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B 7^P43 


The Pearl Divers of Ronxador Reef 

Jim Trollope and Myself . 

For the Benefit of Sailors' Kids 

The "Manurua" and the "Marguerite 
Two " Sharkers " 

A " Blackbirding " Incident 

A Strange Rencontre . 

Crowley and Drake, Limited 

Nerida, the Maid of Suwarrow 

My South Sea Gardens 

A Prospecting Party in North Queensland 

A Quick Vengeance 

" : A Tale of 












One bright but exceedingly boisterous afternoon 
in June three men were seated on the verandah of 
the " Queen's Hotel," in the newly-founded city of 
Townsville, situated on the shore of Cleveland Bay, 
in North Queensland. Eight miles across the bay, 
and directly facing the scattered line of buildings 
which stood mostly on the open, wind-swept beach, 
was Magnetic Island (which Cook discovered and 
surveyed in the Endeavour), its lofty green hills and 
snowy white beaches glinting in the bright afternoon 
sun. For some days past a south-easterly half-gale 
had been blowing, and the waters of Cleveland Bay 
were heaving tumultuously under its influence, and 
every now and then an extra strong and erratic puff 
would sweep along the sandy, dusty street, which ran 
parallel with the beach in front of the hotel, and 
send clouds of dust swirling high in air, and then out 
to sea. 

The men had finished their luncheon, and had 
come out on the verandah to smoke, and to avoid 
the noise and whiskyfied odour of the overcrowded 


The Pearl Divers of Roncador Reef 

smoking room, for the hotel was crowded with visitors 
— principally diggers on their way to the rich and 
recently-discovered gold fields at Charters Towers, 
and the Cloncurry and Etheridge Rivers, in the far 
interior of the north-west of the colony. 

The eldest of the three men was apparently about 
fifty-five years of age, with iron-grey hair and beard, 
and deep-set keen blue eyes. His face, neck and 
hands were tanned almost to the hue of old leather 
by constant exposure to torrid suns in many parts of 
the world — known and unknown — and his well-set 
and muscular figure matched the expression of his 
countenance, in which even the most casual observer 
could read quiet determination and undaunted 
courage. This type of man is common enough in 
new countries, such as North Queensland then was, 
and Dr. Hector Carew was a good specimen of his 

The second man, in point of age, was his junior by 
at least a score of years, but he, too, was deeply 
bronzed by the fierce sun of the Austral tropics. 
His features showed traces of a long illness, and his 
naturally slight figure was so emaciated that his 
white duck suit looked three sizes too large for him — 
he was, in fact, only just beginning to recover from a 
severe attack of malarial fever, contracted in the 
jungles of one of the rivers on Cape York Peninsula, 
where he had been the leader of an unsuccessful and 
ill-fated party of gold prospectors, which had been 
attacked by a tribe of coastal blacks, only one other 
member of the expedition and himself escaping the 


The Pearl Divers of Roncador Reef 

general massacre. After two months of terrible 
sufferings, the two survivors managed to reach the 
coast and make smoke signals to one of the light- 
ships stationed off a shoal on the Great Barrier Reef. 
Both were wrecks from fever and starvation ; and a 
few days after reaching the lightship one died, and 
Frank Sedley, the one remaining member of a party 
of nine sturdy, vigorous, and adventurous pioneers, 
was taken from the lightship by a passing steamer 
and landed, penniless, at Cleveland Bay, to " take 
his chance" in the local hospital. 

The third and youngest man of the three who sat 
together on the verandah had " sailor-man " written 
upon his face, even if his blue reefer suit — the coat 
sleeves of which were stripped of their narrow bands 
of gold lace — had not denoted the fact. He was a 
clean-shaven, fat and jovial-looking young fellow, 
with a particularly infectious laugh. 

The three men had met by the merest chance only 
two weeks previously, but in that time a feeling of 
friendship had sprung up between them. Perhaps 
it was because of the fact that each one of them had 
met with recent ill-fortune, and the relation of their 
experiences had drawn them together. Carew a year 
before had been appointed Government medical 
officer to the local hospital, and within a month 
found himself the best-hated man in the place. The 
hospital, he soon discovered, was the home of moral 
corruption and peculation. All the officials and the 
nursing staff were in collusion with a number of 
dishonest tradesmen, who for years past had been 


The Pearl Divers of Roncador Reef 

plundering the institution in the most shameless and 
scandalous manner by supplying goods at an out- 
rageous price and bribing the hospital officials to pass 
their " faked " accounts as correct. Carew sent in 
such a strongly-worded and condemnatory report on 
the state of affairs to the Government that the entire 
staff were dismissed, and the institution re-organised. 
Some of the tradesmen and the officials, at the 
instigation of the angry Carew, were prosecuted 
criminally and received sentences of imprisonment. 
Unfortunately, however, in one instance Carew had 
charged a wine and spirit merchant with supplying 
the hospital with spirits for the use of patients, which 
he stigmatised as "poison, adulterated, and unfit to 
be given to human beings." A libel action was the 
result, and the wine and spirit merchant, who was 
a wealthy man and whose brother was a Minister of 
the Crown, was awarded ^i,ooo damages. Every- 
one knew that Carew's statements were, in the main, 
correct, and sympathised with him. A subscription 
was inaugurated, and the money quickly raised ; 
Carew refused to accept it and paid the money him- 
self, although it ruined him, for it left him with only 
£200 in the world, and he had to resign his appoint- 
ment. But he had a certain satisfaction — after he 
had paid the ^1,000 damages — in giving the libelled 
man a fearful thrashing in the public street. Then 
he took a house and began a private practice, 
occasionally visiting the hospital as an operating 
surgeon when called upon — for although everyone 
who knew him termed him " Doctor Carew," he 


The Pearl Divers of Roncador Reef 

really was a surgeon. It was during one of these 
visits to the hospital that he saw Frank Sedley, who 
was then a dying man. Carew had had a large 
experience of malarial fever cases in his many wan- 
derings in the East Indies, the islands of the north- 
west Pacific, and Mexico, and he saw at once that 
the new medical staff of the hospital — three young, 
newly-arrived English doctors — did not understand 
the case. They had never dealt with malarial fever. 
Theoretically they knew all that it was then thought 
possible to know ; practically they knew nothing, 
and were killing Sedley by administering him a few 
grains of quinine dail}-. Carew took the case in 
hand, and saved the man's life, and, at his own 
expense, had him brought to the " Queen's Hotel," 
so that he might exercise a careful watch upon him. 
And for this Sedley was deeply grateful. 

Just about this time, when Carew had been cast 
for damages in the libel action brought against him, 
there had arrived at Cleveland Bay an emigrant ship 
named the Knight Templar, the crew of which were 
in a state of mutiny. The vessel, owing to the incom- 
petence and drunken habits of the captain, had run 
ashore on one of the islands of the Great Barrier 
Reef, where she remained hard and fast for several 
weeks. The passengers, who were mostly of a very 
low class of people from Liverpool and Glasgow, 
behaved very badly, broke into the hold and broached 
the cargo, amongst which was a large quantity of 
spirits. The ship's doctor and the first mate, Henry 
Waller — the third and youngest man of the trio now 

The Pearl Divers of Roncador Reef 

together on the verandah of the " Queen's Hotel " — in 
trying to re-estabhsh order came into serious colHsion 
with some of the ruffianly male emigrants, and some 
of the crew who had practically taken possession of 
the Knight Templar, and turned her into a pandemo- 
nium. In the fracas Waller shot a sailor dead, and 
the doctor wounded another with a revolver bullet. 
Order was restored at last, and with the captain in 
delirmm tremens, the crew still mutinous, Waller 
succeeded in refloating the ship and bringing her to 
Cleveland Bay, where he was promptly arrested and 
placed on his trial for murder, at the same quarter 
sessions at which Hector Carew was tried for libel. 
He was acquitted, the judge in summing up strongly 
indicating to the jury that the case was one of "justifi- 
able homicide," and that Waller by his courageous 
and determined conduct had probably saved the 
lives of the four hundred persons on board the Knight 
Templar. For not only had he, in face of many difficul- 
ties, refloated the ship, and placed, almost single- 
handed, the ringleaders of the outbreak in irons, but 
had navigated her safely to Cleveland Bay. " The 
law," added the judge, " has placed this man on trial 
on a charge of murder. I leave it to you, gentlemen of 
the jury, to define the wide difference between murder 
and justifiable homicide. The one means death at 
the gallows, the other means an honourable acquittal. 
I may tell you that, had I been in the position of the 
prisoner in the dock when the Knight Templar ran 
ashore through the incompetence of her captain, I 
should have acted as he acted — that is, if I had his 


The Pearl Divers of Roncador Reef 

personal strength, courage and undaunted deter- 

When Waller left the court, a free man, he was 
met outside by Dr. Carew, who gave him his most 
sincere congratulations. 

" What are you going to do now, Mr. Waller ? " he 
asked. " I suppose that as the captain of the Knight 
Templar has been dismissed, you will be given the 
command ? " 

Waller shook his head and laughed bitterly. 

" No. I, too, have ' got the run.' You see, my evi- 
dence at the Marine Board inquiry two months ago 
showed up the owners in a very bad light. Both the 
doctor and I said that the ship was ill-found, hardly 
seaworthy, and quite unfitted to carry emigrants; 
then, too, we told the Board that the skipper was a 
notorious drunkard and had previously lost two other 
ships; also that he was a man suspected by Lloyds' 
insurance people. The result is as I have said — I 
have been dismissed." 

" We are comrades in misfortune," remarked 
Carew, quietly. " Now, will you be my guest for 
a while ? Although I have a house here in town I 
do not live there, but stay at the ' Queen's.' Come 
and camp with me until you decide upon your future 

The seaman's face flushed. "It is very 
kind of you, but — but you have just lost a 
thousand pounds, and I should feel that I was 
sponging upon you. So, whilst I thank you most 
heartily "' 


The Pearl Divers of Roncador Reef 

Carew clapped him on the shoulder and laughed 
in his grave, quiet manner. 

'* Come along, Mr. Waller. We are comrades in 
misfortune, as I have said, but I am not yet ' stony 
broke.' And I have a sick friend of mine staying 
with me, whom I want you to meet. His name is 
Sedley, and he, like you and me, has been a ' most 
curst misfortunit person whateffer,' as a Welsh 
skipper friend of mine used to say." 

And this was how the three men came to be 
together at the " Queen's Hotel " that afternoon in 


" Waller," said Carew, " you and Sedley have 
heard me speak of that Melanesian servant of mine 
who looks after my house here. As I told you, I 
found him knocking about the streets, earning his 
living by getting occasional work at the public- 
houses, cleaning stables, etc. He was brought here 
by a South Sea trading vessel, the master of which 
got rid of him because the poor fellow was suffering 
from anchylosis of the left foot bones. I operated, 
and he is now all right. He can speak only a very 
little English, but it so happens that I know his 
language. He is a native of the Ontong Java group 
of islands in the Solomon Archipelago ; and fifteen 
years ago I was living there, making an ethno- 


The Pearl Divers of Roncador Reef 

graphical collection for the Hamburg Museum. I 
remained there over eighteen months, and picked up 
the language rather easily, as it is somewhat similar 
to that of Sikiana (Stewart's Island), which I know 
very well." 

" I suppose this poor chap was delighted to have 
you speak to him in his native tongue ? " said Sedley. 

" Indeed he was. Now I am going to tell you 
something that I have learned from him that has 
interested me greatly, and I think it will interest you 
as well — in fact, the information he has given me is 
valuable, and may — I believe will — be worth a good 
deal of money to us." 

*' Suka — that is his name — told me, in reply to 
my inquiries as to how he got on board the trading 
schooner which landed him at Townsville, that 
about two years ago he, with seven of his fellow 
islanders, was seized by a ' blackbirding ' schooner 
from Fiji. They were captured when they were in 
their canoes, fishing, some few miles off the southern- 
most island of the group, and the schooner at once 
stood away, steering south — evidently meaning to 
continue her kidnapping cruise amongst the Solomon 
group. The skipper, so Suka says, did not treat 
him and his companions badly, for as soon as the 
Ontong Java islands were out of sight, he had them 
brought up on deck, gave them plenty to eat and 
drink, and also presented them with pipes and 
tobacco and suits of dungaree clothing. The poor 
beggars, finding that their islands were out of sight 
and that there was no chance of escape, resigned 

17 B 

The Pearl Divers of Roncador Reef 

themselves to their fate — which meant three to six 
years' labour on a Fiji plantation. 

Early next morning, the schooner was abreast of 
an atoll which Suka had never before seen, although 
he knew of its existence by its native name of Palan, 
as in 3'ears gone by it had afforded a refuge to a party 
of Ontong Java natives who had, in a number of 
canoes, been blown away from their own island in a 
northerly gale. They ran before it from midnight 
until dawn when the atoll was sighted right ahead. 
All the canoes succeeded in entering it safely ; and 
the party remained on the chain of sandy islets for a 
week or so. The lagoon teemed with fish and turtle, 
and sea-birds abounded, so they did not suffer from 
want of food, and eventually they returned to Ontong 
Java (or Lueneuwa as the natives call it) none the 
worse for their adventure. The atoll is formed by 
circular reefs, or rather a series of connected and 
disconnected reefs. Some of them are only a few 
feet above water and are covered with drift-wood, 
with here and there a little scanty herbage of 
coarse grass and a saline creeper. On one of the 
reef islets there were a few young cocoanut trees 
growing — the nuts from which they sprang having 
drifted from Ontong Java or some other island. 

" Well, as I have said, the blackbirding schooner 
was abreast of the island early in the morning. Suka 
and his fellow-islanders were below, together with 
twenty or thirty other Kanakas — some from one 
island, some from another. Presently a white sailor 
came below, and singling out Suka from his com- 


The Pearl Divers of Roncador Reef 

panions, motioned to him to go on deck. The poor 
fellow, who although robust enough in all other 
respects — you shall see him this afternoon — walked 
very lamely owing to his anchylosis, made his way 
on deck, and found the schooner hove-to, with a boat 
alongside, manned by native sailors and in charge of 
an officer. 

** The skipper, a thundering blackguard of whom I 
had often heard, named Clissold, and whom I recognised 
at once by Suka's description of his personal appear- 
ance, then came with the mate and examined Suka's 
foot. The brutes evidently came to the conclusion 
that such a lame duck would not bring the usual price 
of ^80 in Fiji from any planter, and so Suka was 
ordered down into the boat. After him came two 
other natives who had also been * cast ' by Clissold 
as not worth their skins. Where they came^from 
Suka never learned, as he was not able to converse 
with them, nor could they converse with each 
other, being dissimilar in their language. One was 
almost blind from chronic ophthalmia, the other was 
suffering from some wasting disease which had 
reduced him to little better than a skeleton. 

" Clissold, ruffian and blackguard as he was, and 
is — for he is still somewhere in the South Seas — was 
not altogether inhuman. He put into the boat as 
much provisions, biscuit, tinned meats, etc., as there 
was room for, together with a water butt, fishing lines 
and hooks, and a plentiful supply of tobacco and 
pipes, some knives and other articles, and then added 
half-a-dozen bottles of square-faced gin. No doubt 

19 B 2 

The Pearl Divers of Roncador Reef 

he thought he was doing * the correct thing ' when he 
sent these three poor Kanakas to die on this lonely 
atoll, which I know to be the place on the chart 
named Roncador or Candelaria Reef. I have often 
heard the natives of Ekolo talk of it when I was 
living with them fifteen years ago. 

" Suka and his two ' cast ' companions were landed 
on Roncador, or Palan as we may call it, and Clissold 
and the * blackbirder ' Ringdove went on to the 

" Within a week, the man who was suffering from 
ophthalmia suddenly disappeared — Suka believes that 
he was seized by a shark whilst bathing in the lagoon 
at night — for one evening he left the little hut of drift- 
wood which they had built, and never returned. A 
few weeks later the other man died, and Suka was 
left alone. 

Long months passed, and then one day a schooner 
appeared off the atoll, and lowered a boat, the crew 
of which came on shore to look for turtles' eggs, and 
discovered Suka. Unable to speak a single word of 
English, he could not tell his rescuers how he came 
to be on Palan, of the death of his two companions 
in misery, and of his long loneliness. 

" But he has told me something that the skipper of 
that vessel would have very much liked to know, and 
that is that the bottom of the atoll is one vast bed of 
black-edge pearl shell. Much of it lies in quite 
shallow water — so shallow in fact that Suka says that 
at low tide they can be picked up in half a fathom of 
water — ^just think of it, you fellows ! Hundreds of 


The Pearl Divers of Roncador Reef 

tons of pearl-shell ready to be picked up without 
diving, and Suka says that he does not think any 
part of the atoll is over fifteen fathoms deep, as even 
in the centre the water shows green, so I think he is 
right, and I also agree with him that the deeper the 
water the better and larger the shell." 

Waller and Sedley were listening with deep interest 
to Carew's story. 

'*A11 this," he resumed, "Suka told me some time 
ago, with many other details about Palan — such as 
the finding of the passage into the atoll, the winds 
and weather, etc., etc., and I am now pretty well 
posted up on the subject. Although there are no 
trees on the islets, Suka says it rained very often at 
nights — heavy squalls from the south-east, and as he 
was there in the dry season we shall have no difficulty 
about water — that is, if we get there." 

** Get there ! Of course we shall get there," cried 
Waller excitedly, banging the table with his fist with 
such force that the coffee cups and saucers were 
upset in all directions. 

" Keep cool, Fatty," said Sedley with a smile. 

Carew went on : 

** I did not say anything to you on the matter until 
this afternoon, for several reasons. One was that I 
wanted a chart — a general chart of the Solomons, 
and a detailed one of the Ontong Java group, as the 
natives call it — and could not get either in Townsville. 
So I had to send to Brisbane, and this morning I 
received both. This morning Suka and I had a very 
interesting hour together over those charts. 


The Pearl Divers of Roncador Reef 

** Now, to be perfectly frank with you both, Suka's 
story has not been conducive to sleep for me. How 
could I raise money enough to go into the thing — 
that was my first worry. As you know, I have had 
to pay that blackguard Wilkins a thousand pounds. 
This left me something like ;£'220 to go on with, 
estabhsh a private practice in this new town of dust, 
drink, devilry, and downright damnation — alliteration 
does a man good sometimes — and keep up a respect- 
able appearance. Now, I am not speaking scoffingly 
when I say that " the Lord tempers the wind to 
the shorn lamb.' I was not only shorn very close to 
the skin, but would have had my skin taken off me 
if I had not been able to have paid the damages 
awarded to Wilkins ; I should have had to go to gaol 
until the money was paid. Now, I believe in this — 
that the man who ' goes straight ' unll come out all 
right in the end. Had I taken a bribe of ;£'20o from 
that scoundrel Wilkins I should now be in the 
ignominious position of knowing that I had lent 
myself to fraud and was robbing the public. Well, 
this very morning, by the same mail that brought me 
the charts from Brisbane, I received a letter from 
Germany containing a draft for ;^400 — money that I 
had abandoned all hope of ever getting. Some 
years ago, when I was collecting for the German 
museums, I sent home a private duplicate collection 
on my own account. It was sent to a firm in Berlin 
for disposal ; the firm became bankrupt, and one of 
the partners absconded to Argentina. Six months ago 
he reappeared and all the creditors were paid in full." 

The Pearl Divers of Roncador Reef 

" What a stroke of good luck ! " remarked Waller. 

" Yes ; but that is not all. I seem to be getting a 
new coat of wool quite suddenly. This morning 
Clegg, of Charters Towers, called to see me about 
going into partnership with him. I declined, but 
offered to sell him my practice here. The result was 
that after some haggling over the matter he gave me 
a cheque for £150, and he comes in to-morrow. So 
you see I have now nearly £"800. It is not much, 
but it must be enough for us." 

** I can raise about a hundred more," said Waller. 

"And I," remarked Sedley bitterly, " cannot raise 
a shilling, so I must stand out ; unless you will take 
me on as a ' wages man ' at thirty shillings a week." 

Carew gave him a kindl)' smile. 

" Don't talk rubbish. All you have to do at present 
is to get rid of that fever. Now come along, both of 
you. I'll show you the chart, and then you can help 
me to pack up my traps, so that Dr. Clegg can come 
in to-morrow. And this evening we shall decide what 
to do next. We shall have to go either to Brisbane 
or Sydney and buy or charter a small vessel. Waller, 
you shall be skipper." 


A SMALL and much weather-worn and battered- 
about-looking topsail schooner was making her way 
through Indispensable Straits, which separate the 


The Pearl Divers of Roncador Reef 

great islands of Malaita and Guadalcanar, in the 
Solomon Islands Archipelago, She was the Restless, 
of Sydney, and belonged to Carew and his friends, 
who at this moment were on the streaming deck — 
there was a strong breeze, and a heavy, lumpy sea, 
over which the vessel was thrashing her way, close- 
hauled and under shortened canvas. She certainly 
did not belie her name, for she kicked and plunged 
about, as Waller placidly observed, " like a cat in a 
fit," and kept shipping a great deal of water. She 
was old, bluff-bowed, and square-sterned, a bad 
sailer, and by no means pretty to look at even when 
at her best, but nevertheless, and in spite of her 
age, she was staunch and seaworthy. Carew had 
bought her in Sydney for ^^400, paying half the 
amount down, and giving a bottomry bond for the 
remainder. This enabled him to spend a few 
hundreds upon re-fitting and provisioning the vessel, 
and three weeks after the purchase she sailed from 
Sydney for Ontong Java, where Carew intended to 
hire some natives as divers. In all there were but 
eight persons on board : Carew and his two friends, 
three white seamen and a cook, and Suka. Much 
curiosity had been shown in Sydney shipping circles 
regarding Carew's purchase, and many inquisitive 
persons tried to find out her destination, wondering 
why she was sailing in ballast instead of taking a 
cargo of trade goods, as was usual with South Sea 
trading vessels. Carew, however, was not to be 
drawn, but implied that he thought he could "get a 
charter down in Fiji or Tonga." 


The Pearl Divers of Roncador Reef 

Eight bells had just struck, and the wet and 
soddened cook announced dinner, jocosely informing 
Carew that the galley was working loose owing to 
the way in which the schooner was pitching and 

" She give a kick 'arf a hour ago, sir, and chucked 
every bloomin' saucepan off the range, and I gets a 
gallon o' pea-soup slung into my face. It was bilin' 
'ot, too, it was, an' I was just lettin' out a yell o' 
hagony when over comes a lump of a sea, an' washes 
the soup outer me eyes, an' me an' the pots an' pans 
and heverythink helse inter the lee scuppers. So 
that's w'y there ain't no soup to-day, sir." 

" Never mind, cook. ' It's a poor heart that never 
rejoices,' you know. Better to get a little good pea 
soup in your face from a bucking ship than from a 
bucking sailor man, eh ?" 

The cook grinned. ** I've 'ad that hexperience, 
sir, in my time, although as I didn't deserve it. I've 
'ad 'ot coffee slung inter me face when I was in the 
American Navy, not knowin' as 'ow I'd filled the 
galley copper wiv salt instead o' fresh water." 

This was Carew's way with men under his command 
— and he was practically in command of the Restless, 
Waller being merely sailing master. Whilst he would 
tolerate no familiarity, he was always good-tempered, 
genial, and ready to joke, and had never lost by it. 
At the same time he could be a merciless disciplina- 
rian — the nurses of the Townsville Hospital had 
quickly ascertained that fact when he had them 
"carpeted" before him, told them that they were 


The Pearl Divers of Roncador Reef 

not to consider themselves as " ornamental young 
women," but as nurses of a State hospital. " I find," 
he said in his quiet, caustic manner, " that you young 
women have been allowed most extraordinary liberties 
in the way of absenting yourselves from the hospital. 
You appear to have had no check whatever placed 
upon your movements. And, also, I regret to learn, 
you have been in the habit of entertaining male 
friends of yours to afternoon tea, at the expense of 
the hospital. Never let such a thing occur again 
whilst I am in charge. The wards are dirty, the beds 
and bed linen are in the same state, and would 
discredit a common London merchant-seaman's 
boarding-house, and yet I find that there is an enor- 
mous monthly laundry bill against the hospital. 
Your own apartments, I notice, are well kept, your 
bed linen is of the best, and you have provided your- 
selves with an ice-chest and seltzogenes, the which, I 
find, have been charged to the hospital. Now, I do 
not want to be harsh, and accuse you of combined 
dishonesty, but you certainly have not acted in a 
decent and becoming manner, and I must put a stop 
to your vagaries. You, Nurse Jaggers, are the chief 
offender, and have set a very bad example to the 
others. Your training in such a great hospital as 
that of Charing Cross, in London, does not appear 
to have done you much good. To conclude, I wish 
you all to understand that I want you to realise that 
this is an institution supported by both the State and 
the public. For every £i subscribed by the public 
the State adds another £1, and I am here to see that 


The Pearl Divers of Roncador Reef 

the money of the Government and the pubhc is not 
wasted. I may tell you frankly that I do not approve 
of women nurses in colonial hospitals, and consider 
them an expensive and unnecessary nuisance. They 
do not attend to their appointed work, get absurdly 
large salaries for their position, and, in my view, are 
altogether undesirable. Now you may go." 

That, as I have said, was Carew's way. He never 
minced his words. 


The three met sat down to dinner in the stuffy 
little cabin, Sedley, now strong and robust again, 
remarking that if the others were as hungry as he 
was now continually, the Restless would soon run 
short of provisions. 

" As a matter of fact," said Carew, " I think. 
Waller, that we might as well keep away for Mboli 
Harbour on Friday and get some fresh provisions, 
and whilst there you can attend to your rigging. 
We shall be all to pieces if this sort of weather 
keeps up much longer. Forty-two days out from 
Sydney and not through the Solomons yet ! It is 
perfectly maddening." 

" Well, we can't help it," remarked the placid 
Waller, " but you have only to say the word and 
I'll keep away for Mboli this instant. We certainly 
are getting ' a doing,' thrashing our way against this 
head sea and a stiff north-easter. Mboli Point is 
only thirty miles, and if you decide to run for it 
you'll see how this old hooker can skip when she is 
running free." 


The Pearl Divers of Roncador Reef 

" Then keep away, Waller. I have been quite 
seasick for the past week." 

" So has everyone else, as far as that goes. She 
does pitch, being so light." And then Waller went 
on deck and gave the welcome order to keep the 
vessel away for Florida Island. 

" Now," he observed genially, as he resumed his 
seat, " stand by for a bit of rolling for a change. 
I'll give her a little more head sail presently. What 
sort of a place is this Mboli Harbour ? " 

** One of the most romantically beautiful spots in 
all the Western Pacific islands," replied Carew. " I 
was there long years ago, collecting. Only for that 
beastly malarial fever it would be a paradise. It is 
seven years since I was there. I stayed at the house 
of the one white trader, a very nice fellow named 
Chesson. He was a well-educated man, and helped 
me greatly in classifying my collections, ethno- 
graphical and botanical. He was a widower with 
two young children, a boy and a girl, of sixteen and 
fourteen years of age. The poor fellow had a 
tragedy in his past. He was one of the staff of the 
Sydney Museum, and, although so young, had 
achieved much distinction by his writings on the 
bird life of Australasia — promised to be a second 
Gould, in fact. One day he let his young wife go 
out alone for a sail in Sydney harbour. The boat 
was run down by a steamer and the poor lady 
drowned. That was bad enough, but the tragedy 
was accentuated by the upper portion of her body 
being found in the stomach of a huge shark which 


The Pearl Divers of Roncador Reef 

was caught on the following day. Of course the 
newspapers revelled in it, and Chesson nearly went 
mad. He threw up his appointment, and, with 
his two infant children, sailed for the South Seas, 
and began life as a trader. I hope that we shall 
find him still at MboH." 

Waller, the optimistic, gave his fat, hearty laugh. 

" Of course we shall, Carew ; and jolly glad he 
will be to see you again." 

Carew shook his head. 

" Men live and die fast in the Western Pacific 
islands, Waller. You will get to understand by-and- 
by. Death always stares them in the face' day by 
day, especially those who are so careless and idiotic 
as to disregard the natives' customs, traditions and 
religious beliefs. Not that Chesson was one of that 
sort. But he was always too adventurous and care- 
less of his personal safety. He actually crossed the 
great island of Bougainville alone and unarmed, and 
lived some months among the cannibal bush tribes, 
merely for the purpose of discovering the truth of an 
old story about a white man having been captured 
by the mountaineers forty years ago, and dying 
among them." 

A little before sunset the battered, storm-tossed 
little vessel sailed round a lofty, palm-crowned head- 
land and entered the deep, placid harbour, the blue 
waters of which were as smooth and unruffled as 
those of some small mountain lake. A fleet of 
canoes put off from the native village. They were 
manned by the wildest looking savages imaginable, 


The Pearl Divers of Roncador Reef 

who, however, greeted Carew in the most friendly 
but vociferous manner. He entered into an earnest 
conversation with them, and then turned to Sedley 
and Waller with a very grave look in his eyes. 

" Poor Chesson is gone. He and his son and the 
three natives who formed the crew of his trading 
cutter were cut off by the natives of Guadalcanar 
two months ago. A w^oman alone escaped and 
brought the news here. She says that Chesson and 
his son were clubbed in the house of the local chief, 
and the crew were slaughtered on board, and the 
cutter looted and then burned. The woman was 
spared on account of her being connected with the 
murderers. She managed to make her way back 
here only a week ago. Poor Miss Chesson is broken- 
hearted. We must go on shore at once and see her. 
There is the house, over there, just showing amongst 
that clump of bread-fruit trees." 

The boat was quickly lowered and manned, and 
Carew and Sedley went on shore, and walked up to 
the trader's house. Edith Chesson saw them 
coming and almost ran to meet them, and some- 
thing like a sob of joy burst from her when she 
recognised Carew, who drew her to him as a father 
would his own child. For some minutes, with her 
face to his broad bosom, she wept silently, unable to 
speak, and trembling from head to foot. Then 
Carew gently led her back to the house, and, as the 
tropic night fell and the myriad stars shone out, they 
sat on the verandah, and she told her story to her 
dead father's old friend. 


The Pearl Divers of Roncador Reef 

" Poor little woman ! " said Carew, taking her thin 
little hand in his, and pressing it gently; "you shall 
be under my care now. And the first thing that I 
am going to do is to make you well and strong." 
(She was thin almost to the point of emaciation and 
her face was as white as marble.) "To-morrow we 
shall discuss what is to be done. Who is staying 
with you in the house ? " 

" Only the two women servants. But they are 
very kind, and so, indeed, are all the natives. And 
I am not at all afraid of any of them ; but " — and 
here she hesitated — " I ant afraid of the new trader 
who lives across the harbour. He is away now on a 
trading cruise in his cutter. Father never liked 
him. And I hate him." 


" Who is he ? " asked Carew, quickly. 

" His name is Clissold, and he came here and 
opened a trading station three years ago. He was 
formerly in the Kanaka labour traffic and had a bad — 
a very bad — reputation." 

" I know the scoundrel quite well, my dear." 

" He came here in his cutter with only one other 
man who has since died of fever. Clissold bought a 
piece of land here and built a house, and within 
a few weeks my father and he quarrelled. The man 
persisted in visiting us, and father one day bluntly 


The Pearl Divers of Roncador Reef 

told him that he was not welcome and never would 
be. Clissold asked why ? Had he not as much 
right to earn his living on Florida as my father ? 
he inquired. 

" * Quite,' answered my father, ' but I don't want 
you here. I will not associate with a man of your 
character ! ' 

" After that he never came again, and, indeed, he 
and my father never again spoke to each other, even 
when they passed on the beach. 

" But when the news of my father's and brother's 
deaths was brought here by the native woman who 
escaped, he called to see me, expressed much 
sympathy for me and asked if he could be of any 
assistance. Of course, I was quite distracted at 
the time and cannot remember what I said, except 
that I thanked him. He came again on the follow- 
ing day, when I was more collected, and then I began 
to feel a little bit frightened at his manner. He was 
not exactly rude, but he made me feel ' shaky.' He 
said that as he was the only white man on the island 
it was his duty to see that I came to no harm at the 
hands of the natives, who would be strongly tempted 
to kill me and plunder the station of all it contained. 
This, I knew, was nonsense, for they always liked 
and respected my father, and poor Harry and I have 
lived among them nearly all our lives, with the excep- 
tion of the few years we spent at school in New 
Zealand. So I told him that I felt quite safe, and 
would be content to remain as I was and carry 
on my father's business until a ship came, when I 


The Pearl Divers of Roncador Reef 

should endeavour to get to Auckland or Sydney. 
M'buru, the head chief of the district, was in the 
house at the time, paying me a visit of ' love for my 
father ' as he termed his condolences, and I was quite 
glad of the presence of the savage old fellow. He 
gave me courage and confidence in myself." 

Carew nodded. " M'buru is as decent and respect- 
able a savage as Clissold is a blackguard." 

"Yes. And he does not like Captain Clissold 
either. All the time we were talking he kept his eyes 
fixed steadily on the white man, until at last Clissold 
angrily asked him to go away, but I made a sign to 
him not to do so. 

"*Why do you not go away, M'buru, Head of 
Mboli,' repeated Clissold, speaking in the native 

" * Because Eta (myself) would speak to me of her 
father and of her brother — and I am now her father and 
her brother, and her uncle and her mother, and her 
foster-mother,' replied the old chief with an ugly 

" Clissold pretended to be indignant and told me 
that the old man meant to be rude to me, but I knew 
exactly what M'buru did mean, and was grateful to 
him. He meant that he had constituted himself my 
guardian. He seemed to know that I was afraid 

of Clissold, and his speech had one good effect 

Captain Clissold at once became most suave, and 
then went off, reiterating his offers of assistance 
and advice. 

" He came again on the following day and begged 

33 c 

The Pearl Divers of Roncador Reef 

me to see him on most important business. I asked 
him to sit down. He had a folded paper in his hand 
which he asked me to read. I did so. It was an 
account of the massacre of my father's party (taken, 
of course, from the native woman who brought the 
news here), then it went on to say that I was in 
a position of imminent peril, that I was in hourly 
danger of being murdered by the treacherous natives, 
and that he had offered me his assistance and protec- 
tion, for he was aware of the fact that already the 
natives were discussing among themselves the parti- 
tion of my father's trade goods and personal effects. 

" ' I want you to add and sign a brief postscript to 
that. Miss Chesson,' he said, 'certifying to the truth 
of my statements. You have declined all my offers 
of assistance, although I again implore you to recon- 
sider your decision. Now, I am as certain that these 
natives intend to murder you as I am certain of 
sitting in this chair, and I should not like to be held 
up to public contempt as a man who had failed to do 
his duty to a young and unprotected white woman 
living among treacherous savages.' 

" I declined to sign the document, much to his 
(veiled) anger. Then he began questioning me as to 
whether my father had made a will. This was too 
much, and I rose from my seat saying that I did not 
care to discuss such a matter with a stranger. He 
made the most earnest protestations, said he had my 
welfare at heart and that I misjudged him cruelly. 
And the climax came on the following day," — here she 
laughed — " he sent me a written offer of marriage." 



The Pearl Divers of Roncador Reef 

" The old scoundrel ! " growled Carew. 

" I sent a reply by one of M'buru's young men. 
It was very curt, for I was angry and felt insulted. 
A few days after this I became ill with fever and was 
very despondent. M'buru had a litter made for me, 
and I was taken to a mountain village, where, with 
the two women, I remained a fortnight until I got 
stronger. When we returned, M'buru told me that 
Clissold had called almost every day demanding to 
see me. The chief would give him no information, 
and a quarrel ensued. Clissold tried to force his 
way into the house, and M'buru and his men threw 
him out and threatened to kill him. 

" The man wrote me two more letters, which 
I sent back unopened. And then a week ago 
I saw his cutter leave the harbour, and was 
thankful to learn that he had gone on a trading 
trip down the coast, and would be away some 

Carew pondered deeply for some minutes, then his 
face lit up. 

** We must not leave you here, my child, even with 
M'buru to protect you, and there are matters that 
prevent my breaking our voyage and taking you to 
Levuka in Fiji, where you would be among white 
people; it would occupy too much time." 

Then he told her of the character of the voyage on 
which the Restless was engaged, and of his anxiety to 
get to work on the pearl shell at Roncador as quickly 
as possible — three months before the bad weather 
season set in. 

35 c 2 

The Pearl Divers of Roncador Reef 

" What I propose for you, Edith, is this : You 
must come with us to Leueneuwa and stay there 
whilst we return to Roncador and set about our 

" Oh yes, gladly, Dr. Carew. I have been there 
several times with my father and poor Harry, and 
like the islands and the people very much. I shall be 
quite happy there, I know." 

Carew nodded, and then asked her to send a 
messenger to M'buru asking the chief to come to 
them at once. 

" Now," he went on, addressing the girl and 
Sedley jointly, "we will fix up things with the old 
chief right away, and tell him of our intentions. He 
will lend us every assistance — of that I am certain. 
First of all, Edith, to-morrow morning we shall take 
stock of your father's trade goods, and pack them all 
ready to ship, together with all the casks of cocoanut 
oil in the sheds, the boats and the other gear. In 
four days Waller w-ill have the schooner fit for sea 
again, and off we shall go to Ontong Java. There, 
Edith, if you hke to begin trading again, you can do 
so. I expect to be away at Roncador for over three 
months, but we shall be neighbours — less than a 
day's sail apart. And I will leave one of our A.B.'s 
with you, a steady old fellow named Joe Cope. He 
is a good carpenter as well as a boatbuilder, and you 
will find him a most useful old man, although a bit 

The girl smiled, and a few minutes later, whilst 
she was giving Carew some details of her father's 


The Pearl Divers of Roncador Reef 

property, the old chief appeared. He was quite 
satisfied with what Carew told him, promised his 
assistance, and also said he would provide the 
schooner with as much fruit, vegetables, fish and 
hogs as Carew liked to take. 

Then, bidding their sad young hostess good-night, 
the three men left — M'buru to his village, and the 
white men to the Restless. 

The next day was one of great excitement in the 
native village, for M'buru had given orders for two 
great feasts to be prepared, one in honour of Carew 
and Waller, the other as a sort of valedictory banquet 
to Edith Chesson, who had lived among them so 
long and knew every man, woman and child in the 
various villages on the coast, and in the mountains 
as well. 

Learning from Edith that there were several head of 
cattle belonging to her father roaming about the open 
littoral on the north end of the island, Carew sent off 
Sedley with a party of willing natives to try and 
shoot at least one of the animals, which were almost 
wild, being the progeny of stock brought to the 
islands several years before, when many American 
whaleships touched there to buy a bullock as a 
change from the everlasting salt junk. Sedley, armed 
with a Snider carbine, started off in high spirits, and 
Carew and Edith began the work of stocktaking and 
repacking the trade goods. Many articles, at her 
wish, were set aside as presents for the chief and 
other natives, and M'buru's eyes glittered with joy 
when, among other things, she gave him a brand new 


The Pearl Divers of Roncador Reef 

double-barrelled shot-j^un, fitted with a 38-calibre 
rifle barrel beneath. It was a weapon that was the 
talk of the island when Chesson brought a pair of 
them home with him on his last trip to S3'dney. 
There was nothing he desired more, and the old 
fellow went about with it throughout the village, 
caressing and pressing it to his cheek as the joy of his 
life and his only child. 

Towards sunset loud yells of triumph resounded 
along the beach — the hunting party had returned, 
carrying the carcase of a two-year-old bull which 
Sedley had shot in a swamp situated some miles 
from the head of the harbour. This was a welcome 
addition to the schooner's larder, and Sedley being 
the "butcher" was up at daylight on the following 
morning cutting up the carcase with the skill of a 
practised hand — for most Australian bushmen and 
diggers learn to do their own butchering. 

Four days later everything was in readiness for the 
Restless to sail. The native feast had been given, the 
schooner's decks stacked with yams, taro, hundreds 
of bunches of bananas, and baskets of other fruit, 
and, surrounded by a fleet of canoes crowded with 
vociferous natives bawling out their farewells, the 
little vessel at noon stood out of the harbour with a 
brisk, leading breeze, and then headed northward on 
her course for Lueneuwa. 


The Pearl Divers of Roncador Reef 


Within the great reef-bound circle of Roncador 
Atoll the smooth, pale-green waters shone and 
sparkled under the bright tropic sun ; without, the 
ever-restless rollers beat and thundered upon the 
jagged coral barrier, the white, foaming ring of 
hissing surf rushing in sweeping torrents half way 
across, till its impulse was spent, then sinking down 
through a million crevices and bubbling holes to 
swell the gently heaving lake, under whose bosom 
lay the treasures of pearl-shell which Carew and his 
comrades had come to seek. 

Moored in shallow water, and within a hundred 
yards of the shore in a safe and well -sheltered place, 
was the Restless, sitting much deeper in the water 
than she had done three months previously, for in 
her hold were sixty tons of pearl-shell, and she 
needed but ten tons more to complete her cargo. 
And this ten tons was now being sorted, according 
to size, and packed in cases ready for shipment ; 
then the schooner would return to Lueneuwa, where 
Carew would consult with his partners as to their 
next course. 

Fortune had indeed smiled upon the adventurers. 
The vessel's former bad luck seemed to have left her 
the day that Edith Chesson had come on board, for 
the schooner made a remarkably quick passage to 
Lueneuwa after leaving Mboli Harbour, and on the 


The Pearl Divers of Roncador Reet 

morning of the fifth day out, Suka, who was aloft on 
the look-out, uttered a j^ell of delight. 

" Ke panua, ke panua!" (The land, the land.) 
At noon the schooner entered the noble lagoon 
through what is now called the Kaveiko Pass, and 
almost instantly she was surrounded by a fleet of 
canoes, the occupants of which, when they recog- 
nised the long-lost Suka, went into a frantic state of 
excitement, and, clambering on board, they embraced 
him as one returned from the dead. To Carew, also, 
they gave a warm welcome, and when, later on, he 
told them he wanted twenty men to dive for him, 
five times that number eagerly volunteered. 

The next few days were passed in completing 
arrangements with the natives for the building of 
a house for Edith Chesson. They were delighted to 
know that she intended to remain with them for 
some months and carry on the business of a trader. 
No trading ship had visited the island for two years, 
and the people had made a considerable quantity of 
cocoanut oil, which, for want of casks, they had 
been obliged to store in canoes, hollowed-out tree 
trunks, and large bamboos. Edith told them that 
although Dr. Carew had no casks to spare from the 
schooner, that she would still buy the oil, and pay 
them half the value for it, and that she would let 
them keep it until she and Carew sent another vessel 
for it from Sini (Sydney), when they would receive 
the other half. For in those days cocoanut oil 
brought high prices in the marts of the world, and 
so Carew advised his dead friend's daughter to buy 


The Pearl Divers of Roncador Reef 

it at once, before some chance trading vessel came 
along and "snapped it up." So Edith paid out a 
certain quantity of strong twist tobacco, axes, knives 
and other articles of barter, and the matter was 
satisfactorily concluded. 

Within a week, so quickly did the native builders 
work, the house was built, and Edith, with one of 
her former women servants, was installed, with old 
Joe Cope as their companion. The house was a 
combined dwelling-house and " store," and was built 
of cane and bamboo, and thatched with the leaf of 
the pandanus palm. 

Something very like a sob escaped her when the 
time came for her to say farewell to the three com- 
rades ; but she struggled against it bravely as she 
put her hand in each of theirs in turn. 

" You have all been so good to me," she said, with 
a quaver in her voice, " I cannot tell you ; I should 
break down and begin to cry if I tried to utter all 
that is in my heart. . . . But oh, I wish you all — 
you, dear Dr. Carew, you. Captain Waller, and you, 
Mr. Sedley — all the best luck in the world, to com- 
pensate you for your past misfortunes. I trust you 
will soon load the Reckless with montiara* and come 
sailing bravely back into this lagoon with everyone 
on board well and happy. As the time draws near 
for your return, I shall watch for you once every 
evening before sunset, from the top of the little head- 
land on Kaveiko. And " (her voice became almost a 
whisper) " every night and morning I shall pray to 

• One of the Malayo-Polyuesian names for pearl shell. 


The Pearl Divers of Roncador Reef 

God to guard and protect you, and bring you back 
in safety to Lueneuwa — as I know that He will." 

Then, impulsively, she placed a hand on each side 
of the bearded cheeks of Carew and Sedley, and 
then on the fat face of the skipper, and kissed them 
on the lips, as a child would kiss its mother, or 
someone whom it loved. 


In a ramshackle-looking but yet comfortable shed 
on an islet of coral debris, just abreast oi the Reckless, 
Carew, Waller, and some of the crew of the schooner 
were attending to the packing of the last ten tons of 
pearl shell. Sedley was not with them, for he had 
met with a serious accident soon after they had 
established themselves on the atoll, and had to be 
sent back to Lueneuwa, to be placed under the care 
of Joe Cope and Edith Chesson. The accident was 
caused by his over-eagerness to assist Waller and 
the crew in hauling the schooner closer in to the 
beach during a sudden squall, which had lashed the 
usually calm waters of the atoll into a seething 
turmoil. When the anchor was let go again Sedley 
stumbled and fell on the flaked out cable just as it 
flew out. His left foot was caught in the chain and 
so severely crushed that Carew decided to send him 
to Lueneuwa, where he would receive better atten- 
tion, nursing and food than on Roncador. In vain 
Sedley protested ; Carew was inflexible, so Waller 
had sailed again for Lueneuwa and left behind the 
injured man. 

" Well, old man," observed Carew to his com- 


The Pearl Divers of Roncador Reef 

panion, ' we have done well ; between ^^3,000 and 
;^4,ooo worth of shell in three months, and all 
obtained in shallow water ; and I believe that there 
are another two hundred tons still in the lagoon." 

" How was it, I wonder, that when the party of 
Ontong Java natives were blown here they did not 
discover the shell ? " remarked Waller. 

" I cannot tell, but it may have been that in those 
days there was but little or no shell here ; it is quite 
possible that the beds which are now spread over the 
lagoon may be the result of young oysters, which 
have been brought here and planted by white men, 
perhaps fifty years ago, and something may have 
prevented them ever returning. Then, again, as 
Suka says, the party of natives who were blown here 
m.ay have seen plenty of shell, but as there was also 
abundance in their own lagoon, they did not trouble 
about returning here to get more. Their canoes, as 
you know, are very small and frail, and not fitted for 
such a long voyage. And all the time that I was 
living on Lueneuwa, although I often heard the 
people speak of Palan, as Roncador is called, I never 
heard them say anything about the lagoon containing 
pearl shell. Suka, of course, who discovered it and 
told me, had no chance of communicating the fact 
to his countrymen, for, as I told you, the schooner 
which rescued him took him to Queensland, where I 
so fortunately came across him. And now the}- have 
given me a promise not to mention the fact to any 
white man or men who may visit them. If it were 
known in Honolulu, Fiji, or Samoa, half a dozen 


The Pearl Divers of Roncador Reef 

parties would make a rush for Roncador, and we 
should have to fight for our share, let alone our right 
of prior discover}'." 

Then Carew went on to say that he had been 
seriously considering what would be the best course 
for them to pursue when leaving the island on the 
present occasion. Should he place ten or a dozen of 
the native divers in charge to await the return of the 
Restless or another and larger vessel from Sydney, 
or should he destroy all traces of their present 
occupancy and leave the lagoon to itself. 

" I think, Waller, the latter will be our best course. 
If we left any natives here they would be sure to 
attract the attention of any passing vessel, the 
captain of which would think that they were cast- 
aways, and come to their assistance ; and if so he 
could not fail to discover the reason of their presence, 
and then ' the fat would be in the fire.' Then, also, 
I doubt if they would consent to stay here without a 
white man ; they would be afraid of being kidnapped 
by some ' blackbirder ' and carried off to Honolulu, 
Fiji or Tahiti. So we shall decide upon the second 

" I think you are right, Carew. Some passing 
vessel might come poking about here, and seeing the 
place was inhabited, send a boat on shore, or even 
come inside the atoll if her skipper discovered the 
passage. And in such clear water no one could fail 
to see the pearl shell." 

That night the last of the valuable cargo was on 
board, and all was in readiness. At daylight all the 


The Pearl Divers of Roncador Reef 

native divers and Carew went on shore, set fire to 
the hut, cut down the few half-grown cocoa pahns 
and burned or buried every possible article, such as 
empty beef tins, old cordage, water casks, etc., etc., 
that lay about the islet ; and then the party returned 
to the schooner, the boat was hoisted up and secured, 
and the willing crew sprang to the windlass brakes 
and hove up anchor, the little vessel flapping her 
canvas and straining at her cable as if eager once more 
to feel the open sea. Half an hour after she swept 
through the narrow passage between the reef, and 
Roncador was left, for another six months, to the 
bellowing roar of the foaming surf and the wild 
clamour of myriad seabirds. Well did it deserve its 
name of " The Snorer," given to it by the pilot 
Maurelle, who discovered the place in 1791. One 
night when his ship was *' lying becalmed (he says) 
we heard a strange and continuous sound coming 
from a far distance, as of a man snoring heavily. 
We were five leagues distant." 

The deeply-laden schooner made a quick run to 
Lueneuwa, and passing through Kaveiko Pass entered 
the lagoon, and, rounding the palm-clad point, came 
in sight of a white-painted vessel, flying British 
colours, anchored off the village. She was surrounded 
by canoes laden with fruit and vegetables, and proved 
to be the missionary ship John Hunt of Fiji, making 
her first call at the lagoon, and had arrived only the 
previous day. 

Passing on ahead of her, Waller brought to and let 
go his anchor abreast of Miss Chesson's house, and 


The Pearl Divers of Roncador Reef 

at the same moment Sedley and Joe Cope were seen 
running down to their boat, which was launched and 
awaiting them, and then Edith Chesson appeared in 
her doorway waving her handkerchief to Carew and 

Sedley was soon on board and grasping their hands. 
He looked well, but his face wore an anxious and 
strained look. 

"All well on shore, Sedley ? " 

" All well, thank God ! But we have had a terrible 
turn up here last week. Clissold came here and tried 
to abduct Miss Chesson, and in the fvacds that took 
place I shot him." 

" No, Captain Waller," interrupted Cope, " it was 
me as killed him ; and I ain't going to let Mr. Sedley 
have either the blame or credit for it. I can swear it 
was my shot that did for him." 

" Come below and tell us all about it," said Carew 
in his usual quiet manner. " Suka, tell your friends 
who are now coming alongside in their canoes not to 
disturb us — I will see them by-and-bye. And let the 
man in Mr. Sedley's boat go back and tell the white 
lady that we are all well and will be with her in an 
hour or so. Now Sedley, my lad, don't look so 
worried," and he clapped him on the shoulder. 
" Come below, and we shall hear all about it." 

" Miss Chesson would have come on board with 
me," said the younger man as they entered the cabin, 
"but she has visitors from the John Hunt — two ladies 
— and so could not well get away." 
" How is she ? " inquired Carew. 


The Pearl Divers of Roncador Reef 

" Oh, splendid, and looks more beautiful than ever," 
was Sedley's quick answer. 

Fat-faced Captain Waller looked at Carew and 
deliberately winked. 


" First of all, Carew, tell me how you have fared 
on Roncador," inquired Sedley. 

" Splendidly, my dear fellow, splendidly. Seventy 
tons of fine black-edge shell on board, worth from 
£50 to £65 per ton, according to size. And as yet 
we have only been tickling the place." 

" Good. I am happy to hear it — not for my own 
sake," he added quickly. 

Carew smiled in his kindly way. 

" Well, you ought to be," he said. 

" Perhaps our friend has discovered a greater 
treasure here on Lueneuwa," said Waller, with a fat, 
chuckling laugh, and again he winked — this time at 
Joe Cope, who returned it in the most barefaced 
manner — and Sedley's bronzed face flushed a deep 
red. Carew noticed his embarrassment, and at once 
came to the rescue. 

" Now, Sedley, go ahead, and tell us what 
happened, and how that hoary scoundrel got his 

" Unfortunately his was not the only death. The 
cruel brute shot poor Siti dead, wounded Malu 


The Pearl Divers of Roncador Reef 

severely, and also killed a native boy who came to 
Miss Chesson's assistance. (Siti and j\Ialu were 
the two old women servants she had brought with 
her from Mboli. They had been with her father 
since she was a child, and both were devoted to 
" Eta.") And besides him, two of his boat's crew were 
killed. Neither Joe nor I were present at the first of 
it, and what I tell j^ou now, of that part, we heard 
from Miss Chesson and some of the natives. Now, 
I'll start at the beginning. 

"All went on swimmingly after you left me here, 
Waller. The natives began making more cocoanut oil, 
and storing it in long bamboos and dug-outs; Joe began 
building a boat, and that boat was the means of 
saving Miss Chesson from being carried off. 

" I, of course, on account of my foot, was a lame 
duck for the first eight weeks, and could do nothing 
but loaf around, watch Miss Chesson trading with 
the natives, or look at Joe and his boat-building. 
But as soon as I was able to walk I helped Joe with 
the boat, and when she was finished we used to go 
on trading trips to the various islands in the lagoon, 
for the natives made a lot of oil. Sometimes we 
would be away for two or three days. 

" About a fortnight ago the people of Leuneuwa 
started off in their canoes to go to the island called 
Ekolo, to pull cocoanuts for oil making. They 
expected to be away eight or ten days. Nearly 
everyone went, only a few women and children 
remaining behind. 

" The day after they left Miss Chesson got a 


The Pearl Divers of Roncador Reef 

message from the people on Kalan Island, near the 
west passage, asking her to send the boat there, as 
they had some oil for us. So off we went, leaving 
Miss Chesson, the two women, and a native boy in 
the house. She told us not to hurry back, as she 
would not be lonely, and said that we ought to take 
our rifles with us, as the natives said that there were 
a number of wild pigs on Kalan, which were devas- 
tating their plantations, and the people would be glad 
if we would stay there for a few days, and shoot as 
many as we could. 

*' We got to the island, bought the oil, and then 
had a day's fine sport, getting eleven pigs, some of 
which we put in the boat to bring home to salt down. 
We left about midnight, and on our way called in at 
Ekolo, and presented the chief with a pig, then went 
on. There was hardly any wind, and we were still a 
mile from the house at daylight, when it fell a calm. 
Just abreast of where we were then the island is very 
narrow — less than a quarter of a mile — and only a 
few scattered cocoanut trees on it, and you can see 
the open sea on the other side. 

" Suddenly, through the trees, we caught sight of 
a small white-painted schooner. She was hove to — 
for there was a breeze outside, although it was a calm 
inside the lagoon — and she was quite close in, so 
close that we could see her people moving about on 

" We at once took to the oars, and began to pull 
in to the house, and were only about two hundred 
yards off when we heard screams, and then gunshots, 

49 D 

The Pearl Divers of Roncador Reet 

and, standing up, we saw several men dressed in 
European clothing running in and out of the house ; 
then there was another shot, and more shouting. 

"We urged the heavily laden boat along till she 
grounded about fifty yards from the beach, it being 
low tide. Then, grabbing our rifles and cartridge 
pouches, we jumped out, waded on shore, and rushed 
up to the house. Just outside the door we found 
the woman Malu lying down, her thigh bone smashed 
by a bullet. 

" * Quick, quick, you go quick and kill him, Klisso. 
Klisso take away Eta ! ' she cried in her broken 
English, and she pointed along the track that leads 
from the house through the cocoanut trees to the 
outer beach. 

" We tore along the path, and soon caught sight 
of Clissold and his party of four Manila men. They 
were just about to descend the steep and rugged 
track that winds through those big coral boulders to 
the outer beach. Two of them were carrying Miss 
Chesson who, at that moment, had freed one hand 
and arm, and twisted it amongst the protruding roots 
of one of those tough creepers that grow on the coral 
boulders, and the men were trying to make her let 
go. Behind them were two others, carrying Miss 
Chesson's clothing trunk, and last of all was Chssold. 
His back was turned to us, and he was coolly watching 
the two Manila men trying to force Miss Chesson to 
release her hold of the roots. He had his pistol in 
his hand, and the moment he heard us behind him 
he turned and fired at us. 


The Pearl Divers of Roncador Reef 

** Both Joe and 1 fired at the same time. He spun 
round and pitched down the path on top of the men 
carrying the heavy trunk. They dropped the trunk 
and ran ; but the other two, who had Miss Chesson, 
let her go turned and faced us with the heavy old- 
fashioned Colt's revolvers they carried, and the first 
shot they fired nearly wiped out poor Joe, for the 
bullet ploughed along the top of his head. But they 
both went down at our first fire, and when we came 
to look at them a little while after we found them 
both dying. 

" Meanwhile the other two had got away down to 
the reef to their boat, which at once pushed off for 
Clissold's schooner. I daresay that Joe and I could 
have wiped out the whole lot of them with our 
Sniders ; but we had to attend to Miss Chesson, 
who had fainted. Her right arm was torn and 
bleeding from the rough usage she had received. 
We carried her back to the house, where an awful 
sight met us. 

" Poor old Siti was lying dead on the floor, 
with a bullet through her heart. In her clutched 
left hand was a long tuft of Clissold's white beard, 
which she had torn out. Quite near her was the 
poor native boy, who had not only been shot by 
Clissold, but stabbed over and over again by the 
Manila men. 

** The house was in an awful mess. Malu says 
that after Clissold shot Siti and herself and the boy, he 
turned everything upside down, breaking open boxes, 
and searching among the contents. She saw him 

51 l> 2 

The Pearl Divers of Roncador Reet 

collect a lot offletters and 'papers, which he looked 
at hurriedly, tied together in a bundle and gave to 
one of the Manila men. Then he came across 
Mr. Chesson's two cash boxes, which were, as you 
know, full of English and American gold and silver. 
These he put into Miss Chesson's trunk, together 
with all her loose clothing that was in her bedroom, 
and then ordered two of the Manila men to carry it 
down to the boat. I believe that he was delayed in 
searching for Mr. Chesson's will, which Miss Chesson 
tells me is in one of the cash boxes." 

Carew bent his head in assent. 

** Yes. Edith showed it to me. It was made 
seven years ago, in Levuka, Fiji, Chesson leaving all 
his money and possessions generally to his son 
Harry and his daughter Edith. Go on, Sedley." 

"That is pretty nearly all, doctor. Clissold's 
schooner, after the boat with the two Manila men 
who escaped came alongside, stood away to the east- 
ward, two boats towing her so as to get well clear of 
the island as quickly as possible. No doubt those on 
board were afraid that the Leueneuwa people would 
come off in their canoes and capture her, and as there 
was only a very faint breeze they used their boats to 
get away as soon as they could. 

" The John H tint arrived here yesterday, and her 
captain and the missionaries on board told me that 
Clissold appeared in Levuka about a month ago, 
bought a schooner and shipped a crew of nine Manila 
men who had just been released from gaol after 
serving six months' imprisonment for mutiny on an 


The Pearl Divers of Roncador Reef 

Indian coolie ship. The captain of the missionary 
vessel thinks that Clissold must have ascertained 
from the Florida Island natives that Miss Chesson 
had come here, and that he had been hanging about 
the island for some time, as his vessel was sighted 
by the John Hunt four days previously, between here 
and Roncador. Now, that is the end of my yarn, as 
you sailor fellows sa}^ and I want to know if I ought 
to go to Fiji in the John Hunt and surrender myself 
to the authorities there for shooting Clissold and his 
men — for I certainly did kill one of the men even if 
I did not kill him." 

Carew laughed quietly. 

" Don't worry yourself, my lad. These islands are 
out of the jurisdiction of the Governor of Fiji, and 
even if they were not the authorities in Levuka would 
not trouble you nor Joe Cope over the shooting of a 
notorious ruffian like x\dam Clissold. All you need 
do is to send in a report of the affair to Commodore 
Goodenough, commanding the Australian station, 
and then, in the course of twelve months or so, a 
man-of-war will be sent ' to investigate the case,' and 
the captain of that man-of-war will do his level best 
not to find you. And if he does find you he will only 
talk a lot of stereotyped nonsense to you about the 
* impropriety ' of taking the law into your own hands, 
tell you not to do it again, and report to the Com- 
modore that the affair was ' a regrettable incident, 
characteristic of the lawless conditions prevailing on 
those islands outside of the jurisdiction of Her 
Majesty's Government in Fiji, but that Mr. Sedley 


The Pearl Divers of Roncador Reef 

and the seaman Joseph Cope appear to me to have 
acted in quite a justifiable manner, considering the 
exigencies of the case.' " 

Waller chuckled. 

" That's the regular naval officer kind of gag. 
So cheer up, Sedley, old man." 

" Now for the shore," said Carew. " Bj' the way, 
Sedley, do you know where the missionary vessel is 
bound for, after she leaves here ? " 

" For Levuka direct, and she sails to-morrow. 
There are two missionaries and their wives, and I 
think one couple are to remain here. Just now the 
captain and the two parsons are away at Ekolo to 
choose a site for the mission house ; and the two 
ladies are staying with Miss Chesson till the}' return 

" I shall want to send a letter by that vessel to 
Fiji," said Carew, as the}' descended into the boat ; 
** the commodore's ship is cruising about there, I 
know, and I will write to him and apply for permis- 
sion to be allowed to hoist the English flag on 
Roncador temporarily, until a ship of war comes and 
confirms our possession in the usual formal manner. 
And you, Sedley, must also write him a report of the 
Clissold affair, and Miss Chesson, Cope and the 
woman Malu must witness it." 


The Pearl Divers of Roncador Reef 


The two missionaries and the master of the 
mission vessel all proved to be very pleasant fellows, 
and through Carew's influence with the natives a 
piece of ground was bought from them for a very 
moderate sum. Some days passed before the John 
Hunt sailed, and during that time something very 
important had occurred — of which the reader shall 
duly learn. 

Once more Carew had to employ his surgical skill 
on poor Malu, who bore the knife with patient 
resignation, and without a murmur, being content 
with Edith holding her hand. 

" Don't believe in administering anaesthetics to a 
native, Mr. Fife," remarked Carew to one of the 
missionaries who was assisting in the operation of 
extracting the bullet from the smashed thigh bone ; 
" they bear pain in the most marvellous manner, and 
I have hardly ever known a case of a bullet wound 
or knife thrust which did not heal with the first 
intention. Purer blood than our ages-contaminated 
fluid, you see. Ha ! here we are at last ; here it is. 
Malu," — and here he spoke to the patient in her own 
tongue — " thou wilt be a notable woman. This bullet 
is flattened out to the size of a half-dollar. I will 
make thee a present of it to wear in the lobe of thy 
ear as an ornament. Art in pain, my sweet child ? " 
(She was sixt}' years of age.) " No ? 'Tis well. I hate 
a whimpering child. Now, Mr. Fife, basin and 


The Pearl Divers of Roncador Reef 

sponges again, please. Edith, my dear, you have 
the makings of a good hospital nurse in you. You 
have done those dry cocoanut spathes exactly as I 
wanted them done. They make splendid splints, 
don't they Mr. Fife," and so he chatted on until the 
operation was finished, and Malu was carried outside 
on a litter and placed under the shade of a wild 
mango tree to receive the admiration and congratula- 
tions of some hundreds of native women, who passed 
the bullet from hand to hand. 

In the afternoon Carew and Edith went for a walk 
through the palm-grove and were absent for an hour. 

" Edith and I are going for a quiet walk — to talk 
business," he said with pretended gravity to Sedley 
and Waller, who at the time were in the sitting-room 
with the skipper of the missionary ship, smoking 
their pipes and spinning yarns. 

" I should be much obliged, Dr. Carew, if you 
will give me a few minutes before you go," said 
Sedley, rising. 

" Oh, all right, confound you. Come along into 
the store and say what you have to say. It is 
very rude to keep a lady waiting, eh, Captain 
Braithwaite ? " 

" Disgraceful, doctor — simply disgraceful ! Mr. 
Sedley ought to be ashamed of himself"; and the 
skipper, who had ' heard something ' from Mr. 
Joseph Cope, A.B., dug his elbow into the ribs of 
his brother master mariner. 

Carew and Sedley went into the store — the 
entrance to which was from the sitting-room. 


The Pearl Divers of Roncador Reef 

"I know what it is you want to say to me, my 
dear boy," said Carew, sitting down on a case of 
musi^ets, and motioning Sedley to a seat on a coil of 
Manila rope ; " Edith told me all about it last evening. 
And I am happy to think that I have been the means 
of your meeting each other. Now, I am not Edith's 
legal guardian, but I must become so for the time — 
I am like a bishop in partihus. My diocese is not 
defined clearly, but yet clearly enough for me to see 
that you two young people are lovers and will be 
very happy. Now you can ' get,' as we say in 
Australia. When Edith and I come back from our 
walk, you can show up again. And then we shall 
have to see Fife about the marriage, which can take 
place here to-morrow, as the John Hunt, as a matter 
of fact, is only staying here at my request. Fife 
knows all about it, for I have told him. Don't sit 
there gaping at me"; and then Carew, with an 
aching heart, but with a genial smile — for he had 
indulged in visions of himself and Edith Chesson — 
pushed Sedley out of the room, and then went for 
his walk with her. 

He had steeled himself to the inevitable, and when 
they returned to the house, Edith Chesson did not 
know that the quiet, calm-faced Doctor Carew had 
ever thought of her other than as a child of an old 
friend. For Carew was a MAN. 


In the cabin of the Restless the three comrades 
were talking, or rather listening to Carew, who was 
outlining their plans for the future. 


The Pearl Divers of Roncador Reet 

" You, Waller, will go to Sydney, calling at Ron- 
cador on the way, and leave me there with a party 
of thirty native divers. We must run no more risks, 
and, possession being nine points of the law, the 
sooner I am back there again the better it will be for 
us all. Then, when you get to Sydney, pay the rest 
of the money due on the Restless bottomry bond. 
Then go to old John Kelly at the Merchants' 
Exchange, give him this letter, and tell him all about 
Roncador. He is a man we can trust. He will sell 
the cargo of pearl shell for you to Dalgetty and 
Company, and )'0u will have something like ;^4,500 
in hand. Place it in Kelly's hand, and you and he 
can look out for and buy another vessel in place of 
the old Restless. Two thousand pounds will be 
sufficient for that. Then he will sell the Restless — 
the poor old tub won't bring more than £300, but it 
will be £"300 to our joint account. Take ;^5oo for 
yourself— I'm not paying you any wages as skipper, 
my 'fat-faced friend' — and put £"500 each to the 
credit of Sedley and myself at the Commercial Bank. 
Trust old Daddy Kelly in everything. He is a rich 
man, as straight as a die, and only keeps on at the 
Exchange piling up money because he has no other 
interest in life. I have asked him to come in with us, 
so you need not be surprised if he offers to put in 
;^5,ooo or so. He is a queer old chap. Had over- 
eaten himself one day, and was taken seriously ill in 
Aaron's Hotel, and dropped down. I was staying 
there, and looked after him for a week or so. He 
asked me, in his gruff manner, how much he had to 


The Pearl Divers of Roncador Reef 

pay me. I said ' nothing,' as I was not entitled to 
practise in New South Wales. He glared at me, and 
said that I was an honest sort of lunatic, wrote out a 
cheque for £50, rammed it into me, and would not take 
it back when I protested. I paid it back again into 
his bankers, for I was not only not hard up, but could 
not legall)' take a fee, as I had not registered myself 
according to the New South Wales law. So we 
became great friends, and I am sure that when I was 
cast for that ;£'i,ooo damages in the libel suit at 
Townsville, that old Daddy Kelly, as he is called, 
would have sent me the money had I asked him." 

Waller gave his fat chuckle. ** He is one of the 
good angels that we poor sailor men never meet." 

" Yes," remarked Carew, stolidly ; " the only kind 
of * angels ' which you unmarried sailor-men meet 
are not good for you." 

Then he went on : 

" You, Sedley, will remain here, as Edith is quite 
content. She will have the society of Mrs. Fife, and 
50U will be as jolly as a covey of sand-boys. Now 
this long-winded oration of mine is finished " ; and 
then, turning to Waller, he said, with a smile, " Give 
the order to dress ship. Captain Waller; the John 
Hunt will respond with all the bunting she has. 
Sedley, my lad, get you ashore, and make yourself 
pretty. Only an hour for you, my boy. I shall give 
the bride away, and you and I, Waller, lucky dogs 
that we are, shall both kiss her." 







Although the writer of these reminiscences of 
travel, adventure, and sport cannot in any sense 
claim to be a traveller of great experience — for his 
wanderings were nearly all confined to California, the 
islands of the North and South Pacific, and the coasts 
of Eastern and Northern Australia — he trusts that 
his readers will find in his narrative much that will 
interest and possibly instruct, although he fears that 
the continual reiteration of the personal " I " will 
prove annoying. This, however, cannot be well 
avoided, for on these wanderings and boat voyages 
he w^as usually solus, and perhaps " I " is preferable 
to the pedantic " we." 

I may mention here that I am a native of the 
eastern coast of Australia and, although sent to 
sea at an early age, I, in company with my brothers, 
was very familiar with a great part of the seaboard 
of New South Wales, along which we made long 
tramps, sometimes remaining away from home for 
weeks at a time. And when, in later years, I returned 
at intervals from my cruises among the islands of the 


Jim Trollope and Myself 

North and South Pacific, I frequently had the oppor- 
tunit}' of revisiting the scenes of my boyhood's days. 
And although I would be alone on these occasions, 
I was never in any sense lonely — being excellent 
company for myself — and my wanderings gave me the 
utmost enjoyment and happiness. 

Only a few months ago I received a letter from a 
brother, two years older than myself, who, after an 
absence from our native district of thirty years, again 
found himself there to inspect and report upon some 
newly discovered silver deposits. " We camped," he 
wrote, " at the junction of the Hastings and Wilson 
Rivers. The country is marvellously little changed. 
Settlement has not made much progress — indeed, 
there are now more abandoned homesteads and 
selections than there were in the days of our youth. 
. . . The river was alive with large perch, which bit 
freely, and game is as plentiful as ever. . . . Although 
fifteen miles from the sea, we can, when an easterly 
is blowing, sometimes hear the surf on the bar quite 
plainly. ... I wish you were here. . . . Come out 
of your cold English winter, and bask in the glorious 
Australian sunshine, and loaf under the cedars and 
blackbutts, and catch perch and river mullet." 

Ah ! I wish it were possible for me so to do, instead 
of sitting here in my study, looking at the bleak and 
snow-covered Sussex Downs. 

I have, as stated, made many long and lonely 
tramps along the seaboard of New South Wales, and 
that which I am now describing was about the longest 
of all — not as regards the distance covered, but as to 


Jim Trollopc and Myself 

time. There beinj2j no need for me to hurry, I took 
matters very leisurely, and when I set out had no 
definite idea of making for any particular place, nor 
cared whether my tramp occupied me two weeks or 
two months. I only wanted to enjoy myself in my 
own fashion, go where I liked, and recover my health, 
which had suffered from a severe attack of malarial 
fever, contracted in the islands of the North West 
Pacific, and I knew that nothing could be better for 
me than the open air, rough plain food, and plenty 
of exercise. Most of the coast of New South Wales 
was familiar to me from childhood, and on this 
occasion I wanted to revisit the district where so 
many happy years had been spent. 

The South Sea trading firm by which I was 
employed gave me four months' leave, and the first 
week of my arrival in Sydney was spent in making 
preparations. First of all, the matter of funds had 
to be considered, and I reckoned that I could get all 
the outfit I wanted, and pay all my expenses (in 
case I had sometimes to put up at hotels), for less 
than ;^20. 

Looking in the shipping advertisements in the 
Herald, I saw that a timber ketch was to sail for 
Camden Haven in a few days, and within an hour I 
had seen her skipper, who engaged to land me at or 
near Camden Haven, with all my belongings, for the 
modest sum of two pounds. This included my food 
as well. And I blush with shame, even after all 
these years, when I recall the fact that I was on 
board for eight days, and had an appetite like a 

65 E 

Jim Trollope and Myself 

starving shark. This was owing to the change of 
climate driving the poison fever out of my veins. 
However, the worthy mariner did not grumble, for 
during the trip of 150 miles I caught plenty of fish 
for the ship's compan}' (five all told), and shot a 
great number of birds as well at several spots on the 
coast. Let me enumerate my belongings as they 
were placed on the deck of the ketch Margaret : — 
D. B. 16 bore, with ample supply of ammunition ; a 
Winchester carbine for kangaroo, with 250 cartridges; 
a hatchet in leather case ; heav)' jack knife ; half a 
dozen of the best fishing lines that could be bought 
for money, with ample supplies of hooks, sinkers, 
etc. ; a small tent and fly (seldom used) ; tin billy can, 
knife, fork, spoon, etc. ; and a canvas " hold all," fitted 
so as to carry a week's provisions — salt meat, biscuit 
or bread, tea, sugar, flour, etc. And then there were 
other small articles in the way of tools, etc., that every 
sailor man or bushman always find useful. 

We left Market Street wharf early in the afternoon, 
and ran down to Sydney Heads within an hour, 
before a fine breeze, and then we stood away to the 
northward, running along at about three miles from the 
land to avoid the strong southerly current. The 
Margaret was a centre-board vessel, and a fine sailer, 
and her skipper, who was also owner, was very proud 
of his craft. He and the mate and most of the hands 
were Scandinavians — big, stalwart, sober and honest 
fellows, and fine sailor men. The cook was an 
eccentric genius, and one of the merriest rogues that 
ever went to sea. He was either laughing, talking, 


Jim Trollope and Myself 

or singing all day, and much of the night, was a 
London cockney, and was full of whaling }'arns and 
reminiscences — having made many cruises in Hobart 
Town whalers. 

During the night the breeze died away, and at 
dawn we were becalmed off Barranjoey Point, at the 
entrance to Broken Bay, a spot noted for its 
schnapper hshing grounds. Finding that we were 
in a little over forty fathoms, I abstracted a piece of 
raw mutton from the galley, and quietly let my line 
down over the side. In a few minutes I was fast to 
a powerful fish, and presently a 12-lb. schnapper v/as 
kicking about on deck. Then the skipper and crew 
joined in, and we had an extraordinary run of luck. 
The schnapper (the most beautiful and valued of all 
the Australian deep-sea fishes) were all, or nearly all, 
of the same size and weight — 10 lbs. to 13 lbs. For 
two hours we fished without cessation, then the ketch 
drifted into eighty fathoms, and we took fewer fish. 
Getting out the sweeps we brought the vessel back 
into shallower water, and were again remarkably 
successful, and by eleven o'clock had taken nearly 
five hundred of these magnificent fish. Just then a 
small fishing steamer came in sight from the other 
side of the point, and came up to us. Her skipper 
stared in astonishment when he saw our decks 
covered with our take, and told us that they had not 
taken a dozen schnapper since dawn. He and his 
crew at once began to fish quite near us, and then 
from some cause or another the school of schnapper 
cleared out, and neither he and his crew, nor we on 

67 E 2 

Jim Trollope and Myself 

the ketch, got another fish. The steamer poked 
about for half an hour, trying first one place, then 
another, but caught nothing but small sharks and 
predatory " leather-jackets." Then the steamer 
skipper asked us if we would sell him our take. 
We haggled a bit, but finally (keeping only a dozen 
for ourseKes), we let him have all the rest at a 
shilling. This was quite a stroke of good luck, and 
we were all well satisfied with the order he gave us 
on his owners for 3^24 — making £j[. for each of us. 
Then the steamer hurried off to Sydney, and we 
shortly after were favoured by a light breeze. 

On the following day we found ourselves again 
becalmed, and drifting in too close to the shore, so 
at supper we anchored about a mile from the beach 
to wait for a breeze. There were several other 
coasting vessels anchored near us, and we were all 
lying abreast of an extensive series of tidal swamps 
and lagoons, known as the Myall Lakes, which teem 
with fish and game in prodigious numbers. These 
sheets of landlocked water reach from Point Sugar- 
loaf to Port Stephens — a distance of more than 
twenty miles. My imagination had been fired by the 
accounts I had heard of the glorious fishing and 
shooting to be had in " the Myalls," and so I went on 
shore to pick up what information I could with a 
view of spending a week there at some future time. 
The few settlers (who were not fishermen) were a 
rough but yet civil lot, and were hospitable enough. 
They and their wives and children were of the hue of 
old leather, from constant exposure to the sun, and 


Jim Trollope and Myself 

the quantity of tea that the)- drank — hot and cold — 
was enormous. I had dinner with only one family — 
father, mother, two grown up sons and five young 
children. The repast consisted of a round of corned 
meat, weighing about 20 lbs., about the same weight 
of boiled potatoes, nearly as much pumpkin and 
cabbage, and enough home-made bread for a score 
of hungry men. Then followed a huge peach pie of 
the variety of fruit known as '' Yellow Mundays" — 
and very good it was too. All this was washed down 
by copious draughts of strong tea, served in pint 
mugs without milk, but sweetened with dark reddish- 
coloured " ration " sugar. After the meal was over, 
the two sons took me around in the vicinity, and gave 
me much useful information about the shooting and 
fishing, and promised to lend me all the assistance I 
wanted if I paid the lakes a visit at some future time. 
The whole family, in fact, were most kind and 
hospitable, and I said good-bye to them with some 
regret. But I had to return, as the little fleet 
outside the lakes were hoisting sails — a light breeze 
now rippling the water. 

Our next stop was at the little coast hamlet of 
Forster, under the lee of Cape Hawkc, where we 
landed cargo. Here I had some splendid shooting 
in the scrub — pigeons and gill-birds abounding. The 
latter, which the settlers call " leather heads" are 
excellent eating, and were very fat. Finding I had 
shot more birds than I could carry, I gave half of 
them to a young woman, whom I met driving 
some cows. She was on horseback, and riding 


Jim Trollope and Myself 

man-fashion. Thanking me for the birds, she asked 
me if I would care to have a bucketful of honey (from 
the native bee). A party of blacks, she said, had 
brought her husband a great quantity the previous 
day, and she was too busy to clean and strain it off. 
I accompanied her to her home — a rough, but clean 
and comfortable slab house with a bark roof. Here 
I had the inevitable drink of tea, and a meal of fine, 
nicely fried whiting, with damper and fresh-made 
butter. The husband was a saw-mill hand at 
Forster, and good-naturedly offered to carry the 
bucket of honeycomb down to the boat — over a 
mile distant. On our way through the bush the 
conversation turned on the aboriginals of the district 
(Cape Hawke), of whom there were less than a 
hundred left out of a once numerous tribe. They 
were a quiet, harmless lot of creatures, rapidly dis- 
appearing from the effects of disease and drink, and 
my informant spoke very bitterly of the fact of some 
of the settlers paying these unfortunate creatures for 
casual labour in vile and poisonous spirits. " Then," 
he added, '' some black fellow kills his lubra (wife) or 
another black in a fit of drunken rage, is tried for 
murder, and duly hanged with all solemnity in Mait- 
land or Sydney Goal. No punishment is, or can be, 
meted out to the white scoundrels who sold or gave 
him the liquor." 

This man, who was a fine type of the Victorian 
(Australian) bushman, had had a startling experience 
with the wild blacks of Northern Queensland, when 
there as a lad of seventeen years of age. He was one 


Jim Trollope and Myself 

of a small party, who were prospecting for cedar 
country. Early one morning he was left alone at the 
camp to cook for the rest of his comrades, and was 
engaged in cutting and sharpening some saplings for 
tent pegs, when a black fellow's spear struck him on 
the back as he was kneeling on the ground, tomahawk 
in one hand, peg in the other. The point of the 
spear came out on the other side, but the haft broke 
off a few inches from where the point had entered. 
Staggering to his feet the lad made a run for the 
river bank, calling out to his mates. Suddenly he 
was confronted by a second black fellow, who stood 
in the path, and threw his spear just as the boy 
hurled his tomahawk. The spear missed, but the 
boy's weapon struck the wild man full in the centre 
of the forehead, and killed him almost instantly. 
The first assailant escaped into the jungle. 

Bidding farewell to my new acquaintance, I went 
on board with my honey and birds, and, after supper, 
turned in early, being tired out. 

When I awoke at daylight, I found the Margaret 
close hauled under shortened canvas, beating against 
a stiff " northerly." 


Light winds alternating with calms attended us 
during the next few days, which, however, I passed 
pleasantly enough, for we hugged the land closely 
throughout, and whenever it fell calml always had 

71 •- : 

• k) «r ^ _■ 

Jim Trollope and Myself 

my deep sea fishing tackle to fall back upon, and 
always, or nearly always being on soundings, we 
never ran short of fish — fish of all sorts and sizes, 
from the lordly and brilliant-hued king schnapper, to 
jew fish, white and black rock-cod, and the big deep- 
sea flathead ; the last is one of the best of all the 
many Australasian food fishes. 

The Scandinavian captain and crew of the ketch 
were one of the best lot of men with whom I ever 
sailed — before or afterwards. Not only were they 
good sailor men, but cheerful, straightforward, sober 
and religious, and it was a relief to me to find myself 
among such quiet fellows after a year and six months 
in a South Sea Island trader, where hard swearing 
and coarse language were the general rule from the 
captain and officers down to the youngest man 
before the mast. 

We crossed over the bar at Camden Haven towards 
the close of a beautiful day, as the sinking sun was 
changing the light and dark greens of the forest-clad 
ranges beyond the little port into a soft, harmonious 
mingling of blue and purple. 

There was but one hotel — or rather bush public- 
house — in the place. I did not care to stay there for 
the night, wishing to remain quietly on board the 
ketch, although I sent the heavy portion of my gear 
on shore to the house of a man I had known since I 
was a boisterous, dirty-faced urchin in short pants. 
This man, however, formerly a pilot, but now retired, 
came on board to see me, and warmly pressed me to 
stay under his roof at least for one night. I gladly 


Jim Trollopc and Myself 

agreed, and we went on shore together. One reason 
for my not wishing to stay at the public-house 
was that I was sure many of its frequenters would 
recognise me, and that my arrival would be the 
excuse for a noisy night. For in years past my father 
had been the resident magistrate for the district, and 
my brothers and myself were all well remembered by 
the rough timber-getters and bushmen for a hundred 
miles along the coast, north and south, and inland 
far up the rivers, where the mighty trees were felled, 
sawn, and rafted down to the local ports. There 
had been times when my father, as resident magis- 
trate, had been compelled to commit the fathers of 
some of these men — and some of themselves who 
were now grown up — to trial for cattle stealing, 
which at one time was rife in the district. And 
although he was a stern and just man, he was humane 
in every sense of the word, and many of the rough 
men were well aware of the fact that the dark-faced, 
black- bearded man, who, in cold, judicial language, 
briefly told a cattle-stealer that he " had no other 
course, according to the laws of the Colony, but to 
commit him to prison for trial at the next Quarter 
Sessions," did so, wondering if the prisoner's wife 
wanted a j^io note. And that ;^io note, or its 
equivalent, reached the prisoner's wife in due course, 
surreptitiously, of course, but mainly through my 
dear mother's planning. 

My host and I sat up late that night, talking and 
smoking and listening to the pleasant hum of the 
gently breaking surf upon the bar. Soon after 

Jim Trollope and Myself 

daylight I had a bathe in the surf, and, as I was 
dressing on the beach, a brown-faced boy, who 
appeared to be about fourteen years of age, came up to 
me, and stared at me for a few moments in silence. 

"Well?" I said interrogatively. 

" Heerd you was here, and come to arsk yer if 
yer would like me to come along with yer campin' 

" What is your name ? " 

"Jim Trollope." 

" Never heard the name about here in my time. 
Do you live here ? " 

" Yes. I works at the sawmills — when I gets 
work. Mother lives here. She told me that my old 
man knowed all you chaps when you was kids. He 
uster to work on Gwalior Cattle Station on the 
Hastin's River for Major Cockburn." 

A light broke in upon me — I remembered the man 
at once. 

" Where is he now ? " I asked. 

" Dead this seven year. Mother married ' Socky ' 
Cole, the punt-man. He fell outer the punt and got 
drownded two year ago." 

I thought for a few moments. The boy, though 
unkempt and semi-savage in appearance, had a good 
open face, and so when he told me that he had had 
no work for some time, I said that he could come with 
me at so much per day for as long as I might want 
him. Then I went to see his mother. She was a 
hard-faced sun-baked creature, who earned her living 
by cooking and washing for some of the mill men and 




Jim Trollope and Myself 

timber-getters who were single. She was very civil, 
told me that Jim would be " right enough " if I " give 
him a clout on the 'ead now and then when he don't 
move hisself smart," and thanked me when I gave her 
ten shillings on account of Jim's future earnings. The 
boy, she told me, was over sixteen, and a good bush- 
man, and knew the coast well, up and down, "for 
thirty mile or more." 

So, although I was in no way anxious for company, 
I "took on " young Jim, intending to let him fish, 
shoot and camp with me as long as I remained in the 
vicinit}' of his home. And when, an hour later, he 
came to help me put our traps together, it did me 
good to see his ej-es light up as he handled my 
fishing tackle and guns with respect bordering upon 

" Like those lines, Jim ? " 

" My word ! I never seed anything like 'em afore. 
Crikey ! They're beauties. An' them big hooks with 
a curve in the shank, an' eyed an' mounted on brass 
wire snoodin's. Wot's them for ? They're too big 
for schnapper, an' most too big even for a six-foot jew 
fish. Are they for sharkin ' ? " 

" Well, they will do for shark fishing, Jim, for they 
will hold a sixteen footer ; but I intend to use them 
for big rock cod in deep water. Many years ago — 
when I was a youngster like you — I was out 
with the pilot boat's crew off Tacking Point, and 
we caught two ; one was 140 lbs., and the other 
190 lbs. Perhaps I may have a try about here 
some day." 


Jim Trollope and Myself 

Jim nodded, said he had heard of these big rock- 
cod, but never seen one of any size. 

Leaving the heavier part of my gear with the old 
ex-pilot until my return, the boy and I made a start ; 
our destination was a spot some few miles to the 
northward, where right on the coast there was a 
" pocket " of thick scrub between two lines of rather 
lofty hills. The scrub ran inland for some distance, 
and then gave place to fairly open country with 
lagoons, where there was good shooting. On the 
shores of the little bay, bounded by the hills, and 
along the beaches there was fine fishing — "green- 
back" bream, whiting and trevally, and in the scrub, 
just above high- water, there was a good camping 
place, and fresh water could always be obtained by 
digging a few feet. 

Before we left the little township, we went to the 
general store and bought a few articles which we 
thought might prove useful. Among these were a 
couple of tin dishes — one round, the other flat- 
bottomed. These I thought we might find of service 
for mixing our flour for making damper, etc. 
The storekeeper asked me if we were going to do a 
little prospecting on the "black sand" patches of 
beach between Camden Haven and Tacking Point. 

" Prospecting for what ? " 

" Gold," he replied, and then to my surprise he 
told me that until quite recently there had been 
a number of men — most of them inexperienced — 
engaged in beach mining for a considerable distance 
along the coast, north and south. The gold was, 


Jim Trollope and Myself 

however, very fine, and the layers of black sand in 
which it was found were difficult to work, on account 
of being full of stones of all sizes. Still, the man 
said, some few of the men had done fairly well, 
making from £z to £^ per week over and above 
their expenses. One party of three experienced 
beach miners from New Zealand, who worked in 
a systematic manner, came across an unusually rich 
patch, and in two months won gold to the value of 
5^300. Most of the other men, however, after some 
months' work, gradually dispersed in search of other 
and more profitable employment, and the industry 
had now almost come to an end, except in the case 
of a few isolated parties of men who were still work- 
ing on the beaches between Point Plomer and the 
Tweed River, on the Queensland border. 

All this was news to me, and I was much interested, 
for these deposits, or rather layers of heavy black 
sand, were very familiar to me ever since my child- 
hood. After a further chat with the storekeeper, I 
bade him good morning, and we started, crossing to 
the north side of the harbour in the punt, and then 
taking our way along a track that ran sometimes 
through the scrub and sometimes along a series of 
low sand dunes just above high-water mark, every 
now and then coming in sight of the bright blue sea, 
sparkling and shimmering under the rays of the 
glorious sun. 

It was a lovely day, and as we tramped along, now 
in the cool, shady scrub, now on the open sand 
dunes, and heard the cries of the many birds, the 

Jim Trollope and Myself 

murmuring call of the gently-breaking surf upon the 
snow-white beach, and the soft rustle of the breeze 
among the tree tops, my heart rose high to the joy 
of it all, and I could pay but little attention to my 
companion's remarks concerning his experiences of 
wild duck shooting, bird trapping, snakes, etc., 
although on any other occasion he would have found 
me an intent listener. 

The scrub on this part of the coast might more 
properly be called open jungle, and consisted mostly 
of lofty, mottled-bark wild apple trees, up the trunks 
of which clambered lianas, some of them as thick as 
a man's thigh ; here and there, in the more open 
spots, would be a group of half a dozen cabbage tree 
or bangalow palms, and underneath was a thick 
carpet of dead leaves, pleasant to walk upon, and 
giving forth no sound except one trod on a twig or 
strip of bark. Every now and then we would disturb 
a black-coated scrub wallaby, which would bound 
away with quick leaps and disappear into hiding in 
deeper and safer recesses beyond. But they need 
have had no fear, for although my gun was on my 
shoulder I had no intention of committing useless 
slaughter, as we had quite enough food in our 
" swags" to last us for some days, and, besides that, 
our store would soon be added to when we reached 
our camping place. 

Two hours' easy walk brought us out upon the top 
of the beach, where for two miles our way lay along 
a narrow, winding track, bordered on each side with 
the low, prickly leaved native white currant bushes, 


Jim TroUope and Myself 

all in full bearing. As we passed along, we every 
now and then stopped to gather handfuls of the 
delicious berries, which, I may mention, are quite a 
distinct fruit from the other variety of native currant, 
which is a most graceful plant, and whose fruit is 
only used for making jam. 

The tide was falling, and soon after passing through 
the "currant garden," as Jim called it, we were enabled 
to take to the beach, and, removing our boots, walk 
along the hard, wet sand. A light south-easterly 
breeze was rippling the surface of the ocean, upon 
whose surface were vast flocks of snowy- white gulls, 
and nearer to us, perched upon the summits of some 
isolated and jagged rocks, within gunshot of the 
beach, were numbers of long-necked, glossy-plumaged 
divers. Many of them were standing erect, with 
wings outspread, and heads turned seaward, " a- 
warmin' their chesteses," as Jimmy remarked. In 
front of us, as we walked, flocks of tiny sandpipers 
ran ahead with marvellous speed, only rising in flight 
when they thought we came too near. 

As the tide ebbed, the surf, gentle as it was, fell 
also, and soon only the faintest swMsh of wavelets 
laved the margin of the beach, and in the crystal 
water we saw schools of whiting and bream swimming 
to and fro within a few yards of us. Had we cared 
to have done so, we could have caught dozens of 
them in a few minutes, for bait was to hand, or I 
should say, " to foot," for everywhere the variegated 
shells of thousands of pippies (cockles) were showing 
in the wet sand, and we felt them under our feet as 


Jim Trollope and Myself 

we walked ; and pippies are about the best possible 
bait that can be used for the smaller varieties of 
Australian fish, such as bream, whiting, tarwhine and 
some species of mullet. But we cared not to stop 
just then. We were waiting till we reached our 
camping place, where we knew we should have a 
glorious afternoon's sport among the noble green- 
backed, silvery-sided sea bream. 


We made our camp at the head of the tiny bay, 
near a clump of golden wattle trees, just coming into 
bloom, but which, despite their perfume and beauty, 
are trees to be avoided when flowering, for their 
branches are infested with small, poisonous ticks, 
which have an unpleasant trick of burrowing through 
the human skin and setting up local blood poisoning, 
unless they are pulled out before they penetrate too 

We had left the tent at Camden Haven, bringing 
only the fly. This we soon rigged up on some sap- 
lings, covered the ground with grass, and made the 
interior ready for sleeping, for sometimes the night 
dews were very heavy, and our camp was in a fairly 
open spot. Running through the valley scrub was 
the course of a tiny rivulet not more than a fathom 
wide. In the rainy season, and also in the winter 
months, it was a merry little brawling stream, but at 


Jim Trollope and Myself 

present the bed was almost dry, although water was 
easily obtained by digging down a few feet ; so Jim 
and I at once made a small well and fixed up our 
water supply. Then we got our lines, and went 
down to the beach to fish. 

Never was there a sweeter spot. Imagine a bay of, 
say, an acre in extent, the entrance to which, between 
its walls of smooth, flat-topped rock, was so narrow 
that a boat to enter it would have to do so with oars 
apeak. At the mouth the water was deep — six to 
eight fathoms, but yet so marvellously, gloriously 
clear that one could see the small stones, seaweed, 
etc., at the bottom, and watch the fish swimming to 
and fro. From the entrance to the rapidly-shelving 
beach of snow-white sand the water shallowed 
quickly, and only the faintest ripples lapped the 
margin when the ocean swell, broken by the wall of 
rock, came gently heaving through the narrow 
passage. Back from the curving half-moon of beach 
was a line of low undergrowth of vivid green, and, 
beyond that, the loftier vine-covered trees of the 
scrub, and in the far distance the forest-clad spurs 
and peaks of the coastal range. 

Just as we were about to bait our lines, Jim cried 
out : 

"Oh, I say, mister, look there," and he pointed 
to the top of a lofty and almost isolated wild- 
apple tree standing on one of the spurs near the 

Two noble fish eagles had just settled on the tree 
and composed themselves to rest, presenting a 

8i F 

Jim TroUope and Myself 

beautiful sight as the}^ stood side by side with their 
heads turned seaward and their phimage gHstening 
in the sun. The}' appeared quite obhvious of our 
presence, though we knew that in reahty they were 
watching us keenly. 

" Them fellers is the cunningest birds agoin'," 
remarked Jim with a grin ; " if I was on'y jest to say 
' gun ' to you, they would be a mile away in five 
seconds. But they mean to see if we are going to 
leave any fish behind us here on the beach." 

We cast our lines out together, and almost before 
the sinkers had touched the bottom Jim's hook was 
fast in the jaws of a four pounder sea-bream, and 
then a sudden tug, and the quick " sizz " of my own 
line told me that I had hooked a " blue fish." Both 
of these fishes are game fighters, especially the latter, 
but we soon had them kicking about on the sand, 
unhooked them, and then quickly covered them up 
with aheap of kelp, then in went our lines again, and 
in twenty minutes we had more fish than we wanted, 
and ceased useless slaughter, though the incentive 
to go on was very strong. Our take was six bream, 
three blue fish, and one "rock" flathead — the latter 
a delicious flat fish of the gurnard type — ugly to look 
at, but irreproachable in all other respects. 

Half an hour later we had two bream and two 
blue fish cooking in a Polynesian-cum-Australian 
aboriginal fashion. I was chief cook, Jim my pupil. 

First of all we gutted the fish, then washed them 
in sea water to remove the sand from the scales. 
Then, without scaling them, we wrapped each, from 


Jim Trollopc and Myself 

head to tail, in strips of pliable green bark, and laid 
them aside until our oven was hot enough. 

That oven was simple enough, yet one of the best 
in the world for people who lead a rough life, and 
are content to eat with their fingers if they lack 
knives and forks (to say nothing of table napkins and 
liveried flunkies). 

We scooped out a shallow hole in the soft, rich 
soil of the scrub, made a fire in it of dry drift-wood 
on top of which we piled clean, water-worn stones 
from the beach, and let them remain till they were 
at a white heat and had sunk to the bottom of the 
oven. Then we laid the fish on the stones, and 
covered them over as quickly as possible with layers 
and layers of green leaves ; over the leaves we threw 
soil until the whole was completely covered, and no 
smoke issued. 

In half an hour the fish were done. Meanwhile 
Jim had made our billy of tea, and arranged our tin 
mugs, ship biscuits, salt, etc., on a sheet of bark 
outside the fly. 

"Ready, Jim?" 

"Yes, boss." 

" Then come here, and let us open the oven." 

We scraped away the top covering of steaming, 
hot soil with forked branches of bangalow palm, 
lifted the leaves, and got to the fish, which in their 
dark-brown baked bark looked like Eg}'ptian 
mummies, but smelt — ah, only those who have 
cooked fish or meat in this manner can understand ! 

We laid the bark-enwrapped beauties on a sheet 

83 ¥ 2 

Jim Trollope and Myself 

of bark, undid their coverings, and then with our 
sheath knives removed the entire sheath of scales, 
and — 

" My word, mister, they do smell good," said Jim, 
as I brought the salt and biscuits, and we squatted 
down cross-legged to our supper in front of the fly, 
and just within sight of the beach. 


By sunset it was nearly dead low tide, and my 
companion suggested that we should go out upon 
the rocks and get a crayfish or two, and cook them 
that night with the rest of the fish. This would give 
us two days' supply of cooked food, and as we 
intended to devote the following day to visiting a big 
swamp six miles inland, where we knew we should 
get some good shooting, I fell in with his suggestion. 

Crayfish are easily caught on the Australian coast 
in the summer months, either by hook and line or by 
setting a bait for them in the deep pools among the 
rocks, and then diving for them. Some of them are 
of great size, and weigh up to twelve pounds, and 
they are so plentiful in some places that after stormy 
weather, and when a heavy surf has been beating 
upon the coast, the beaches will be strewn with 
hundreds upon hundreds of very small or half-grown 
ones, which, unable to withstand the force of the 
waves, have been disabled and washed on shore to 
become food for the sea-birds and iguanas — the latter 
coming down to the beaches at night time to feed on 

Taking our lines and the half of a fish we started 


Jim TroUope and Myself 

off, Jim leading the way to certain holes on the 
south side of the little bay, with which he was well 
acquainted. Four years had passed since my last 
visit to the place, and during that time the south 
headland of the bay had greatly changed in its 
appearance owing to a heavy landslip, which had 
dislodged some thousands of tons of soapstone rock — 
in fact, the entire sea face of the point had tumbled 
down, carrying with it some large and ancient and 
gnarled honeysuckle trees growing on the summit 
— trees that I had known since I was a child. 

The night was bright with stars, the sea smooth, 
and the wind had died away as we made our way 
from the camp, first along the bank at high-water 
mark, and then down to the beach towards the 

Presently my companion called my attention to 
the hard nature of the sand on which we were walk- 
ing, and, stopping, stooped down and scraped up a 
handful which he showed me, remarking upon its 

" It is pretty thick, too," he observed, "and must 
have been washed up in the big easterly gale last 
June, because it is so hard set and smooth. We 
orter try a few dishes of it to-morrer, and see if it is 
any good." 

"All right, Jim, we will try it before breakfast 
to-morrow; come along." 

Reaching the "lobster" holes— Australians always 
call crayfish "lobsters"— we chose a fairly deep pool, 
the sides of which were draped with long kelp, and 


jim Trollope and Myself 

the bottom covered with white sand and small 
round stones — ^just the place for crayfish. Baiting 
our lines with a large junk of fish, we lowered them 
down, and in less than two minutes we saw the long 
feelers of several crayfish emerging from out the 
gently-swaying borders of kelp ; then three big fellows 
swam boldly out and seized the baits. Beneath each 
baited hook we had fastened several that were 
unbaited, and, waiting until the b'g crustaceans had 
begun to feed, we each gave a sudden jerk. Jim's 
hook held, mine did not, and I again lowered, but in 
a few moments I was again fast, and we pulled up 
our prizes and turned them over on their backs, their 
great plated tails cracking and flapping in indignant 
surprise at the mean advantage we had taken. 

Two were quite enough, so, winding up our lines 
and seizing our prizes by their "antlers," as Jim 
called them, we made our way back towards the 

Half-way there we heard a dog bark, and presently 
saw the animal coming towards us along the 

" That's Joe Moss's dog," said Jim, " an' Joe can't 
be fur away when you see his dog." 
"Who is Joe Moss? " 

" One of the coves that used to be beach-minin' 
round about Camden Haven. He an' another 
feller named Dick Tarby are mates, an' neither of 
'em ain't no good. They does more loafin' than 
workin' ; but sometimes they gets a job fellin' timber. 
Then they comes to the pub, and spends it on old 


Jim Trollopc and Myself 

Jordan's snake juice. Hallo ! — well, I'm blest ! — there 
they are, both of 'tm, at the camp." And then the 
lad added, with quick intelligence: " Don't you say 
nothin' to 'em about this patch of black sand. Our 
tracks will be covered up at high tide, an' the charnces 
are they don't know nothin' about it. But I daresay 
they have sneaked after us to sec if we are doin' any 

On reaching the camp we found the two men seated 
on the ground near the tent, smoking. Their swags 
and some mining tools lay near by. Both bid us 
"good evening," civilly enough, and asked if we 
would give them some water to boil their billy, as 
they were going to camp near us for the night. 

Of course we gave them the water and asked them 
to have some supper as well. This they ate, and then 
proceeded to try and "pump" us as to our future 
movements, evidently not believing that we were 
camping out for mere pleasure. 

" Have you had a try at any of the black sand 
patches along the beach yet, mister ? " asked Tarby, 
addressing himself to me, and looking at our 
prospecting dishes. 

" No," I replied ; '* are you and your mate having 
a try at it ? " 

" Yes; if we come across any likely-looking places. 
I heard, mister, that you knew this part round about 
here quite well." 

" Pretty well ; but there was no beach mining in my 
time — even when I was last here four years ago." 

After half an hour's chat we all turned in — the two 


Jim Trollope and Myself 

strangers spreading their blankets a few yards away 
from the fly. 

As I stretched myself out I said to Jim in a loud voice 
that we must make an early start if we wanted to get to 
Green Hills Rocks by eight in the morning. 

Green Hills Rocks were eight miles further along 
the coast to the north. 

" All right, boss," replied Jim sleepily; " that's the 
place fur bronzewings. My word ! We orter get a 
rare lot of 'em now the Cape gooseberries is ripe, and 
at the back o' Green Hills there's a big patch of burned 
out country that orter be fair covered with gooseberry 
and native raspberry bushes by now. 


Towards midnight there came a sudden change in 
the weather ; the wind sprang up suddenly from the 
south-east, and with it came signs of rain, and ere 
long the surf began to thunder on the beach. 

Jim awakened me. 

" I say, boss, it's goin' ter rain hard as well as blow, 
an' them two coves will be arskin' to come in under 
the fly. Now, afore they does, I want to tell you 
that there will be a rousin' big sea a-rollin' in soon, 
and even at low tide at daylight that patch o' black 
sand will be covered up with kelp an' sea grass a 
washin' up over it. An' so I don't think that these 
chaps would notice it, anyway, unless they hangs on 
here fur a day or two." 


Jim Trollopc and Myself 

" Right, Jim. But we'll shift from here, anyway, 
at daylight — rain or no rain — and these fellows won't 
hang about here if the weather keeps bad. They 
have no tent, and as far as I can see, not much 
tucker." Then I went to the front of the fly and 
called out : " Won't you two chaps come in out of 
the rain ? " 

They came in quickly enough, for the rain now 
began to come down in sweeping sheets, and for the 
next two or three hours we sat up, talking and 
smoking and listening to the noise of the surf and 
the crashing of the branches of the trees about us. 
Fortunately our fly was well secured, and, further- 
more, was of watertight American twill, so all four of 
us, and our belongings as well, remained dry. At 
daylight Jim and I began packing up our traps, then 
lit a fire with some dry drift-wood, to boil a billy of 
tea, and told our unwelcome visitors that we were 
making an early start for Green Hills Rocks. The 
rain, I observed, had ceased, the wind had dried the 
fly, and Jim and I were making preparations to be 
off at once. The two loafers grunted a sullen 
acquiescence, and said that if I did not mind they 
would come along with us, although — and here Tarby 
made some very forcible remarks on the violence of 
the wind, and the low-down practices of Nature 
generally to prevent honest people from earning a 
decent living by hard toil. He certainly was an 
amusing ruffian in some respects, and, had he been 
able to divest his language of its luridity, would have 
been interesting as well. 


Jim TroUope and Myself 

Well, all started off soon after sunrise, taking some- 
times to the beach where it was hard and free of 
obstructions, such as piles of kelp, etc., and some- 
times to the narrow track (made by cattle from a 
station in the vicinity) running along the coast line, 
over the sand dunes, and through the scrub. 

Two miles from Green Hills Rocks we came across 
a patch of hard black sand. It was literally a 
** pocket " in mining parlance, for it lay between, or 
rather was encompassed by, a number of jagged, 
creeper-covered reddish-coloured rocks, and the 
action of the surf had formed layers of gold-bearing 
sand some eight to ten inches thick, two yards or so 
in width, and about fifty or sixty feet in length. 
Tarby and his mate at once panned off a dish of the 
sand, using sea-water, and from the two dishes 
obtained quite half a pennyweight. This was, as he 
and his mate said, " good enough " for them ; for if 
the rest of the sand gave a like result, the two men 
could get about two ounces per week between them, 
and they estimated that it would take them three or 
four weeks to work the patch out. 

Moss, who was an undersized, foxy-faced creature, 
with furtive, shifty eyes, now indicated by his 
manner that he and his mate no longer desired 
our company, and that they would be pleased 
to see us move on. This annoyed us very much, 
and I observed that, if Jim and I were inclined 
to work the patch, we had as much right to do so as 
they had. But, I added, we had come out for 
other purposes, and he and his mate could eat the 


Jim Trollope and Myself 

sand if they wished. Tarby merely laughed, and 
said we need not "get our monkeys up." Then 
Moss had the impertinence to ask me if I would give 
them a few days' tucker. This request met with an 
emphatic and pointed refusal, and Tarby growled out 
to him something about his having " too much 
bloomin' cheek." And as Tarby had helped to carry 
our fly part of the way, I relented, and gave them a 
little tea, sugar, and flour, and half a pound of 
tobacco, for which Tarby offered to pay me, Moss not 
even giving me a " thank you." 

Bidding Tarby good-day, but ignoring Moss, Jim 
and I started off along the beach, and proceeded for 
a mile or so until we rounded a rocky headland. 
Here, under a projecting shelf of cliff, which sheltered 
us from the violence of the wind, we consulted as to 
our future movements, and decided to strike into the 
scrub for at least a mile, then head back for our 
former camp and guard the patch of black sand we 
had discovered, even if we could not work it for the 
present. For we had no shovel, nor any timber to 
make a dolly and cradle, and even if we had we 
should run the risk of being discovered by someone 
before we had been many days at work ; and as the 
Government did not require licences to be taken out 
by beach miners, any party stronger than ourselves 
could oust us. 

Then a happy inspiration came to Jim. He pro- 
posed that as soon as we reached our former camp 
we should set to work with our dishes, and carry 
the sand up into the scrub, dump it down in a safe 


Jim Trollope and Myself 

spot on the bank of the little rivulet, where we should 
be safe from observation, and pan it off dish by dish, 
and give up the idea of a dolly and cradle altogether. 
It was an excellent idea, and we acted upon it, for, 
after a hurried meal, we started off, struck inland, and 
in three hours were back at the camp. Our first step 
was to set up our fly in a deep little gully, about five 
hundred yards from the beach, and within a few yards 
of the little stream. Then as a spell of rainy weather 
seemed imminent, we collected a lot of dry wood, 
covered it up, and made the camp quite comfortable. 
Hardly had this been done when rain began to fall, 
and by three in the afternoon it was coming down in 
a steady torrent ; but, fortunately, the wind had now 
moderated from a gale to a stiff breeze, and this 
enabled us to go to the beach and fish for an hour in 
a sheltered position from under the lee of the soap- 
stone landslip. We caught all we wanted for a two 
days' supply, and also picked up a number of young 
crayfish on the beach; they had been washed on shore 
during the night, and were quite fresh — some being 
still alive. 

We had brought one of our tin dishes with us, and 
on our way back examined the patch of black sand, 
now thickly covered with kelp, sea-grass, drift-wood, 
and other debris. Removing some of this, we filled 
the dish to the brim with the heavy sand, and carried 
it back to the camp ; and drenched through as we 
were, we were so excited that we must needs pan it 
off there and then, using the water from the now 
rapidly-running rivulet. The result was nearly two 


Jim Trollope and Myself 

pennyweights of fine gold. This was quite satis- 
factory; in fact, a pennyweight to the dish would have 
paid us well. 

"Jim," I said, "we must work like niggers to get 
all that wash-sand away from the beach as quietly 
and as quickly as possible. And we shall run no 
risks — we must do it by night. Someone might 
come along during the day and see us, and then the 
fat would be in the fire. As for Moss and Tarby, 
they are safe enough for some weeks, unless, as is 
quite likely, one of them comes along here on his 
way to Camden Haven to buy * tucker.' " 

Jim nodded. " Yes, and if he did, and it was low 
tide, he might get a sight of the patch by just looking 
down from the track along the top of the beach. And 
that beast of a half-bred dingo cattle-dog of Moss's 
would nose out our camp in no time." 

We returned to the fly to change our soddened 
clothes, get something to eat, and discuss as to what 
we should do still further to prevent any chance of 
our being discovered by any passing traveller. Jim, 
as usual, suggested the most practical thing. This 
was to remove our camp a further two miles up the 
gully, in the densest part of the scrub, where the 
smoke of a fire would not be likely to be noticed, or 
if noticed, no one would make his way up from the 
beach to see the cause of it. In the scrub itself 
there was plenty of game — black wallaby, paddy- 
melons, and pigeons, and we could also catch plenty 
of fish in a tidal lagoon known as Cattai Creek, some 
five miles along the coast, and not far from the spot 


Jim Trollope and Myself 

where Tarby and Moss were then working. At night- 
fall, however, we would return to our find, and work 
at the patch of sand until we had removed it all, piled 
it in a safe place near the little rivulet, and then could 
pan it off at our leisure. We lost no time in making 
the change of camp for the third time, and, heavily 
laden with our gear and the soddened fly, ploughed 
our way through the steaming rain-soaked scrub till 
we came to a suitable spot. It was in a deep, heavily 
timbered gully, and we were glad to find several 
small, but permanent, waterholes among some rocks 
at the top of the gully. Clearing away some of the 
undergrowth, we again set up our fly, boiled a billy of 
tea, and then I set to work on my mackintosh with 
my palm and needle, and out of it made two bags to 
use for carrying the sand, and Jim made two service- 
able shovels by stripping off pieces of gum-tree bark, 
and planing them down to the required thinness with 
a clasp knife. 

We " lazed " away the rest of the afternoon till an 
hour before sunset, and then made our way to the 
little bay, and at once tackled the sand. The rain 
was still falling, but the night was fairly clear, and we 
toiled away, digging up the wash-sand, filling the 
bags, and, with light hearts, carried the heavy loads 
up the steep bank to the place where we intended to 
wash it off. We worked throughout the night, only 
ceasing now and then to refresh ourselves with the 
inevitable drink of hot tea. That night we succeeded 
in stripping off the greater part of the upper (land- 
ward) side of the patch, filled in the depression with 


Jim Trollope and Myself 

kelp and other debris, and watched the incoming 
tide swash it to and fro. At seven in the morning 
we were back in camp and sound asleep, and when 
we awoke the sun was pretty high overhead, though 
obscured by the still falling rain. 

Just as we were talking about our movements for 
the day, a fine big scrub wallaby came leaping down 
the side of the gully towards us, quite oblivious of 
danger, and Jim, seizing my gun, bowled him over 
stone dead. He was as fat as a pig, and we had his 
carcase cleaned and hung up under a bough within 
quarter of an hour. 

As we did not care to remain idle in camp for the 
rest of the day, we decided to go and see how our 
two " friends" were faring. So taking the gun, my 
"hold all," and our fishing lines, we struck through 
the scrub, and a couple of hours later were talking to 
Tarby, who was alone. Moss, he told us, had gone 
off at daylight to the camp of some men who were 
erecting a lighthouse at Tacking Point, to see if he 
could buy some meat, flour, tea, etc., from them. 

" How are you doin', Mr. Tarby ? " asked Jim. 

" Pretty well. We ought to get about half an 
ounce a day, but there is an awful lot o' stones in the 
sand, which hinders us a lot. Are you camped at 
Green Hills Rocks ? " 

" No," replied Jim, most truthfully; "we can't do 
much fishin' in weather like this on the beaches. 
But we are going to do a couple o' hours' fishin' in 
Cattai Creek this afternoon." 

Tarby and his mate had no tent, but they had 


Jim Trollope and Myself 

made a rough " breakwind " of some sheets of bark 
under the lee of a honeysuckle scrub, and Tarby 
showed us the ten or fifteen pennyweight of gold that 
they had washed out. After a few minutes' chat we 
left him, and made our way along the beach to the 
mouth of Cattai Creek — a place very dear to me 
from old associations of my boyhood. 

Here we caught a couple of dozen of noble whiting 
— big fellows of over 2^ lbs., packed them in the 
" hold all," and started off on our way back. Luck 
attended us that afternoon, for, as we were passing 
along a narrow cattle track which led through the 
scrub above high-water mark, we came across a pile 
of rusty ironwork, parts of sugar mill machinery, 
boiler plates, etc., and amongst it were several coils 
of fencing wire — then quite a novelty in the Australian 

This collection had been part of the cargo of 
a Sydney steamer named the Prince of Wales, 
which, a year previously, on a voyage from Sydney 
to Brisbane (Queensland) had run ashore near by. 
Most of her cargo, which was of a general character, 
had been landed, and, I regret to say, been stolen by 
the settlers of my native district. 

Jim at once noticed the fencing wire. 

" That's the stuff for us, mister. We can make a 
good raddle out of it, and get rid of the stones in the 
wash-dirt afore we pans it off." 

We set to work and unwound about ten fathoms 
of the rusted wire, broke it off, and went on our way 


Jim Trollope and Myself 

All that night we worked again at the golden patch 
of sand ; and when dawn came, laid ourselves down 
to sleep with a feeling of intense satisfaction. 


Night after night we stuck to the work of carry- 
ing up the wash-sand, beginning at dusk and leaving 
off at dawn. On the tenth day we had finished, and 
the stuff was ready for washing-off. We had already 
raddled it free of stones, working at the heap an hour 
or so every day in the afternoons ; this we could do 
without fear of being seen by anyone from the beach, 
as we were hidden by the scrub. Still our tracks 
might have been observed, and this gave us continual 
anxiety. So far, however, we had not seen a single per- 
son except Tarby and Moss. We were many miles 
from the main bush road, and travellers were few and 
far between along the actual coast line. Our main 
object was to finish the carrying up of the last bagful 
of the precious sand — once that was done we did not 
mind who saw us or even came and watched us 
washing-off — possession of the sand was everything. 
From time to time we had panned off a few trial 
dishfuls, and in all cases obtained nearly a penny- 
weight per dish — sometimes over a pennyweight. 

For some days the weather had been beautifully 
fine, although rather too hot during the greater part 
of the day. Jim and I had paid a visit to the con- 
tractors' camp at the new lighthouse and bought a 

97 G 

Jim Trollope and Myself 

few articles from the overseer, such as flour, coarse 
salt, etc. The latter we wanted for our fish and 
meat, for the hot weather turned both very rapidly, 
and it was not convenient for us to go out ever>' day 
fishing and shooting ; nor did we care to visit the 
nearest township — twelve miles distant — to make any 
purchases. For there I was well known, and had 
many old acquaintances whose hospitality it would be 
be difficult to avoid without giving offence. 

And Jim and I were perfectly happy. We had all 
we wanted to eat and drink, we were doing honest 
work, and there was every prospect of our making 
quite a respectable sum of money by our toil, which 
in itself was both interesting and fascinating. Our 
appetites were marvellous, and our food, though 
simply cooked, was of a varied character — game 
(" squatter " and bronzewing pigeons, golden plover, 
gill birds), fish, rock oysters, and crayfish. The oysters 
were really delicious, and were so abundant that 
we could have filled a three-bushel bag with them in 
an hour ; and as for crayfish, we could catch all we 
wanted at any time of the day or night. 

I must mention that about a week after we had 
begun operations I had thought it advisable for Jim 
to go and see his mother in case she was feeling 
anxious about him, and, as I was sure she was a 
discreet woman, I told him that he could let her know 
what we were doing, and that we should not be 
finished for another fortnight; also that he and I 
were " full mates," and would share equally whatever 
gold we won. 


Jim Trollope and Myself 

I also gave him a note to my old friend the ex-pilot, 
asking him to send me some few articles I required, 
among which was my Winchester. He started off 
early in the morning and was back by sunset, carrying 
quite a load, amongst other things being an enor- 
mous loaf of soda bread which his mother had made, 
several pounds of butter, and a round of fresh beef. 
That evening we had a special supper, and hardly 
felt fit for much work. However, we went at it as 
usual and did fairly well. 

Jim told me that his mother had specially warned 
him against Tarby and Moss, and advised him to put 
an end to the latter's half-bred dingo — if he got a 
chance. If Moss should happen to come to Camden 
Haven by way of the beach, the dog, she said, was 
sure to scent the camp, and we might be sorry for it, 
as Moss was " a thunderin' sneak, and a thief as 

At last came the day when we finished carrying up 
the sand, and were ready to wash-off. First of all, 
though, we brought the fly back to where we were to 
work, made the camp comfortable, and turned in 
early so as to have a good night's rest. 

Soon after daylight we rose to go for a swim in the 
sea, and just as we were descending the bank, caught 
sight of a man walking along the beach, and coming 
towards us. We recognised him at once — it was 
Moss, accompanied by his dog. We at once planted 
behind some wild currant bushes and watched him, and 
presently, to our satisfaction, saw him turn off and go 
up over the bank. 

99 G 2 

Jim Trollope and Myself 

" He's taking the old cattle track, leadiii' up along 
the foot of the spurs," observed Jim, "and so won't 
come within more'n half a mile of us. It is a short 
cut for him, and saves three miles. But we had 
better wait a bit to make certain." 

We returned to the camp and waited for an hour, 
and then feeling sure that all was safe and that Moss 
was probably quite three miles away from us, were 
about to go for our bathe, when Jim clutched my 

"Someone or something is comin'," he whispered. 
*' Yes, it's Moss's dingo. Look, there he is — he's 
going for the beef bag." 

Our beef was suspended from the branch of a big and 
shady mimosa tree, about fifty yards from the camp. 
The meat was in a calico bag to prevent it from being 
spoilt by the blow-flies, and also to be out of reach of 
iguanas or native dogs. 

The dog owned by Mr. Moss trotted out from the 
scrub and made directly for the tree, under which he 
stopped and eyed the bag for a moment or two. 
Then he made a noble spring and set his teeth in the 
meat shaking it savagely to and fro, trying to tear it 
out of the bag, although he was swaying about in 
the air. 

I motioned to Jim to hand me the Winchester, 
which was just inside the fly. 

" Don't miss him," whispered Jim. 

The Winchester cracked, and the animal dropped 
without a sound, and began rolling about in the sandy 
soil. Jim rushed up to it, and gave it a blow on the 


Jim Trollope and Myself 

head with a piece of wood, and then lifting it up, 
dropped it into a thick clump of currant bushes. 

" Dead as a door nail," said my companion, as he 
hurried back to the fly and sat down beside me. 
" He must have come acrost our tracks near the old 
camp, and followed them down. Let us keep quiet 
awhile, although I don't think we'll see anythink of 
Moss. An' anyway, if he was within cooey of us, he 
couldn't have heard that little crack of the rifle — 
there's too much wind among the trees, as well as the 
noise of the surf." 

After waiting some time we left the fly, took the 
defunct animal, and buried it deep in the sand, and 
then had a glorious bathe in the breakers, in a spot 
safe from that terror of the Australian coast — the 
dreaded "grey nurse" shark, which is very partial 
to cruising about in the surf close in shore, when the 
water is not too shallow. Jim, I must mention, was 
a great shark catcher, and also a sworn enemy to 
snakes, and had had many experiences with both. 
Some of his adventures I shall relate in the course of 
this narrative. 

After a hearty breakfast we turned to at the heap 
of wash-dirt, and worked without cessation till long 
past noon; then, after the usual billy of tea and some 
cold beef and Mrs. Trollope's soda bread, we again 
resumed what was to us a labour of love. The result 
was about five-and-twenty pennyweights of fine floury 
gold, beautifully bright, and free from foreign matter. 
Some of it was so fine that it would adhere to the 
finger tips even when the skin was not moist. That 


Jim Trollope and Myself 

we lost a good deal in the washing-off process was 
certain — owing to its fineness — and I wished that we 
had a few pounds' weight of quicksilver to use for 
amalgamation purposes, and also better appliances 
for washing-off. Still, the first day's result was most 
satisfactory to us both, for the gold was of a high 
quality, and would bring top price. 

Day after day found us at the rapidly diminishing 
heap of wash-dirt. We began at daylight, and 
worked until nearly four o'clock. Then we dried the 
gold we had won by putting it on a tin plate, and 
holding it over some hot coals, then carefully scraped 
it out into a tin pepper pot — our gold safe. About 
an ounce per day was our average, especially if the 
weather was dry and warm, with no wind. If it 
rained, or there was much wind, our takings would 
not amount to more than ten pennyweights (half an 

So far not a soul had come near us, but, as we were 
panning off the last twenty dishes of the heap, we had 
a visitor. 

He was one of the head stockmen employed on a 
local cattle station some thirty miles along the coast 
(in the Hastings River district), and when I saw him 
riding along the hard beach sand I felt sure that he 
was a man whom I had known well years before, in 
fact, when we were both lads, and whom I had last 
seen four years previously, when he was a newly- 
joined trooper in the New South Wales Mounted 
Police. The rigid discipline of the force had, how- 
ever, proved too much for a young fellow of his 


Jim TroIIope and Myself 

temperament, and so, after a year's service, he had 
resigned his smart uniform, with the heavy cavalry 
sabre, carbine, and other military trappings, and gone 
back to his mother bed of the bush as a stockman. 
And Nature had intended Gilbert Ross to be a lover 
of herself, and of all her beautiful gifts of birds and 
beasts — and never to be a mere police trooper, with 
carbine in its becket, and useless, jangling sword 
banging against his charger's anatom}-. 

And Gilbert Ross was, I have said, an old 
comrade of my boyhood's days, and as he came 
trotting along the hard sand of that lonely beach, 
looking for stray cattle, my heart warmed to him, 
and running out to the top of the sand bank, I waved 
my hands and gave a loud " Coo-e-e ! " 

As we grasped each other's hands in silence, I think 
that all our happy boyhood's memories flashed across 
our minds, and I daresay that our eyes filled. Then 
we " bucked up," and talked of all that had happened 
to both of us since we had last met. He was much 
interested in our beach mining, came to the camp 
with us, and helped us pan off the last of the stuff. 
We estimated that we had in all about fifteen ounces, 
which would be worth over £56. 

Ross was much impressed. 

"It was a very rich patch," he remarked; " one of 
the best, I suppose, that was ever found in this part, 
although I know of a party of four, who were w'orking 
the beaches near the Bellinger River, getting two 
ounces a day for over a month. Hang me if I don't 
sling my billet and have another try at mining 


Jim Trollope and Myself 

again, but not on the beach. I know of some very 
likely country at the head of the Hastings, and got 
several good prospects in some of the gullies there." 

" Ross," I said, " let Jim and me join you. To tell 
you the exact truth, I do not care much if I break my 
four months' leave, and my employers invest me with 
the Noble Order of the Sack. I am sick of island 
trading and supercargoing, and mining has always 
had a strong fascination for me." 

We talked the matter over thoroughly, and when 
Ross bade us good-bye it was with the understanding 
that we were to meet at the town of Kempsey — 
sevent}' miles distant — that day fortnight. Ross was 
to give the owner of the station a week's notice, and 
join us, with three saddle-horses and a pack-horse. 
At Kempsey we were to take out our miners' rights 
(los. each), buy stores, etc., and then make our way 
to the headwaters of the Hastings River, and 
thoroughly prospect the country of which he had 
spoken. Ross's worldly wealth amounted to about 
£70, but then he had half a dozen horses — 
two of these he would sell, and keep the four best. 
We estimated that we could buy two extra saddles, 
and a saddle and bags for ;£"io ; I had my own tent 
and fly ; the tools, powder and fuse, etc., would run 
into another £$, and then, of course, there were the 
provisions. But we hoped to live largely on game. 

That night Jim Trollope and I — as he expressed it 
— ** gassed like two wimmen." 


Jim Trollope and Myself 


We broke camp on the following morning, 
packed our belongings into as small a compass as 
possible, and left them under some sheets of bark 
(in case it rained), and started off for Camden Haven, 
as I wanted to make arrangements for the rest of my 
gear with my old friend the ex-pilot, see Jim's mother 
and obtain her consent to his joining Ross and me ; 
and write some letters for Sj'dney, to go by the over- 
land mail, via Newcastle. Then I intended to return 
to our abandoned camp, get our swags and set off for 
Kempsey by w'ay of Cattai Creek, Lake Innes, and the 
mail-coach road. I thought it very likely that I 
should be able to buy a pack-horse at Camden Haven 
to carry the tent, fly, and such provisions as would 
last us to Kempsey. 

On reaching Camden Haven, we found Mrs. 
Trollope busily engaged in washing. Drying her 
hands, she shook hands with me, gave her son some- 
thing between a kiss and a bite, and asked me if he 
had " been goin' straight." 

" Straight as a die, Mrs. Trollope ; works well, and 
makes a good mate for me. And I want }-ou to let 
him come with me for perhaps a couple of months 
longer. We have got over ;;r5o worth of gold, and Jim 
takes half. I am going to sell it to the Bank of New 
South Wales at Kempsey, or else send it to the Sydney 
Mint. Shall I give Jim's share to you or to him ? " 

'* You put it in the bank for him, if you please 


Jim Trollope and Myself 

Perhaps you might let him have two or three pounds 
for himself to get some new clothes." 

" But how are you off for ready money yourself, 
Mrs. Trollope ? " 

" I've got £1] odd in the house at this moment. 
And I don't want nothin' from nobody ; but if I did, 
I wouldn't mind a-arskin' you for it. For I knowed 
your mother, and your father too, and you hasn't 
got your father's hard face and his cold way of 
speakin' to us folks as is Dissenters." 
I laughed. 

" My father had a ' hard face,' as you say, Mrs. 
Trollope ; but I think he had a kind heart, even as a 

Mrs. Trollope came over to me, and passed her 
toil-worn hands through my hair. 

** Yes, he had a kind heart, and was always ready 
with his money when poor folks were in trouble ; 

but " 

" But what, Mrs. Trollope ? " 
" Well, just this — he hadn't your mother's love and 
pity for them as was distressed and in trouble. He 
would give his money — an' your mother giv' suthin' 
more than money. She giv' us love, an' come an' 
helped us — or leastways she sent her servants to us. 
Ah ! she was a good woman, and didn't care a 
blue cuss whether folks was Church of England, or 
Methodies or Baptisties, or anything. All she wanted 
was to see people happy. Your father was a man as 
lots of people had a high respeck for, but I, an' a lot 
more, never liked him." 


Jim Trollope and Myself 

"Why, Mrs. Trollope?" 

" ' Cos he was too thick with Canon Ffrench, and 
if ever there was a man as I hated like pizon it was 
him — he looked on us dissentin' folks as if we were 
no better than so many mangy dingoes or bush rats, 
and took a pleasure in showin' it." 

" He had few friends, I know, Mrs. Trollope. All 
of our family except my father disliked him intensely ; 
as a boy I both hated and dreaded him, and my 
mother, as I daresay you know, made no secret of her 
dislike to him as a clergyman." 

The woman nodded and dropped the subject, and 
after a little further chat, I bade her good-bye, went 
and saw my old ex-pilot friend, and packed up the rest 
of my belongings. Whilst Jim and I were engaged 
in doing this, a black fellow named Tobias came along 
and lent us a hand. He told us that he was one of a 
party of half a dozen aboriginals who were camped at 
Lake Innes, and that he had come to Camden Haven 
to buy tobacco and flour. I offered him a few shillings 
to help us carry our traps and lead the pack-horse — if I 
could buy one. He at once agreed, and Jim and I 
then visited the various settlers in search of an animal, 
but no one would sell us one. However, one good- 
natured man offered to lend me one for 30s., if 
we would promise to send it back by Tobias. This 
we agreed to do, and shortly after we were under way. 

After picking up the rest of our gear at our last 
camp, we ended a good day's march by bringing up 
at the mouth of Cattai Creek, or rather lagoon, 
where we were to stay for the night. As the sun 


Jim Trollope and Myself 

set the scene was a very beautiful one — the shallow, 
reed-margined lagoon was shining like a plate of 
burnished silver, and fish were leaping about all over 
its surface, whilst on the opposite side to where we 
fixed our camp, a flock of black swans \vere sailing 
gracefully about. The entrance to the lagoon, which 
at some times of the year (during a dry season) is 
completely closed by a wide sandbank, was now well 
open, owing to the late rains, and the flood tide was 
pouring in through the passage at a great rate, 
bringing with it swarms of fine sea-mullet, and 
Tobias soon speared a number of them for our 
supper — every time he threw his slender spear 
transfixing two or three. 

Our camp was fixed near a clump of golden wattle 
trees, midway between the ocean beach and the 
lagoon, and the night was so intensely starlight that 
Jim and I could not get to sleep till past midnight — 
tired as we were with our day's march. Our sable 
companion was in his glory. After eating three large 
mullet, and a piece of damper large enough to satisfy 
three white men, he borrowed my gun and went off 
after opossums. He shot two, roasted them on the 
coals, and finished one right ofl", leaving the other, as 
we thought, for his breakfast. But towards daylight, 
when I awoke, I saw him engaged on the second, and 
by the way he ate at breakfast, one would have 
thought that he had eaten nothing for at least a 
couple of days. 

Making an early start we reached Lake Innes and 
its long-abandoned and ruined homestead by noon. 


Jim Trollope and Myself 

Lake Innes and its district had been the property of 
a retired military man — Major Innes — and the house 
he had built had once been, in the old colonial days, 
one of the finest in the colony, or indeed anywhere in 
Australia. He had been given the land as a Crown 
grant, and had expended a fortune upon it. The 
labour of building the great house, clearing the bush, 
and laying out extensive orchards, vineyards and 
gardens, had been performed by over a hundred of 
his "assigned " convict servants, whom he treated in 
a humane and merciful manner. In the course of a 
few years "Lake Innes" became one of the most 
beautiful and valuable estates in the colony, and its 
wine, fruit and cattle were famous ; and I well 
remember being told that when Governor Gipps 
came from Sydney to visit the estate, the major 
" turned out seventy mounted men (convict servants) 
to meet him on the road." 

Alas ! the glories of " the Lake " did not last very 
many years. Financial misfortunes overtook the old 
Peninsular soldier, and the estate fell into the hands 
of one of the Sydney banks, which failed to make it 
pay; the beautiful pictures and the works of art 
brought from Europe had been sold when their 
owner came to grief, the great house was left to 
caretakers, the once fruitful orchards, vineyards and 
gardens were steadily encroached upon by the ever- 
growing scrub, the surrounding settlers cut out and 
stole the painted-glass windows, and carried away the 
carved doors, and ripped up the polished floors : the 
deadly black and brown snakes basked in the sun on 


Jim Trollope and Myself 

the wide verandahs, and the opossums and iguanas 
wandered at night time through the lofty and deserted 
rooms, that were once filled with gaily dressed men 
and women, and had echoed to the sound of merry 
music and dancing. And, in and about through the 
broken windows and the gaping doorways, there 
crept insidiously what was to prove the final curse to 
the whole estate — the slender shoots of the lantana 
plant. Years before the major had brought out from 
England two small pot plants of the shrub. He had 
obtained them when he was serving in Portugal, and 
was pleased with the gay white and pink flowers, and 
the clustering berries, ranging in hue from pale green 
to red, and then to jetty black. He planted them at 
Lake Innes to form a border. They grew and 
throve amazingly under the hot Australian sun, and 
the birds carried the seeds broadcast, not only about 
the district, but throughout the coastal part of the 
colony generally, until in time hundreds upon hun- 
dreds of thousands of acres of land became overrun 
and rendered valueless by an ineradicable pest, that 
suffered naught else but itself to grow. And now 
after fifty years of its evil life it had destroyed the 
once rich lands of the estate, and overgrown all but 
a few hundred acres of non-receptive soil and the 
mighty gum trees, which the old soldier had left 
unfelled to tower above the surrounding jungle and 
scrub in lordly contempt of the wretched foreign 
interloper that had destroyed their lesser brethren of 
the wild Australian bush. 

The party of blacks to which our friend Tobias 


Jim Trollope and Myself 

belonged were camped a mile or so from the old 
house, and soon paid us a visit, accompanied by a 
score of mangy curs. We got rid of them by giving 
them some tobacco, in return for which they offered 
us several pounds of wild honey (full of dead bees) 
tied up in a sheet of bark; this we declined with 

We made our supper that evening of grilled pigeons, 
and instead of hot tea drank copiously of deliciously 
cold water from the long-disused homestead well, 
which we obtained by lowering a billy can into the 
water by a fishing-line. 

Just as we were getting ready to start on the 
following morning, we saw a horseman coming along 
the track. Both man and horse were dead beat, and 
we had to assist the former from the saddle. Almost 
unable to speak, he asked us for water. This we 
quickly gave him, and then attended to the poor horse, 
who drank can- after can-ful as quickly as we could 
fill it. The traveller was a bush missionary, and, 
after we had given him something to eat and some 
hot tea, he told us that he had wandered off the main 
track in search of water ; he failed to find any, and 
then lost his way. That night he suffered greatly 
from thirst, and had camped in a lantana thicket 
only two miles away, quite unaware that he was so 
near water. He was quite an old man, nearly seventy 
years of age, and yet as simple as a child, and his 
worn-out and exhausted appearance filled us with 
pity. But he had a plucky heart, and made light of 
his misadventure, observing that he was used to 


Jim Trollope and Myself 

such mishaps, and that it was his own fault — he was 
such a poor bushman. Yet this old fellow annually 
travelled some thousands of miles through the 
loneliest and least settled parts of Queensland and 
New South Wales, often sleeping out at nights, often 
hungry, and penniless as well, yet always bright and 
hopeful, and doing all in his power to minister to the 
spiritual wants of isolated settlers in the lonely 
bush. Although I had never seen him before, I had 
often heard him spoken of, even when I was a child. 
His shabby garments, and the awful parodies of 
horses on which the brave old gentleman made his 
long journeys, were the cause of many a joke, but 
even the roughest and hardest-swearing bullock driver 
had a kindly feeling for "poor old Dicky Coll, the 
parson " — they made fun of him and his woebegone 
"crock," but respected him, nevertheless, as a good, 
earnest, and self-sacrificing man. " He's a good 
sort," was their verdict. 

We delayed our start for several hours in order 
that Coll might have some rest, as we wanted to put 
him on the right track for his destination — a little 
township on the Manning River, to the south of 
Camden Haven. He travelled with us for ten miles, 
and before we parted we filled his almost empty 
saddlebags with provisions — beef, damper, tea and 
sugar. Although he did not smoke himself— he 
admitted that he wished he had learned to do so, as 
he was sure that " it must be a wonderful comfort in 
the bush " — he gladly took some sticks of twist 
tobacco, to give to any wandering aboriginals he 


Jim Trollope and Myself 

might meet. " Poor creatures ! " he said ; " they love 
tobacco, and it does them no harm, like spirits. 
Good-bye, and God bless and protect you." 

A few days later Gilbert Ross told me a story 
about this quiet old bush missionary that will illustrate 
the character and courage of the man. About ten 
yearspreviouslyColl was travelling in Central Queens- 
land, when he came across a party of six diggers, en 
route to a newly-discovered goldfield. It was in the 
middle of summer, water was scarce everywhere, and 
when Coll joined them they were pressing forward to 
reach certain waterholes, where they intended to 
camp for a few days. On reaching the spot they 
found the waterholes were dry, and filled with the 
dead bodies of a number of cattle which had died of 
thirst. Forty miles further on were other waterholes 
situated on a sheep station, and so the wearied men 
and horses started oif again, under the blazing sun, 
and suffering from the agonies of thirst. It took 
them four-and-twenty hours to get within sight of the 
place, and by this time two of the men were delirious. 
As they drew near they saw that the shepherds' hut 
was abandoned, and nailed on the door was a written 
notice. It said that the waterholes (which were 
enclosed by a three-railed fence) had been poisoned by 
the owner of the station in order to destroy the native 
dogs, and warned travellers against drinking from 
them. Maddened with thirst, the poor men gazed at 
the beautiful clear water with agonised eyes. To drink 
it meant death. And the next water was at the head 
station itself — twenty miles further on, and to get 

113 H 

Jim Trollope and Myself 

there was impossible. The leader of the party drew 
his revolver, and was about to shoot one of the horses 
so that they might drink its blood, when Old Coll 
stayed his hand. 

"Wait," he said; "if that water has been 
poisoned, how is it that we do not see any dead 
dingoes or birds about ? I do not believe that it is 

" Are you game to try and see ? " asked the leader. 
*'I am," replied the old man quietly. "I shall 
take a long drink, and if I die it does not matter. I 
am an old man, and my work is near to an end. I 
have no one in this world depending upon me. Most 
of you are married men with families. It is my 
belief that Mr. Douglas " (the owner of the sheep 
station) " has had this notice put up simply to prevent 
people travelling with cattle or sheep from giving 
their stock water. He is a hard man." 

He went to the waterholes and drank copiously 
again and again. And when at the end of ten 
minutes he seemed none the worse for it, the rest of 
the party crawled down and drank also. 

Old Coil's surmise was correct. The water had 
not been poisoned, and the notice had been put up 
by the selfish owner of the station to prevent his 
waterholes being depleted by travelling stock. 


Jim Trollopc and Myself 


A FEW days later Jim and I reached Kempscy, and 
put up at a quiet and inexpensive place to await the 
arrival of Gilbert Ross. The first thing we did was 
to call at the office of the local stipendiary magis- 
trate, and take out three " miners' rights " — for Ross, 
Jim, and myself. The magistrates' clerk was a very 
supercilious young man, and when I asked for three 
"miners' rights" I saw at once that he had never 
before been asked for such permits. Kempsey was not 
a mining district, and the application for a " miner's 
right " was something beyond his conception. He 
was a most elaborately dressed person, with a 
beautiful curling moustache, and when he told me 
that it was not "just then convenient" for him to 
issue " miners' rights," as he could not place his hand 
on the book containing the forms, I galvanised him 
into life and civility by a few words. 

*• This is a mining registrar's office. I have 
come here for three * miners' rights.' If you cannot 
furnish me with the documents I shall telegraph 
to the Minister for Mines at Sydney, and report 
that there is no competent person here to issue 

Jimmy Trollope grinned as the glorified young 
man, with an exceedingly red face, rose from his 
seat, went to a press and found a new (and unused) 
book of forms. I showed him how to fill in each one, 
and then asking him if he had authority to sign as 

115 H 2 

Jim TroUope and Myself 

deputy mining registrar. *' He really did not know," 
he admitted. 

" Oh, well, where is Captain Cromer ? " (the local 
stipendiary magistrate and mining registrar). " I 
want these 'miners' rights' without delay. Not at 
the office to-day ? Then you had best take them to 
him for his signature, or off goes my telegram to the 

The young gentleman glared at us both for a 
moment or two in speechless indignation. We were 
such a roughly-dressed, travel-stained, dirty-looking 
pair of ordinary swagmen that he could not conceive 
how I should address him — a Government official — 
in such a manner. But the threat about the telegram 
had its effect. 

" Very well," he said haughtily ; '* I daresay that 
Captain Cromer will settle your business — or send 
you about your business — very quickly." 

As luck would have it, at that very moment old 
Captain Cromer happened to be passing down the 
dusty street, and Jim caught sight of him. He was 
an old friend, and a long associated brother magis- 
trate of my own father, and I had known him from 
my pinafore days. Hot-tempered, autocratic, and 
dogmatic, he was at heart a good old fellow. He 
was only acting temporarily at Kempsey during the 
leave of the resident magistrate. When I bellowed 
out to him across the street, he turned, glared 
savagely at me under his bushy white eyebrows, 
and at first did not recognise me. When he 
did, he greeted me most warmly, and asked me 


Jim Trollope and Myself 

to lunch — much to the surprise of his dandified 

" I suppose you have given up the sea, then ? " he 
asked, as we walked down the street together. 

'* Oh, no, but I have four months' leave, and 
perhaps may take the liberty of extending it to six, 
or more " ; then I told him of my plans. 

" Well, I wish you and your mates all good luck. 
I will let you have the ' rights ' after lunch." 

Going into the local branch of the Bank of New 
South Wales, I sold the gold outright for cash, and 
gave Jim his share, which he at once banked, with 
the exception of a few pounds. Then we visited a 
saddler's shop, bought saddles, bridles, horse-bells, 
hobbles, etc. ; then to an ironmonger's, where I 
bought Jim a very good double-barrelled muzzle- 
loader, and all the mining tools we wanted ; and 
when, two days later, Ross arrived with the horses, 
we were practically ready to start. 

Before leaving the township on the following 
morning, I wrote to the Sydney firm of South Sea 
merchants by whom I was employed, and resigned 
my appointment, but asking them to let me rejoin 
one of their vessels at the end of six months, if there 
was a vacancy for me as supercargo or " recruiter" 
in the labour trade. I was not very anxious as to 
what their reply would be. If they took umbrage at 
my throwing up my berth, and refused to take me in 
again, I knew that I could always start myself as an 
independent trader in a small way, either in Samoa, 
the Marshall, or the Caroline Islands. 


Jim Trollope and Myself 

Ross brought with him five horses, two of which 
we used as packs. One of these was newly broken 
in, and resented the indignit}' of a pack-saddle. He 
allowed the saddle and load to be put on his back 
quietly enough, except that he kept trembling and 
starting. But the moment Jim took his halter to 
lead him out of the hotel yard, he gave a squeal, and 
then a grunt, and bucked most savagely, to the great 
amusement of a number of the townspeople who were 
standing by. For ten minutes he tore and plunged 
about the yards, making furious efforts to rid himself 
of his pack ; then he lay down and tried to roll. This 
was too much. Getting him on his feet again, we 
took off the pack-saddle and load, then Ross saddled 
the unwilling animal, mounted him, and let him 
amuse himself by another bout of bucking, till he 
gave in, exhausted, and then quietly submitted to 
the pack-saddle. 

We left the town soon after breakfast, and crossing 
the Macleay River in the horse punt, kept along the 
left-hand bank (going down) for fifteen miles, where 
we camped for our midday meal, near a selector's 

" We are bound to be followed by someone from 
Kempsey," remarked Ross, as we drank our tea, and 
ate our beef and damper. " I saw three or four 
fellows hanging around the hotel yard when we were 
packing up, and I daresay they are not very far off 
at this moment. However, we must expect to be 
followed — a prospecting party always is. But we 
shall give them a run for their money for a couple of 


Jim Trollope and Myself 

days, and then shake them off when wc once get into 
the ranges at the head of the Hastings. If we can't, 
we'll tire them out by camping, and keeping them 

Ross's surmise was correct, for at sunset, just as we 
were going into camp for the night— thirty miles from 
Kempsey — we saw four horsemen coming after us 
along the track. Coming up, they gave us a civil 
" Good evening," dismounted, and began to talk. 
They frankly told us that they had thought it worth 
while to follow us and see " what was on." 

" Right you are," said Ross with a laugh ; " it is a 
free country. My mates and I are a prospecting 
party — it is no use our saying we are not. But we 
haven't fixed on any place as yet. We are just going to 
potter around between Trial Bay and Crescent Head, 
and maybe try the country at the headwaters of some 
of the creeks." 

The men seemed to be satisfied with this statement 
— which was true enough. They were decent, 
respectable-looking fellows, but only one of them 
seemed to have had any experience of gold mining. 
Two of them had worked at the Inverell tin mines 
(in the New England district of New South Wales), 
and these had the idea that we intended to prospect for 
tin, for there was a good deal of stanniferous country 
about the Macleay, Bellinger, and Nambucca Rivers. 
They camped beside us, and we spent a very friendly 
evening, " yarning " and smoking. They had a pack- 
horse and tent, and, as far as we could see, about a 
week's provisions at the outside. No one of them 


jim Trollope and Myself 

had a gun, and this meant that they would not be 
able to remain out long. We, however, each having 
a gun, and I a rifle as well, could keep ourselves 
going for an indefinite time, for game was fairly 
plentiful, and we had a 50-lb. bag of salt as well. 
Then, too, we had fishing lines— and between game 
and fish we could be ver>' economical with our supply 
of salt beef and bacon. 

As we were saddling up at daylight next morning, 
Ross and I decided that, as our friends evidently 
meant to stick to us, we should turn off to the south- 
ward and camp for a couple of days at some swamps 
between Smoky Cape and the Macleay, where there 
was good feed for the horses and a fair amount of 
shooting. These swamps were at the headwaters of 
a fine, but shallow, creek, which was a tributary of 
the Maria River, and when we reached there and 
told our four " not wanted " companions that we 
intended to spell there for a couple of days, they 
seemed annoyed and disconcerted. 

" Look here," said Ross, " it is no use you chaps 
thinking we want to give you the slip. We could 
not. We mean to spell here for a day or so, and 
after that I daresay we shall have a look about the 
head of Deep Creek near the old silver workings. I 
believe that there is antimony about there — it is just 
the same sort of country as Corangula Creek, and 
the Corangula Creek star antimony is bringing £yo a 
ton now. So I shall have a try." 

Leaving Jim in charge of the camp, Ross and I 
took our guns and started off for the swamps, and 


Jim Trollope and Myself 

did not return till dusk, when we found that our 
friends had gone. They had told Jim that they 
would " look us up " at Deep Creek, and see what 
luck we were having. The leader had, of course, 
tried to " pump " Jim in our absence, but that astute 
young person was quite able to hold his own. 

After two days at the swamps, we crossed over 
some precipitous country to Deep Creek, where, in 
the olden days of the colony, considerable silver had 
been found. (There is another and better-known 
Deep Creek further north, where heavy deposits of 
silver were discovered later on.) But the area of 
silver-bearing country was but small, and it was soon 
worked out. 

We remained three days at this place, prospecting 
for antimony ore, and by trenching along some of the 
spurs came across several small veins or lodes, but 
not of sufficient importance to induce us to go in for 
the heavy labour of sinking a shaft. But we deter- 
mined to go on prospecting, for we were certain that 
our four former companions were not far off, and that 
they were keeping a close watch upon us. Ross, 
however, had his plans. He knew every bit of this 
part of the country, and although the four men were 
perhaps all good bushmen, he was certain that they 
did not know its intricacies as he did, and that we 
could succeed in getting away from them if we 
exercised patience. 

On the morning of the fourth day Jim shot a big 
grey kangaroo, and as we were skinning it after 
breakfast two of our friends paid us a visit. They 


Jim Trollope and Myself 

told us that they were all camped in a gully two 
miles away, and had obtained some fairly good silver 
prospects ; and we saw that they were interested in 
our antimony ore specimens. We showed them the 
trenching we had done — to the more convince them 
that we had actually been working. Before they left, 
they asked us if we meant to stay in much longer at 
Deep Creek. No, we replied, we thought not — it did 
not strike us as being "good enough." They 
mentioned that they were short of beef and flour, 
and with a wise judgment Ross gave them a hind 
quarter of kangaroo, and we "lent" them some 

When they had gone Ross turned to me with a 

" These fellows must think we are asses to lend 
flour and give them meat. It would have been 
natural for us to refuse ; but I did it with a purpose. 
If we had said ' No,' they would of course imagined 
that we refused because we were anxious to see them 
compelled to clear out for want of tucker. But look 
there, my boy, do you see that ? " and he pointed to 
a bank of dull grey clouds in the south-east. 

"Heavy rain is coming on," he continued, "and 
before night it will be upon us, with wind as well. 
It ought to be as dark as pitch, and that will be all 
the better for us." 

"You mean us to slip away ? " 

" Yes. Let us have everything ready. We must 
keep the horses near the camp, and as soon as we 
are satisfied that those fellows are turned in snug 


Jim Trollopc and Myself 

under their tent, we'll make a break, cross the 
creek before it gets too strong with the flood 
waters, and push up into the ranges for a few miles 
and wait for daylight. By this time to-morrow 
we must be forty miles from here — in a bit of 
country where those jokers cannot find us in a 


The storm that burst upon us that night was a 
very heavy one, and the roaring of the gale amongst 
the lofty tree tops made an appalling clamour and 
drowned the sound of the torrential downpour of 
rain. We succeeded in crossing the creek only just 
in time before its foaming waters rushed down in 
heavy flood. 

In single file, and leading our horses, we made our 
way along the sides of a wild and precipitous gully, 
Ross guiding us with unerring accuracy, though 
every now and then either one of our party or the 
horses would come a cropper over a fallen tree or 
run up against a boulder in the pitchy darkness. 
For four hours we crawled along drenched to the 
skin but in good spirits, until we reached a series of 
basalt caves situated at the head of the gully. Here 
we "spelled" for an hour or so, and succeeded in 
lighting a fire and making a billy of tea ; then, after 
a smoke, started off again, just as the rain began to 


Jim Trollope and Myself 

take off and a few stars peeped out from the black 
sky as if to encourage us. At the head of the gully 
we entered upon a plateau of fairly good country, 
lightly timbered but interspersed with hundreds of 
wildly fantastic granite boulders, some of them being 
of an almost human shape and seeming to lean over 
towards us with threatening and terrifying gestures. 

At last the welcome dawn appeared, and with it the 
rain ceased and we heard the call of the birds, and 
soon came the glorious sun, and a strong cool breeze 
swept down from the misty ranges far beyond 
and dried our sodden clothing. A short camp for 
breakfast and again we were on the march, keeping 
at a steady pace till past noon, when Ross drew rein 
and pointed to a deep valley that lay at the foot of the 
plateau which w^e had now crossed. We had done 
over thirty miles since leaving the camp on Deep 

'* This is the bit of country of which I told you," 
he said, as he swung himself sideways on his saddle. 
"There are half a dozen creeks running into that 
valley and all of them carry gold — whether much or 
little we shall soon know. And anyway we shall not 
be disturbed, for although there are a good many mobs 
of wild horses and cattle running about here, no one 
ever tries to get any of them — the country is too 
rugged to attempt it. Now, after me and take care 
of the horses going down, for it is mighty stiff and 
the ground is slippery from the rain. 

It took us another two hours to reach the bottom 
of the valley, and then Ross brought up at an ideal 


Jim Trollope and Myself 

camping place. It was an open spot about an acre 
in extent, well grassed and with of plenty of timber 
all around, and within a few hundred yards of a creek. 

Unsaddling and turning out the horses to revel in 
the rich, sweet grass, Ross and I set to work on the 
tent, and Jim went to the creek for water. He had 
scarcely been away ten minutes when he came tear- 
ing back at top speed making frantic gestures to us 
to lie down and keep quiet. 

"Quick," he gasped, "and get your rifles. There's 
a small mob of cleanskins (wild cattle) feedin' on the 
bank this side of the creek. There's an old brindle bull 
and eight or nine cows an' calves, an' if they don't 
get wind of us we ought to get the chance of a shot 
at short range." 

Hurriedly taking off our boots and seizing our 
rifles, Ross and I crawled on our stomachs through 
the grass to the bank, and soon caught sight of the 
cattle about a hundred yards away. They were 
coming directly towards us, feeding as they came> 
and owing to the strong breeze that was blowing 
against our faces had no sense of impending danger. 
The old bull was a magnificent creature with a coat 
like satin, and all the cows and calves were in 
splendid condition. 

"Wait a minute or two," whispered my companion; 
" do you see that red cow with the year-old calf ? 
She's the best of the lot. I'll take her in the shoul- 
der, and you must give her another shot the moment 
she goes down. Let the calf go." 

Suddenly one of our horses neighed near by, and 


Jim Trollope and Myself 

in an instant the old guardian bull was on the alert, 
sniffing the air, and not a moment too soon Ross's 
rifle rang out and the cow went down with a thud, 
and then pitched headlong down the bank into the 
creek with a heavy splash. The rest of the mob 
vanished like deer. 

Rushing down to the creek we found the poor 
cow attempting to swim or rather scramble across 
to the other side. I was just about to shoot her 
through the head when Ross stayed me, and, cruel 
as it seemed, told me to wait till she reached the 
bank, as we should never be able to get such a heavy 
beast out of the water. So we followed her across, 
and then ended her sufferings by a merciful bullet 
through the back of her head. 

The labour of getting the carcase further up on 
the bank, skinning it and then hoisting it up to a 
tree branch ready for cutting up in the morning, 
when it would be " set " and cool, was a very heavy 
task, and by sunset we all three were done up, 
though highly pleased at our good fortune in obtain- 
ing such a supply of beef. 

At daylight we began work — Jim getting breakfast 
and Ross and I attending to the butchering, cutting 
up and drysalting the meat. The rest of the day we 
spent in making our camp comfortable, and when 
darkness fell we ate a hearty supper and turned in, 
tired but happy, and not to be disturbed by the 
melancholy cry of the mopoke nor even the howling 
of some dingoes that were gathering round to feed 
upon the offal and bones of the defunct cow. 


Jim Trollope and Myself 

Before sunrise we were eating our breakfast of 
grilled steak and damper washed down by copious 
draughts of tea, and then taking our shovels and 
prospecting dishes we set out on our first day's pro- 
specting work. We had named our camp " Clean- 
skin Creek," and crossing over through the now clear, 
cold water we followed the left-hand bank right up 
to the source. 

*' Let us try here first," said Ross, casting his eye 
around approvingly. " We shall get the colour of 
gold here at any rate. Of that I am certain." 


Gilbert Ross was right in his contention, for the 
very first dish of wash-dirt that we panned off gave 
us a few " colours " of gold, and the second and third 
showed still better results. This was encouraging. 

" It is my belief," said Ross, "that there will be 
some big and rich reefs found in this broken country 
some day. All these gullies about are full of small 
* leaders,' some of them showing gold, some not a 
trace of it. I never had the time to prospect 
thoroughly, but we shall do so properly this time. 
This gold comes from these * leaders ' and stringers, 
and from no great distance either. Now, Jim, my 
son, bring along the dishes, and we shall try a bit 
further up. There is only a few inches of water here, 


Jim TroUope and Myself 

and it won't take us long to make a bit of a dam to 
keep it back ; then we can get at the bed of the 
creek itself and see how that pans out." 

Shovelling away the soil, stones, and vegetable 
debris from each side of the narrow creek, we made a 
dam high enough to keep back the running water — 
which was only about four inches deep — for some 
hours. Then all three of us set to work with our 
shovels on the exposed bed of the creek, shovelling 
out sand, stones, gravel, dead and rotten logs, etc., 
and piling the whole up on the banks. 

" That'll do for the present," cried Ross, pitching 
his shovel out upon the bank; "let us try a few dish- 
fuls before we do any more digging. It is no use for 
us to break our backs for nothing." 

Jim filled our two dishes, and we carried them to 
the dam and roughly washed them off. 

Oh, the delight of it ! There, in my dish, were at 
least five pennyweights of coarse gold, and one piece 
of about four pennyweights, which was adhering to a 
fragment of water- worn quartz. 

" Hurrah ! " I cried, " we have struck it at last. 
Look at this, Gilbert." 

Ross made no answer beyond a nod, and went on 
washing-off. Then he looked up, with a smile on his 
bronzed and handsome face. 

"And look at this," he said quietly, holding out his 
dish to Jim and me to look at. 

Gleaming brightly amidst some fine black and 
reddish-coloured sand was quite half an ounce of 
gold — most of it coarse and in fiat water-worn 


Jim Trollopc and Myself 

pellets. Jim's nut-brown countenance expanded 
into a vast smile. 

We held a hurried discussion as to our best course 
of action, and resolved to take out no more wash-dirt 
that day, but to begin operations lower down by 
building a bigger and stronger dam with a " run off" 
and a race. This, if the rain would only hold off, 
and the creek not come down in flood, would enable 
us to work the bottom in a leisurely and systematic 
manner. The dam we had already made we cut 
into, and let the accumulated water run off gently 
on its natural course. Then, after congratulating 
ourselves on our good luck, we stretched ourselves 
under a shady tree for a smoke, before resuming 
operations on the rest of the wash-dirt, now rapidly 
draining and drying under the hot sun. 

"I think," observed Ross, "that this bit of the 
creek just here will prove to be the best, for the 
wash-dirt seems to be pretty thick, and that bar of 
rock down below there has made a sort of a water 
pocket here. But where the gold comes from I 
cannot imagine. So far I can see no sign of an 
outcrop or ' blow ' of quartz anywhere about on the 
sides of the gully. Quite possibly there may be 
dozens of small reefs and leaders criss-crossing every- 
where, but not showing on the surface — they may all 
be covered up with the accumulation of vegetable 
mould of centuries. If so, our only way to And out 
would be to trench along one or more of the spurs. 
Then, again, it may be that the reef runs along the 
bed of the creek itself — or did so once, until it 

129 I 

yim Trollope and Myself 

became disintegrated by time. I have known of 
such a case on the old Calliope diggings in Queens- 
land. There we were getting gold — coarse, fine, 
and nuggets running up to ten ounces — from the 
bed of a creek, and there was not the sign of a reef 
anywhere within six miles ; nothing but a monstrous 
' blow ' of white, hungry quartz, half an acre in 
extent, and with not a grain of gold in a thousand 
tons of it. Now, come on, you fellows, and let us 
finish off. We have a good many hours of daylight 
left, and can easily finish before sunrise." 

With a right good will we turned to again, and 
when we finished there was a pretty sight to behold 
— over forty ounces of beautiful gold, worth ;^i5o. 
Amongst it were several small nuggets, some of the 
pure metal itself, others embedded in or attached to 
fragments of quartz. 

I shall not weary my readers with the technical 
details of our arduous labours for the next four or 
five weeks. We toiled as only diggers can toil — 
especially when they are doing well ; and despite one 
great and bitter disappointment we were well 
rewarded, for out of that unknown and unnamed 
creek we found a hundred and sixty ounces of gold, 
exclusive of one nugget of five, and one of three and 
a half ounces. We should have done better still but 
for a terrific thunderstorm which, during our third 
week, swept away our dam and put the creek into a 
roaring torrent within an hour. And, unfortunately, 
in addition to losing some of our tools, one of our 
pack-horses was drowned. He was the only one of 


Jim Trollope and Myself 

our animals which ever gave us any trouble by his 
persistent habit of straying from the camp at night 
time. On the day of the storm I had short-hobbled 
him and let him feed along the bank. He evidently 
must have slipped into the creek and been carried 
away when the rush of water came. We afterwards 
found his body caught in the branches of a white 
cedar tree about four miles down the creek. 

At the end of five weeks, and as the result of some 
good prospects we had obtained at the head of 
another creek nine miles distant from Cleanskin 
Creek, we broke camp at the latter place, and the 
next day found us at our new quarters. It was a 
wildly picturesque bit of country, amidst rugged and 
forbidding granite spurs, mostly bare of timber, 
though our camp was in primeval forest. The creek 
was narrow, but in places very deep, and some of the 
deeper pools abounded in small but excellent fish, 
very much like grayling. They took the hook freely, 
especially if baited with a grasshopper or cricket, and 
we had many hours' excellent sport. We also came 
across several mobs of wild cattle, but for a long 
time they were too quick for us, and we had to 
content ourselves with kangaroos, rock wallabies, 
pigeons and cockatoos. These latter, when hung for 
a couple of days, are excellent eating, like the 
Australian king parrot, and Jim was now proving 
himself a first-rate cook, though he could never 
succeed in making a satisfactory damper. This 
either fell to Gilbert Ross or me. 

At this creek, which we called Mullet Waterholes, 

131 i 2 

Jim Trollope and Myself 

we did not get as much gold as we anticipated, owing 
to Ross injuring his foot very severely with a pick. 
Still, at the end of a month we had added forty-two 
ounces to " the bank," as we called our canvas gold- 
bag, and were quite satisfied. 

Our flour and sugar were now at a very low ebb, 
and, if we intended to keep on, must be replenished. 
It would not do for us to visit Kempsey or any of the 
larger settlements to buy stores of any kind, as we 
were afraid of being shadowed as lucky diggers, so 
Ross proposed that he and Jim should make their 
way to the coast to the little hamlet of Russell at 
Smoky Cape (on the shores of Trial Bay), where 
there was a combined general store and public-house. 
Here they could obtain all the flour, sugar, etc., we 
wanted and be back within a week or eight days. 
Then, after their return, we intended to prospect 
some of the other creeks in the vicinity of Mullet 

Taking two pack-horses to carry the bags of flour, 
and riding the two other best horses, Gilbert and 
Jim set off early one Monday morning, and I was 
left to myself. They had scarcely ,been out of sight 
of the camp for five minutes when I heard the well- 
known report of Ross's rifle. 

Grabbing at my shot gun, which was loaded, I ran 
as hard as I could up the stony spur to see what was 
wrong, and in a few seconds more was nearly knocked 
down by a mob of twenty or so wild cattle which 
came rushing madly down, making for the jungle on 
the creek. Then Jim appeared on the crest of the 


Jim Trollope and Mysclt 

spur, and bellowed out to me that Ross had shot a 
fine fat heifer — one of the mob. 

This was a bit of luck, although it meant delaying 
Ross and Jim for a couple of days to skin, cut up, 
and salt down the prize. For a prize she was, 
although she took the last of our coarse salt. 

After my companions left me for the second time, 
I put in my hrst day at mending boots, sewing 
clothes, and doing the whole family washing. 

As I was returning from the creek carrying "the 
family wash," I met a dingo slut and three pups, 
face to face. They had been feeding on the refuse 
of the heifer and were so full that they were hardly 
able to do more than go off at a trot — turning back 
and showing their teeth at me every now and then. 


During the absence of my " mates," I had much 
to occupy me, both mentally and physically, and I 
think that I greatly benefited by being left to 
commune with myself and Nature in that lonely spot, 
even for the short space of eight days and nights. 
I was used to long periods of loneliness, for during 
my past career in the Pacific Islands I had twice 
been left very much to myself. Once was when I 
and a native of Niu6 (Savage Island) spent seven 
months by ourselves on an uninhabited island in the 
Equatorial Pacific. The story is a brief one, so I 


Jim Trollope and Myself 

may tell it here in this narrative of my trampings 
and wanderings in the Australian bush : — 

I was then the supercargo of a South Sea Island 
trading vessel sailing from Sydney, and during our 
cruise we called at Uea — commonly known as Wallis 
Island. It is an isolated spot three hundred miles 
to the westward of Samoa, and populated by a fine 
stalwart race of Malayo-Polynesians, who speak a 
curious patois of the Maori, Samoan and Fijian 
dialects. The one white trader on the island was a 
man who had led a most adventurous career in the 
Pacific, and one evening he told me that he had 
** missed many chances of making a fortune," and 
then asked me if I was prepared to pay him a 
hundred pounds for a secret that would be worth 
many thousands of pounds to the firm by which I 
was employed as supercargo. 

" I am an old man, and, as you know, almost 
blind, and have a well-deserved reputation as a hard 
drinking old scallywag. But no one can say that I 
am not honest." 

'* I know that, Martin," I replied. 

*' Well, if you will give me a hundred pounds I 
will tell you of an island where there are thousands 
of tons of guano — guano as good as that of Baker's 
or Rowland Islands. It is covered up by vegetable 
mould and sand." 

I knew that the old fellow was "straight," 
and had no hesitation in giving him £"50 down 
and a written order on my firm's agents in 
Samoa for another £50 payable in six months. 


Jim Trollope and Myself 

Then we sailed direct for the guano island. It 
was one of the Phoenix Group in the Equatorial 
Pacific, and within half an hour of our arriving 
there I was satisfied that the old trader's story 
was quite true and that there was at least 
;^ioo,ooo worth of guano on the island. 

I was young, honest and quixotic, and decided to 
remain on the island, send my ship back to Sydney 
with the news of this valuable discovery, telling them 
that I was remaining on the island until they sent a 
staff of native labourers to ship the guano, for it was 
quite possible that old Martin, " straight " as he 
was, might, in his cups, tell someone else what he 
had told me, and that the island would be taken 
possession of by other parties. 

So, with one native sailor to keep me company, I 
remained on the island. My vessel, on her way to 
Sydney, was dismasted, and it was seven months 
before we were relieved. During that time we 
suffered great hardships, for we had landed with only 
three months' provisions, and for the remaining four 
lived on sea-birds' eggs, fish, and turtle flesh. And 
my generous emploj'ers, who netted over £90,000 
from the guano deposits on the island, rewarded 
me with the magnificent sum of -^200 as a bonus 
for my long ^sojourn I They "considered" that 
my salary of £^^ per month as supercargo was 
in itself ample compensation for seven months* 
miser}','' "[as^If'had nothing to do, and no 
worries nor anxieties." Had I had sufficient sense 
I should have kept old'Martin's secret to myself, gone 


Jim Trollope and Myself 

to some Sydney merchant, and made many thousands 
of pounds. 

My second experience of loneliness was on the 
great island of New Britain, in the Western Pacific, 
where for two months I lived alone on a tiny island 
off the coast, " shepherding " some black-edge pearl 
shell beds which had been casually discovered by 
some of the native seamen of a schooner on which I 
was a passenger. At this place, however, I was well 
content, for I had plenty of food, and during the two 
months collected two tons of pearl shell, worth 
£^0 a ton. 

■jjt Hf 'I* * 'P' 

When Ross and Jim Trollope returned with 
all the provisions we wanted, they brought with 
them a letter from a much-loved sister which 
had been following me about for many months, 
urging me to visit her at her home in Brisbane, 

" Do not go back to those horrible South Sea Islands 
before seeing me again," she wrote. " I am quite an 
old woman now — forty years of age — and my husband 
and five children, who have never seen you, want 
you to come to us for even a few weeks before you go 
a-wandering again. I do not know how you are 
situated as regards money ; but if you want some — 
and I am sure you do, as you were never careful — go 
to Francis Adams, at the Commercial Bank in 
Sydney, and he will give you whatever you want up 
to two hundred pounds (£200). I have written to 
him. I do hope that you have some decent clothes. 


Jim Trollope and Myself 

I do not want to be unkind, but you are so careless 
in that way." 

I read this letter to Gilbert Ross. 

" You must go and see your sister," he said. " If 
you do not go now, you may not have another 

And so I decided to go. 

It was a sorrowful parting for us, and when I rode 
away, after a hearty hand-grasp with Gilbert Ross 
and Jim Trollope, I felt that there was a big hole in 
my Australian heart. 





Chartered by the naval authorities at Sydney to 
take a cargo of coal to Cooktown, North Queensland, 
for the use of one of Her Majesty's ships then engaged 
on the New Guinea survey, the Island trading vessel, 
of which Tom Drake was supercargo, sailed one day 
in November, and fourteen days later passed through 
the Great Barrier Reef at Trinity Opening, and came 
into smooth water. After landing a few tons of cargo 
at the then newly-founded township at Port Douglas, 
the Ysabe/ proceeded on her way to Cooktown, inside 
the Great Barrier. That is, tried to proceed, but 
heavy north-easterly weather set in, raising a tre- 
mendous sea. For two days her skipper tackled it, 
bringing to at night, and then gave up till the weather 
moderated, by anchoring under the lee of a headland 
not far from Cape Tribulation, and near the mouth of 
an alligator-infested tidal river. At this time nearly 
all of the rivers debouching into the Pacific from Cape 
York down to Rockingham Bay — many hundreds of 
miles — were almost unknown, except to a few adven- 
turous parties of cedar-getters, who, at the daily risk 
of their lives from fever and savage, cannibal blacks, 


'' For the Benefit of Sailors' Kids 


plied their dangerous and laborious vocation in the 
hot and steamy jungles that clothed the rivers' banks. 
Great confusion existed as to the names of these 
rivers, and even the location of their mouths, which 
were often hidden from seaward view by belts of man- 
groves. Some of them had half a dozen names, each 
party of cedar-getters who entered a river giving it 
a name of their own choosing. With the discovery of 
the Palmer River goldfields, some hundreds of miles in 
the interior, and, later on, of those on the Hodgkinson 
River, came the opening of new ports. Cooktown, 
at the mouth of the Endeavour River, was the first, 
then followed Port Douglas, Mourilyan, and others, 
and the loneliness of the cedar-getters' lives was 
occasionally broken by the visit of some daring party 
of diggers journeying along the wild and savage coast, 
seeking some new and shorter track through the 
rugged coastal range to the goldfields beyond. Time 
after time would a party of cedar-getters or diggers 
enter one of these rivers and be no more heard of, 
and then, perhaps long months after, a patrol of 
native police would come across their camp, and find 
the skeletons or charred bones of the former occupants, 
who had been surprised and slaughtered by the 
" myalls " (wild blacks). Then began the task of 
vengeance. The black police, as savage and ruthless 
as the " myall " murderers themselves, would, under 
the leadership of a white officer, follow the trail of 
the savages until they in turn were surprised and 
shot down mercilessly, neither age nor sex being 


'' For the Benefit of Sailors' Kids " 

On the day following that on which the Ysahel 
anchored, the heavy rain squalls ceased, though the 
wind continued to blow a gale, and although she was in 
smooth water inside the Great Barrier Reef, a terrific 
sea was running a few miles from the shore. 

Like all South Sea traders, she carried a native 
crew (her ultimate destination after leaving Cook- 
town was the islands of the North-West Pacific), and 
on the cessation of the rain some of them came to 
Drake and asked him if he would not like to take a 
boat and go up the river for some shooting, for they 
had seen vast numbers of duck and geese flying over- 
head, making their way from the storm-swept coast 
to more sheltered situations inland. Glad of leaving 
the ship, the supercargo assented, and one of the 
boats was at once lowered. The party consisted of 
four Polynesian sailors, the second mate, and Drake, 
and they took with them an ample supply of pro- 
visions — such as tinned beef, biscuits, tea, sugar, etc. 
— and started off with pleasurable anticipation of a 
long and good day's sport. Each of the native 
seamen had a single-barrel muzzle-loader shot gun 
(their own property), and the second mate and super- 
cargo, in addition to their breech-loading i2-bores, 
had each brought a Snider rifle — mainly for the 
purpose of getting some shots at the alligators, but 
also in case of blacks being about the river. 

A few minutes' pull brought them to the mouth of 
the river, which was alive with fish, jumping and 
splashing about in all directions. After passing the 
mangroves, they entered the river proper, on the 


" For the Benefit of Sailors' Kids " 

mudd}' banks of which many alligators were lying. 
The reptiles quickly slid into the water at the boat's 
approach, but one of the very largest gave Finch 
(second mate) the chance of a side shot, and to the 
crew's delight the hideous creature turned on its side, 
opening and snapping its jaws, and lashing its tail to 
and fro in the soft mud. Another bullet through the 
neck at a distance of ten yards settled it — the first 
had taken it under the forearm. 

The sound of the shots had disturbed an immense 
number of wild-fowl somewhere near, and just as 
their clamour ceased the men heard two shots in 
quick succession, and then a " Coo-e-e ! " 

"Cedar-getters," said Drake to Finch; "they must 
be round the bend of the river." 

After pulling half a mile they rounded the bend, 
and came across a patrol of native police. They 
were camped in a cleared space on the right-hand 
bank, and the officer in charge told Drake that it had 
formerly been a cedar-getter's camp of five men, who 
had been killed by the blacks a year previously. He 
and his black troopers were on patrol, and making 
their way along the coast to Cooktown. They had 
slept in the cedar-getters' hut, which, although it had 
been plundered by the " myalls," had a good roof of 
bark over it. At the back of it was what had once 
been a good garden, in which the poor cedar-getters 
had grown maize, sweet potatoes, pumpkins, and 
other vegetables, and the officer showed Finch and 
Drake scores of large yellow pumpkins, full grown, 
lying amidst wild vines and creepers — the seeds of 


" For the Benefit of Sailors' Kids " 

the previous crop had taken root, and yielded as 
prolilically as if they had been sown by hand, and 
the vines tended. After an hour's chat and smoke, 
and several nips of ship's rum, the officer bade his 
men saddle up, as they had to resume their march. 
He told Drake and Finch that about a mile down 
the river they would come to a narrow left-hand 
branch, by following which for another two miles 
they would enter some large swamps, where they 
were certain to find any quantity of geese, duck and 
teal, with good cover to shoot from. 

"At the same time," he added, "you must look 
out for niggers. I have come down along this bank 
from the head of the river, up in the ranges, and we 
have not seen a sign of a nigger — only some old 
camping places, so I suppose there arc none about 
the river just now. Still, one can never tell ; and 
now that the rains have come, and the swamps and 
marshes are covered with geese and duck, it is quite 
possible that some small, wandering mobs of niggers 
may have come down from the ranges, goose hunting. 
I would go with you, but it's out of my beat— my 
instructions were to patrol along this bank — the other 
side and all the coast southward is in charge of 
another sub-inspector, who patrols the Cardwell 
(Rockingham Bay) District. So keep a good look- 
out ; don't go too far from your boat ; and, quite 
apart from niggers, there are alligators in some of the 
swamps and lagoons, especially the deeper ones. 
Don't try to pick up anything you shoot that falls in 
water deeper than would reach to your knees. These 

145 K 

" For the Benefit of Sailors' Kids " 

swamp alligators are the very devil for collaring a 
man unawares. Now good-bye, and good luck," and 
swinging himself into his saddle, the swarthy-faced 
sub-inspector trotted off, followed by his sooty-faced 
blue-uniformed Danites, who, with becketted carbines 
trotted after their officer in single file. 

Before starting, the crew half-filled the whaleboat 
with huge pumpkins — always a treat for sailors — and 
then pushed off. As they made their way down the 
river again to the branch which they were to take, 
the second mate and the supercargo discussed their 
police officer acquaintance and some of the startling 
stories he had told them of the murderous attacks by 
the blacks upon cedar-getters and isolated parties of 
diggers, and the terrible reprisalsby the native police. 
For, about two years previously, some thousands of 
Chinese had been pouring into the rich alluvial gold- 
fields of the Far North of Queensland, most of them 
landing at Cooktown direct from Hongkong. These 
made for the Palmer River diggings ; others swarmed 
into the country by way of the ports on the Gulf of 
Carpentaria, and marched on foot through desert 
country to the rich alluvial gold fields on the 
Etheridge, Gilbert, and Cloncurry Rivers, crowding 
out the white miners, and proving a curse to the 
country, for they brought no money into it, and 
every pennyweight of gold they washed out was sent 
to China. Many hundreds of them perished on the 
way, and hundreds were speared by the blacks. As 
soon as a party of these alien diggers had secured a 
few hundred ounces of gold, some of their num.ber 


" For the Benefit of Sailors' Kids " 

would be despatched with it to Cooktown or Nor- 
manton, to place it in the hands of the Chinese 
merchants there for shipment to China. Unarmed 
and cowardly, they often fell an easy prey to the 
myall blacks, and the gold dust and nuggets they 
carried were cast aside by the savages as valueless 

" But," the officer had added, " it is not always the 
niggers who murder these gold-carrying Chows — 
take away the * n ' from niggers, and substitute a 
* d,' and you'll get at the truth. We, in the police, 
know a good deal, and I and other officers in the 
native'^police, could put our hands on half a dozen 
diggers who have not won an ounce of gold honestly 
since they came upon the fields — but are now rich 
men, with big banking accounts — they got their gold 
by shooting down and then robbing parties of Chinese 
diggers on their way to the coast. Why, not six 
months ago one of our patrols came across seven 
dead Chinamen, all of whom had been shot. I won't 
mention names, but we know very well who shot 
them — two well-known ' prospectors,' as they call 
themselves. Ten days or so after the Chinamen's 
bodies were found, these two jokers rode into 
Normanton and sold seven hundred ouncesof gold to 
the Bank of Australasia there ; said they had struck a 
rich little alluvial patch on the Einnasleigh River. 
And they have wiped out other parties of Chows as 
well ; but of course the niggers get the blame, as they 
do most of the killing. I once found the remains of 
three poor devils, who had been speared in their sleep 

147 K 2 

<' For the Benefit of Sailors' Kids " 

by the niggers, and my black troopers found about 
forty ounces of alluvial gold scattered about the 
place where they had camped — the niggers had taken 
it out of the dead men's pouches, or whatever it was 
carried in, and chucked it away." 

" What is done with gold found under such circum- 
stances ? " Drake had asked. 

"The Curator of Intestate Estates at Brisbane is 
supposed to get it," the officer said with a dry smile, 
which Drake and Finch quite understood. The two 
"prospectors" to whom the officer referred, had, he 
concluded, not been seen at any of the gold fields for 
over five months, and it was supposed they had gone 
south to Sydney or Melbourne. " They were last 
seen in this part of the country where we are now, 
and said that they were making for Cairns (Trinity 
Bay) to get a steamer going south. But they never 
turned up there. I daresay they were alarmed at 
the talk going about them, and thought that the 
Cairns police might want to look into their swags, 
for just then there was another party of Chinese 
diggers missing who were known to have a lot of 
gold in their possession. Most likely these two chaps, 
who were well mounted, and had spare horses, thought 
it best to get into New South Wales or Victoria over- 
land, and went there by the great stock routes, like 
all ' overlanders.' " 

^ 4^ * * * 

Turning into the branch of the river, and using 
Polynesian canoe paddles (with which the boat was 
provided) instead of oars, on account of its narrowness, 


" For the Benefit of Sailors' Kids 


the boat sped swiftly over the sluggish stream, dis- 
turbing several mud-cmbcddcd alligators on the 
banks, and then after a two miles' pull the river 
suddenly opened out into a series of swamps, or 
rather tidal lagoons, the margins of which were lined 
either with tall reeds or low undergrowth. The 
surface of the water was covered with thousands of 
water- fowl, ducks, geese, teal, water-hens and pelicans. 
On the right hand side of the largest swamp the land 
was fairly high, and free from dense scrub, and 
thither the boat was headed, towards a clump of 
wide-spreading trees standing in an open space. 
Here the party landed to eat their midday meal, 
under the shady trees, for the day was now un- 
comfortably hot. Leaving two of the men behind — 
one to boil water for the tea, and the other, with a 
Snider rifle, to act as sentry with instructions to fire 
if he saw any blacks — Drake, Finch, and the rest of 
the seamen started off along the bank, and in a few 
minutes the four guns were making havoc among the 
geese and duck feeding in the reeds. With the first 
shot they rose in clouds and filled the air with their 
clamour, only to circle a little distance and then 
settle down again on the open water. In half an 
hour each man had as many birds as he could 
carry, all shot within five hundred yards of the 

" That will do for the present. Finch," cried Drake. 
** Let us get to camp, and we'll have another turn at 
them after dinner." 

Gathering the birds together, they were all walking 


*' For the Benefit of Sailors' Kids 


leisurely back to the camp when they heard the loud 
report of the sentry's rifle. 

" Run, boys ; run," shouted Drake, dropping his 
birds ; " the niggers must be about the camp ! " 

A few minutes' hard running brought them in 
sight of the camp. To their surprise, neither of the 
two men seemed at all alarmed ; one was attending 
to the fire, the other coming towards them, carrying 
his rifle in one hand and a wild goose in the other. 

" What made you fire ? " said Drake, testily. 

"Because, master," replied the man, speaking in 
his native Samoan, " I was frightened. I have seen 
two dead men, and I fired my rifle to bring you 
back. Ah, they are bad to look upon." Then he 
told his story : — 

As he was keeping watch, he saw a flight of geese 
pass over the camp, and one, which was wounded, 
fell into a narrow gully a few hundred yards distant. 
He ran to pick it up, and was returning with it, when 
he saw " a lot of things " lying scattered about under 
a clump of stinging trees. Going closer to examine, 
he was horrified to see the bodies, or rather skeletons, 
of two human beings, lying amongst a heap of 
articles — broken spears, torn clothing, saddles, boots, 
and battered prospecting dishes — and so fired his 
rifle to bring the shooting party back. 

Hurrying to the spot, Drake and Finch beheld a 
gruesome sight — the two almost fleshless skeletons 
of men, who had evidently been speared and clubbed 
to death, for a number of broken spears were lying 
about, and both skulls were literally battered to 

'' For the Benefit of Sailors' Kids 


fragments. The men had evidently been camped in 
a tent near by, for its remains, torn into strips, were 
scattered about. Two saddles and a pack-saddle, 
minus the stirrup leathers and straps, had been 
thrown over the remains, and a little distance away 
were the skeletons of three horses, which had been 
speared in their hobbles, for both the hobbles with the 
hobble-chains were still round the whitened bones of 
their forelegs. Here, too, were a number of broken 
spears. All around were the marks of fires on the 
ground, surrounded by horse bones, showing where 
the myall blacks had cooked the horseflesh. 

" Poor beggars ! " said Finch, shudderingly, as he 
gazed at the dreadful spectacle under the glossy- 
leaved stinging tree ; " we shall have to bury them." 

The two men took a drink of spirits to fortify 
themselves, and gave one to each of their crew, and 
then told the latter to cut a forked sapling, and draw 
out the poor remains of humanity, whilst they dug a 
grave with boat paddles in the soft soil. 

Quickly, and in silence, the work was begun and 
completed, and then Drake and Finch asked the 
men if they had come across any letters or papers 
of any kind. 

" No," they said, "they had not noticed any." 

" Then look again." 

He and Finch were walking back to the fire, when 
the latter stooped and picked up a small object 
from the ground. It was a tiny, square glass phial, 
covered with silk netting, and filled with a thick 
yellow liquid. He knew what it was in an instant. 


^' For the Benefit of Sailors' Kids 


"Chinese essence of peppermint, and rattling good 
stuff it is, too, for a headache," exclaimed the seaman 
as he handed it to his companion. " I suppose it 
must have belonged to one of those poor chaps, and 
the niggers threw it away. Hullo, there are a couple 


Drake stopped suddenly. Something had flashed 
across his mind at the sight of the phial. 

" Finch, do you remember what the police officer 
told us about the two fellows who made a business of 
murdering and robbing Chinese diggers. Now " 

A loud " Come back, sirs, quick ! " made them 
turn. Harry, one of the native seamen, was running 
to them, evidently much excited. 

" There's a lot of gold lying about on the ground, 
sir ; some of it is loose, and some is tied up in little 
bags. Look, sir, here is some," and, opening his 
hand, he displayed a number of small nuggets, 
ranging from one to three ounces each. 

Drake was an Australian by birth, and had had 
experience as a digger. Taking the nuggets from the 
man, he examined them. 

" Alluvial gold," he said to Finch. Then dropping 
the nuggets into his pocket, he bade Harry go back 
to his shipmates and wait. 

" Finch, I believe that those two awful things we 
have just buried are the two prospectors, and that 
this gold has been taken from poor wretches of 
Chinamen whom they have murdered. Now, let us 
go and see." 

Reaching the spot, where the sailors were still 


" For the Benefit of Sailors' Kids " 

searching, by clearing away the grass, dead leaves 
and twigs, one of them handed the supercargo four 
small linen bags, each containing about twelve ounces 
of fine gold ; then a soiled and blood-stained belt made 
of sisal hemp, which had been cut partly through, 
but still contamed nearly forty ounces of gold in small 
nuggets. Other bags were also lying about, cut or 
torn open, and empty, and the gold that they had 
contained had been tossed away on all sides. Every 
now and then the men \Yould find nuggets of varying 
size, and as the leaves were scraped away, coarse and 
fine gold showed itself on the black soil. 

The white men held a hurried consultation. It 
was necessary for them to get out of the river before 
dark, or the skipper would be alarmed, yet they did 
not want to leave any of the gold still on the ground. 
Then an idea came to Drake. 

" Run to the boat, two of you, unbend the main- 
sail and jib, dip them in the water, and bring them 
here with the bucket and some more paddles. Hurry 
up, my lads. Now, Finch, the rest of us must set to 
work and cover all this place about here with a thin 
layer of dry leaves and dead grass — no big sticks, 
mind, as I'm going to set fire to it. Then, as soon 
as it burns down, we can scrape up the ashes, and 
about an inch of the top soil with it, turn it into the 
jib and mainsail, and dump it, load by load, into the 
boat until we have the last of it. If we are careful 
we can't lose even any of the fine gold, and when we 
get to the ship I'll pan off the stuff. 

Ever}onc went to work with a will, and in a short 


'' For the Benefit of Sailors' Kids " 

time the ground beneath and around the clump of 
stinging trees was ablaze. The grass and leaves 
burned away quickly, and then all hands began 
vigorously scraping the hot, but not burning, ashes 
and top soil into heaps, which were put into the 
wetted sails, and carried to the boat. In two hours 
the work was completed, and then, after a hurried 
meal and a half pannikin of grog each, the crew 
took to the paddles, and sent the deeply-laden 
boat down the river, Drake and the officer, too 
excited to talk, paddling with their brown-skinned 

Darkness fell as they gained the mouth of the 
river and saw the bright riding light of the Ysabel in 
the darkness. As the boat ranged alongside, old 
McLeod, the skipper, leant over the rail, pipe in 

" What have you got ? " he asked. 

" Geese, ducks, teal, pumpkins and nuggets of 
gold," replied the second mate with a curious, 
hysterical kind of laugh. 

" Ah ! And I suppose the grog jar is empty," said 
the unbelieving McLeod, with good-natured sarcasm. 

7ff ^F ^ * ■'* 

All the following morning and afternoon, Drake, 
aided by some of the crew, was busied on the main 
deck in panning off the wash-dirt, with the result 
that a further three hundred ounces of gold were 
obtained. This, with that which had been found 
previously, brought the total up to five hundred and 
twenty ounces. Whilst panning off Drake came 


'' For the Benefit of Sailors' Kids " 

across several small silver coins of the Hongkong 
currency, and most damning proof of the guilt of the 
prospectors, two heavy gold rings set with jade 
inscribed with Chinese characters. 

That night, after supper, the table was cleared and 
the gold weighed. It was pure, water-worn alluvial, 
and of the highest value, without a fragment of 
quartz adhering to any of the nuggets, and Drake, 
who was a competent judge, valued it at £3 18s. per 

Then ensued a discussion. What was to be done 
with the treasure ? Could they honestly keep it ? 
Would they be defrauding anyone ? The gold was 
undoubtedly obtained in the first instance by Chinese, 
who had been cruelly murdered by the two prospec- 
tors. Was there the slightest probability of the 
names of the original owners or their relatives in 
China ever being ascertained, even if the most 
strenuous efforts were made ? Such a search could 
only be made by the Government of Queensland, and 
the Government of Queensland were very unlikely to 
do such a thing, even if there was any prospect of 
success. All these questions were weighed carefully. 
No one of the four men present wanted to do any- 
thing that was not right — that is, the captain, Drake, 
and the second mate did not, but the mate, a long- 
headed down-east Yankee, was ver}' emphatic in 
asserting that the finders had every moral and legal 
right to their discovery. 

" As for the Curator of Intestate Estates, I can tell 
you this much," remarked McLeod. "Twice I 


" For the Benefit of Sailors' Kids " 

have had deaHngswith a Curator of Intestate Estates 
— once in Melbourne, and once in the West Indies. 
In the one case a saloon passenger of mine from 
London committed suicide by jumping overboard, 
and left ;£'70o behind him. The Curator took charge 
of the money and effects. Nothing was known of 
the man except his name. The Curator spent about 
;^5 in advertising in the London and Melbourne 
papers, and then stopped. No one replied. That 
was sixteen years ago, and he has the money in 
hand still. The other case was that of a Jamaican 
nigger steward of mine who died of fever at Manila, 
and left £iio. The Curator at Jamaica claimed it, 
and it took the nigger's family, who lived in San 
Francisco, three years to get the money out of him 
— less £^0 odd charges." 

His hearers listened attentively. 

*' Now, supposing we handed this gold over to the 
Curator of Intestate Estates at Brisbane ? What 
would be the result ? Who but the Treasury would 
benefit ? Even if they wanted to, and could find 
the names of the dead Chinamen, they would take 
ten years to start the inquiry, and in another ten 
there would be about ten thousand Chinese all 
claiming to be the nearest relatives. And they 
wouldn't get a cent — the Government would look out 
for that. Morally — there's no ' legally ' about it — the 
finders have the right to this ;£"2,ooo worth of gold. 
Anyway, that is my opinion. And now look here, 
you fellows. Here is a chance for you to do some- 
thing for the Seamen's Orphan Society. The society 


" For the Benefit of Sailors' Kids '' 

is in debt, and fifty or a hundred pounds would be a 
lift for it. If you handed over this gold to the Curator 
of Intestate Estates, and asked Jiijn to give a hundred 
quid out of it for the benefit of sailor men's widows 
and kids, he would only write you ten lines and say 
he 'would consider the advisability of mentioning 
the matter to the proper authorities in due course,* 
and that would be the last of it — the Seamen's 
Orphan Benevolent Society would never get a cent 
from the Curator." 

Burt, the mate, rose suddenly and went into his 
cabin, and returned with a five-shilling piece. 

" Look here ! I'm tired of so much jaw. Let us 
toss up and see whether you communicate with your 
durned Kew-rater or not" ; and before anyone could 
stay him, he spun up the coin. 

" Heads fer the finders, tails fer the Kew-rater." 

The coin rattled on the table, and all the men bent 
anxiously over it. 

" Heads it is," gasped Finch with a sigh of 

" Heads it is," echoed the skipper. " Now I suggest 
that three-fourths go to Mr. Drake and you, Finch, 
and the rest to the men you had with you." 

" Not at all," said Drake ; " do you think that you 
and Burt stand out ? No — j^i,500 between Finch 
and me, ;£'400 between you and Burt, and the rest 
to the men. 

"And I propose that we make up £"200 for the 
Seamen's Orphans' Society," suggested the second 
mate. " It will sort of m.ake us feel we are doing 

" For the Benefit of Sailors' Kids 


the square thing — just for the benefit of sailors' 

'' Thet's nice and handsome — and fair all round," 
observed Mr. Burt, who, with his hand in his pocket, 
was tenderly caressing the crown piece — which had 
a queen's head on both sides. 






When I was about twenty-two years of age, I one 
day found myself in Honolulu with a little over 
$1,000 in my possession — the result of a trading 
voyage to the Marshall and Caroline Islands, in 
the North Pacific. I had been supercargo of the 
schooner in which the voyage had been made, and 
was paid off at San Francisco. In that city — which 
in those days was aptly described as a place that only 
wanted a roof over it to make it the most wicked 
house on earth — I had remained for but a few weeks, 
and then took passage for Honolulu in the old side- 
wheeler Moses Taylor. For Honolulu was the centre 
of all the Polynesian Islands trade and ventures, 
and I was sure that there not only would I meet 
many old South Sea Island comrades, but "drop 
into something good," in which I could invest my 
small capital of $i,ooo. So thither I went, eager 
once more to assail the gates of the bright City 
of Fortune which lies within the beautiful Land of 
Adventure. I was young and vigorous, and burning 

i6i L 

The '^ Manurua " and " Marguerite 


with an unquenchable desire to wander still further 
among the lovely islands of Polynesia and Micronesia 
— and thence to the savage lands of New Guinea, 
New Britain, New Ireland, and the Solomon Group. 
No scheme was too wild, no quest too mad and 
dangerous for me — and others like me — to embark 
upon in those fierce days of excitement, when Hono- 
lulu was the rendezvous — and, alas ! too often the 
grave — of all the restless wanderers and adventurers 
who there met together from the confines of the 
North and South Pacific — from Singapore and 
Yokohama in the west, from San Francisco, Panama 
and Valparaiso in the east, and from Melbourne, 
Sydney, New Zealand, and turbulent Fiji in the south. 
Wild, wild days indeed were those, and when men 
threw down a twenty-dollar gold piece on the bar of 
the " Fort House Hotel" in Honolulu, they cared not 
that it bore upon it, metaphorically, if not literally, 
the stain of blood. For there were cruel things done 
then in the South Seas — whole communities of 
natives being ruthlessly carried off to slavery in the 
cotton plantations of Fiji and the guano deposits of 
the Chincha Islands on the west coast of South 

M^ * W: * * 

One evening I fell into conversation with a bronzed, 
faced old man of over sixty years of age. His name 
was Hedriott, and for over a quarter of a century he 
had been master of sperm whalers, sailing out of New 
London, Connecticut ; but he had now retired from 
whaling and settled in Honolulu, where he had built 


The '^ Manurua " and '' Marguerite 


a nice country house. The quiet, aimless life, how- 
ever, did not suit him — he was a widower and had no 
famil) — and he told me that he had just bought a 
small fore-and-aft schooner of ninety tons, and was 
contemplating making a trading voyage, or going 
into the shark-catching industry among the low- 
lying atolls of the North Pacific. I was at once 
interested, and, to make a long story short, agreed 
to embark in the latter venture with him, and 
put in my capital of $i,ooo. Dried sharks' fins 
and tails were then worth from £60 to £yS 
per ton in Honolulu and San Francisco. They 
were exported to China — where they brought a 
still higher price — by various Chinese firms, and the 
business was a highly profitable one. 

Early on the following morning we made an 
arrangement with the principal Chinese firm in 
Honolulu to sell them all our future cargo at ^^65 
per ton, and at once began our preparations. 
These were carried out as secretly as possible, for 
there were two other vessels then in port, fitting 
out for a shark-catching cruise, and we did not want 
to give them an inkling of our destination, which was 
the uninhabited Arrecifos, or Providence Islands, 
Atoll, in lat. 9° 45' N., long. 161° 30' E. I was well 
acquainted with the place, knew that the lagoon 
swarmed with sharks, and felt sure that Hedriott 
and I would make an exceedingly good thing out 
of the cruise. But we were rather nervous about 
the other vessels, both of which were owned and 
manned by parties of Greeks and Levantines — for 

163 L 2 

The "Manurua" and "Marguerite" 

the principal of the Chinese firm had told us that 
one of the Greek skippers had been boasting of some 
new and unvisited atolls to the South-west Pacific 
which were full of sharks, and that he and his crowd 
were the only people who knew of them. 

Within three days we were ready for sea. The 
schooner was named Manurua (Red-bird) and our 
crew consisted of fourteen Polynesians — Hawaiians, 
Gilbert Islanders, and other natives — all good, 
stalwart fellows who had shipped for the cruise on a 
<qay" — i.e., shares. Hedriott, the mate and I were 
the only white men. 

One of the Greeks' vessels — a heavily-built brigan- 
tine of two hundred tons — was lying quite near our 
schooner, and one morning her skipper and some of 
his dirty, truculent crew paid us a visit. We 
received them civilly enough, but knew that their 
object was to "pump" us. I had purposely spread 
out a new chart on the cabin table, and when the 
Greek padrone saw that I had marked off the course 
between Honolulu and Christmas Island (a spot 
well-known to shark catchers, and fifteen thousand 
miles due south of Honolulu) his eyes lit up, and, in 
his mongrel English, he wished us " gooda-lucka," 
said he should be afraid to venture so far in his old 
Margharita, and would have to content himself with 
his former fishing grounds — French Frigate Shoals, 
five hundred miles west of Honolulu. Then the 
greasy, ear-ringed ruffian bade us good-bye — he 
satisfied that we were bound to Christmas Island, 
and I that he had lied to me about French Frigate 


The " Manurua " and " Marguerite " 

Shoals. One reason that made Hedriott and I 
suspect that he and his consort were going to 
Arrecifos was that both vessels were undergoing a 
rapid but extensive overhaul to fit them for the 
voyage of 2,600 miles. 

We sailed that evening, and after getting a good 
ofBng stood away on our true course, W.S.W. 
Favoured by a strong N.E. trade wind, the little 
Manurua bounced along in gallant style, and fourteen 
days later swept into the noble lagoon of Arrecifos, 
and dropped anchor within a cable's length of one of 
the seventeen palm-clad islands which encompass 
this great lake of the North Pacific. 

Work was at once begun by building houses of 
palm leaf, roofed with thatch, for the ship's com- 
pany to live in, and within a week we began fishing. 
Every day we caught from two to three hundred 
sharks of all sizes, cut off the valuable fins and tails, 
and suspended them on long lines of cinnet, stretched 
from one cocoa-palm to another, to dry. The livers 
of the very large sharks we " tried out " in ordinary 
whalers' try-pots, and poured the oil off into casks, 
which were headed up and stowed in the schooner's 
hold — Hedriott and I being the coopers. It was 
horrible work, but we went about it merrily, and with 
good hearts, for every barrel of oil meant £5 to £j, 
and every ton of dried fins and tails 3^65. And at 
night we sat around our supper fires, and ate as 
voraciously as had the sharks we had killed during 
the day. And then we slept — ah ! how soundly and 
how sweetly — under the gently-rustling cocoa-palms. 


The " Manurua " and " Marguerite 


For we were worn out with the toils of the day, and 
kindly Mother Nature was good to us — to white men 
and brown alike. 

On the dawn of the tenth day, Hedriott and I 
were aroused by a loud cry from one of our native 

** Big square-rig schooner comin' in ! " 

We recognised her in an instant. It was the 
Marguerite — the larger of the Greek "sharkers." 
Her decks were crowded with an unusual number 
of men. She came through the lagoon very quickly, 
and, as she passed us. Captain Pasquale Zambra, 
standing on the after- deck, assailed us with a torrent 
of the foulest abuse, and his ruffianly crew brandished 
their knives and threatened to cut our hearts out if 
we did not lift anchor and clear out of the lagoon 
within an hour. And, to emphasise their threats, one 
of them jumped into the lower fore-rigging and fired 
six shots at us with a revolver, badly wounding one 
of our native sailors in the knee. Then, with a 
chorus of foul gibes and curses from the motley 
swarm of blackguards on her decks, the Margtierite 
went ahead and brought to and anchored about two 
hundred yards distant. 

At this moment, all of the ship's company, except 
two, were on board, for we were engaged in turning 
in our lower rigging afresh, and the suddenness 
of this treacherous attack threw us into confusion. 
But only for a few minutes. 

Almost choking with fury, old Hedriott — generally 
so calm and quiet — bade me attend to the wounded 




The '' Manurua " and ^^ Marguerite " 

man, and then his voice came to him, and it sounded 
like the bellowing of a bull, as, striking his clenched 
fist on the fife-rail, he thundered out : 

" Men, come aft, and get your arms. Steward, 
pass up all the Sniders and a box of cartridges. God 
helping me, men, I shall show these bloody-minded 
Dago swine that though I am nigh on seventy 
years of age, Lucas Hedriott is not afraid of a 
gang of cut-throats." 

All the fighting blood of our semi-savage crew 
responded to the old man's appeal, and they rushed 
aft to receive their Sniders, and at the same time I 
heard the mate call for four hands to man a boat 
and bring off the two men who were on shore. 

The wounded man was a Gilbert Islander. The 
pistol bullet had struck him on the knee-cap, 
fracturing it, then passed round to the back, and 
lodged just within the skin. Cutting it out, I dressed, 
and then hurriedly bandaged the fractured bone, and 
told the man to lie quiet. He rolled his eyes at me, 
showed his teeth in a savage grin, and was on deck 
after me in a few minutes with a Snider in his 

Meanwhile the Greeks had lowered a boat and 
pulled ashore in advance of our own, and, to show 
that they meant business, assailed our two native 
sailors with pistol shots, but they, being fleet of foot, 
ran along the beach towards the rescuing boat, and 
got on board the Manurua in safety. Then the boat 
party from the Greek vessel set to work, and in a few 
minutes all our huts were in flames, the try-pots 


The "Manurua" and '' Marguerite" 

overturned or broken, and our colony of pigs, poultry 
and goats shot down. 

Hedriott and the rest of us on board watched the 
destruction in silence. Our chief anxiety had been 
the rescue of our two men, and now that these were 
on board, we felt that we were masters of the 

For old Hedriott, having originally fitted out the 
Manurua for a trading voyage among the Western 
Pacific Archipelagos, where the natives were much 
addicted to cutting off ill-manned and poorly-armed 
ships, had done the right thing, and I had supple- 
mented our little vessel's armament by a smooth-bore, 
breech-loading swivel gun, which could throw a thirty- 
eight-ounce iron shot with precision for 800 to 1,000 
yards. I had bought the weapon in San Francisco 
from the California Arms Company in Sansome 
Street, had seen it tried, not only with its solid shot, 
but with case shot, and had designed selling it at the 
end of our cruise, with 1,000 rounds of ammunition, 
to one or another of the native rulers in the Caroline 
Islands. Our small arms consisted of Snider car- 
bines (converted from Enfield rifles) and single-shot 
breech-loading pistols for the crew, and the newly- 
invented Henry (Winchester) sixteen-shot rifles and 
Colt's revolvers for Hedriott, the mate and myself. 
Then in addition to this the old man had brought 
two whaler's bomb guns, and about fifty of Pearce's 
bombs. The latter we thought likely we might sell 
to some chance sperm whaler. 

In less than twenty minutes we had the swivel 


The ^'Manurua" and "Marguerite 


mounted on its tripod, and bolted down on the top- 
gallant fo'c'scle, from where we could train it in any 
direction, except directly astern. All these prepara- 
tions were noticed on board the Marguerite ; her crew 
were running all over the decks, shouting and 
gesticulating and clearing the four six-pounder guns 
which she carried on the main deck — two on each 
side. Then she hoisted a signal for her boat to 
return, and at the same time over a dozen of her 
crew began firing at us with old, smooth-bore Tower 
muskets ; the heavy, round bullets hitting our little 
vessel ever}'where, but doing no harm to anyone, 
although the Manurna had a low freeboard and we 
were all much exposed. 

Tom Gentry, the mate, was a splendid fellow. He 
had been a commissioned officer in the Confederate 
Navy, in the American Civil War, and when Hedriott 
and I went to the swivel gun to work it, he pushed 
us aside (with much lurid language) and told us to 
look after the men and the small-arm fire. Then, 
sighting the gun, he fired, and we saw the shot smash 
into one of the Marguerite's quarter boats. And within 
five minutes he had knocked a hole through another 
boat which was carried, bottom up, on top of the deck- 
house, sent two shots clean through the deck-house 
itself, and then turned his attention to the boat 
returning from the shore, doing his best to sink her. 
Meanwhile the fire from our crew had sent all the 
ruffians who were firing at us under cover — some of 
them running below — and no further attempt was 
made to get the six-pounders to bear on us — as a 


The " Manurua " and " Marguerite " 

matter of fact our quick and unexpected response to 
the attack had thrown them into the wildest confusion, 
and we heard Zambra yelHng out a series of orders, 
and presently the brigantine's head sails were run up, 
her cable slipped, and she began to forge ahead, so as 
to get out of range. Zambra himself was at the 
wheel — crouched down on deck so as to expose 
himself as little as possible, and the musketry fire 
ceased. Then Zambra veiled out to his men to sheet 
home and hoist the topsails, but no one obeyed, for 
fear of being shot. However, the breeze was strong, 
and with only her head sails up, the vessel went 
through the water pretty quickly. 

Gentry had failed to hit the shore boat, which was 
now alongside the brigantine, under the port bow, 
where those in her were secure from our fire. Mean- 
while the swivel banged merrily away, and as the 
Marguerite presented her square old-fashioned stern 
to us, we yelled with delight as Gentry sent shot after 
shot crashing into it. 

Then Hedriott ordered us to cease firing, the 
Hawaiian colours were run up, and we gave a cheer, 
aud watched the other vessel. She kept dead before 
the wind, then brought to about a mile and a half 
away, and again anchored. 

Breakfast was served as quickly as possible, the 
arms examined and cleaned, and our vessel then 
towed close in to the shore, abreast of the 
burned houses, the destruction of which was a 
serious loss to us, for among other things destroyed 
was a new suit of sails, much boat and fish- 


The " Manurua " and '^ Marguerite " 

ing gear, all our spare clothing, and a month's 

As we were talking over the events of the morning 
Gentry said he was sorry he had missed sinking the 
one boat remaining to the Greeks, but that he meant 
to destroy her within twenty-four hours. 

"Those fellows may try and rush the schooner 
with that boat," he observed, "they outnumber us by 
four to one, and will, if they can, wipe us out. I 
believe that something has happened to the smaller 
vessel, and that Zambra has all of her hands with him 
on the brigantine." 

This we afterwards learned was correct — the other 
vessel had suddenly sprung a leak^ and foundered two 
days after they had sailed from Honolulu — her crew 
having barely time to get into their boats and be 
rescued by her consort. 

Towards noon we saw the Marguerite's boat go on 
shore to a small, well-wooded island (one of a chain 
of nine, all connected by a reef), and two of our crew 
were sent to see what was afoot. They made their 
way through the palm groves and scrubs, then along 
the reef without being observed, and in a couple of 
hours returned, and reported that Zambra and about 
twenty of his people were busy building houses 
landing stores, and digging a well. 

"That settles it, then," said Hedriott, " they mean 
to stay here and fish, and we shall have to put up 
with it." 

" No, we won't," remarked Gentry, quietly. " Big 
as this lagoon is, it is too small for us if we let that 


The " Manurua " and " Marguerite 


gang stay here." Then he told us what he intended 
doing that night. 

As the day wore on we saw the brigantine's people 
take the damaged boats on shore, haul them up on 
the beach, and begin to repair them. And we also 
saw that not only was there a look-out man on the 
topgallant yard of the Margnerite, who could watch 
all our movements, but that two sentries were posted 
at that end of the little island nearest to us. 

Tom Gentry had smiled grimly. He had made 
his plans with precision, and could afford to smile, 
and at that moment he was busily engaged in making 
up three heavy charges of four-ounce dynamite 
cartridges, each charge weighing one pound. These 
he parcelled up tightly in canvas, inserted very short 
fuses with the detonators, and then frayed out the 
ends of the fuses so as to ensure their lighting 

An hour after darkness fell, he and a Hawaiian 
sailor, armed only with their pistols, set out along 
the weather side of the chain of islands. Gentry was 
certain that they would not be seen by the two 
sentries, and it was his intention to approach Zambra's 
party from the farther side, destroy all three boats, 
and then escape into the thick palm groves, and wait 
till daylight. 

Looking at his watch just as he was starting, he 
said, ** It is just seven now. It will take us two 
hours to work round their camp and get to the boats, 
so I guess you'll hear something about nine o'clock. 
Then you can do all the rest. Keep under easy sail, 


The " Manurua " and '' Marguerite 


and if the brigantine tries to get away you can knock 
the sticks out of her with the swivel. Zambra has got 
to shift out of this lagoon, but not until we have had 
a bit of talkee-talkee with him." And so off he and 
his companion went, the dark night favouring their 
daring enterprise. 

Hedriott and I fully recognised the value of his 
plan to destroy the boats. We were but seventeen 
men opposed to over fifty desperate scoundrels, who 
would havehadnohesitationin capturing the Manz^rwrt, 
and slaughtering everyone on board if they could do 
so by surprise. And their three boats w^ould have 
enabled them to do this, for our little vessel was, as 
I have said, of a low free-board, and we could never 
have beaten off a sudden rush of three boats. 

In those wild days there was no law in the South 
Seas, except in the older settled groups, and the 
disappearance of the Manurua and her company 
would have aroused but little or no interest — such 
things were common. " Cut off by the natives some- 
where in the Western Islands," was all that would 
have been said. 

On board the schooner everything was in readiness 
for us to slip away at a minute's notice. Our big 
fore-and-aft mainsail, foresail, and all head sails were 
quietly hoisted, and our native crew were placidly 
awaiting the order to slip the unshackled cable. 

It was twenty minutes to nine. Hedriott and I 
were sitting on the rail, smoking, and trying to see 
the Marguerite through the darkness, when suddenly 
there came three thunderous reports in quick 


The '' Manurua " and " Marguerite " 

succession, then a dead silence, and then the wild 
clamour of countless thousands of affrighted sea- 

The shackle pin was knocked out, the schooner 
canted smartly round, and was soon slipping through 
the water, and in a quarter of an hour we could see 
the brigantine. Lights were being carried about on 
her decks, and we could hear loud shouts proceeding 
both from her and the shore. Presently a great fire 
of dried cocoanut leaves blazed up on the beach, and 
by its light we saw that Zambra's people were making 
a raft in frantic haste by lashing together dead logs 
of pandanus (screw pines). At the same time we 
were observed by those on board the Marguerite, and 
a perfect Babel ensued. We kept steadily on 
towards her. 

The raft was carried down by about a dozen men, 
who, as soon as it was afloat, pushed off, using bits 
of broken boat planking for paddles. They had but 
three hundred yards to go to get alongside, and 
quickly covered the distance and clambered on board. 
With no lights showing, the Manurua came swiftly 
on towards the larger vessel. Then, when we were 
within easy speaking, Hedriott called me to the tiller 
and gave it to me. 

" Run up close under his stern," he said quietly, then 
he called out to some of our crew to haul the head 
sheets to windward, so as to deaden our way. 

Suddenly three men ran aft to the stern rail of the 
Marguerite. One of them was carrying a lantern ; 
another had a white cloth of some kind bent on to a 

The " Manurua " and '' Marguerite " 

whale whift; the third, who was in his shirt and 
trousers, hailed us. It was Zambra himself. 

" Whata in the nama God-a you wanta, you gentle- 
mana ?" he cried. 

** To talk to }'ou, you dirty, unwashed swine," 
replied old Hcdriott savagely, "to tell you to keep 
quiet until daylight. If you attempt so much as to 
ship your windlass brakes and try to heave up and get 
away, I'll slaughter the lot of you." 

" I promisa you — I swear to you I do nothing ; I 
giva in." 

Reiterating his promise to wipe out the lot of them 
if they disobeyed his warning, Hedriott called out to 
the men at the head sheets to let draw again ; then 
the schooner shot ahead, and we continued making 
short tacks till daylight, feeling very content. 

At dawn we saw Tom Gentry, the Hawaiian sailor, 
and a stranger on the beach. We sent a boat, and 
when they came on board found that the third man 
was one of Zambra's fellows. He was wounded in the 
head by a Snider bullet, and had begged Gentry to 
let him come on board with him, swearing on the Cross 
that he was a respectable Genoese cooper, and had 
taken no part in the attack upon us. Furthermore, 
he told us that there were three other men wounded 
besides himself, that Zambra and his fellow-captain 
had actually meant to attack us within a few days, as 
soon as his boats were repaired, for they were certain 
that we were not to be overpowered by treachery — 
though the latter plan was strongly favoured by most 
of the gang. 


The " Manurua " and " Marguerite " 

Gentry told us that he and his comrade had no 
trouble in getting to the three boats. Lighting the 
fuses, they dropped one into each boat, and then 
ran for safety behind two cocoanut trees. All of 
the thirteen Dagoes (there were fifteen, including the 
sentries) were lying about round fires some little 
distance from the boats, and the terrific explosions 
drove them out of their wits with terror. They all, 
except the wounded Genoese, fled to the beach, and 
would have tried to have swum off to the brigantine, 
but they were in deadly fear of the sharks. Well 
satisfied with his work, Gentry was leaving the scene 
with his companion when they ran against the 
Genoese, who implored their assistance. 

After breakfast, we in the schooner sailed in between 
the Marguerite and the little island, let go anchor in 
five fathoms, and ran a kedge out astern, so that we 
could rake the brigantine fore and aft with the swivel 
if she showed fight again. The Genoese had told us 
that there was no water left on board but a few 
gallons, and that their first landing party (after burn- 
ing our houses) had had to collect young cocoanuts for 
drinking, and that as yet no water had been obtained 
from the well that they had dug on the little island, 
owing to the sandy soil caving in continuously. 

" Good," remarked old Hedriott grimly, when he 
heard this; " we have them in a tight place, and" 
(here he used some shocking expressions) " we'll give 
them a lesson that they won't easily forget." 

Our dinghy was manned. Hedriott and I went on 
board the Marguerite. We were received at the 


The '' Manurua " and " Marguerite " 

gangway by Zambra and his fellow rascal of a skipper. 
Hate and murder were in their eyes, and in those of 
their scoundrelly, ruffianly-looking followers, who 
gathered around them. 

Before either of us could utter a word, Zambra 
passionately implored us to let him have water — if 
only for his wounded men. 

Hedriott eyed him up and down in suppressed fury. 

" Your tongues will have to rattle dry against your 
teeth before you get a mouthful of water from me," 
he said savagely, and then his eyes blazed as they lit 
upon the face of one of the brigantine's crew. 

" Ha, Peter Metaxa, you here ! You infernal 
crawling cut-throat that shipped with me as boat- 
steerer in the Fontenoy ten years ago," and leaping 
forward, he struck the man in the mouth with such 
violence that the fellow — a short, sturdy Greek — was 
sent flying across the deck and fell in a heap. Then 
Hedriott turned to Zambra. 

" You want water, you Greek dog ? Well, you 
may, or you may not, get it. First of all, bring all 
the small arms you have on board, and lay them 
down here on your main hatch." 

There came first muttered curses, and then an 
angry growl of dissent from the crew of the brigantine 
as they clustered together and handled their knives 
and old-fashioned muzzle-loading pistols. 

Hedriott eyed them in contemptuous silence for a 
moment or two, then leisurely mounting on the port 
bulwarks by the gangway, he asked Zambra if any of 
his wounded men were below. 

177 M 

The '' Manurua " and " Marguerite 


" No, none ; all are afta, on decka," was the half- 
sullen, half-af:^onised reply. 

Hedriott raised his hand twice quickly to watching 
Tom Gentry on board the Manurua, and the swivel 
gun banged in response, and a thirty-eight ounce solid 
shot tore its way through the bows of the brigantine, 
passed along fore and aft, above the 'tween deck, and 
lodged in her already battered stern. Then Gentry 
quickly re-loaded, and trained the gun upon^the group 
gathered on the main deck. 

"There, my beauties, do you see that?" cried 
Hedriott fiercely to the terrified, but still scowling, 
ruffians around us. " Do you see, you treacherous 
cut-throat Dago dogs, that we have the pull on you ! 
Now, I'll get to business. Every musket, every 
pistol, you have is to be laid on that main hatch 
within ten minutes, and I'll send my longboat for 
them. I am paying you a good price — a pint of 
water for each musket and pistol. Don't try and 
hide any, or you will be the worse for it, for I shall 
stop the water. And I want to see you run those 
four six-pounders overboard as well. As soon as you 
are ready with your arms, I'll send the boat for them, 
and then measure off the water. That is all." 

They glared at us in impotent rage as we went 
over the side. We got into the dinghy, pushed off, 
and before we reached the schooner the four guns 
were run overboard. 

Within half an hour we had all their small arms on 
board, and we sent them fifteen gallons of water. 

Utterly unable to either fight or heave up and get 


The " Manurua " and " Marguerite " 

away, Zambra and his colleague, a few hours later, 
asked us to let them come on board and " have a 

This was what we wanted, so the boat was sent. 

Both the scoundrels began to weep when they 
spoke, and detailed their sorry plight, begging us for 
more water, and imploring us to let them clear out. 

Hedriott was not a cruel man. We had won, and 
could now be merciful. So we agreed to let them 
have a week's water, sufficient to take them to 
Eniwetok Atoll, where they could get more, and 
where also they would see thousands of sharks, and 
not be able to kill any, for they had no boats. 

Eager to get away, they set to work — the dreaded 
swivel proving an incentive to their exertions — and 
by four in the afternoon they had their water on 
board. Then, as the windlass was manned, and sails 
loosed, Tom Gentry hailed Captain Pasquale Zambra. 

That gentleman stood up on the rail. 

" What you wanta ? " he asked sullenly. 

" Only to tell you this : If I see you, or any one of 
your mongrels so much as look ugly at anyone on 
board this ship, I'll send a shot through you. Now 
you can git." 

In silence the anchor was hove up, and in silence 
the Marguerite sailed out of Arrecifos lagoon, and 
left us to ourselves. 

179 M 2 



In the earlier days of the Kanaka labour trade 
among the islands of the North and South Pacific, 
many atrocities were committed by ships sailing 
luider British, French, Hawaiian, and Peruvian 
colours ; and in 1866 two armed vessels, manned 
exclusively by Peruvians, swept down upon the 
natives of the EUice Group, and carried off nearly 
four hundred of these poor people to the guano 
deposits of the Chincha Islands, where, with the 
exception of a score or so, they all perished miserably 
within a year of their capture. 

My connection with the Kanaka labour traffic 
began about the middle of the " seventies," when it 
was in the first stage of being conducted in a humane 
manner, though there was then no legislation what- 
ever concerning it. Any irresponsible person could 
fit out a " blackbirder " — as labour vessels were then 
called (and the term has stuck) — and by fair means or 
foul obtain a cargo of natives from the various islands 
to labour at a minimum wage on the plantations in 
Fiji, Tahiti, and Samoa. No questions were asked 
by the planters as to how these " recruits " were 
obtained — all they wanted was labour, and they 
cared not how they obtained it. On the whole, even 


A ^^ Blackbirding " Incident 

in its best form, it was a demoralising and degrading 
traffic. Still, there were many honourable excep- 
tions, where not onl}' the captains and the officers of 
the labour vessels obtained their " recruits " in a fair 
and honest manner, but indentured them for a fixed 
period to humane and honourable planters. 

The vessel to which I was attached as " recruiter" 
(labour agent) was a large schooner of two hundred 
tons, and was employed almost exclusively in obtaining 
native labourers for a firm I shall call Golding Bros., 
the proprietors of a great cotton plantation on Tahiti. 
So far we had made three cruises among the 
Paumotu Archipelago— successful as far as the 
number of " recruits " I obtained went — but Messrs. 
Golding found that these Paumotuan natives were 
not good workers. They were too closely allied in 
language and by blood to the local Tahitians — who 
exercised a bad influence upon them. So the firm 
decided to despatch me to the Gilbert Islands 
(Equatorial Pacific), where I was confident of 
securing at least a hundred of the sturdy, stalwart 
natives of those islands to engage themselves to 
work on the great plantation for three years. For 
I was well acquainted with the people of the Gilbert 
Islands, and they, on their part, knew and trusted 
me, for I had taken many hundreds of them to the 
Hawaiian Islands to work upon the sugar plantations 
there, and in no instance had there been any case of 
bloodshed or violence in my " recruiting " transac- 
tions. This was a fact of which I was somewhat 
proud, and .which, purely from a practical business 


A ^' Blackbirding" Incident 

point of view, led the owners of this plantation to 
give the vessel of which I was "recruiter" an 
extended charter. 

Two years previously the king of Biitaritari 
Islands and the head men of the island of Maiano 
had assured me that whenever I again visited them 
as " recruiter " I could rely upon their assisting me 
to obtain all the labourers I wanted ; and I had borne 
this in mind. 

I must here mention that on our last cruise in the 
Paumotu group we had run ashore on a reef, and 
the schooner had been so badly damaged that as 
soon as we arrived at Papeite we had to beach her 
for extensive repairs. Whilst these repairs were being 
carried out there arrived there from Valparaiso a large 
German brig, the Kaspar. She belonged to the 
great German firm whose island trading head- 
quarters in the South Seas were at Apia, in Samoa, 
and was commanded by a Captain Georg Baum, a 
huge, hulking fellow, whom I, and every other 
Britisher who had met him, disliked intensely as a 
boastful, arrogant bull}-, who had a strong antipathy 
to everything English. The Kaspar was both a 
trading vessel and a labour vessel, and in the latter 
capacity she had brought many hundreds of natives 
to work on the cotton plantations of the German 
trading company in Samoa. Her supercargo and 
labour " recruiter " was an American — Jim Watkins 
— a reckless, dare-devil fellow, who, with many 
good traits in his character, would stick at 
nothing in the way of getting "recruits" — for 


A " Blackbirding " Incident 

every native obtained meant a bonus to him of 


One afternoon, whilst the skipper of our schooner 
and I were spending a quiet hour at the principal 
hotel in Papeite, Watkins strolled in and joined us. 
He tried very hard to find out where we were going 
on our next cruise, but we frankly refused to tell 
him. He laughed, and dropped the subject. After 
a short chat with him the skipper and I went on 
board our vessel, and found there, waiting to see us, 
the steward of the Kaspar. He was a half-caste 
Samoan, and an old acquaintance and shipmate of 
mine, and I was naturally pleased to see him, for Joe 
King was a good, sterling fellow. But his visit was 
more than a friendly call — he had come to warn us 
that we had a traitor on board in the person of our 
second mate. 

" I understand and can speak German pretty well, 
as you know," he said to me, "though I never do 
speak it. Captain Baum always speaks to me in 
English ; he does not know that I understand any 
language but that and Samoan. Well, last night, 
your second mate came on board the Kaspar to see 
the captain. They had a long talk in the cabin. I 
heard all, or nearly all, that they said. They spoke 
in German." 

" Ha ! " exclaimed Mackenzie (the skipper) to me, 
" did I not tell you that Edwards was a German, 
though he pretends he is a Swede. Go on, King." 

" Your second mate told Baum everything he knew 
about this coming cruise of yours to the Gilbert 


A '' Blackbirding " Incident 

Islands, said that you were first going to Butaritari, 
and then to Maiana, and that the chiefs had promised 
you, two years ago, to collect all the best men they 
could find for you, and that the Cyprus would sail as 
soon as possible after her repairs were completed. 

" I was in my pantry, but the door was ajar, and I 
heard Captain Baum ask your mate if he wanted to 
earn $500 easily. The mate said, ' Yes.' 

" * Well,' said Baum, ' I will give you half of it 
down, and for the other half I will give you an order 
on myself, payable by our manager in Samoa. You 
can get the money from him at any time — either 
when you go there, or by writing for it.' Then he 
went into his cabin, came out with a bag of money 
and counted out $250 in gold to your mate, who 
gave him a receipt. 

" Then Captain Baum told him that he (your mate) 
was to use all possible means to delay the Cyprus 
from getting to the Gilberts before the Kaspar. Mr. 
Watkins, he said, can speak the Gilbert Islands 
language like a native, and when the Kaspar arrives 
at Butaritari Watkins will tell the king and his chiefs 
that you, sir, are ill here in Papeite, and that Mr. 
Golding and his brother have sent him in your place 
to get two hundred strong men and women — married 
and single — to work on their cotton plantation for 
three years. Then the Kaspar will take them to 
Samoa instead, to work on the German cotton 

" Your mate thought a little while, then he said to 
Baum, ' Make it a thousand dollars — half cash down 


A '* Blackbirding " Incident 

— and I shall see that the Cyprus never gets to 
Butaritari, or any other of the Gilbert Islands. She 
will bump up against a reef somewhere one night, in 
my watch, and won't come off again." 

" Without a word Baum gave him another $250, 
then wrote out an order and read it to Edwards. It 
was simple enough : ' I promise to pay Hermann Joel 
the sum of $500 on demand.' 

*' ' Of course, if you don't do your work, that bit of 
paper will be no good to you,' said Baum. 

" Edwards said he would not fail, and that finished 
the business. I could not get a chance of coming to 
tell you all this until now, and I had no possible 
chance of writing and sending you a letter. And so 
when I saw your second mate go into the town this 
afternoon, I slipped away." 

The three of us then discussed the situation, and we 
arranged a certain plan, and Joe King returned to 
his ship, after receiving our warm thanks — and some- 
thing else as well. 

Early on the following morning the German brig 
sailed, ostensibly in continuation of her voyage to 
Samoa, and we went on with our repairs, the ship- 
wrights working day and night, and getting double 
pay, and in eight days we were clear of Tahiti and 
spinning along to the north-west. The Kaspar had 
a long start of us, but we were not concerned, and 
had reasons for not hurrying. 

Mackenzie and I had taken the chief mate into our 
confidence and the treacherous Edwards (or rather 
Joel) little dreamt that he was being] _carefully 


A " Blackbirding " Incident 

watched at night time, from the time we had left 
Papeite. After clearing the Leeward Isles of the 
Society group, we kept a direct course for the islands 
of the Tokelau group, and it was here that we felt 
pretty sure Mr. Edwards would attempt to run the 
ship ashore, for the islands are low, and situated 
among a scries of detached reefs. But one morning 
watch, when he came on deck he received a surprise. 
The schooner was hove-to off the island of Pukapuka, 
and as soon as it was daylight, canoes came off to 
sell fruit, etc. We bought what we wanted, and 
then when all was ready, Mackenzie called to the 
second mate. 

** Do you see that island, Mr. Edwards ? " he 

The man stared. " Why, of course I see it, sir." 

" How would you like to live there for a couple of 
months or so ? " 

" Shouldn't like it at all." 

" Ah, but you must try and like it, my dear 
Mr. Edwards ; for you are going on shore in one 
of these canoes in ten minutes. You'll find it lonely, 
but healthy, and you can't squander that $500 you 
got from the German skipper to run this ship ashore. 
Go below, you treacherous dog of a Dutchman, and 
get your gear together, and be smart about it." 

Edwards's face blanched, and he tried to speak, 
when the irate mate struck him a violent blow on 
the mouth, then dragged him to the companion, and 
almost threw him below. In ten minutes he and his 
chest and all his belongings were in a canoe, and the 


A " Blackbirding " Incident 

Cyprus filled away again on her course. The bo'sun 
was called aft, the crew told to remember that he 
was now second mate and " Mr. Kingston," and a 
native A.B. took his place as bo'sun. 

A few days later we were at anchor at Makin 
Island, twenty-five miles distant from the great atoll 
of Butaritari. And there for three days longer we 
remained. The Kaspar was inside the big atoll, and 
Jim Watkins was getting from five to ten " recruits " 
every day. We knew all that was going on, for every 
evening the king of Butaritari despatched a native 
boat to us, telling us the events of that day, and also 
bringing us a message from our trusty friend, Joe 
King. On the evening of the third day we received 
a letter from him : — 

" Everything is working fine. The king and his 
chiefs think it a rattling good joke, though at first 
they were inclined to shoot Mr. Watkins and chase 
the brig out of the lagoon. There are now one 
hundred and seventy-five recruits on board, and we 
sail to-morrow an hour after sunrise — a full ship. 
Watkins has paid the king and chiefs $i,ooo cash, 
and $750 in trade goods as an advance against the 
recruits' wages for three years. Over three hundred 
other natives — men, women and children, are coming 
on board * to say good-bye to their relatives,' and as 
soon as the brig is clear of the passage the fun will 
begin. Baum has not the ghost of an idea that the 
Cyprm is at Makin. He thinks that she is piled up 
somewhere in the Tokelau Group." 


A " Blackbirding " Incident 

That evening we left Makin, and, under easy sail, 
stood across to the west side of Butaritari to the 
main ship passage, anchoring with a kedge under 
the lee of a small but well wooded island, where we 
could not be seen from the mainland. We had every- 
thing in readiness to receive a number of passengers 
— one hundred and seventy-five to wit ; our boats were 
lowered, and although we did not anticipate any serious 
trouble, we kept our arms at hand in case they were 

At daylight one of our crew climbed a cocoanut tree 
on the little island and scanned the lagoon. He 
returned and reported that the Kaspay, surrounded 
by a swarm of native boats, was heaving up, and with 
the light morning breeze and a strong ebb, ought to 
be in the passage in half-an-hour. 

It seemed hours to us before we caught sight of 
her. With all canvas set she made a fine picture as 
she raced through the passage, dead before the wind, 
and a six-knot current roaring and racing with her. 
Then, once out of the passage, she brought to, so as 
to let the relatives and friends of the " recruits," that 
Watkins thought he had so cleverly obtained, get into 
their boats and go ashore. 

And at the same moment the Cyprus slid out 
from the screen of the little island and stood over to 
the brig. 

The instant the swarm of brown-skinned savages 
who thronged her decks and lower rigging saw us, a 
wild yell burst from them and an extraordinary scene 
occurred. A number of them rushed aft, and seized 


A " Blackbirding " Incident 

and held Baum, his officers and Watkins ; others ran 
to the wheel and threw the brig back, and at the 
same time let go all the braces and tacks and sheets ; 
the falls of her three boats were cut, and the boats let 
drop into the water with shouts of triumph. Then 
as the latter drifted away towards the surf thundering 
on the reef, every native on board — man, woman and 
child — leapt overboard, some getting into their own 
boats, others swimming for the little island, and 
others — the one hundredand seventy-five " recruits" — 
making for the Cyprus, whose boats met them, pick- 
ing up some of the women, but letting the men swim 
to the schooner. 

The whole affair was over in half-an-hour. Baum 
and his officers and crew were certainly roughly 
handled, especially Watkins, but no one of them was 
seriously injured, and the natives, on the whole, 
behaved very well, when it is remembered that 
Baum and Watkins had grossly deceived their 
'' recruits." The brig's crew (Germans) were terrified 
out of their wits, but Baum was a good sailor man, 
and managed to save his ship from going on shore, 
though for some time she was in fearful confusion. 
But he lost all three boats, which were smashed to 
matchwood on the reef. Meanwhile, we on the Cyprus 
had received all our " recruits." Not a single one was 
missing — one hundred and seventeen men and fifty- 
eight women and children. They, although wildly 
excited at first, quickly calmed down once they found 
themselves on board, and the women and children at 
once went to their quarters in the " 'tween decks," 


*^A Blackbirdlng " Incident 

where they found an ample supply of food awaiting 
them. The men we allowed to remain on the main 
deck — to jeer at and curse, in their vigorous Gilbert 
Island fashion, the skipper and " recruiter " of the 
German brig — the two men who would have taken 
them to the hated German plantations in Samoa 
instead of to Tahiti. 

Among the first to reach the Cyprus was Joe King, 
and I had been highly amused at his coolness. When 
the natives obtained possession of the brig, he 
appeared on the poop carrying a large bundle tied 
up in his oilskin coat. This he quietly threw over- 
board, and then followed it. Nothing in it was 
wetted — much to his satisfaction. 

The Kaspar presently signalled to us that she 
wished to speak. She was " in distress," and 
Captain Baum was standing by the rail as we went 
about, and passed close under his ship's stern. His 
bearded face was cut and bleeding, and his clothing 
hung about him in strips. 

" What do you want ? " asked Mackenzie, curtly. 

"Send me back my steward," he replied hoarsely; 
" some of my people are injured, and I must have 
that man back." 

"Then come and get him — if you can," shouted 
Mackenzie fiercely. " Ah, you scoundrel ! Do you 
know where my second mate is now ? He is on 
Pukapuka Island, counting over his money ! We 
have done ver) well with you, mein Herr Baum — got 
a nice lot of " recruits " without any trouble, and 
without spending a cent. And a pretty mess you are 

193 N 

A " Blackbirding " Incident 

in ! You can't go back into Butaritari lagoon, for 
the people swear that they will cut your head off if 
you ever show up again. Good-bye, my friend." 
Then he paused and called out an order : 

" Let draw there, for'ard." 

And then, as the Cyprus gathered way on her, we 
all, white men and brown, gave the cheer of the old 
Bounty mutineers when they set Bligh adrift. 

** Hurrah for Tahiti ! " 




A SEVERE attack of malarial fever contracted in 
New Britain (North-Western Pacific) compelled me 
to throw up my employment and return to New 
South Wales to recover my shattered health. I was 
given four months' leave, and at the end of that time 
was to report myself at Sydney, to there join a 
vessel to be engaged in the Kanaka labour trade as 
" recruiter " — a position I much preferred, with all its 
risks and worries, to that of a trader. This was the 
second occasion on which I had to adopt this course. 

After spending a week in Sydney I took passage 
in a steamer running to the northern rivers of the 
colony, where I had relatives and many friends living 
in the various townships — Grafton, Casino, Kemp- 
sey, etc. Here I spent two months very pleasantly, 
wandering about from place to place, meeting with 
unbounded hospitality, getting splendid fishing and 
shooting, and recovering my health rapidly. 

At the end of ten weeks I found myself at Kempsey, 
a thriving country town on the Macleay River, where 
my youngest sister, who was married to a Govern- 
ment official, was living. But much as I should have 
liked to have remained with her for a couple of 
weeks, my visit had to be cut short, for the place 


A Strange Rencontre 

did not agree with me ; it was insufferably hot, and I 
had recurrent attacks of ague. So I decided to pro- 
ceed to Port Macquarie on the Hastings River, a 
dehghtful old town of the early convict days, stay there 
for a week, and then take the steamer for Sydney. 
The only way of getting to Port Macquarie from 
Kempsey was by coach or horseback. Coaches I 
loathed, and riding through the monotonous bush I 
disliked almost as much, so I decided to "tramp" it 
— a distance of seventy miles — along the coast. 

A river drogher took me from Kempsey to the 
Macleay River Heads, where I landed and began 
my first day's journey, which for the first ten miles 
was along a lovely hard beach — the shore of Trial 
Bay. I was in light marching order and good spirits, 
for the brisk sea-breeze seemed to put new life into 
me, and I felt that I could very easily do twenty 
miles by sunset, and reach my first camping place — 
a spot ten miles to the south of Smoky Cape — where 
there was a stream of fresh water and good fishing 
and shooting. For I was in no hurry, and meant to 
do my tramp leisurely. I had with me my gun and 
ammunition, a billy can, tea, sugar and salt, some 
ship biscuits, my fishing tackle, and a light water- 
proof overcoat. The weather was fine and warm, 
and I intended to make a four or five days' journey 
of it, camping out every night instead of staying at 
any of the few settlers' homesteads that were in the 
vicinity of my line of march. The whole of that 
part of the coast for more than a hundred miles was 
very familiar to me, for I was born in the district, 


A Strange Rencontre 

and knew every mile — I was going to say yard — 
of it. 

Arriving at my camping place an hour before sun- 
set, I lit a fire and put the billy can on to boil for 
tea; then, going to the beach at the mouth of the 
stream, dug some pippies (cockles) out of the sand, 
baited my line, and in five minutes had caught two 
fine whiting for my supper. An hour later I was 
sound asleep, and did not awake till dawn. 

After a bathe in the stream, and breakfast, I 
started off again, and, leaving the beach, made a 
detour inland through the scrub. I wanted to visit 
an old, abandoned selection, situated on what in 
years gone by had been the main coastal road 
between Kempsey and Port Macquarie. The slab- 
built house had long since fallen to ruin and the 
fencing been destroyed by a bush fire, but the orchard 
and vineyard had escaped, and, though now much 
overgrown with scrub, the orange, lemon, and other 
fruit trees and the grape vines still bore fruit 
plentifully, and now was the month (February) when 
the black "Isabella" grapes especially would be 
fully ripe. Then, too, quite near the deserted house 
was a swamp, or rather shallow lake, which afforded 
fine shooting. The place was very rarely visited, 
except by a few wandering aborigines, and as five 
years had passed since I had last seen it, and I liked 
its solitude and quiet, I determined to spend the day 
and night there, and enjoy myself — solus. 

Two hours' walking through the bush — first 
through scrub and then under the silent, lofty gum 


A Strange Rencontre 

tree forest — brought me to the lonely house, and 
throwing down mj^ gun and swag and a brace of 
Wonga pigeons I had shot on the way, I was soon 
revelling amidst the grape vines, which were 
covered with heavy bunches of delicious fruit. Then, 
after picking some large bunches and a few rough- 
skinned sweet lemons, I was returning to the house 
for a short rest before sallying out again with my 
gun, when I saw something that, as the novelists 
say, " transfixed " me with astonishment : on the 
steps of the ruined house was seated a young and 
well-dressed woman. 

As I raised my hat, she rose, and bade me " good 
morning" in a very pleasant voice, and then added : 

"May I rest here a little while ? I am very 

" Oh, most certainly," I replied quickly, and with 
sympathy, for she seemed exhausted with the heat, 
although it was not yet ten o'clock ; " but will you 
not come inside out of the sun, and I will try and 
find you some kind of a seat ? " 

" Thank you, can you give me a drink of water — I 
am so dreadfully thirsty ? " 

" Not for a little while, I am sorry to say. There 
is a well here, but it may now be dry. However, if 
it is not, I can soon get you some cool water. Mean- 
while, will you have some of these grapes ? They are 
cool, for I picked them from underneath the vines, 
where the sun has not touched them." 

She took a bunch of grapes and ate eagerly, and I 
saw that her sun-tanned hands were trembling. 


A Strange Rencontre 

" Will you have to go very far for the water ? " she 
asked nervously. 

" Oh, no," I replied ; " the well is just at the back, 
and all I have to do is to lower my billy can down 
with my fishing-line." 

There was some water in the well, and I soon gave 
her a drink. Then I asked her if she would like some 
tea, and also something to eat. 

" It is very kind of you. I am certainly very 

Picking up a pigeon, I was beginning to pluck it, 
when she eagerly begged me to let her do it. Whilst 
she was thus engaged I made a fire to grill the 
birds and make the tea, studiously refraining from 
asking her any questions, though I was racking my 
brains, wondering who this extremely handsome, 
well-dressed young woman could be, and how she 
came to be in this lonely part of the coast. She was 
about twenty-two or twenty-three years of age, and 
was not only handsome — as distinct from " pretty " — 
but looked and spoke like a lady by birth and 
education. Her dress was a grey tailor-made 
costume, and fitted her graceful figure perfectly, and 
altogether she was what women would call stylish. 
But what struck me as being peculiar was the way 
in which her face and hands were tanned by the sun 
— she looked like a gipsy. 

Presently she asked me a question which astonished 
me : 

" Where does this road lead ? " 

"To Kempsey — it is the old coast road, and 


A Strange Rencontre 

leads into the new one about sixteen miles from 

" And how far is Kempsey ? " 

" Another sixteen or seventeen miles after you 
reach the junction of the old and new roads. 

" Is it a large town ? " 

" Yes, it is the principal town of the district." 

" You will think it very strange of me asking you 
so many questions, but," and her voice quavered, " I 
— I am in a very awkward position, and I am sure 
that — that you will not question me." 

" Most certainly not. But I shall be only too glad 
to be of any assistance to you." 

" Thank you. Now, will you tell me what to do ? 
I want to get to this town, Kempsey, as quickly as 
possible. I have money, and can pay my way along 
the road. Of course I know I cannot get there to-day." 

" Quite impossible. But at the junction of the 
roads there is the house of a selector named Whelan, 
where you can stay for the night. He and his family 
are very nice, kind people, and will treat you well. 
I will give you a note to Whelan. He knows me 
very well, and will drive you into Kempsey. But do 
not offer him any money. And I will tell him to ask 
you no questions." 

Dropping the pigeon she was plucking, she pressed 
her hands to her bosom, and wept silently for a few 
minutes. Then she dried her eyes vigorously with 
her handkerchief, and asked me if I knew of a 
respectable and not too expensive hotel at Kempsey 
where she could stay. 


A Strange Rencontre 

" Yes, ask Pat Whelan to take you to Mrs. Drew's 
* River Hotel' Mrs. Drew is a motherly old woman, 
and will make you comfortable. Now, would you 
like me to accompany you as far as Whclan's 

" Oh, no, no, thank you. I am not afraid. I can 
easily walk the sixteen miles. I have some biscuits 
here," and she pointed to a small leather bag beside 
her, " so shall not want food ; "is there water on the 

I told her that there were many swamps, but that 
the water would be hot and disagreeable, and 
suggested she should put some lemons in her bag. 
Then, the two birds being cooked, and the tea made, 
I had the pleasure of seeing her make a satisfactory 
meal. As she ate, I wrote a pencilled note to Whelan 
on a page of my note-book. 

Then, seeing that she was nervously anxious to 
resume her journey, I got the lemons and some small, 
compact bunches of grapes, which she placed in her 
bag, and then she rose and extended her hand. 

" You have been very good to me ; I shall always 
remember your kindness with gratitude. May I ask 
another favour of you ? " 


" If you meet anyone — and I think you may — and 
— and if you are asked if you have seen me, w'ill you 
say * No.' " 

" Of course — you may depend on me." 

I walked with her through the abandoned orchard, 
and put her on the road, cautioning her on no 


A Strange Rencontre 

account to take any turn-offs, but keep steadily on 
the wide road, which, though much overgrown with 
long grass, was wide and plainly defined. Then 
once more she gave me her hand, and we parted. 
# # * * * 

Ten days later I was in Sydney, and was at once 
plunged into work, for the vessel to which I was 
appointed was sailing immediately — a fortnight 
earlier than had been intended. I had scarcely time 
to get my own outfit together, and make a few hurried 
calls on friends, and on the third day after reaching 
Sydney we were at sea, bound for Levuka, the then 
capital of Fiji, where we were to get our "permit" 
to engage in the Polynesian labour trade. 

But within a few hours after we were clear of 
Sydney Heads 1 had leisure to open my batch of 
newspapers, and my attention was at once drawn to 
a series of articles under the heading of "The 
Sovereign of the Seas Tragedy," and in ten minutes I 
knew who it was whom I had met. And the strangest 
part of it all to me was that a second woman who 
was involved in the terrible drama was well known 
to me— Alice Taylor, the daughter of the head-keeper 
of the lighthouse on Great Barrier Island, on the 
east coast of New Zealand. Twice when returning 
to Auckland from cruises in the South Seas our 
vessel had anchored under the lee of Great Barrier 
Island, and the skipper and I had spent several 
evenings with the Taylor family, and I well re- 
membered a pretty, fair-haired girl, who was then 
twelve or fourteen years of age — his daughter Alice. 


A Strange Rencontre 

The Sovereign of the Seas was a well-known vessel 
on the east coast of New Zealand. She was a fine, 
handsome cutter of forty tons or so, was renowned 
for her speed, and was engaged in the coastal trade 
between Auckland and the various small ports in the 
Hauraki Gulf and the east coast. Her complement 
consisted of four men — captain, mate, and two 

At the time of the opening of the tragedy, the 
master and mate were two young men well known 
in Auckland maritime circles; their names were 
Caffrey and Penn. Both were excellent seamen and 
very familiar with the coast of New Zealand, but 
neither of them could navigate, and although they 
both had the reputation of being hot-tempered, reck- 
less and daring, they were trusted by their employers, 
and no one imagined that either of them could so 
easily plunge himself into crime. 

The cutter had several times been chartered by the 
Government to convey stores to the hghthouse on 
Great Barrier Island, and Caffrey — a passionate and 
susceptible Irishman — fell violently in love with the 
light-keeper's daughter. But the girl did not respond 
to his advances — she was then only nineteen years of 
age, and her father did not at all approve of him as 
a suitor, for stories had reached the old man of his 
wild doings in Auckland. 

Time after time Caffrey pressed the girl vehemently 
to become his wife, declaring he could not live with- 
out her. Undaunted by her steady refusals, he one 
day swore that he would yet make her yield, and this 


A Strange Rencontre 

so terrified her that a scene occurred between the 
young captain and the old hght-keeper, and the 
former was forbidden ever to set foot in the house 
again. He left with the significant threat that he 
would come but once more and not leave unsatisfied. 
Possibly it was the fear of his returning that induced 
the girl to accept one of her father's under light- 
keepers for a husband — a young man who had known 
her from her infancy, and a few months later they 
were married. 

Caffrey heard of it, and set his brain to work to 
devise a plan to obtain possession of the woman he 
loved by force. But he said nothing to anyone on 
the subject, except his shipmate Penn. Him he 
gradually took into his confidence, and Penn, over 
whom he had a great influence, swore to stand by 
his comrade. But nearly a year passed before the 
plan could be attempted, and by this time the young 
woman was the mother of an infant ; and was happy, 
and felt secure under the protection of her husband. 

Penn, who was a fine, handsome young man, had 
the more easily fallen under Caffrey's evil influence 
through his being deeply attached to a young woman 
of superior birth and attainments whom he had met 
casually in Auckland, and taken under his protection. 
Her surname does not matter— let me simply call 
her by her Christian name of " Grace." What her 
past may have been before she met Penn also does 
not matter. She suffered deeply for the man sh* 
loved, and, whatever her faults may have been, she 
was loyal and true to the source of her misery, and 


A Strange Rencontre 

refused to betray him or his companion to the arm of 
the law, when slowly but surely she saw it stretching 
towards them, while she herself was in safety and 
unsuspected, and resolved to lead a straight and 
better life and bury her wretched past by living in 
obscurity as a domestic servant. But fate willed 
otherwise, and the poor creature was dragged into 
the fierce and relentless light of publicity as a 
"notorious and daring adventuress," and the "accom- 
plice of two desperate pirates, one of whom was a 
cruel murderer." 

This was the girl whom I had met at the old 
abandoned selection only a few days previously. 

Caffrey's was the master mind. Penn and " Grace " 
were merel}' his pawns ; but still he could not do with- 
out them, for Penn insisted that wherever he went 
the girl must come with him — he would not be parted 
from her, nor she from him. 

The time came when the Sovereign of the Seas had 
to take a valuable general cargo to Russell, the 
principal town of the Bay of Islands, on the east 
coast. Great Barrier Island lay midway between 
that place and Auckland, and now Caffrey unfolded 
his plan openly before Penn. 

They were to get rid of the two A.B.'s on board at 
the island of Kawau, near Auckland, by sending them 
on shore to buy a sheep from Sir George Grey's 
estate there. Then, once free of the two seamen, 
Caffrey would make for Great Barrier Island, seize 
Taylor's daughter, and then set sail for the west 


A Strange Rencontre 

coast of South America, where, he assured Penn, 
they could sell the vessel and cargo, and live happily 
ever afterwards without fear of future detection. 

It was a wild, mad idea, either born of Caffrey's 
ignorance, or else from his resolve to fulfil his threat 
of carrying off the lighthouse-keeper's daughter at 
any cost. Anyway, the girl Grace, who believed 
the tales of her lover and Caffrey that they were 
the owners of the Sovereign of the Seas, became an 
innocent accomplice, and entered eagerly into the 

Penn rowed the two sailors on shore at Kawau, 
and told them that he would return for them in a 
few hours, after they had brought down the sheep. 
Returning on board, the cutter made sail for Great 
Barrier Island. 

It was a dark, rainy night, and blowing hard from 
the east, when the cutter silently anchored under the 
lee of the island, and Caffrey, accompanied by Grace 
(who was to wait in the boat) went on shore in the 
little dinghy. 

Stealing past the lighthouse (where all three 
keepers were on duty) in the blinding rain, he made 
his way to the lighthouse-keepers' houses. He knew 
the particular dwelling in which the young wife lived, 
and soon discovered her, seated at the fire, nursing 
her baby. Without a feeling of pity he opened the 
door, and stood before her. 

Snatching the child from her, he tossed it on a 
couch, and then seizing the terrified mother by her 
wrist, he bade her come with him. 


A Strange Rencontre 

Scream after scream burst from her as she struggled 
fiercely with her would-be abductor, but no one 
heard her cries, owing to the noise of the wind and 
rain, and in a few moments more he would have 
carried her off. 

It so happened, however, that at that moment her 
father came running along through the rain to get a 
cup of coffee, and saw his daughter struggling madly 
in the doorway with her persecutor. He sprang upon 
him, and seized him by the throat, and then Caffrey, 
releasing his hold of the girl, drew his revolver, and 
shot the old man through the heart, as the poor 
mother, frantic with terror, seized her baby, darted 
out by the back door, and fled for help to the lighthouse. 

Foiled in his purpose, and recognising the futility 
of pursuit, the murderer ran back to the boat, pushed 
off, and gained the cutter. The girl Grace did not 
learn till long after of the tragedy — Caffrey merely 
telling her that he been " baulked." 

The cutter at once put to sea, and then, for over a 
week, Caffrey and Penn tried to beat against a heavy 
easterly gale with the intention of carr}'ing out their 
South American idea. But it was in vain, and ten 
days later the Sovereign of the Seas was sighted off the 
North Cape of New Zealand, and it was supposed 
that Caffrey was making for the South Sea Islands. 

That was the news that, so far, had been cabled 
by the New Zealand to the Sydney press ; and some 
months elapsed before I was able to get further 


A Strange Rencontre 

For six weeks the cutter was subjected to a 
harassing experience. The elements seemed to con- 
spire against her. Gale followed gale, and Caffrey, 
finding it impossible to reach any of the South Sea 
Islands, recklessly bore away for the Australian coast, 
intending to land at some lonely part where he and 
his companions could separate. But long before this 
the Australian and Fijian police were on the alert, 
and a keen watch was being kept. 

Five weeks after the lighthouse tragedy the cutter 
was off the coast of New South Wales — between the 
Manning River Heads and Smoky Cape, but the 
continuous bad weather prevented her finding a 
refuge on a coast that was quite unknown to either of 
the men, and so Caffrey kept a long way off the land. 

At last the south-easterly gale moderated, and the 
cutter was run in under the land during the night, 
and anchored in deep water in a small space sur- 
rounded by high rocks, near Crescent Head. From 
the land she could not be seen, but, to make sure, 
before she was scuttled, her topmast was struck. Pre- 
vious to this, however, some provisions, firearms, 
etc., were taken on shore and hidden in dense scrub, 
where Grace was left, with a tent made from a sail. 
Then, after the cutter was sunk, as well as the 
dinghy, the two men joined her. And for some days 
they thus remained — not daring to show themselves, 
for early one morning Penn had seen two mounted 
troopers trotting along the beach. Both he and 
Caffrey were well armed, and had agreed never to 
allow themselves to be taken alive. 


A Strange Rencontre 

One night the girl heard the two'men quarreUing, 
and then learned of the murder of [the old light- 
keeper. Horrified, she resolved to leave them at the 
first opportunity. That they had pirated the cutter 
she had known long before, and imagined it was for 
that offence alone they so feared capture. 

On the following morning, when Penn was away, 
looking for fresh water, Caffrey boldly professed his 
affection for Grace, and said that Pcnn was in the 
way, and it would be better to put him out of the 
way by shooting him and burying his body in the 
scrub. The girl pleaded for time — " to think it 
over" — and promised the cruel wretch not to betray 
his designs to her lover. But that night she contrived 
to let Penn know of his deadly danger; and then 
they silently stole away from the sleeping Caffrey, 
and struck deep into the bush, walking till past 
daylight, when they came to a track — or rather^'a 
bush road. 

Here the two, after a long conversation, resolved 
to part, and part they did — Penn going to the south, 
and the girl to the north. 

Meanwhile, the Mounted Police, aided by black 
trackers, were scouring the district far and wide. 
Some wreckage had come on shore on the beaches 
in the vicinity of Smoky Cape and Crescent Head, 
and amongst other articles were a number of cases 
of kerosene oil. And it was known that, among 
other cargo, the cutter had fifty cases of this article 
on board. So, slowly but surely, the scattered 
cordon of police, guided by the searching eyes of the 

211 O 2 

A Strange Rencontre 

black tracker troopers, were drawing nearer to the 
coast, where they knew their quarry lay. 

Long afterwards I received a letter from my sister 
at Kempsey in which she told me that the girl had 
reached that town : 

" She (Grace ) arrived at one of the hotels in the 

evening, and on the following morning, hearing that 
Dr. Casement was in want of a housemaid, went to 
him and was engaged, as although she said she could 
show no ' references ' she seemed such a quiet, 
respectable, and even lady-like girl . . . She was 
arrested after Penn was taken; but before Caffrey 
was captured at his ' fort '." 

Abandoned by his companions, Caffrey evidently 
thought himself betrayed, and he removed all his 
belongings — provisions, an ample supply of firearms 
and ammunition, tools, etc., to a still denser scrub 
some miles distant. Here he set to work, dug out a 
huge pit, and set the face of it round with a most 
perfectly constructed chevmix de fvise of sharp-pointed 
saplings so closely placed together that he, well-armed 
as he was, could withstand an attack for a considerable 

But he had made one fatal mistake. His hiding 
place was a mile distant from the nearest water, 
and this led to his capture. A black tracker came 
across the waterhole from whence the murderer 
obtained his supply, followed his footsteps to within 
sight of his lair, and then silently went off and 
reported to the officer in command of the police. 
That night a close cordon was drawn around the 


A Strange Rencontre 

" fort," but the watchers were not within sight of it. 
To have attempted to rush the chevunx de frise 
meant useless bloodshed. 

And so for two days and nights they waited. 

Then, one morning, Caffrey, with a braceof revolvers 
in his belt, came out carr^-ing an iron kettle for water. 
And suddenly, as he walked under the gloomy shade 
of the trees, a barefooted trooper sprang upon his 
back and bore him to the ground. Then the hand- 
cuffs clicked, and his liberty — and practically his life 
— were gone. For within two months he was tried at 
Wellington, in New Zealand, and went to the gallows 
— defiant and unrepentant to the last. 

Penn was captured by a young member of the New- 
South Wales Mounted Police, who, disguised as a 
" swagman " {i.e., a bushman looking for work and 
carrying his swag of blanket, etc.), came across his 
quarry on a punt on the Hastings River, near Port 
Macquarie. Penn had found employment on the punt 
on account of his handiness as a " sailor man," and 
when the pseudo-swagman presented a revolver at 
his head and told him to hold out his hands for the 
handcuffs, he quietly yielded. 

What Penn's sentence was I cannot now remember 
— for all this happened so many years ago that I have 
to write largely from memory. But it was certainly 
a very heavy one of penal servitude for a long term 
of years for being concerned in the piracy of the 
Sovereign of the Seas. 

What became of the girl Grace I do not know. 
Many offers of monetary assistance and even of 


A Strange Rencontre 

marriage were made to her, both in Sydney and in 
New Zealand. She declined them all. After the 
trial of Caffrey and Penn she disappeared, and went 
— one dreads to think where. The glare and horror 
of the street may have been her fate. 





Drake, ex-supercargo of the island tradinj^ barque 
Reconnaissance, had been in Sydney for four months 
"down on his luck" when, early one Saturday 
morning, a letter that made him feel hopeful was 
delivered to him. 

It was from a firm of merchants who had recently 
extended their Australian business to the South Sea 
Islands, and ran as follows: — " Dear Sir. Our Mr. 
James Twining will be glad to see you on Saturday, 
at 2.30 p.m. with regard to your undertaking the 
general managership of our recently established 
business at Nukualofa, Tonga Islands. Yours truly, 
Twining and Whasker." 

Mr. Thomas Drake sat down on his bed, lit his 
pipe, and meditated. Then he rose, went to the 
dressing-table, and counted all the money in his 
purse ; it amounted to ;£'i4 10s. Then he examined 
the butt of his cheque book, and found that he had a 
balance of £17 in the bank. 

" Thirty-one ten," he said to himself as he walked 
to his bedroom window and gazed into sunlit George 
Street, " and I have my month's bill to pay Mrs. 
Piper on Monday— that'll be at least ;^i6. Then 


" Crowley and Drake, Limited " 

there's Neild to pay, I must pay him — he's a good 
fellow, and not too flourishing. I can call that £20. 
That leaves me £^ los. to leeward. If I don't get 
this berth from Twining and Whasker, I shall have 
to go to the three-ball shop with my watch and 

Finishing dressing, he went downstairs to the 
hotel dining-room, ate his breakfast, and then scanned 
the shipping news in the Herald. 

Presently the landlady, old Mrs. Piper, entered as 
usual for a chat with her lodger, whom she had 
known from his boyhood. She was a cheerful, kindly 
old soul, whose hotel was much resorted to by the 
skippers, supercargoes, and others concerned in the 
South Sea Islands trade, and when young Tom Drake 
returned to Sydney in the Reconnaissance, from a long 
cruise, ill with fever, and with two broken ribs, 
sustained by the capsizing of a boat on the reef at 
Ysabel Island, she nursed and tended him, as Dr. 
Neild said, like his own mother. He was now quite 
recovered, and for the past six weeks had been trj-ing 
for another berth as supercargo in a trading vessel, 
or as " recruiter " in the Kanaka labour traffic. 
Then he one day heard that Twining and Whasker's 
manager at Nukualofa had resigned, and wrote to 
the firm, asking for an interview. The firm had not 
a good reputation for liberality to the captains and 
the traders in their employ, but Drake was tired of 
inactivity, and, his money being practically finished, 
he resolved to accept the position — if he could 
get it. 




" Crowley and Drake, Limited 


'• Good morning, Mrs. Piper; how are you ? I say, 
look here at this note from T. and W.," and he 
handed her the missive. 

Mrs. Piper read it, and sniffed. 

" They are a mean lot. Keep their office open and 

clerks at work on a Saturday afternoon. Be careful 

of what you do with them, Tom. They are sharks." 

•' So I have heard, mother. But if they get a bite 

out of me, I'll forgive them." 

A little before 2.30 p.m., as Drake was entering 
the firm's office, he met a man coming out — a man 
he had not seen for two years— old Captain Crowley, 
one of the best-known men in the South Seas. His 
weather-beaten face was flushed with anger, and his 
short, stubbly beard seemed to bristle with indigna- 
tion. But the moment he was accosted by the young 
man the steely grey eyes lit up with pleasure, and he 
shook his hand warmly. 

" Well, Tom, my lad, how are you ? " he bawled. 
'* I'm mighty glad to see you again, my boy. I'm 
just back from the Solomons and New Hebrides with 
a cargo of copra for these sanctimonious thieves 
here," and he jerked his thumb in the direction of a 
door on which was written, " Mr. James Twining: 
Private Office." 

The staff of busy clerks in the main office looked 
at one another, and exchanged smiles and winks, for 
as the door of the private office was open, and both 
Mr. Twining and Mr. Whasker were within, those 
gentlemen could not have failed to hear the old 
skipper's remarks — as he intended they should. 


" Crowley and Drake, Limited " 

Drake smiled also — " Will you wait for me, 
captain ? I don't think I'll be long. I have an 
appointment with Mr. Twining. As soon as I have 
seen him, you must come with me to Mrs. Piper's, 
and we can have a long yarn." 

" Right you are, my lad — I'll wait. My time is 
my own now. I've just got the ' run,' and have been 
giving those two bilks in there a bit of my mind. I 
wouldn't sail another ship for 'em if I had to go to 
sleep hungry for a month o' Sundays — the sv/abs," 
and he glared at the clerks individually, and then 
collectively, as he pulled out and lit a huge cigar. 

Drake tapped at Mr. Twining's door, and a thin 
rasping voice bade him come in. 

Ten minutes later he, too, came out with a flushed 
face ; then stopped suddenly, turned back, and gently 
but quickly pushed the door wide open, and addressed 
Mr. Twining. 

" Mr. James Twining, I daresay that you heard 
the remarks made about you and your partner just 
now by Captain Crowley. He said that you were a 
pair of sanctimonious thieves. I have known him 
for ten years, and all his friends and I regard him as 
an exceedingly truthful man, and a remarkably keen 
judge of character. Good morning." 

Then he strode to the entrance door, where 
Crowley was waiting, linked his arm in his, and the 
two went down the marble steps into the street. 

" What's wrong, Tom, my joker ? You don't look 
as if you was full up to the chin of lovin'-kindness." 

The supercargo smiled grimly — ** I'll be all right 


" Crowley and Drake, Limited " 

presently. I went to sec Twining about taking 
charge of his Tonga business. He had a two years' 
agreement already drawn out, and began reading it 
out to me in a hurried, quacking sort of a mumble. I 
stopped him, and said I would read it myself. I did. 
It was a most one-sided affair, whereby I was to bind 
myself to all sorts of heavy responsibilities, and work 
like a nigger for the pay of a Chinaman. I tossed it 
back to him without a word, got up, and walked out. 
But I went back, and said a few words to him at the 

" I heard you, my boy ; I heard you. Nothing 
like bein' outspoken at the proper time. Now, I've 
been with 'em for eighteen months — ever since they 
started trading, and they have done well by me. But 
I can never get the same crew to ship for a second 
vo5'age — the poor beggars never got enough food to 
eat, and what they did get was bad. This morning 
I went to draw my pay, and made a complaint. 
Twining snarled at me, and said he was not going to 
provide luxuries, then he added that he would have 
to dock my wages by ^^3 a month, as business was 
bad. This got my monkey up, and I let out at him, 
and he gave me the sack there and then. And now 
here I am without a ship again. But, Tom, my boy, 
I don't care a rap. I've got something up my sleeve 
that makes me chuckle when I think of it. Now, I'll 
take you into the secret, and what is more, you shall 
stand in with me, for you are of the right sort, and I 
can trust you. And you want a berth, don't you ? " 

" I do. I am broke." 


" Crowley and Drake, Limited " 

** Well, Tom, you'll soon be flush, and, all going 
well, we'll be back in Sydney by Christmas worth a 
tidy sum of money. I know where we can honestly 
put our hands on a cargo of cut sandalwood, 
worth ;^5,ooo at least. It is stowed neatly in 
one lump, and has been lying there, I daresay, for 
more than thirty years. The men who put it there 
must be dead long ago, or else it wouldn't be there. 
Now all I want is to charter a vessel for three months, 
but the trouble is that I haven't enough cash to do 
it. I did intend to lie low for another six months, 
and keep in with Twining and Whasker, which would 
have put another ^^'iSo into my pocket. I've got 
£"300, and £200 more will be enough. There are 
plenty of vessels now offering for charter at low rates, 
and I can get one for ;£"ioo to ^150 a month. You 
will come with me as mate, and five hands will be 
enough. I'll give you ^^12 a month, and 10 per cent, 
of the value of the cargo, landed here in Sydney. Is 
it a deal ? " 

" There is my hand on it — ' Crowley and Drake, 
Limited' — very limited." 

" Right. Now, we'll have a drink, and I'll tell you 
the yarn, but first of all I must tell you that we must 
lose no time in trying to raise that ;^200, and get 
away quickly, because, to tell you the truth, I'm just 
a bit afraid that my mate — who is a crawling sneak, 
and a spy of Twining's — has seen that sandalwood as 
well as myself. If he has, he is bound to have told 
Twining — who is his uncle. Now, Tom, where on 
earth are we to raise that two hundred quid ? Do 


" Crowley and Drake, Limited 


you know of anyone who would lend it to us on our 
bare word for security, and a promise to pay, say 
5 per cent, on the value of the sandalwood when 

Drake thought for a few moments. " Yes ; there is 
one person, and one only whom I know, who would 
lend us the money on our I.O.U.'s alone — and that 
is old Mrs. Piper." 

** Good. I'll tell her all about our plans presently. 
Now for my yarn. Six weeks ago I put into a bay on 
the south side of San Christoval, and anchored off a 
little island, marked Cone Rocks on the chart. It is 
pretty high, well wooded, surrounded by a reef, 
uninhabited, and about two miles from the main- 
land and six from Makira Bay, the nearest inhabited 
place on the mainland. Seeing some pigeons flying 
about the trees, I took my gun, and went on shore, 
shot some, and then had a look around. The interior 
is very rocky, full of caves, as dry as a bone, and 
hard to see on account of the thorny undergrowth 
growing in front of them. At the end of a rough 
narrow track I came to the largest one of all. It 
has a big overhanging ledge, about six feet from the 
ground, with a narrow entrance, blocked with thick 
thorny scrub. I broke a passage through and looked 
inside, but could see nothing, owing to it being so 
dark. Then I struck a match and went in, and 
nearly jumped out of my boots with astonishment — 
the whole cave from ground to roof was packed with 
sandalwood logs ! I could only see the front face of 
the pile, which is forty feet long by eight feet high, 


" Crowley and Drake, Limited " 

and stowed as closely as you possibly can stow 
sandalwood. After some trouble, I managed to 
squeeze myself along for three or four yards between 
one end of the stack and the side of the cave, and 
clambered up until my head touched the roof. Then 
I struck another match, and saw that the wood 
reached right along to the back. It made my mouth 
water to look at it, Tom ! There are certainly not 
less than three hundred tons — maybe four. How it 
came to be there I can only guess. In the 'forties ' 
and * fifties ' there were a good many sandalwood 
ships lost — some cut off by the natives, and some 
wrecked. Perhaps one was lost on this island, and 
the crew stowed the wood in this cave for safety, and 
then took to the boats, went to the mainland, and 
were all killed and eaten by the natives. As far as I 
know, the first white man that came to live at Makira 
was old Jimmy Goff ; that was in 1837 or 1847, and 
he is living there still, so it must have been put there 
before he came, or it wouldn't be there now. And it 
is equally certain that the Makira natives don't know 
anything about it — I've satisfied myself about that. 

" I went off to the ship again, intending to sail 
right away, but in the afternoon it fell a dead calm, 
and continued all night. The next morning it was 
still calm, and the mate asked me if he could take 
the dinghy and go fishing near the reef. Of course 
I said Yes, and he went off with two hands. After 
he had gone I was annoyed to learn that he had 
taken his gun, and, sure enough, he landed on the 
island, and began shooting, leaving the crew to fish. 



Crowley and Drake, Limited " 

At dinner time he came back with a few birds and 
some fish. I asked him casually if he had had a 
look round the island, and seen any caves. No, he 
said, he hadn't noticed any caves — he was too set on 
his shooting. Now, I can't help being a bit uneasy. 
All the way up to Sydney he was like a hen on a hot 
griddle, carrying on all the sail possible when it was 
his watch on deck, and sulking when I asked him if 
he wanted to take the sticks out of the ship. Then 
as soon as we anchored in port, he sent a letter on 
shore to his uncle by the health officer's boat. I saw 
the address." 

" It does look suspicious," said Drake, thoughtfully, 
" and perhaps it may account for old Twining pick- 
ing a quarrel with you, so as to get rid of you. 
Anyway, we must lose no time. Let us see Mrs. Piper." 

Mrs. Piper was in her sitting-room, and when the 
two men told her that they had come to speak to her 
on important business, she closed the door, and bade 
them be seated. Then Crowley told his story, and 
asked her if she would lend them ^200. For answer 
she went to her desk, took out her cheque book, filled 
in a cheque, folded and enclosed it in an envelope, and 
handed it to them. 

" There is the cheque," she said, with a beaming 
smile, " and although you can't cash it until Monday, 
it may help you to do business this afternoon, in the 
way of getting a ship. But I've made it ;£'400. Now 
get away . . . there, don't say any more, but come 
back to supper at seven o'clock, and tell me what 
luck you have had." 

225 P 

" Crowley and Drake, Limited " 

At six o'clock they returned to the hotel highly 
elated, having chartered an old timber brig, the 
Maria, of 400 tons. She was ready for sea, and 
her skipper, who was also owner, was to hand her 
over to them on Monday morning. During Sunday, 
Crowley picked up a crew of six good men, and by 
three o'clock on Monday afternoon they had signed 
articles and were at work on board under Drake, 
whilst the energetic Crowley was buying stores and 
provisions, which, by dusk, were on board. Crowley 
appeared during supper, bringing news of importance 
— his late command, the brigantine Aurelia, was 
getting ready for sea, and was taking in ballast. He 
had met his former second mate, who had told him 
that Willis (Twining's nephew) had been appointed 
captain, and that he and his uncle were rushing 
things to get the Aurelia away as quickly as possible, 
and that she was leaving in ballast. 

" That settles it, Tom," added Crowley. 
"Willis has seen that sandalwood. Else why 
should the firm send an island trading vessel away 
in ballast ? " 

Working all night, the brig was made ready for sea 
by the morning, and at ten o'clock Crowley went on 
shore to clear at the Customs, " in ballast, for Mercury 
Bay, N. Z." And some hours later, when Captain 
Willis went there with a similar object, he was 
surprised to learn that the brig Maria, Peter Crowley, 
master, had cleared in the morning for Mercury Bay, 
and had sailed at noon. When he communicated 
this to Messrs Twining and Whasker, those astute 


" Crowley and Drake, Limited " 

gentlemen began to feel uneasy. Was it possible, 
they asked, that Crowley, too, had seen the hidden 
sandalwood, and that his clearing for Mercury Bay 
was only a blind ? Captain Willis emphatically 
assured them that he was sure he had not. If he 
had, he asked, why was the old man so mad at being 
dismissed by the firm ? Was it likely he would 
want to continue in their employ when there was 
a shipload of valuable sandalwood to be had for 
the taking ? If he had seen it he would soon have 
got someone in Sydney to finance him in chartering 
a ship. 

"And besides that," Willis went on to say, " I met 
old Murphy, the owner of the Maria, at the Exchange, 
and pumped him. He told me that as he wanted a 
few months' spell on shore, he had put Crowley 
in charge. So there is nothing to be frightened 

¥(! T^ l|P <fr TP 

The race is not always to the swift, and although 
Captain Willis in the Aurelia was not racing the 
Maria, which he naturally imagined (if he thought of 
her at all) was steering in the very opposite direction 
to himself, he did his utmost to make a quick passage 
to San Christoval. But although the Aurelia was a 
fast vessel, and the Maria a slow one, Willis had not 
the experience of old Crowley, and made a fatal mis- 
take — he stood too far to the eastward so as to catch 
the south-east " trades " off Norfolk Island, and 
passed east of the New Hebrides ; whereas Crowley, 
knowing that the rainy season had set in, and that 

227 p 2 

'' Crowley and Drake, Limited 


the south-east "trade" would be very fickle, whilst 
he could be certain of westerly weather, laid a straight 
course from Sydney of N.N.E., and reached San 
Christoval eleven days before the Aurelia. 

Crowley anchored in seven fathoms on the east 
side of the little island, close in to the shore at a 
spot w^here access to the cave was much easier than 
on the west or ocean side, and where also the ship 
could not be seen except from the mainland. Work 
was at once begun, and for eight days everyone on 
board, except the ship's cook, toiled hard from dawn 
till dark shipping and stowing the sandalwood. 
Both Drake and Crowley had promised the hands a 
liberal bonus if the wood was got on board in quick 
time, and the men worked splendidly. Then, when 
their labours were completed, they were given two 
days' spell — with the exception of one man, who kept 
a look-out on the highest part of the island, and was 
relieved every four hours. 

On the eleventh day the look-out fired two shots, 
the signal that a sail was in sight, and Drake at once 
went on shore, and got two of the grinning crew to 
carry up a great board painted black, with large 
white lettering thereon. This was taken to the cave 
and set up on a pole in front of the now gaping cave. 
Then, leaving the look-out man, the boat returned 
to the ship, which at once became ver}'' busy. The 
cable was hove short, sails hoisted and brailed up 
and stopped in, and everything made ready to sail at 
a few minutes' notice. 

Three hours passed, and then the look-out man 


" Crowley and Drake, Limited " 

was seen descending to the beach as fast as his legs 
could carry him. The boat met him. 

"It's the Anrelia, Mr. Drake. She's anchored, 
and has sent a boat on shore." 

Another two hours passed, and the expectant crew 
of the Maria stood about the deck eyeing the skipper 
and Drake as they walked the after-deck in high 
good humour. 

" He won't come, Tom," observed the skipper, 
"so we'll heave up and just run past him, and ask 
him how he feels." Then he faced for'ard, and 
bawled out : 

*' Man the windlass, lads ; and give us a rousing 
good chanty to it." 

With a cheer the crew sprang for'ard, and in a few 
seconds the cheerful click of the windlass pawls were 
drowned in the roaring chorus of " Homeward 
Bound." Ten minutes later, with her anchor still 
underfoot, the old brig lumbered round the point, 
and the spars of the Aurelia became visible over the 
tree tops. 

TX* •^ ^V ^P ^^ 

When Captain Willis had hurried gleefully on 
shore, he took the same way to the cave that he had 
chanced upon on his former visit. The way was 
rough, rocky and beset with thorny bushes, which 
he and his men hacked away with scrub-hooks as 
they passed along. Hot and perspiring, but jubilant, 
he was soon abreast of the cave ; and then stood 


^' Crowley and Drake, Limited " 

and gasped with open mouth. A huge signboard 
faced the cave : 




Apply round the corner, to Captain Peter Crowley, 
on board the brig 'Maria'." 

With a strange feehng of numbness he stared first 
at the empty cave, then at a broad lane that had 
been cut through the jungle to the beach, and the 
rough ground made level. Beyond he saw the sea, 
and the green forest-clad mountains of San Christo- 
val. He was too benumbed to curse, and when he 
heard the faint sound of — 

" Hurrah, my lads, we're homeward bound," 

he put his hands to his forehead, and thought he 
must be mad or dreaming. 

Staggering and stumbling, his crew led him back 
to the boat, and pulled on board. He sat down on 
the skylight shivering like a man with ague. 

" Bring me some brandy, steward ! Quick, or I'll 
brain you, you mongrel Dago." 

Round the point, under full sail, came the Maria, 
heading direct for the Aurelia. Then she sheered a 
little, so as to pass almost within touch. Crowley 
came to the rail. 

" Good-day, Captain Willis. S'prised to see you 
here. You look mighty light. Seeking for a cargo, 
I suppose, eh ? Well, you'll have plenty of time. I 


" Crowley and Drake, Limited " 

have had a bit of luck. I've got three hundred and 
sixty tons of fine sandalwood under hatches — a 
matter of ;^5,ooo or £6,000. Good-bye. Kind 
regards to Uncle James." 

Drake pulled him away from the rail, and motioned 
to the man at the wheel to put the helm up, for Willis 
had tumbled off the skylight in a fit. 

** That s enough, captain. We have had our 
revenge. Don't rub it in too hard." 




Nerida was proud of the English blood in her 
veins. Her father was an Englishman — Captain 
Harry Rivers — her mother a Portuguese half-caste. 
The latter I never saw, but I had heard much of her 
as having been a very beautiful woman. She died in 
Samoa when Nerida was five years of age, and then 
for the next thirteen years Rivers wandered about the 
North and South Pacific from isle to isle, trading and 
pearl shelling, and with him went Nerida. He was 
a fairly wealthy man, and in addition to the brig 
Sidonie, which he sailed himself, he owned another 
but smaller vessel, a topsail schooner, which, like the 
Sidonie, was engaged in the South Sea trade. Samoa 
was his headquarters, and it was at Apia, in Samoa, 
that I first met him and Nerida. He had just 
returned from a voyage to the islands of the North- 
western Pacific, and I had also just arrived in Samoa 
from New Zealand in the barque Metaris, of which 
vessel I was supercargo. Rivers and I knew each 
other very well by confidential correspondence. 

A few days after my arrival at Apia I severed my 
connection with the Metaris, and was looking for 


Nerida, the Maid of Suwarrow 

another berth. Knowing that Captain Rivers was 
staying at " D'Acosta's Hotel " in the German quarter 
of Apia, thither I went, and asked to see him, and 
presently I was shaking hands with him and his 
daughter, who were having afternoon tea on the 
hotel balcony. They pressed me to join them, and 
in a few minutes we were chatting together as if we 
had known one another for years. 

Nerida Rivers was about eighteen years of age, 
and was certainly one of the most beautiful girls I 
had ever seen. What especially struck me was 
her calm, self-possessed manner, and her steady, 
resolute eyes, which sought mine in a way that 
slightly disconcerted me. She noticed this and 

*' I am very rude, am I not ? I cannot help staring 
at strangers. But I am sure I shall like you." 

This put me at my ease, and I at once made known 
to Rivers the object of my visit. 

" I am very glad you have come to see me," he 
said. " You are just the man I want, and I am sure 
we shall pull together. Now, what I am telling you 
is in strict confidence. 

" Three years ago a schooner which had been 
pearling in the Paumotu group for over a year, left 
Manga Reva for Singapore with a hundred tons of 
golden-edged pearl on board, together with pearls 
worth ;^io,ooo. She sailed from Manga Reva early 
in May, two years ago, and was never again heard of 
— it was supposed that she had ' turned turtle ' and 
foundered, for she was heavily overmasted, and her 


Nerida, the Maid of Suwarrow 

skipper was a reckless, dare-devil Belgian who always 
persisted in carryin;^ a press of canvas. 

" Now, she did not founder at sea. The Belgian 
took her into Suwarrow Lagoon, 500 miles east 
from Samoa. The islands of the lagoon are 
uninhabited, and the Belgian evidently soon found 
out that the lagoon was full of pearl shell, and he 
must have meant to set his native crew to work at 
diving, for trace of their occupation on one of the 
thirteen islets are still visible. 

" What happened subsequently I do not know, but 
what I surmise is this : the schooner, which although 
quite new was leaky, sank at her anchors in 
sixteen fathoms of water, and every soul on board 
was drowned. I daresay it occurred in the night, 
when everyone on board was asleep. And those who 
tried to swim on shore would never escape the swarms 
of sharks which infest Suwarrow Lagoon." 

I nodded assent, for I knew Suwarrow Lagoon 
very well. 

" Well, that schooner is lying there at the bottom 
of the lagoon, with pearls and pearl shell worth 
£15,000 to ;^20,ooo. I discovered her in a very 
simple manner. 

" I put into Suwarrow Lagoon ten months ago to 
heave down the Sidonie, and in pulling across the 
lagoon one day, came across her. She is lying on 
her bilge in clear water on a sandy bottom, and her 
fore and main hatches and companion are open. 
One of my native crew dived down into the hold, 
and saw the pearl shell, which is stowed in sacks of 


Nerida, the Maid ol Suwarrow 

coir cinnet ; then he went into the cabin, found the 
remains of three bodies, and brought me up the cabin 
clock, on which was an ivory plate bearing the words 
' Hirondelle, Nantes.' Then I knew that I had found 
the missing pearling schooner. 

*' I could do nothing further at the time to recover 
the shell, as I had only one native who was a good 
diver. But he was of good service to me in showing 
me that the bottom of Suwarrow Lagoon is studded 
with beds of pearl shell worth from ;£'ioo to ;£"i50 a 
ton. And I am going to work those beds — after I 
have raised the shell in the schooner's hold, and got 
the pearls that are somewhere in her cabin." 

I was deeply interested in this recital. 

" Now," resumed Rivers, " this is what I intend to 
do. You are well acquainted with the Magalogalo 
(Penrhyn Island) natives, are you not ? " 

" Very well indeed," I said, " and they all know 
me — from the oldest baldhead down to the little 

" Well, my other vessel, the Katafa, will be here 
in a week or so, from Tonga. By that time I shall 
be on my way to Suwarrow. I will slip away quietly 
and will clear at the Consulate for Fiji. No one but 
Nerida and I will know our destination. If it leaked 
out, there are half a dozen men here in Apia who 
would try to get there before me. But I have had to 
take one man partly into my confidence, as he and 
his partner are coming with me. They are both 
expert divers, and I have hired them, and all their 
diving gear, for two months at ;i^200 a month. All 


Nerida, the Maid of Suwarrow 

they know so far is that I have engaged them to try 
and repair a sunken vessel, so that I can raise her. 
If I can't raise her, they are to get her cargo out of 
the hold. Later on I shall perhaps have to tell them 
about the pearls in the cabin." 

" Who are the men ? " I asked. 

'* Musgrave and Fillis." 

I started — "They are two of the greatest scoundrels 
in the Pacific ! Good divers they are, certainly ; but 
do you know that they are strongly believed to have 
murdered the skipper and crew of a Torres Straits 
pearling lugger some years ago ? " 

" I do." 

" And they both served a three years' sentence in 
Queensland for stealing pearls ? " 

'* Yes, I know that, too. But they won't tr}- on 
any monkey tricks with me — they will be too well 

I said that it was very risky having two such men ; 
but Rivers pointed out that his crew of eight Polynes- 
ians were tried and trusty men ; furthermore, that 
he meant to make both the divers sleep on shore 
every night ; so I raised no further objections. 

Then Rivers gave me my instructions in detail. As 
soon as the Katafa arrived I was to board her, armed 
with his power of attorney, take charge of the vessel, 
and instruct the skipper to sail with all haste for 
Penrhyn Island, where I was to engage a party of 
ten of the best divers procurable, and then make for 
Suwarrow Lagoon, where I should find Rivers 
awaiting me. (The natives of Penrhyn Island are 


Nerida, the Maid of Suwarrow 

the best divers in the world, and will dive con- 
tinuously in ten to twelve fathoms of water without 
diving suits, and the men I was to hire were to work 
the as yet untouched shell in the lagoon.) 

Three days later the Sidonie sailed. I went on 
board to bid good-bye to Rivers and his daughter, 
and saw Musgrave and Fillis lounging about the 
deck, smoking cigars. Both were big, powerful men, 
flashily dressed in white ducks with scarlet-and-yellow 
cummerbunds ; each wore a heavy gold watch chain 
and much jewellery. On the fore-deck I also noticed 
two Manila men, who, Rivers said, were Musgrave's 
and Fillis's pump men. 

With a warm hand-grasp to father and daughter, I 

said good-bye, expressing the hope that they would 

see the Katafa sailing into Suwarrow Lagoon within 

a fortnight. 


The Katafa was a smart little vessel, and when, a 
week after the Sidonie had sailed, we spun out of 
Apia harbour between the roaring lines of surf upon 
the reef, I expected to reach Penrhyn Island in fifty 
or sixty hours. But misfortune dogged us from the 
start. The first night out, and during the middle 
watch, when the schooner was making ten knots, we 
crashed into a huge floating tree, which tore a hole 
in her bows between wind and water. Only that we 
were able to " fother " it quickly with a spare top- 
sail, we should have gone to the bottom in a few 
minutes, as the water was pouring in at an alarming 
rate. Then, whilst one watch kept the pumps going, 


Nerida, the Maid of Suvvarrow 

the other Hghtcned the vessel forward, and by day- 
Hght we had the water under control, and the 
fothering sail kept well in place by sheets of copper 
nailed up and down on the outside timbers across 
the hole. Then I bore up for Quiros Island, put the 
schooner on the reef, and repaired the damage. This 
took us four days, owing to the tides. Refloating 
the schooner over the reef, we had not lost sight of 
the little island when the wind died away, and for a 
whole week we drifted round and round it. At last 
a series of light, baffling airs carried us to the N.W., 
but it took us just twenty days to get into Penrhyn 
Lagoon. The village seemed strangely quiet vv'hen 
we dropped anchor, and no canoes or boats came 
off to us. Hurriedly going on shore, I found that the 
population had been visited with a severe outbreak 
of influenza, and numbers of the older natives had 
died. Only after waiting five weeks did I succeed in 
inducing seven young men and three young women 
to come as divers at a very high rate of pay — ^^lo per 
month and all found. Then three of our crew 
of six men contracted the complaint badly, and I was 
obliged to leave them behind, for by this time I was 
beginning to feel worn out, mentally and physically, 
and was fretting to join Rivers, who, I knew, was 
wondering what had happened to the Katafa. 

With some members of my crew suffering from the 
disease, I left Penrhyn at last, and again we were 
afflicted by calms and light, baffling airs, and it took 
us sixteen long, sweltering days before we sighted 
the low line of palm trees, apparently rising out of 

241 Q 

Nerida, the Maid of Suvvarrow 

the placid ocean, that denoted our destination — over 
eighty days from Samoa ! 

With feverish expectancy I went aloft on the top- 
sail yard as we entered the south-west passage of 
Suwarrow Lagoon, and soon saw the Sidonie. She 
was lying about two cable lengths off the snow-white 
beach of a little cocoa-palm-clad islet. Her topmasts 
were struck, and she was housed in with awnings, 
fore and aft. But a keen feeling of anxiety overpowered 
me when I saw no signs of anyone being on board, 
neither were there any signs of human life visible on 
the encircling islets. A strange, oppressive silence, 
broken only by the hoarse cries of the wheeling sea- 
birds, brooded over all, and the smooth surface of the 
broad lagoon, as it shimmered under the rays of a 
sinking sun, was unbroken by either a boat or canoe. 
As we drew nearer to the silent vessel, I noticed that 
all her boats were gone ; but presently the captain, 
who had now joined me, pointed to a second islet a 
mile away, and there we saw a newly-built thatched 
house, standing amidst a grove of jack-fruit trees. But 
we could see no one about. 

Greatly agitated at the strange silence, I brought 
the vessel to, close to the Sidonie, and telling the 
mate to anchor, the skipper and I had a boat lowered, 
and were pulled to the brig. Clambering over the 
rail, we found her deserted. Her decks were covered 
with coarse cocoanut-leaf matting, evidently to 
protect them from blistering under the fierce tropic 
sun ; the hatches were on and secured, and the 
cabin companion was padlocked from the outside. 


Nerida, the Maid of Suwarrow 

'* What in God's name has happened ? " I began, 
when Cass (the skipper) uttered an exclamation, and 
silently pointed to a board which was lashed to the 
brass rods protecting the glass on the port side of the 
skylight. It was painted white, and on it was an 
inscription in large letters : 

** In urgent need of assistance. Make for the 
house on the second island from the passage. 

"Nerida Rivers." 

For some seconds we stared at it, and then at each 
other in silence ; then our wits came to us. 

Jumping on the brig's rail, I hailed the mate of 
the schooner, and told him to clear away and load 
one of our two three-pounder guns with a blank 
charge ; then the skipper and I tumbled into our 
boat, and in a few minutes were on board again. 
The gun was ready as we stepped on deck. 

" Fire the gun, Mr. Dole," I said to the wondering 
mate ; " then watch that hut on the islet. If anyone 
appears, dip our colours and fire the gun again. 
Then the captain and I dived below for our arms, 
just as the loud report of the gun thundered out across 
the lagoon. 

Scarcely had the sound died away, and we were 
coming on deck again, carrying arms for ourselves 
and the boat's crew, when the mate gave a loud 
shout, and came running aft, glasses in hand. 

" Miss Rivers is there, sir. I saw her quite 
plainly ; she ran out of the house, and then went 
inside again." 

243 Q 2 

Nerida, the Maid of Suwarrow 

" All right. Dip the colours and fire again. I fear 
that something has happened to Captain Rivers." 

Manned by four sturdy native seamen, the boat 
was soon dashing across the lagoon, and ten minutes 
after the second gun was fired, we ran her bows on to 
the sandy beach and met J^Iiss Rivers half-way up 
the path. She ran to us with outstretched hands, 
and for some minutes was unable to speak, for an 
outburst of sobbing choked her utterance of any 

" Thank God, you have come," she said, after she 
had recovered herself a little. " My father is here, 
very ill, and, I fear, dying. He was shot in the 
chest six weeks ago, and since then has had a 
sunstroke. For the past three days he has been 
delirious. I will tell you all that has happened 
by and bye ; but, first, for the love of Heaven, come 

to him." 

We asked her no questions, but quickly followed 

her to the hut. 

Lying on a couch of mats was what looked like the 
ghost of the once stalwart Harry Rivers. His hair 
and beard had been cut off, and his bronzed features 
were sunken and emaciated. As we entered he 
slightly raised himself, held out his hand, and then 
sank back with closed eyes, but still holding my hand 
in his feeble grasp. 

"Thank God, he is conscious again," said Nerida 
with^a sob of joy, as she knelt beside him and placed 
her hand gently on his forehead, and as if to confirm 
her words the sick 'man raised his left hand feebly 


Nerida, the Maid of Suwarrow 

and touched her face. And then in a hoarse whisper 
he said : 

" Nerida . . . water." 

Gently raising him, we placed a cup of weak lime- 
juice and water to his lips. He drank it eagerly, then 
tried to speak. 

"Captain Rivers," I said, "your life depends upon 
your keeping quiet. Do not try to speak." 

A gentle pressure of my hand told me he under- 
stood, and then his eyes met mine and lit up. 

On a table was the Sidonie's medicine chest, and 
beside it was a thermometer. In a whisper Nerida 
told us that she had taken his temperature every 
hour, and would now take it again. He knew what 
she was doing, and when at the end of five minutes 
she removed the glass, it showed two points lower 
than it had done an hour previously. 

As night fell, a cool breeze stirred the tree tops 
overhead, and Rivers slept. The turning point was 
passed, and I knew that with care he would recover. 
For two hours he slumbered, and his tortured brain 
rested. When he awoke he was perfectly conscious, 
his temperature was down to 98, and as Nerida, with 
streaming eyes, bent down and kissed him, he 
muttered feebly : 

" I'll pull through, my girl." 

" Yes, father, of course you will now. But you 
must not talk." 

His lips parted in an attempt to smile as he 
nodded ; then he beckoned to Cass and me to come 
near, and gave us his hand again. 


Nerida, the Maid of Suwarrow 

" Nerida will tell you," he said. 

Nerida had told us ; and this was her story. 

" Like you in the Kciiafa, we had a trying voyage — 
light winds and calms alternating, so that it took us 
fourteen days to get to Suwarrow. We anchored 
near the sunken Hirondelle, and on the following day 
my father went on shore with some of our crew and 
began building two houses — this one where we now 
are, and another on the next island. The latter was 
for Musgrave and Fillis to live in ; this one was for 
my father and myself to occupy whenever we felt 
inclined to sleep on shore. Musgrave and his com- 
rade at first very strongly objected to having to sleep 
on shore, but my father was resolute and told them 
bluntly that the brig's cabin was too small for seven 
people — the two divers, two mates, the steward, and 
he and I. They consented at last, but with an ill 

" Work was soon begun on the Hirondelle. First, 
Musgrave and Fillis raised all the pearl shell from 
the hold. This took only ten days, for they worked 
well, and seemed anxious to get their task over as 
quickly as possible. When they had finished getting 
up the last of the shell, and it was safely stowed on 
board the Stdonie, my father spoke to them about 
making an attempt to lift the sunken vessel off the 
bottom, by means of empty casks, and get her into 
shallow water, where the leak could be found and 
the schooner raised to the surface and pumped out. 
They declared it was quite impossible, as the Sidonie 


Nerida, the Maid of Suwarrow 

was not large enough for the purpose, and could not 
stand the strain of even partially lifting the Hirondclle. 
My father, after some days, satisfied himself that they 
were right, and abandoned the idea. 

** I must mention that, unknown to Musgrave and 
Fillis, he had several times sent one of his native 
crew — the same man who had previously dived into 
the cabin and found the human remains — down into 
the cabin to endeavour to find the box or chest con- 
taining the pearls. But the man searched in vain ; 
and finally my father had to take Musgrave into 
his confidence, and tell him that he knew that there 
was a box of valuable pearls somewhere in the cabin 
of the sunken schooner. He did this with great 
misgivings, for the native diver had told him that the 
cabin had certainly been visited by the two white 
divers, for many of its contents were disarranged. 

" Musgrave and Fillis pretended to make a 
thorough search, and sent up all the sea chests and 
boxes they found in the cabin. These were all 
carefully opened, but not a single pearl was found. 
But the truth was that the villains had discovered 
the pearls soon after they began operations, had 
quickly secreted them with the aid of their two 
Manila men, and had buried them under the ground 
in their hut. Of course, they naturally surmised that 
a schooner carrying a cargo of pearl shell would also 
have pearls on board as well. And I have no doubt 
but that from that day their dreadful plan of cruel and 
wholesale murder took possession of their souls. 

" Every day, after work was over, Musgrave, 


Nerida, the Maid of Suwarrow 

Fillis and the two evil-faced Manila men went on 
shore to sleep in their hut, and every night a good 
watch was kept on board the Sidonie, for my father 
now greatly mistrusted them. Sometimes my father 
and I would also sleep here in this house, on account 
of the cool sea breeze which came from the weather 
side of the islets. 

" One dull, rainy evening, six weeks ago, my father 
and I were on shore, to stay the night. Before dark 
we had seen the boat from the Sidonie, manned by 
four native sailors, taking Musgrave, Fillis and the 
two Manila men on shore to sleep as usual. About 
an hour afterwards, when it was quite dark, I thought 
I heard the dulled report of firearms — five or six 
shots — in the direction of Musgrave's house. I told 
my father ; he said that most likely the men were 
shooting the flying foxes, which infest the trees on 
Musgrave's islet. But about midnight, as my father 
was standing at the door here, he caught a glimpse 
of the boat going back to the brig. Four men were 
in her, and all were using native canoe paddles instead 
of oars, and he clearly recognised the burly figures of 
Musgrave and Fillis, and the slighter ones of the two 
Manila men. 

" In an instant his suspicions were aroused, and 
calling me, he told me to keep awake until he 
returned. Then, taking his revolver, he hurriedly 
pushed off in the dinghy, which we always keep afloat 
near the beach, and followed the boat, little thinking 
that our four poor native sailors had been treacher- 
ously shot down in cold blood by Musgrave and his 


Nerida, the Maid of Suwarrow 

party, who were then on their way to massacre the 
rest of the ship's company. 

"The boat reached the brig far in advance of my 
father, and the horrid work of murder began quickly, 
for he heard the repeated sounds of Winchester and 
revolver shots. In their eagerness to surprise the 
crew, Musgrave and his comrades did not make the 
boat fast to the brig, and my father saw her being 
rapidly swept away by the current towards the 
passage. Rowing as hard as he could, he was within 
a hundred yards of the brig, when the four murderers 
gathered on the quarter-deck, and began firing at 
him. Almost the first shot struck him on the breast 
bone, glanced aside, and then travelled round to his 
back. He fell, and then other bullets penetrated the 
boat's planking, and she began to fill, and he lay 
unconscious as the dinghy was rapidly swirled out 
through the passage into the open sea. 

" I had heard the shooting, and, in an agony of 
suspense, I waited for the dawn. Twice I ran down to 
the beach with the intention of swimming off to the 
brig, but it would have been madness for me to attempt 
it — the sharks would have had me in five minutes." 

She paused, and wept a little at the bare memory 
of that night. 

" At dawn, with my father's glasses, I looked at 
the brig. She was lying broadside on, and I could 
see no boats alongside, or veered astern, and wondered 
why. The brig, as you know, is moored fore and 
aft, just alongside the sunken schooner, and the 
divers' pumps were worked from the brig's deck. 


Nerida, the Maid of Suwarrow 

" Presently I saw Musgrave and Fillis come on 
deck, and each of them, in turn, looked at this house 
through the ship's glasses. I suppose they were 
trying to see if I was awake and about. Then I saw 
the two Manila men join them, and all four appeared 
to be talking. 

Distracted as I was with the almost certain know- 
ledge that my poor father was murdered, I had no 
immediate fear for myself; for there was clearly no 
boat for his murderers to reach the shore, and then 
I had not only my own Winchester eleven-shot 
carbine, but my father's Winchester rifle as well. 

*' Undecided as to what I should do, I continued 
to watch the brig, unseen by those on board, for I 
got up in this jack-fruit tree here, and about eight 
o'clock I saw that they were very busy on deck, and 
were handling spare timbers and planking. In an 
instant I knew that they were building a raft. 

I came into the house, and carefully examined the 
two Winchesters, and then as I was taking a drink 
of water, I heard a faint cry at the back of the house, 
and saw my father staggering along between the 
cocoanut trees. He was naked to the waist, almost 
exhausted, and maddened with thirst and the pain of 
his wound. 

" I am very strong. I carried him inside, and after 
I had given him some water and then some brandy, 
I dressed his wound in the chest as well as I could; 
then I cut out the bullet, which had lodged just over 
the shoulder blade, and during this time he told me 
what had happened since he left. 


Nerida, the Maid of Suwarrow 

" After he recovered consciousness, he found him- 
self nearly a mile outside the passage. The sea was 
smooth, and the dinghy was being rapidly carried 
along the western side of the island, but close in to 
the reef. After some hours' hard work, and using 
one of the bottom boards of the dinghy for a paddle, 
he succeeded in getting on to the reef, just as the 
tide began to fall. Here he rested for a while, for 
although he had not lost much blood, he was suffering 
intense pain. 

" From there he walked along the reef to the 
nearest island, then crossed the narrow channel to 
the next, and so on, till he finally reached Musgrave 
and Fillis's house, which he found deserted and in 
great disorder, with pools of blood on the matted 
floor ; and outside the house he discovered the 
bodies of the four poor native sailors, roughly 
covered with leaves. They had all been shot 
through the head or chest. After getting a drink, 
he started off, keeping out of sight of the brig until 
he reached me. 

" Half an hour after my father returned I made 
him lie down and sleep, telling him I would arouse 
him the instant I thought necessary. Then I took 
the two Winchesters, placed them by the door, and 
watched the Sidonie. There was no need for me to 
use glasses, for it was a fine, bright morning, and I 
could see everj'thing clearly. 

" The water about the brig was literally alive with 
sharks — the feast that the cruel murderers had given 
them in the night, of the bodies of the poor officers 


Nerida, the Maid of Suwarrow 

and crew of the brig, had brought them about in 
swarms, and when the tackle was rigged and the 
raft hoisted over the side, I saw the two Manila men 
get on to it with whaling lances, and kill a number. 
Then Musgrave and Fillis got on to the raft and cast 
off, and all four began to paddle it towards the shore, 
using canoe paddles ; and, as they came, the swarms 
of sharks swam beside them. All four had their arms 
— Winchesters and revolvers. 

" I went in and looked at my father. He was 
asleep, and I resolved not to disturb him, for I had 
no fear. 

** The raft came steadily on till it was within two 
hundred yards of this doorway ; then Musgrave stood 
up and called out : 

" ' Miss Rivers! ' 

" I made no answer, but crouched down behind 
the door, and again the raft moved nearer. 

" When within fifty yards of the beach, Musgrave 
again stood up, and as he did so, I fired and shot 
him through the stomach ; then I quickly shot the 
three others in succession. Fillis twice fired his 
pistol at me, and then fell into the water, and 
I saw the sharks tear him asunder. The noise 
of the firing awakened my father, and he crawled 
to the door and watched me empty the two Win- 
chesters into the bodies of the three men lying 
on the raft, until they were riddled through and 

" The raft drifted on to the beach, and after 
putting some heavy coral stones on it, I let it lie 


Nerida, the Maid of Suwarrow 

there for the flood tide. The sharks waited, and as 
the water rose, they came in and dragged the dead 
men off, and devoured them. I shut the door and 
did not look, but I heard the splashing of the water 
and knew what it was. 

" My father soon recovered from his wounds, and 
we went on board the brig. It was a dreadful sight, 
for the decks were black with dried blood. My 
father thinks that Musgrave and Fillis drugged the 
supper coffee, and when they came on board they 
shot everyone on the brig in their sleep, for the two 
mates were careful men, and always kept a good 
watch at night. 

"We searched the hut in which Musgrave and 
Fillis had lived, and found the pearls ; they were in 
two chamois-leather bags, and were buried under 
the earth inside the hut. 

" We brought all our things on shore from the 
brig, but went off to her every day to wash down 
decks. Then my father set to work to build a boat, 
and it was whilst he was doing this that he was 
smitten with sunstroke about a week ago. . . . 
But now, thank God, all our troubles and misery 
are over." 

Two months later, the Sidonie and Katafa sailed 
in company for Singapore, where we arrived safely. 
Rivers sold his cargo of pearl shell and the two vessels 
as well, and I bade farewell to him and "The Maid 
of Suwarrow," as Cass and I called Nerida. They 


Nerida, the Maid of Suwarrow 

went to California to live, and a few years later I 
heard that Nerida had married an English settler at 
Los Angeles, in that State. 

Six years after, I again had occasion to visit 
Suwarrow, and, looking down into the crystal waters 
of the lagoon, saw the weed-covered hulk of the 
ill-fated Hirondelle. 




It has always been a source of wonder to me that 
so many English families who, for business or other 
reasons have to spend many years in tropical climes, 
so seldom attempt to grow the vegetables they have 
been accustomed to eat and the absence of which 
they so frequently deplore. Taking the Pacific 
Islands for instance, where nearly one-half of the 
ordinary " common garden " vegetables familiar to 
English people at home can be grown with ease, it is 
surprising that most English residents never attempt 
to cultivate them ; and so make their bitter moan 
about having to eat the eternal yam, taro or sweet 
potato. Perhaps my own experiences may be of 
interest to those of my readers who live under torrid 
skies and who long to see European vegetables upon 
their tables in place of the tropical products of 
which they are so weary. Whilst I achieved nothing 
extraordinary I was yet very successful with my 
European vegetable growing, and my example 
inspired many of my fellow-traders to do likewise, 
especially in such places as the low-lying Equatorial 
islands and the sandy islands of Micronesia, where 
nothing in the way of vegetable food can be obtained 
except cocoanuts, pandanus fruit, arrowroot, and the 

257 R 

My South Sea Gardens 

coarse gigantic taro, known as pnraka, although on 
some of the Marshall and Caroline Islands the jack- 
fruit tree flourishes and the sweet fruit can be eaten, 
either cooked as a vegetable when green, or as 
dessert when fully ripe. Wherever a grove of jack- 
fruit trees is to be found, there is always a deep 
stratum of rich vegetable mould, and this, mixed 
with sand, rolled cocoanut husks and such other 
matter, makes excellent garden soil that will grow 
bananas, maize, melons, cucumbers, pumpkins, 
onions, etc. Many j^ears ago I was shipwrecked 
on Peru (Francis Island) one of the Gilbert group, 
and with some seeds brought from New Zealand the 
local trader and I produced vegetables that had never 
before been seen in the Equatorial islands, and our 
garden became famous. We did not, like a notorious 
"amazing man " whose adventures were made known 
to the world a few years ago in a popular magazine, 
grow a crop of cereals in the carapaces of turtles, 
mixed with sand and turtles' blood, but we did, on 
that hot, low-lying sandy island (lat. i° 30' S., long. 
176° E.) successfully grow beans, onions, radishes, 
turnips and huge pumpkins and water-melons. Our 
modus operandi I shall describe later on, first tell- 
ing of my experiences as a gardener on Niue, more 
generally known as Savage Island, an isolated spot 
four hundred miles east of the Tonga group, and 
annexed by Great Britain a few years ago. The 
island, although it is only thirty miles or so in cir- 
cumference, has a population of five thousand natives 
who speak a bastard Maori-Samoan dialect, and who 


My South Sea Gardens 

are known all over the Pacific for their independence, 
self-assertion, and also for their capabilities as sailor 
men. Niu6 is what is known geologically as an 
island of " upheaved coral." Its coast line starts 
sheer-up from the sea, and the island presents a 
repellent appearance at first sight, but in reality it is 
of wondrous fertility, for behind the grim and 
forbidding cliffs of grey coral, worn into fantastic 
shapes by the fury of the sea (there is no encom- 
passing reef) there arc rich groves of cocoa-palms, and 
the interior, although covered in most part with 
guava and other scrub and broken up by ragged coral 
rocks, has a reddish soil of such peculiar richness 
that almost every tropical fruit or vegetable thrives 
in it. In some parts Niu6 is heavily timbered, and 
among its exportable products, in addition to copra, 
are cotton (Sea Island) fungus and yams. Although 
there is no running water, the frequent rains keep 
the island in an ever-verdant condition, and I know 
of no other in the Pacific which, with such a broken- 
up and rugged interior, possesses such remarkable 
fertility. The natives' plantations are among this 
broken coral, which has to be cleared away to make a 
space of even a few yards, but the yam crop is 
enormous, and huge pumpkins may be seen ripening in 
the sun on the tops of jagged boulders over which the 
vines have been allowed to climb. Patches of sugar 
cane abound and orange trees bearing splendid fruit 
seem to grow out of masses of coral debris, and 
pawpaws and sour-sop grow together. The guava, 
introduced from Samoa, has become a pest, although 

259 R 2 

My South Sea Gardens 

the fruit is of large size and excellent quality. The 
natives will not eat it, but the white residents give 
it to their horses and cattle together with pawpaws. 
The animals like such food, but it is much too 
fattening. For this reason, too, the Savage Island 
pork, which is pawpaw fed, is so sweet and so fat as 
to be unpleasant to the taste. 

When I arrived at the island to remain for a 
twelvemonth as the agent of a trading firm, I 
brought with me a box of garden seeds (flower and 
vegetable) which I had bought in Sydney. Speak- 
ing about them to my nearest white neighbour, he 
laughed and said, '' Why, you can get all the vege- 
tables and fruit you want : yams, pumpkins, cabbages 
up to five pounds, and cucumbers a yard long. 
What more do you want ? " Now, although I had 
heard of the Nine "tree-cabbages," I had doubts 
about the yard-long cucumbers, and remarked that if 
they were in season I would like to see one. And I 
did see one within a few minutes. It was fully 
eighteen inches long, proportionately thick and quite 
straight. The native who brought it said it was not 
by any means full grown. As for the tree-cabbages, 
I was shown these on the following day, and confess 
I was startled. On a stout, leafless and corrugated 
stalk about five inches in circumference, and six or 
seven feet high, were growing large oval-shaped 
cabbages, not one of which was less than four 
pounds in weight, and on one tree there was one 
that could not have weighed less than seven pounds. 
Both the cucumbers and cabbages I found later on 


My South Sea Gardens 

were of excellent flavour; not to be surpassed by 
those grown in a colder or more temperate climate. 
Who introduced these tree-cabbages to the island the 
natives did not know, or at least did not remember, 
but they believed cuttings of the stalks were brought 
to Niue by a sandalwood ship some time about 1850. 
As for the cucumbers, they were the result of 
ordinary seed planted on the island by a trader a 
few years previously. 

Determined to introduce some new European 
vegetables on Niu^, I, in a weak moment, distributed 
about a quarter of the contents of my box of seeds 
amongst the people of the four principal villages — 
Avatele, Tamakautoga, Alofe and Hakupu. I was 
too busy to attempt any gardening myself, and told 
the natives that although my household was but a 
small one, I would certainly buy the new vegetables 
from them occasionally — that is, sufficient for my 
own use. Of course I meant well, and thought I 
was benefiting the natives generally as well as the 
half a dozen white residents. Little did I dream of 
the trouble I was bringing upon myself through 
those wretched seeds. They were to prove to be 
veritable dragons' teeth. In less than ten or at most 
eleven weeks natives — men, women, and children — 
came trooping along to my trading station carrying 
baskets of all manner of half-grown vegetables and 
insisted upon my buying them. The quantity and 
variety appalled me. Carrots, turnips, radishes, 
onions, eschalots, French beans, butter-beans, young 
broad beans, small immature cobs of maize, bloated 


My South Sea Gardens 

gherkins, and parsnips that with scarcely any body 
had leaves of extraordinary length. It was in vain 
that I protested I had no possible use for such 
a quantity of vegetables. I was assailed with 
reproaches. Had they wasted their time for 
nothing? They did not want any of these new 
vegetables ; to them — if I would not buy them — they 
were only so much pupu kolea (worthless weeds), etc. 
Day after day the same thing occurred. I was com- 
pelled to buy ten times the quantity of vegetables 
that were required and give most of them to my 
horse and the pigs. At the same time, the cost was 
almost nothing — for a stick of twist tobacco worth 
twopence I could get eight pounds to ten pounds of 
beans, or a couple of huge cabbages. Among the 
seeds given out were some of a climbing bean known 
in Austraha as the poor man's bean. One vine will 
completely cover an ordinary bush bumpy, and the 
beans are produced in clumps of twenty to thirty. 
But although those planted on Niue grew splendidly 
they did not yield a single bean. English potatoes 
were also a failure ; they ran to vine and the tubers 
were hardly larger than marbles. Before concluding 
my remarks on this interesting and solitary island it 
may interest my readers to know what was our usual 
breakfast at seven o'clock. Tinned meats we avoided, 
and, as fish are scarce at Niue, we had to fall back 
on eggs and grilled chickens, which are cheap ; but 
fruit constituted most of our breakfast, and we had a 
fairly large choice — bananas, custard apples, grena- 
dillas and sour-sop were always in evidence ; and, in 


My South Sea Gardens 

season, delicious oranges. Then, of course, tea 
coffee, or cocoanut milk. 

I left Niue with some regret, for although the 
natives are a noisy, ill-mannered lot, they have many 
good qualities and are very hardworking ; but I 
loathed the island for one thing — its pest of flies. 
The moment you leave the house, in daylight, a 
black swarm of flies settles upon you, and although 
you may succeed in brushing them out of your eyes 
and ears they alight in a compact mass on your back 
and there remain. Another curse of Niue is its grass 
seed. It is impossible to wear tweed lower garments 
— duck or coarse linen is the only material to which 
the needle-pointed seeds will not adhere. 

The garden made on Peru Island was similar to 
one which I made on Providence Island (Ujilong). 
This island — or rather islands — forms one of the 
largest atolls in the North Pacific (it is in io° N.) and 
until 1866 was supposed to be uninhabited, but in 
that year it was taken possession of by the notorious 
Captain "Bully" Hayes, who found on it eighteen 
natives — the survivors of a once large population 
which had been swept away by some unknown 
disease (probably small-pox) about twenty )^ears 
previously. All the many islets are densely covered 
with cocoanut trees and at the present time Provi- 
dence Atoll yields a rich revenue in copra to its now 
German proprietors. All the encircling islands are 
very low, though here and there are elevated spots, 
and in addition to the cocoa-palms there are trees of 
the ficiis, Barringtonia, etc., which are the breeding 


My South Sea Gardens 

places of millions of two or three kinds of tern and 
other sea-birds. The lagoon swarms with fish and 
sharks. Of the fish none are poisonous, although the 
atoll is midway between the Marshall and Caroline 
Islands Archipelagos, where poisonous fish are all 
too common. Robber crabs of great size were in 
profusion on all the islets ; they fed principally upon 
cocoanuts, the drupes of the pandanus fruit, and also 
on turtle eggs, which they were remarkably smart at 
discovering by rooting up the sand ; and during my 
stay on Providence birgits latro afforded my com- 
panions and myself very many satisfactory meals — for 
their flesh is delicious. And although the robber- 
crab will eat foul matter such as rotten fish, or indeed 
anything, he prefers cocoanut or fruit, and can be 
kept in captivity for months and fed upon whatever 
best pleases his gaoler. But a wooden box is no 
prison to him. With his powerful nippers he can 
tear a hole through an inch pine plank in a few hours. 
A tin box — such as a fifty-pound biscuit tin — makes a 
good prison from which he cannot escape unless 
he descries a broken corner, or perhaps a nail hole. 
Then he will tear the tin as easily as if it were paper 
and make his escape. 

Some years after the notorious "Bully" Hayes 
had taken possession of Providence Atoll, I was sent 
there in charge of a party of natives primarily to 
catch sharks and dry their fins and tails for the China 
market, and secondly, to make cocoanut oil. And 
this brings me to the subject of the garden I made. 

The provisions that were given to me and my 


My South Sea Gardens 

party of fourteen natives were of the poorest quality 
— "salt horse," rusty pork, and old and very dry 
New Zealand tinned meats — in fact, the only decent 
food was biscuit and flour in fifty-pound air-tight tins. 
On our way to the atoll I called at the rich and 
fertile island of Ponape in the Carolines and there 
took on board some pigs and poultry, some tons of 
yams, and also a few pineapples, banana shoots, etc. ; 
and the captain of the American mission ship 
Morning Star gave me the remainder of a small box 
of Californian garden seeds. During the voyage I 
had all the yams (many of them over sixty pounds) 
washed in fresh water, then dried, and afterwards 
given a thick coating of coral limewash. At the end 
of four months those that remained uneaten were as 
fresh and juicy as if just taken from the ground. 

On one of the islands of the atoll I discovered, to 
my delight, the site of an old puraka plantation, made 
perhaps a quarter of a century before, and here I 
made my garden in a soil composed of decayed coral 
and vegetable mould formed by leaves and rotted 
timber. My under-gardeners were the wives of two 
of my native labourers, and they worked like Trojans. 
Not only did we first clear the undergrowth and turn 
over the soil with canoe paddles for spades, but we 
top-dressed with a foot of rich black mould taken 
from a densely-wooded islet half a mile away. In 
three weeks our little garden — about the eighth of an 
acre — was ready, for after a while the men came to 

Within four months we had grown and eaten 


My South Sea Gardens 

beans, onions, peas and many other vegetables ; and 
pumpkins, squashes, rock melon and cucumbers 
trailed their vines everywhere and yielded so prolifi- 
cally that I was swollen up with pride. During one 
week, from three tomato bushes, the women picked 
eighty pounds' weight of large fruit, and the small 
yellow variety, pear-shaped, grew in bunches, literally 
like grapes. The crabs, however — both the big robber 
crabs and the smaller hermit crabs, were a great 
nuisance, and at night time wrought havoc. Then 
one of my shark-catchers hit upon a happy device. 
We split open a number of old cocoanuts — leaving 
the husks on — and spread them out all round the 
garden. At night all hands would sally forth, each 
carrying a torch of dried cocoanut leaves, and short 
lengths of coir cinnet. The big robber crabs were 
deftly caught and bound and reserved for the pot or 
ground-oven and the little " hermits " left to feed on 
the cocoanuts. 

A year after we left the atoll I was told by the 
master of a trading vessel who called there that the 
only things he found were a few large pumpkins — 
the crabs had destroyed nearly every other plant 
or vine. 




A PARTY of three of us were prospecting in the 
vicinity of Scarr's (or Carr's) Creek, a tributary of 
the Upper Burdekin River. It was in June, and the 
nights were very cold, and so we were pleased to 
come across a well-sheltered little pocket a few 
hundred yards from the creek, which at this part 
of its course ran very swiftly between high walls of 
granite. Timber was abundant, and as we intended 
to prospect the creek thoroughly up to its head we 
decided to camp at the pocket for two or three 
weeks, and put up a bark hut, instead of shivering 
at night under a tent without a fire. The first day 
we spent in stripping bark, piling it up, and then 
weighing it down heavily with logs. During the 
next few days, whilst my mates were building the 
hut, I had to scour the country in search of game, 
for our supply of meat had run out, and although 
there were plenty of cattle running in the vicinity we 
did not care to shoot a beast, although we were 

pretty sure that the owner of the cattle, C , of 

Ravenswood Station, would cheerfully have given 
us pern]ission to do so had we been able to have 


A Prospecting Party 

communicated with him. But as his station was 
forty miles away, and all our horses were in poor 
condition from overwork, we had to content our- 
selves with a chance kangaroo, rock wallaby, and 
such birds as we could shoot, which latter were few 
and far between. The country was very rough, and 
although the granite ranges and boulder-covered 
spurs held plenty of fat rock wallabies, it was heart- 
breaking work to get within shot. Still, we managed 
to turn in at nights feeling satisfied with our supper, 
for we always managed to shoot something, and, 
fortunately, had plenty of flour, tea, sugar, and 
tobacco, and were very hopeful we should get on 
to something good by careful prospecting. 

On the day that we arrived at the pocket I went 
down the steep bank of the creek to get water, and 
was highly pleased to see that it contained fish. At 
the foot of a waterfall there was a deep pool, and in 
it I saw numbers of fish very like grayling— in fact, 
some Queenslanders call them grayUng. Hurrying 
back to the camp with the water, I got out my 
fishing tackle (last used on the Burdekin for bream), 
and then arose the question of bait. Taking my gun, 
I was starting off to look for a bird of some sort 
when one of my mates told me that a bit of wallaby 
was as good as anything, and cut me off a piece from 
the ham of one I had shot the previous day. The 
flesh was of a very dark red hue and looked right 
enough, and as I had often caught fish in both the 
Upper and Lower Burdekin with raw beef I was 
very hopeful of getting a nice change of diet for our 


A Prospecting Party- 
supper. I was not disappointed, for the fish literally 
jumped at the bait, and I had a delightful half- 
hour, catching enough in that time to provide us 
with breakfast as well as supper. None of my catch 
were over half-a-pound, many not half that weight, 
but hungry men are not particular about the size of 
fish. My mates were pleased enough, and whilst we 
were enjoying our supper before a blazing fire— for 
night was coming on — we heard a loud coo-ee from 

down the creek, and presently C , the owner of 

Ravenswood Cattle Station, and two of his stockmen 
with a black boy, rode up and joined us. They had 
come to muster cattle in the ranges at the head of 
the creek, and had come to our "pocket" to camp 

for the night. C told us that we need never 

have hesitated about killing a beast. " It is to my 
interest to give prospecting parties all the beef they 
want," he said ; " a payable goldfield about here 
would suit me very well — the more diggers that come 
the more cattle I can sell instead of sending them to 
Charters Towers and Townsville. So when you run 
short of meat knock over a beast. I won't grumble. 
I'll round up the first mob we come across to-morrow, 
and get you one and bring it here for you to kill, as 
your horses are knocked up." 

The night turned out very cold, and although we 
were in a sheltered place, the wind was blowing half 
a gale and so keen that we felt it through our 
blankets. However, it soon died away, and we were 
just going comfortably to sleep when a dingo began 
to howl near us, and was quickly answered by 


A Prospecting Party 

another somewhere down the creek. Although there 
were but two of them, they howled enough for a 
whole pack, and the detestable creatures kept us 
awake for the greater part of the night. As there 
was a cattle camp quite near in a sandal wood scrub, 
and the cattle were very wild, we did not like to 
alarm them by firing a shot or two, which would 
have scared them as well as the dingoes. The latter, 

C told us, were a great nuisance in this part oi 

the run, would not take a poisoned bait, and had an 
unpleasant trick of biting off the tails of very young 
calves, especially if the mother was separated with 
her calf from a mob of cattle. 

At daylight I rose to boil a billy of tea. My feet 
were icy cold and I saw that there had been a black 
frost in the night. I also discovered that my string 
of fish for breakfast were gone. I had hung them up to 
a low branch not thirty yards from where I had slept. 

C 's black boy told me with a grin that the 

dogs had taken them, and showed me the tracks of 
three or four through the frosty grass. He had slept 
like a pig all night, and all the dingoes in Australia 
would not awaken a blackfellow with a full stomach 

of beef, damper and tea. C laughed at my 

chagrin, and told me that native dogs, when game is 
scarce, will catch fish if they are hungry and can get 
nothing else. He had once seen, he told me, two 
native dogs acting in a very curious manner in a 
water-hole on the Etheridge River. There had been 
a rather long drought, and for miles the bed of the 
river was dry, except for intermittent water-holes. 


A Prospecting Party 

These were all full of Rsh, many of which had died 
owing to the water in the shallower pools becoming 
too hot for them to exist. Dismounting, he laid 
himself down on the bank and soon saw that the 
dogs were catching fish, which they chased on to the 
edge of the pool, then seized them and carried them 
up on the sand to devour. They made a full meal ; 
after which the pair trotted across the river-bed and 
lay down under a Leichhardt tree to sleep it off. 
The Etheridge and Gilbert River aboriginals also 

assured C that their own dogs — bred from 

dingoes — were very keen on catching fish, and 
sometimes were badly wounded in their mouth by 
the serrated spur or back fin of catfish. 

C and his party went off after breakfast, and 

returned in the afternoon with a small mob of cattle, 
and my mates, picking out an eighteen-months-old 
heifer, shot her and set to work, and we soon had 
the animal skinned, cleaned, and hung up ready for 
cutting up and salting early on the following 
morning. We carefully burned the offal, hide, and 
head on account of the dingoes, and finished up a 
good day's work by a necessary bathe in the clear, 
but too cold, water of the creek. We turned in early, 
tired out, and scarcely had we rolled ourselves in 
our blankets when a dismal howl made us " say 
things," and in half an hour all the dingoes in North 
Queensland seemed to have gathered round the 
camp to distract us. The noise they made was 
something diabolical, coming from both sides of the 
creek and from the ranges. In reality there were 

273 s 

A Prospecting Party 

not more than five or six at the outside, but anyone 
would have imagined that there were droves of them. 
Not Hking to discharge our guns on account of 

C 's mustering, we could only curse our 

tormentors throughout the night. On the following 

evening, however, knowing that C had finished 

mustering in our vicinity, we hung a leg-bone of 
the heifer from the branch of a tree on the opposite 
side of the creek, where we could see it plainly by 
daylight from our bank, about sixty yards distant. 
Again we had a harrowing night, but stood it 
without firing a shot, though one brute came within 
a few yards of our camp fire, attracted by the smell 
of the salted meat, but he was off before anyone of 
us could cover him. However, in the morning we 
were rewarded. 

Creeping to the bank of the creek at daylight, we 
looked across and saw three dogs sitting under the 
leg-bone, which was purposely slung out of reach. 
We fired together, and the biggest of the three 
dropped; the other two vanished like a streak of 
lightning. The one we killed was a male, and had 
a good coat, a rather unusual thing for a dingo, as 
the skin is often covered with sores. From that time 
till we broke up camp we were not often troubled by 
their howling near us. A gun-shot would quickly 
silence their infernally dismal howls. 

During July we got a little gold fifteen miles from 
the head of the creek, but not enough to pay us for 
our time and labour. However, it was a fine, 
healthy occupation, and our little bark hut in the 


A Prospecting Party 

lonely ranges was a very comfortable home, especially 
during wet weather and on cold nights. A good 
many birds came about towards the end of the 
month, and we twice rode to the Burdekin and had 
a couple of days among the bream, tilling our pack 
bags with salted fish, which cured well in the dry air 
of the ranges. Although Scarr's Creek was full of 
" grayling," they were too small forsaking, but were 
delicious eating when fried. During our stay we got 
enough opossum skins to make a fine eight-foot- 
square rug. Then early one morning we said good- 
bye to the pocket, and, mounting our horses, set our 
faces towards Cleveland Bay, where, with many 
regrets, we had to part. 




Between Cape Flattery and Cape Tribulation on 
the coast of the far north of Queensland, there is a 
stretch of desolate beach some thirty miles in length. 
Above high-water mark the fine, soft sand is densely 
covered with a green carpet of the beautiful but 
poisonous vinca plant, the bright pink-and-white 
flowers of which give forth a strong, sickly odour ; 
lower down on the beach and on the banks of the 
sluggish tidal streams which debouch through it to 
the Pacific, hideous alligators lie basking in the sun ; 
eastward, across the ten miles of pale green water 
that intervenes is the curving, foam-capped line of 
the Great Barrier reef; westward the rugged, wild 
and fantastic shapes of the coastal range, the haunt 
of hordes of ferocious cannibal blacks, and the store- 
house of as yet almost untouched millions of pounds 
worth of virgin gold. In many a silent gully and 
under the towering trees of the primeval forest lie the 
bleaching bones of scores of hardy prospectors, who 
in their thirst for gold have fallen victims to the 
treacherous savages who have crept upon them and 
speared them to death, as they slept or worked at 


A Quick Vengeance 

their claims in some unknown creek or rock- 
encompassed gully. 'Tis a wild and forbidding 
country indeed. 

One blazingly hot day in the month of January, a 
small schooner, belonging to the firm by whom I was 
employed, cast anchor under the north side of frown- 
ing Cape Tribulation near the southern end of the 
long beach which I have described. We were bound, 
with a cargo of stores, for several parties of men 
engaged in gathering and curing bSche-de-mer on the 
islands of Torres Straits, and were making the 
passage inside the Great Barrier reef, and had 
anchored under the Cape for the purpose of 
examining the wreck of a coal - laden Swedish 
barque which had run ashore there some months 
previously, to see if there was anything about her 
worth salving. 

A boat was lowered, manned and armed — for the 
whole coast line was frequented by savage tribes of 
cannibal blacks, and the captain and I went on shore 
and inspected the wrecked barque. She was lying 
on a ledge of reef just under the lee of the Cape ; and 
we soon found that the blacks had been before us, 
taken nearly everything of value, and partly burnt 
the hull. Her copper, however, was valuable, and 
this we at once set to work to strip. 

Whilst our boat's crew was engaged at this, the 
captain and I ascended a rocky spur of the Cape and 
looked at some native waterholes situated in a deep 
cleft. The waterholes were well known to the few 
hardy and adventurous diggers and prospectors who 


A Quick Vengeance 

were then making their way northwards from the 
newly-founded town of Townsville, on Cleveland 
Bay, to the recently discovered rich gold-fields of the 
Palmer River, and these aboriginal reservoirs made a 
welcome camping place on that wild and desolate 

As the skipper and I were drinking copiously of 
the cool, sweet water, we heard the sound of horses' 
feet, and presently two horsemen appeared, leading 
a packhorse. They drew up at the waterholes — or 
rather at the end of the track above them — and 
giving us a cheerful "Good-day" dismounted, and 
then joined us. They were diggers — fine, stalwart 
fellows, with hands and faces tanned the hue of dark 
leather by Queensland's torrid sun. They were, they 
told us, making their way to the township of Cardwell 
to sell their gold (500 ounces) to the Bank of New 
South Wales there, buy horses and supplies, and 
then return to a small but rich gold-field they and 
their party were working on an — as yet — unnamed 
stream near the Endeavour River. 

After giving their horses a drink and smoking a 
pipe with us they bade us good-bye, telling us that 
they intended to press on to some other native wells, 
five miles distant, where there was good grass for 
their horses and where they would camp for the 
night. We walked with them to the top of the spur, 
which was a plateau about a hundred yards in 
circumference and crowned by one solitary silvery- 
leaved iron-bark tree, gnarled and rugged, yet 
sufficiently lofty to form a striking landmark, 


A Quick Vengeance 

looking at it cither from the coast line or from 
the sea. 

At sunset our boat's crew ceased stripping the 
copper, and we returned to the ship for supper ; but 
as it was full moon I decided to bring all hands on 
shore and work throughout the night, for the copper 
of that barque meant a considerable sum of money. 

Just as we came alongside we saw two other horse- 
men trotting along the beach track through the vinca. 
They turned off at the foot of the spur of the Cape, 
and ascended to the waterholes. Here they stayed 
but a short time ; for, whilst we were at supper, some 
of our crew noticed them riding along the beach on 
the south side of Cape Tribulation. 

Leaving one man only on board to keep watch, 
we lowered both boats, and were soon at work again 
on the copper. The bright moon made it as clear as 
day, and we toiled at the wreck very merry-heartedly, 
till within two hours of midnight, when we were 
disturbed by a loud " Hallo, there ! " 

Seven mounted men had drawn rein on the beach 
within a hundred yards of the wreck, and presently 
one of them, the leader, dismounted and came to us. 

" Have you seen any travellers at the waterholes 
to-day ? " he asked. 

" Yes," I replied, and then I told him in detail of 
our meeting with the two diggers and also of the 
two other horsemen we had seen. 

He was a slenderly-built young man, of about five- 
and-twenty years of age, and regarded me intently 
for a few seconds before he spoke again. He and 


A Quick Vengeance 

his companions all carried revolvers and Snider 
carbines, and I could see that they had ridden 

" I don't know who you are, mister, and you don't 
know who I am ; but I can tell you this much — 
there ain't no law in this part of Queensland. 
Savee ? " 

I said that I had heard so. 

" Well, those two coves you met are Peter 
Dempsey and his mate, Frank Todd ; the other two 
men are Chris Duke and a black fellow called * Moses.' 
Duke is one of the biggest scoundrels goin' — a sneak 
gold robber and old gaol-bird — and Moses is an 
absconded native policeman. They are following 
Dempsey and Todd to get their gold, and won't stop 
at murder." 

He paused a moment, then added abruptly, 

'* We got wind that Duke an' the nigger had 
started out, follerin' Dempsey and Todd, and now 
we are a-follerin' them," and his white, even teeth 
gleamed in the moonlight under his dark, heavy 
moustache in a grim smile. 

Ten minutes later, after they had given their 
horses a drink, they rode off, taking the hard sand of 
the beach (it was low tide) in preference to that of 
the vinca, above high-water mark. 

At two o'clock in the morning, as we were loading 
the copper into the boats, we saw them returning. 
In their midst were two men, whose hands were tied 
behind their backs; and in the clear moonlight I 
saw that one — a black man — had also his feet tied 


A Quick Vengeance 

under the belly of the horse on which he rode. 
They all, except their leader, ascended the track 
leading up the spur. He came to us on foot. 

"You chaps had better get into your boats and 
get away," he said, with a rough politeness. " My 
mates an' me is goin' to do a hangin', an' it ain't no 
concern o' 3'ours to be * partly-slep' criminals,' as the 
lawyers say, so you'd best clear out." 

" What has happened ? " asked the captain of the 

" Murder, boss, murder — the cruellest murder as 
you ever heard of. Duke an' the nigger, Moses, 
shot Dempsey an' Todd in their sleep at the water- 
holes five miles beyond. We caught 'em red- 
handed, so to speak, for they were making up a pile of 
driftwood to burn the poor coves' bodies — thinkin' 
the murder would be put down to the wild blacks. 
We rushed 'em, and had 'em tied hand an' foot afore 
they knew where they were. Now, gents, you'd 
better clear out. Good-night." 

We obeyed the suggestion with alacrity. Neither 
the skipper nor myself wanted to be spectators of 
an act of rough justice that might involve us 
being called to the Supreme Court at Brisbane as 

We pushed off in the boats, and v/hen half-way to 
the schooner stopped and waited. We did not wait 

In the clear moonlight we saw the group of men 
clustered together under the solitary tree on the 
bluff. Then they opened out, and two bodies were 


A Quick Vengeance 

hanging from a branch. The white murderer and 
the black had met their doom. 

Standing on the deck of the schooner, we looked 
at the two pendent figures hanging from the lonely 
tree, and then watched the seven horsemen riding 
slowly along the moonlit beach. 





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Abbey Mill, The . . .21 

America in the East . . 6 

Among the Malacrasy . . . y 
Aii'ient Musical liistninients . 24 
Animal Gaiiibois . . . 2S 

Animal Playtime . . .28 

Animals in Fun-Land . . 28 
An:ie KiUigrew ... 

Apocalyptical Writers, The 

M.'ssajres of the . .13 

Apostles, The Messages of the 13 
Aspe;^ts of the Spiritual . . 11 
Asquith, The Kight Hon. H. H., 

M.P. . . .10 

At the Gates of the Dawn . 26 
Atoncm nit and Progress . 19 
Atonement In Modern Thouijht. 

The . . . .11 

August inian Bevolutlon in 

Theology . . .10 

Aunt Agatha Ann . . 30 

.■Vuthority and the Light Within 19 of the New Century, The 27 

Baptist Handbook, The . . 18 
Barrow, Henry, Separatist . 4 

Beads of Tasmer, The . 13, 21 
Beatitudes and the Contrasts, 

The ' 16 

Between Two Loves . 13, 31 

Bible Definition of Religion, 

Tlie .... 27 

Birthday of Hope, The . .30 
Black Familiars, The . 6, 20 

Border Shepherdess, A . .13 
Bow of Orange Kibbon, The 21, 31 
Britain's Hope . . .24 

Brudeiielle of Brude, The . 21 

Burning Questions . . 24 

Canonbury Holt , . .21 

Challenge, The . . .17 

Character through Inspiration 25 
Chats with Women on Every- 
day Subjects . . .23 
Children's Pa-e, The . , 24 
Children's Paul, The . . 2') 
Chri.'it in Everyday Life , 16 
Christ of the Children, The . 2() 
Christ or Chaos ? ... 9 
Christ that is To Be, The . 12 
Christ, the Church and the 

Child, The , . .16 

Christ, The Private Kclation- 

eliips of ... 7 

Christ Within, The . . 2.') 

Ciirisfs Pathway to the Cross . 22 
Christian Certitude . . .1:1 
Christian Life, The . . 2.5, 30 
Christian Life and Belief , . 16 
Christian of To-day, The , . 10 



Christian World Pulpit, The 
Christian World Album of Sacred 
Songs, The - . . . 
Christianity In Common Speech 
ChrystabLl . . .13, 

Church and Modern Life, The . 
Church and the King'loin. The 
Ch'irch and the Xexi (ienera- 

tion. The 
Church Questions of Our Time 

City of Delight, The 
Comforts of God, The 
Common Life, The 
Concerning Conscience 
Conquered World, The 
Conquering Prayer 
C,iii3tructive Christianity 
Courage of the Cov\ard, The . 
Crucible of Experience, The 

Darwin, Charles, and other Eng- 
lish Thinkers .... 
Daughter of Fife, A .21, 

Days of Old .... 

Debt of the Danierals, The 
Divine Satisfaction, The 
Dutch in the Medway, The 

Earlier Prophets, The Messages 
of the . . . . 

Earliest Christian Hymn, The 

Early Pupils of the Spirit 

E'ce Vir .... 

Education of a Soul, The 

Emilia's Inheritance 

England's Danger 

Epistle to the Galatlaus, The 

Esther Wynne . .13 

Eternal Religion, The 

Encken and Bergsen . , 

Evangelical Heterodoxy 


Evolution, Life and Religion 

Evolution of Old Tc.^ramen 
Religion, The 

Exposition, The Art of 

Ezekiel, The Book of 

Faces In the ?Jist . , 

Facets of F.aith . , 

Faith and Form 

Faith and Vcriflcation 

Faith of a Wavfarer, The 

Faith the Beginning, Self-Sur 
render the Fulfilment, of the 
Spiritual Life . ' . 25 

Family Prayers for Morning Use 

Father Fabian 

Fifty Years' Reminiscences of a 
Free Church Musician 

















Fighters and Martyrs for the Free 

doni of Faith 
Fireside Fairy Talcs 
First Christians, The 
Flower-o'-tiic-f'Drii . 5 

Flowers from tlie Master's Oardrn 
Forgotten Sheaf, The 
Fortune's Favourite 
Fortunes of Cyril DiMiham, The 

"Freedom of Faith" Scries, 

Friend Olivia 

Gamble with Lifi-. A 
Garrisoned Soul, The 
Gloria I'atrl 
Glorious Company of the 

Apostles, The 
Gocd New Times. The 
Gospel ol Grace, The 
Grey and Gold 
Grey House at Fndlcstone, The 
Growing Uevelation, The 

Hainpstead, Its historic houses 
its literary and artistic associa 
tlons .... 

Harvest Gleanings 
Health and Home Nursiiiat 
Health in the Home Life 
Heart of Jessy Laurie, The 
Heaven and the Sea . 
Heavenly Visions 
Heirs of Errlngton, The 
Helga Lloyd 

Helps to Health and Beauty 
His Next of Kin . 13, 

History of the United Stales, A 
Holidays in Animal Land 
Holv Christian Empire 
Holy Spirit, The 
House ol Bondage, The 
House of the Secret, The 
How to Become Like Christ 
How to Cook 
How to Read the Bible 
Husbands and Wives 

Ideals for Girls 

Ideals in Sunday School Teach 

Illustrations from Art for Pulpit 

and Platform . 
Immanence of Christ in Modern 

Life, The 
Imperishnbk- Word, The 
Impregnable Faith, An 
Incarnation of the Lord, The 
Infoldings and Unfoldings of 

the Divine Genius 
Inner Mission Leaflets, The 
Inner Mission Pamphlets, The 
Inspiration in CommoL Life 
Interludes In a Time of Change 


2 4 





















Invisible Companion, The . 23 
Inward LIpht, The . .11 
Lsrai-l's Law Givers, The Mcswufis 
of i:i 

Jan Vtdder's Wife . .21, 
Jealousy of God, The 
Jesus ami His Tea'hing , 
Jesus and the Seekers , 

Jesus or Christ ? ... 

Je.sus : Seven Questions 
Jesus, The First Things of 
Jesus, The Messages of, Accord- 
ing to the Gospel of John 
Jesus, The Messages of, According 

to the Gospel of Paul 
Jesus, The Messages of, Accord- 
ing to the Synoptists . 
Joan Carisbrooke 
Joshua, The Book of 
Jowctt, J. H., M.A., I).I>. 
Judge? of Jesus, The 
Judges, The Book of . 

Kid McGhle ... 5, 

Kingdom of the Lord Jesus, 
The . .25, 

King George and Queen Mary . 
Kit Kennedy : Country Boy 5, 

Lady Clarissa .... 
Last of tiie MacAllisters, The 

Later Prophets, The Messages 

of the .... 

Leaves for Quiet Hours 
Let us Pray .... 

Letters of Christ, Tlie 
Letters to a Ministerial Son 
Liberty and Religion 
Life and Letters of Alexander 

Mackenual, The 
Life and Teaching of Jesus, 

Notes on the 
Life and the Ideal 
Life, Faith, and Prayer of the 

Church .... 

Life in His Name 
Life of the Soul .... 
Life's Beginnings . . 16, 

Lifted Veil, A . . . . 
Living Pleasures 
Looking Inwards .... 
Loves of Miss Anne, The 5, 

Lynch, Rev. T. T. : A Memoir 
Lvrics of the Soul 














Main Points In Chri.stian Belief, 

The 1.-) 

Making of Heaven and Hell, 

The 23 

Manual for Free Chureh Minis- 
ters. A .... 28 
Margaret Torringtoii . 21, 31 
Marprclate Tracts, The . . 8 



Martlneau'a Study of 





Mcrrv Animal 

The ... . 
Merry Time'; in Animal Land 
Messages of Hope 
Messages of the Bible, The 
Millicent Kendrick 
Ministry of the Modern Churth 

The .... 
Miss Uevereux, Spinster 
Model Prayer, The 
Modern Minor Prophi-ts . 
Modern Theories of Sin 
More Tasty Dishes 
Morning and Evening Cries 
Morning Mist, A 
Morning, Noon, and Night 
Mornington Lecture, The 
Mors Janua Vitaj 
Mr. Montmorency's Money . 13 
My Baptism 

My Belief ... 

My Neighbour and God 

New Evangel, The 

New Mrs. Laacelles, The 

New Testament in Modern Speech 


Nineteen Hundred ? 
Nobly Born . . 

Nonconformist Church Building; 
No Room in the Inn 

Old Pictures In Modern Frames 
Old Testament Stories in Modern 

Oliver Cromwell . . 

Oliver Westwood 
Our City of God 
Our liife Beyond . 
Our Girls' Cookery 
Our Protestant Faith . 
Ourselves and the Universe, 12, 
Outline Text Lessons for Junior 

Overdale . . . .13 

Passion for Souls, The 
Paton, J. B., M.A., D.D. 
Paul and Christina 
Paul, The Messages 
Pearl Divers of 

Reef, The 
Person of Christ 

Thought, The 
Personality of Jesus, The 
Peter in the Firelight . 
Pilot, The 

Poems. By Mme. Guyon 
Poems of Mackenzie Bell, 
Poets, The Messages of the 
Polychrome Bible, The 
Popular Argument for tli 

of Isaiah, A 


in Modern 






















Popular History of the Free 
Churches, A . . -6, 

Practical Lay-Preaching and 
Speaking to Men 

Prayer .... 

Preaching to the Times 

Price of Priestcraft, The 

Pride of the Family, The 

Problems and Perplexities . 

Problems of Immanence 

Problems of Living 

Prophetical and Priestly His 
torians. The Messages of 

Psalmists, The Messages of thi 

Purpose of the Cross, The 

Quickening of Caliban, The 
Quiet Hints to Growing Preachers 
in My Study 

Reasonable View of Life, .■V 
Reasonableness of Jesus, The 
Reasons Why for Congrega 

Reasons Why for Free Church 

men .... 
Reform In Sunday School Teach 

fng .... 

Religion and Experience 
Religion and Miracle 
Religion of .Tesus, The 
Religion : The Quest of the 

Ideal ... 

Religion that will Wear, A 
Resultant Greek Testament, 

The ... . 
Rights of Man. The . 
Rise of Philip Barrett, The . ( 
Robert Wreford's Daughter 
Rogers, J. Guinness 
Rome from the Inside 
Rosebud Annual, The . 8. 

Ruling Ideas of the Present 


Sceptre without a Sword, The 

School Hymns . . .14, 

Scourge of God, The 

Sculptors of Life ; 

Secret of Living, The 

Seed of the Kin^idom, The . 

Sermon Illustration, The Art of 

Sharing Ilia Sufferings 

She Loved a Sailor 

Ship's Engines, The 

Short Talks to Boys and Girls . 

Sidelights on Religion 

Simple Coo!;ery 

Simple Things of the Christian 

Life, The 
Singlehurst Manor . . 13, 
Sissie . . . .13, 

Sister to Esau. A . . . 
Small Books on Great Subjects 
























Smith, Julin, the Se-Baptist, 

Tnoniaa Helwys, and the 

First Baptist Chun h in 

En^jland .... 7 

Sofial Salvation ... 8 

Social Worship on Everlasting 

Neressity . . . 25, 30 

Spoken Words of Prayer and Praise 9 

Squire of Sandal Side, The . i:<, 21 

St. Bectha's .21, 31 
Storehouse for Prea' hors and 

Teachers . .24 

Stories of Old ... 20 
Story of ConRregationalism in 

Surrey, The . . .10 

Story of Joseph the Dreamer, Tiie 19 

Story of Penelope, The . . 21 

Story of the Kn^lish Baptists, The 11 
Story of tlie Twelve . . .14 

Studies of the Soul . 1?, 31 

Sunday Afternoon Song Book 27, 31 
Sunday Morning Talks with Boys 

and Girls . . .18 
Sundy Memories of Auatrala.sia 24 
Supreme Argument for Chris- 
tianity, The . . . 2.') 

Tale of a Telephone, A . .30 
Talks to Little Folks ... 29 
Taste of Death and the Life of 

Grace, The . . .25, 30 
Tasty Dishes . . .29 

Ten Coniniaiidn.ents, The . 19 

Theology and Truth ... 7 
Thcophilus Trinal, Memorials of 7 
Things Most Surely Believed . 17 
Thoriiycroft Hall . . .21 

Thoughts for Life's Jonrncy . 16 
Through Science to Faith . 6 

Town Romance, A . . 21 

Transfigured Church, The . 9 

Trial and Triumph ... 24 


True Chri.?t. '1 lie ... 1« 

Types of Chri.-itian Life . . 23 

Unfettered Word, The . 8 
Ungilded Gold . . 17, 23 
Unique Clas.s Chart and Register 31 
Universal Over-Presence, The 16 
Unknown to Herself . 21 
Unveiled Glory, The ; or, Side- 
lights on the Higher Kvolutlon 14 
Uplifting of Life, The . .14 

Value of the .^porypha, The . 22 
Value of the Old Testament . 19 

Vida 5 

Violet Vaughan . 13, 21, 31 

Voi>c from China, A . .11 

Voices of To-'lay ; Studies of 
Representative Modern Preachers 8 

Waiting Life, The; By the Rivers 

of Water . . .14 

Warlelgh's Trust . .21 

Wayfarer at the Cross Roads, The 2Z 
Way of Life, The . . 25, 30 

Way of Prayer, The . . 22 

Wayside Angels . . .29 

Web of Circumstance, The . 6 

Westminster Sermons . . 9 

What is the Bible ? . . 9 

Who Wrote the Bible ? . .23 
Why We Believe ... 18 

Winning of Immortality, The 9 
Wisdom of God and the Word 

of God, The ... 9 

Woman's Patience, A . . 21 

Women and their Saviour , . 26 
Women and Their Work . . 23 
Words by the Wayside . . 24 
Working Woman's Life, A . 9 

Woven of Love and Glory 13, 21 

Young Man's Ideal, A . . .16 
Young Man's Religion, A , 18 




.\bbott, Lyman 7, 


Blake, J. M. 22, 23 

.Vdeney, W. F. 11, 


Blomfield, Elsie . 28 

Aked, C. F. 



Allin, T. 


J. . . 21 

Andrews, C. C. 


Blue, A. H. . . 22 

Angus, A. H. 


Bonner, Carey . 16 

Antram, C. B. P. . 


Bosworth, E. I. . 16 

Armstrong, R. A. 25, 


Bradford, AinoryH. 11 

Barr, Amelia E. 

Brierley, J. 11, 12, 31 

6, 13, 21, 


Briggs, C. A. .7 

Barrett, GS. 


Brown, C. 9, 22, 23 

Barrows, C. H. 


Brown, C. R. . 15 

Becke, Louis 


Burfor'd, W. K. . 29 

Begbie, H. . 


Burgess, W. H. . 7 

Bell, Mackenzie 


Burgin, Isabel . 6 

Bennett, Rev. W. H 


Burns, Rev. J. . 8 

Bolts, C. H. 14, 15, 


Button, E. . 14 


Cadman, S. P. . 7 

Campbell, R. J. . 11 
Carlile, J. C. : 

11, 28, 29 

Cave, Dr. . . 11 

Caws, Rev. L. W. 14 

Cleal, E. E. . . 10 

Clilford, John 25, 30 

Collins, B. G. . 19 

Cowper, W. . 14 

Crockett, S. R. 5, 20 

Cubitt, James . 19 

Cuff, W. . 24 

Darlow, F. H. 24 

Davidson, Gladys 28 

Dods, Marcus 11, 25 

Elias, F. . 8, lu 



Ellis, J. . . -Zi 

Evans, H. . .27 
Farninsjhani, Mari- 
anne, 9, 13, 17, 

18, 23, 26 
Farrar, Dean . 11 

Finlayson, T. Camp- 
bell . . 30 
Fiske, J. . . 4 
Forsyth, P. T. 

11, 25, 30, 31 
Foston, H. . 14, 18 
Fremantlo, Dean . 11 
Fiirness, IT. H. . 3 
Garvie, A. E. . 16 
Gibbon, J. Morgan 

10, 19 
Giberne, Agnes . 21 
Gladden, Washington 

8, in, 11, 23, 24 
Glover, R. . . 26 
Godet, Professor , 11 
Gordon, George A. 9 
Gould, O. P. . 26 

Greenhough, J. G. 

18, 25 
Grifflg, W. E. . 6 
Griffith-Jones, E. 7. 25 
Grubb, E. . 19, 23 
Gunn, E. H. M. 14, 31 
G'.iyon, Madame . 14 
Hampden-Cook, E. 18 
Harna-k. Professor 11 
Harvev-Jellie, W. 9 
Hanpt, P. . :{ 

Haweis, H. R. . 19 
Heddle, Ethel F. 21 
Henson, Canon H. 

H<'ns!ey . 9, 12 
Hermann, E. . 15 
Hill, F. A. . .4 
Hoekini;, S. K. . 12 
Hodgson, J. M. . 16 
Horder, W. Garrett 25 
Home, C. Silvester 

6, 11, 15, 18, 24 
Horton, R. F. 1(», 

11, 25, 26, 27, 29, 30 
Houlder, J. A. . 
Hunter, John . 11 
" J. B. " of The 

Chrittian World 27 
J. M. G. . 12 

Jefferson, C. E. . 14 
Jeffs, H. 

8, 9. 10, 15, 17, 10 
John, Griffith . 11 
Jones, J. D. 8, 9, 

17, 20, 22, 23, 26, 30 
Jowett, J. H. 9, 22, 23 
Kennedy.H. A. 27, 31 
Kennedv, John . 19 
fient, C. F. .13 

Kenyon. Edith C. 23 
Kirk, E. B. .7 

KniKht, W. A. 15, 22 
Lansfeldt, L. . 21 

LaTouche,E. D. 5, 10 
Layman, A. .26 

Lee, E. . . 5 

Lee, W. T. . 13 

Leggatt, F. Y. . 23 
Lewis, E. W. . 23 

Llewellvn, D. J. . 24 
Lyall, David 6, 19 
Lynch, T. T. .7 

Lynd, William . 24 
Macfadven, D. 8, 14 
MaoFadyen, J. E. 22 
Macfarlane, Charles 12 
M'Intyre, D. M. . 10 
Mackennal, A!>'X- 

ander . 25, 30 

Manners, Marv E. 30 
Man of the World, A 16 
Marchant, Bessie . 21 
Marrhant, J. . 8 

Marshall, J. S. . 25 
Marshall, N.B. 7,16,19 
Martineau, Jas. 25,30 
Mason, E. A. . 30 

Mather, Lessels . 29 
Malheson, George 

15, 16, 17, 24, 27 
Maver, J. S. . 21 
Maxwell . 4 

Meade, L. T. . 21 
Metcalfe, R. D. . 27 
Mever, F. B. . 2-5 
Michael, C. J). . 20 
Miller, Elizabeth . 6 
Minshall, E. . 15 

Moore, G. F. .4 

Morgan, G. Camp- 
bell . . 19, 22 
Morison, F. . 22 

Morten, Honnor . 17 
Mountain, J. . 20 

Mnnger, T. T. 11, 25 
Neilson, H. B. . 28 
Orchard, W. E. 10, 15 
Palmer, Frederic . 9 
Paton, J. B. 

14, 19, 23 26 
Pcake, A. S. . 24 


Ciiemist, A. . 29 
Picton, J. Allanson 20 
Pierce, W. . .3 
Piggott, W. C. . 15 
Pov.'icke, F. J. . 4 
Pringle, A. 22, 23 
Pulsford, John . 25 
Rcid, Rev. J. 10, 14 
Rickett, Sir J. 
Compton 12, 13, 29 


Ridd'^tte, J. K. . 31 

Robarts, Rov.F. H. 18 

Roberts, R. . 19 

Rogers, J. Ouinuess 4 

Roose, Rev. J. S. 14 

Russell, F. A. . 22 
Sabatier, A. .11 

Sanders, F. K. . 13 

Schrenck, E. vcn 10 
Scottish Presbyte- 
rian, A . .28 

Shakespeare, J. H. 26 

Shepherd, J. A. . 28 

Shiilito, Edward . 14 
Sin.lair, H. . .8 
Sinclair, Archd a- 

con . .id, 30 

Smyth, Xewinan . 6 
Snell, Bernard J. 

11, 19, 22 

Souper, W. . 15 

Steuart, J. A. 6 
Stevenson, J. (J. 

15, 17, 19, 20 

Stewart, D. M. 15, 26 

Storrow, A. H. . 14 

Street, J. . . 25 

Stuart, Duncan . 6 

Sutter, Julie . 24 

Swan, r. U. . ! 7 
Swetenham, L. .17 

Tarbolton, A. C. 19 

Thomas, H. Arnold 25 
Tipple, S. A. .9 

Toy, Rev. C. If. . 3 

Tymms, T. V. . 7 

Tynan, Katharine 5 
Tytler, S. . .21 
Varlcv, H. . .23 

Veitch, R. . 10, 11 

Wain, Louis 28, 30 

Walford, L. B. 6, 20 

Walker, W. L. . 16 

Walmsley, L. S. . 9 
Warschauer, J. 

9, 10, 15, 17, 23 

Warwick, H. . 16 

Waters", N. MeG. 18 

Watkinson, W. L. 22 

Watson, E. S. 9 

Watson, W. 15, 22 

Weymouth, R. F. 18 

White, W. . . 7 
WhitoD, J. M. 

10, 12, 20, 28 

Williams, T.R. 22, 25 

Wilson, P. W. . IS 

Winter, A. E. . 20 
Worboise, Emma 

J. 12, 21, 31 
Yatea, T. . .15 

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