It was a starry night,
and rather cold; the moon shone in all its southern splendour.
On approaching the
Main road, the noisy band of Row's Circus, and the colonial
cursing and shouting from inveterate grog-bibbers, forced into my mind
the meditation, 'Unde bella et pugna infer vos?' etc. - James, chap. iv.
We met here and there several groups, who were anxiously discussing the events
of the day, and the probable consequences. Mr. Black kindly and plainly
informed them of our mission. On reaching the bridge, we found it guarded
by the police. Father Smyth had an easy pass, and went by himself to speak
first at head-quarters, for the safety of our persons.
The Eureka Stockade.
The Consequence Of Some Pirates Wanting On Quarter-Deck A Rebellion.
At last the deputation was before King Rede, whose shadow by moonshine,
as he held his arm a la Napoleon, actually inspired me with reverence;
but behold! only a marionette was before us. Each of his words,
each of his movements, was the vibration of the telegraphic wires directed
from Toorak. He had not a wicked heart; some knew him for his benevolence,
and he helped many an honest digger out of trouble. Once I had seen him
with my mate, Paul Brentani, about manufacturing bricks from the splendid clay
of Gravel-pits. Mr. Rede received us as a gentleman, and, by way of
encouragement, said to Paul, 'Je veux bien vous aider, car tout est encore
a batir a Ballaarat, et il nous faut des briques - revenez me voir.'
And yet, on the gold-field, this man was feared by the few who could not
help it, respected by the many - detested by all, because he was the
Resident Commissioner - that is, all the iniquities of officialdom at the time
were indiscriminately visited on his gold-lace cap, which fact so infatuated
his otherwise not ordinary brains, that they protruded through his eyes,
whenever he was sure he had to perform a dooty.
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