ancient black female, The astonished woman, not being able who kept begging “toombacco" in the to do otherwise, therefore allowed the most pertinacious manner.

audacious stranger to pass, and he was

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soon the centre of a thoughtless and bois- |, was being enacted before him. A coarse, terous circle.

vulgar-looking, youthful stranger was doJust before dark M‘Duff rode up. The ing host, entertaining his audience with travellers were gathered in a group out- stories of his intimacy with celebrities side, and his authoritative manner at once of doubtful reputation, and patronizing intimated who he was, and even Cane felt M.Duff, who seemed determined to allow a little in awe of him. Bronzed, weather-things to take their course. beaten, and “bearded like the pard,” he This strange farce was carried on until dismounted from a very noble-looking bedtime, when M'Duff, whose fierce rage steed, which he commenced unsaddling, had nearly choked him, got up and proafter bidding a cheerful good-evening in posed to retire. All rose to prepare, with his gruff voice to. the strangers, for he the exception of Cane, who, pouring out rather liked the prospect of hearing the another glass of spirits, asked, news of what was going on down below. “Where ham hi to be disposed ? Advancing with as dignified an air as he “Come here,” said M‘Duff, gently, and could assume, Mr. Cane opened conversa- leading him to the door before the comtion with a remark about the horse.

pany, he pointed to the bright moon and “Hi say, mister, that's a right un. 'As the dusky bush. “ There,” he said – 'e hever done hanything?'

“there is your candle, and that is your Now M.Duff knew quite well that the bed." question referred to his horse's perform- “What do you mean?” asked the surances on the turf; but taking on the ap- prised youth. pearance and measuring the experience “I mean this," said M‘Duff in deterof the group at a glance, he pretended mined tones, “ that you don't sleep under innocence, and replied simply, “Oh yes.” this roof, and that you had better never "Ab! wot 'ave 'e done?

show yourself here again, if you don't “He has carried me for the last ten want to be arrested on a charge of houseyears," answered the bushman, chuckling, breaking." as he bore his saddle past into the har- A scene now ensued, Cane furiously ness-room, and then made for his own indignant, cursing and swearing, protestapartment. Amazed at its condition, he ing his influence, and at last offering to called the female attendant, who volubly fight everybody. Every one, however, described what had happened. Keeping supported grim old M‘Duff, who adhered his temper, although much enraged, to his policy of the moon and bush. M‘Duff was about returning to his guests, “ Hi can't sleep there," expostulated at when he once more was accosted by his length the mortified and humbled boaster. cool visitor.

“Then you may go to the blacks' camp, “Hi say, mister, perhaps you don't where you will find society to suit you,” know 'oo hi ham ?"

growled out the ruffled “old man,” as he M‘Duff now had a shrewd guess, for in assisted Mr. Cane outside. several letters the elder Cosgrove had Whether he passed the night there, or warned him to keep a look-out for his son's caught his horse and rode away, none of acquaintances. Nevertheless, he shook them learnt; but next morning no traces his head, not trusting himself to speak. of him were to be found, and considera

“ Hi thought has much. Well, hi am a ble amusement resulted from a comparimost peticklar and very hintimate friend son of his speeches and the real state of of your master's, hand hi bexpex you to the case. Cane found his way down to show me bevery hattention."

Sydney, where he was not long in discovThe grim super's choler was only kept ering his friend among the associates they down at this stage by the bitterness of both delighted in, and soon the old inthe surprise with which he meditated fluence reasserted itself stronger than overwhelming the self-sufficient snob.

“Oh, indeed, sir ; I beg your pardon. Mr. Cosgrove, senior, still remained at You have not given me the honor of your home. His crafty counsels, together with name.'

M'Duff's vigorous management, and a My name his Cane Mister Cane." favorable state of the wool market, con* Very good, Mister Cane, we'll attend tributed to keep his affairs in a prosper

," said the boss, walking over to ous state. He had got into a kind of the bachelors' quarters, followed by the society which he enjoyed-money-mak"peticklar friend."

ing sporting-men, among whom the posGraham shortly afterwards came in, session of money and worldly experience and was surprised at the comedy which gave him a position.

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He had never married again. He did. Charley Stone, was absent on a second not care for domestic life, and his step- exploring expedition, The experience daughter Ruth saw but little of him. and confidence which he had gained Nevertheless he was fond of her in a during his frontier life had determined him way, and always left some means at ber to make the next trip on a less extensive disposal. Perhaps it was the memory of scale than the immediately preceding one, her gentle mother; perhaps the cold, un- for several reasons. One of these was, scrupulous man sometimes felt a sting of that he did not care to go out again under remorse when he remembered the bitter the leadership of the chief who had had agony of that passing spirit leaving be- command of the former party, and who hind her the unprotected little one. was also preparing to start; the next and Whatever it was, he never was unkind to most potent being that he was exceedhis step-daughter, who would willingly ingly anxious if possible to reach the have loved him in return had he given country, and secure the pick of it before her the opportunity. She had grown ex- the rival expedition, which was being ceedingly pretty, and promised a further fitted out with the express purpose of dodevelopment of loveliness; but her chief ing the same, could arrive there. charm lay in her gentle, composed man- The previous party, of which Stone

Early thought and suffering had had made one, started from the newlymucl to do in bringing out the better formed township of Rockhampton, which part of her self-reliant nature, and the was then considered the ultima Thule of lady under whose tuition she was placed civilization. There were six members in had skilfully trained that which she found all, each providing a certain number of so ready to bend to her will. She had horses, and contributing his share towards few companions, and the greater part of the purchase of rations sufficient to last her time was occupied with work and them during the period they expected to reading.

be away. Two black boys accompanied It was a great relief when her step- them - one being the boy which Stone brother Ralf took his departure for had taken with him from Betyammo. All Australia. His irregularities and coarse were well armed, and a leader was chosen ways distressed her, and the scenes be- whose orders the rest agreed to obey, tween him and his father often rendered under pain of expulsion from the expedithe house unpleasant. Her thoughts tion. It was further agreed upon, that often reverted to the happy hours she had every piece of good pasture country they passed with John, but she had never came across, suitable for a run, should be heard anything about him since he left, examined, and have trees marked upon except through Mr. Cosgrove, who had it, its landmarks noted, and general dementioned his safe arrival at the station, scription written down, in order that and his baving heard once or twice from leases might be applied for at the Crown him. After a time he replied to her in- Lands Department; and to prevent jealquiries rather gruffly, that John had be- ousy, and allow each a fair chance, these haved very ungratefully, and had taken pieces of country were to be balloted for his departure from the station. Since on their return journey. then his whereabouts had been bid from Accordingly they started, the cavalcade her, and she feared to ask her step-father consisting of nearly forty horses, of which further; but the memory of John's gentle number about twenty-four were packed brotherly attention and manly kindness with four, tea, sugar, dried beef, coffee, were among her most cherished recol- plums, and currants, etc., etc.; medicines, lections. She inuch wondered that hei ammunition, tents, blankets, clothes, and had never written to her. She would tomahawks, and other necessaries. The have done so herself, but she feared he leader, with his black boy, rode some would think her forward. Yet she was distance ahead, then followed two of the not without hopes of seeing him again; party, after whom were driven the spare for often when he received reports of his and packed horses. The distance travson's unsteadiness, Mr. Cosgrove would elled each day, until they got quite clear threaten a return to Australia.

of all civilization, was about fifteen miles, after which they moved according to the discretion of the leader sometimes remaining camped in one spot for two or

three days, while country in the neighIt has been mentioned that John's old borhood was being examined and marked friend, and Bessie's accepted lover off; and at others, making a march of

XIX.

A CHAPTER ON EXPLORING.

ten, or twenty, or even twenty-five miles. thick and dense, that half the party were Each one was told off for some special employed in cutting a track through it for duty. For instance, the worst bushmen the pack-horses, who often tore off their had to undertake the charge of the camp, now greatly diminished loads against the cook the provisions, and look after the trees. Before long it was evident that horses, during the absence of the rest on the leader was against further advance, flying excursions. It was especially nec- and the arguments which he used had essary that this particular charge was in certainly much to recommend them. qualified hands, for the natives were both “ The rations were running short, and numerous and, in some instances, hostile, for some time back the whole party had and made more than one attempt to burn been on half allowance only. They were the camp and stores by setting fire to the a long way out, in a country swarming long grass. The country through which with natives, owing to which game was they passed, though here and there good, both scarce and shy. The season was a did not come up to expectation; still they most unusually dry one; the grass was managed to make up in quantity for what withered or burnt by the bush-fires which was deficient in quality; and the knowl- raged around them; and, most serious of edge that a great demand was about to all, the water in the river which they were spring up for pasture-lands, which they following up was very scanty, and might believed would cause almost any kind to fail them altogether." sell, kept them in good spirits. It was, In vain Stone pleaded an advance of however, almost impossible that they three or four more days. The leader was could live in familiar intercourse with an inexorable. Whether convinced that the almost despotic leader without having safety of his expedition depended on a disagreements and causes of complaint. speedy return; or whether, as Stone pri. Continual daily little annoyances begot vately conjectured, he was desirous of pettishness of temper, and there were returning and securing to himself and his some who took advantage of a more inti- own friends at a more favorable season mate acquaintance with the chief to shirk the fair land of promise, of the existence the more disagreeable parts of the work of which he was probably convinced, it and shift it on to others. This Stone was hard to say. He had his way, howespecially disliked, and rebelled against; ever, and the little band turned their and being in all respects as good, if not horses' heads homeward. The night bea better pilot and bushman than the fore they struck occupied country, they leader, he became the chief of the oppo- drew lots for the already discovered and sition in the little wandering community, marked pieces of country, and Stone in which heartburnings and jealousies found himself remarkably well off. were as bitterly felt about trifle's as they It now became necessary to proceed at were in greater circles about matters of once to Brisbane, and send in the demore importance. It thus happened that scriptions to the Crown Lands Office, whatever Stone advised or proposed, the together with an application for leases; leader and his backers objected to; and and these arrangements having been sucalthough in point of numbers the party cessfully concluded, most of the advenwas equally divided, yet the opposite fac- turers found ready purchasers for them. tion, having authority on their side, always Among the rest, our friend Stone parted carried the day.

with his share of the spoil, and made his When the explorers had been out about way up to Betyammo with a considerable four months, and were thinking of return- credit to the joint account of Mr. Gray ing, in following up a river, the country and himself. on whose banks was by no means firstclass, they came upon the junction of a large tributary with it, and from the de

CHARLEY STONE'S EXPEDITION. scription of dead timber which its waters during previous floods had carried down Our exploring friend stayed with the with them, Stone was of opinion that, by Grays at Betyammo during the remainder tracing it up for some distance, they might of the season, and the end of the followexpect to discover better country than ing wet weather found him once more at they had yet seen. All hands shared in Rockhampton, arranging matters with the this view; and an attempt to carry it out two companions of his former journey, was decided on, and some progress made. whose confidence he had secured. Rock

In a day or two's time the scrub which hampton at that time was, although very lined the banks of the river became so small, by no means a dull place of abode.

XX.

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Situated on the banks of the Fitzroy inhabitants; and Stone was not sorry River, and within easy reach of Bris- when, his arrangements having been conbane and Sydney by steamer, it formed cluded, he slipped away quietly, having the depot of supplies for the country managed, as he thought, to keep his deswhich was being taken up and stocked tination a secret. all around. It had also been the port for Their journey was of an uneventful a "diggings” in the neighborhood, to character until reaching the spot where which false report had lured thousands they had turned back on the previous some time before, and which, turning out expedition, the only break to the general a failure, had caused much distress and monotony being an accident which hapmisery among those who flocked there, pened to one of the little party, and which depending on what they could extract they had reason to be thankful turned out from the carth. Just now it was swarm- a slight one. The horse ridden by the ing with young men belonging to the new gentleman in question, a very fiery and stations which had been formed in the rather vicious animal, having had the neighborhood, and who had come down to misfortune, in passing through some port to see about supplies or engage bushes, to disturb a large nest of wasps, teams or men. Others there were who, which had there founded a colony, be. having been out exploring, and having came so maddened and upgovernable discovered country, were waiting in town under the stings of his assailants, that, until the crown-lands commissioner, who unable to throw his rider by fair means, resided there, should have leisure to ac- lhe dashed himself furiously to the ground, company them back to these wilds, and crushing the unfortunate young man bereport upon them for government infor- neath him. Horror seized upon the rest. mation. Many young men had driven Rushing up, they succeeded in restoring mobs of horses overland for sale ; others suspended animation, but it was some had travelled up with large herds of cattle, time before they ascertained whether or or flocks of sheep, to stock country previ- not the thigh-bone was intact. Merciously secured, and had, for convenience' fully this proved to be the case. At such sake partly, and partly from ignorance of a distance from medical aid, an accident a more direct route, taken Rockhampton of this nature meant a lingering and on their way. Crowds of shepherds, painful death. The sufferer, however, stockmen, drovers, bullock-drivers, shear- was able, after two or three days' rest, to ers, bushmen, etc., etc., were spending renew the journey on a quieter steed. their hard-won cheques; and swarms of Just before reaching the large scrub loafers hung about sponging on their through which they had been cutting more manly brethren. Besides these, the their path previous to retracing their little town had its own complement of steps formerly, they came upon several government officials, bankers, inerchants, mobs of natives. It was Stone's enstore-keepers, publicans, etc., who were deavor, if possible, to avoid a collision all more or less known among the pio- with the aboriginals, and they had thereneers. Money was exceedingly plentiful, fore frequently to camp without lighting a and business both brisk and sound. fire, in order to remain as unobserved as

The young men, who for various rea- possible. Having one night come upon a sons were doomed to a certain period of little plain surrounded by dense scrub, enforced idleness, contributed much to they ventured on making a small blaze, in the evil notoriety which the youthful city the belief that the thick vegetation would had acquired for rowdyness. Being prevent the glare of the flames from being mostly high-spirited, reckless men, drawn observed. Merrily they ate their frugal together by a special fitness for undergo- supper, and all were enjoying the solace of ing hardship, and surmounting the dan- that sweet "soother," the evening pipe, gers and difficulties of an outside life, and speculating as to the whereabouts of it was to be expected that they should the other expedition, when Stone's black possess an unusual amount of vitality, boy, who had been gazing fixedly in the and consequently, the aspect of the town distance for some time, suddenly pointed was an exceedingly lively one. Drinking, to a light on the edge of the scrub, about fighting, practical joking, blowing (that is, one hundred and fifty yards away, and talking loudly and boastingly on any and excitedly asked in a low tone, “

Issay, every subject), horse-racing, and gambling Missa 'Tone, you think that one fireat all hours of the day or night without let'tick?” The question - especially comor hindrance, intermixed with business ing from the black boy, experienced in all matters, formed the occupation of the l the ways of his treacherous brethren

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