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- For the Term of His Natural Life - 1/102 -


For the Term of His Natural Life

by Marcus Clarke

DEDICATION

TO

SIR CHARLES GAVAN DUFFY

My Dear Sir Charles, I take leave to dedicate this work to you, not merely because your nineteen years of political and literary life in Australia render it very fitting that any work written by a resident in the colonies, and having to do with the history of past colonial days, should bear your name upon its dedicatory page; but because the publication of my book is due to your advice and encouragement.

The convict of fiction has been hitherto shown only at the beginning or at the end of his career. Either his exile has been the mysterious end to his misdeeds, or he has appeared upon the scene to claim interest by reason of an equally unintelligible love of crime acquired during his experience in a penal settlement. Charles Reade has drawn the interior of a house of correction in England, and Victor Hugo has shown how a French convict fares after the fulfilment of his sentence. But no writer--so far as I am aware--has attempted to depict the dismal condition of a felon during his term of transportation.

I have endeavoured in "His Natural Life" to set forth the working and the results of an English system of transportation carefully considered and carried out under official supervision; and to illustrate in the manner best calculated, as I think, to attract general attention, the inexpediency of again allowing offenders against the law to be herded together in places remote from the wholesome influence of public opinion, and to be submitted to a discipline which must necessarily depend for its just administration upon the personal character and temper of their gaolers.

Your critical faculty will doubtless find, in the construction and artistic working of this book, many faults. I do not think, however, that you will discover any exaggerations. Some of the events narrated are doubtless tragic and terrible; but I hold it needful to my purpose to record them, for they are events which have actually occurred, and which, if the blunders which produced them be repeated, must infallibly occur again. It is true that the British Government have ceased to deport the criminals of England, but the method of punishment, of which that deportation was a part, is still in existence. Port Blair is a Port Arthur filled with Indian-men instead of Englishmen; and, within the last year, France has established, at New Caledonia, a penal settlement which will, in the natural course of things, repeat in its annals the history of Macquarie Harbour and of Norfolk Island.

With this brief preface I beg you to accept this work. I would that its merits were equal either to your kindness or to my regard.

I am, My dear Sir Charles, Faithfully yours, MARCUS CLARKE

THE PUBLIC LIBRARY, MELBOURNE

CONTENTS

DEDICATION PROLOGUE

BOOK I.--THE SEA. 1827.

I. THE PRISON SHIP II. SARAH PURFOY III. THE MONOTONY BREAKS IV. THE HOSPITAL V. THE BARRACOON VI. THE FATE OF THE "HYDASPES" VII. TYPHUS FEVER VIII. A DANGEROUS CRISIS IX. WOMAN'S WEAPONS X. EIGHT BELLS XI. DISCOVERIES AND CONFESSIONS XII. A NEWSPAPER PARAGRAPH

BOOK II.--MACQUARIE HARBOUR. 1833.

I. THE TOPOGRAPHY OF VAN DIEMEN'S LAND II. THE SOLITARY OF "HELL'S GATES" III. A SOCIAL EVENING IV. THE BOLTER V. SYLVIA VI. A LEAP IN THE DARK VII. THE LAST OF MACQUARIE HARBOUR VIII. THE POWER OF THE WILDERNESS IX. THE SEIZURE OF THE "OSPREY" X. JOHN REX'S REVENGE XI. LEFT AT "HELL'S GATES" XII. "MR." DAWES XIII. WHAT THE SEAWEED SUGGESTED XIV. A WONDERFUL DAY'S WORK XV. THE CORACLE XVI. THE WRITING ON THE SAND XVII. AT SEA

BOOK III.--PORT ARTHUR. 1838.

I. A LABOURER IN THE VINEYARD II. SARAH PURFOY'S REQUEST III. THE STORY OF TWO BIRDS OF PREY IV. "THE NOTORIOUS DAWES" V. MAURICE FRERE'S GOOD ANGEL VI. MR. MEEKIN ADMINISTERS CONSOLATION VII. RUFUS DAWES'S IDYLL VIII. AN ESCAPE IX. JOHN REX'S LETTER HOME X. WHAT BECAME OF THE MUTINEERS OF THE "OSPREY" XI. A RELIC OF MACQUARIE HARBOUR XII. AT PORT ARTHUR XIII. THE COMMANDANT'S BUTLER XIV. MR. NORTH'S INDISPOSITION XV. ONE HUNDRED LASHES XVI. KICKING AGAINST THE PRICKS XVII. CAPTAIN AND MRS. FRERE XVIII. IN THE HOSPITAL XIX. THE CONSOLATIONS OF RELIGION XX. A NATURAL PENITENTIARY XXI. A VISIT OF INSPECTION XXII. GATHERING IN THE THREADS XXIII RUNNING THE GAUNTLET XXIV. IN THE NIGHT XXV. THE FLIGHT XXVI. THE WORK OF THE SEA XXVII. THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW OF DEATH

BOOK IV.--NORFOLK ISLAND. 1846.

I. EXTRACTED FROM THE DIARY OF THE REV. JAMES NORTH II. THE LOST HEIR III. EXTRACTED FROM THE DIARY OF THE REV. JAMES NORTH IV. EXTRACTED FROM THE DIARY OF THE REV. JAMES NORTH V. MR. RICHARD DEVINE SURPRISED VI. IN WHICH THE CHAPLAIN IS TAKEN ILL VII. BREAKING A MAN'S SPIRIT VIII. EXTRACTED FROM THE DIARY OF THE REV. JAMES NORTH IX. THE LONGEST STRAW X. A MEETING XI. EXTRACTED FROM THE DIARY OF THE REV. JAMES NORTH XII. THE STRANGE BEHAVIOUR OF MR. NORTH XIII. MR. NORTH SPEAKS XIV. GETTING READY FOR SEA XV. THE DISCOVERY XVI. FIFTEEN HOURS XVII. THE REDEMPTION XVIII. THE CYCLONE

EPILOGUE

APPENDIX

HIS NATURAL LIFE.

PROLOGUE.

On the evening of May 3, 1827, the garden of a large red-brick bow-windowed mansion called North End House, which, enclosed in spacious grounds, stands on the eastern height of Hampstead Heath, between Finchley Road and the Chestnut Avenue, was the scene of a domestic tragedy.

Three persons were the actors in it. One was an old man, whose white hair and wrinkled face gave token that he was at least sixty years of age. He stood erect with his back to the wall, which separates the garden from the Heath, in the attitude of one surprised into sudden passion, and held uplifted the heavy ebony cane upon which he was ordinarily accustomed to lean. He was confronted by a man of two-and-twenty, unusually tall and athletic of figure, dresses in rough seafaring clothes, and who held in his arms, protecting her, a lady of middle age. The face of the young man wore an expression of horror-stricken astonishment,


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