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Phantom Horseman (1880)

Phantom Horseman (1880)

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Published by draculavanhelsing
Evening News 1880 (Dec 31)
Evening News 1880 (Dec 31)

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Published by: draculavanhelsing on Sep 12, 2013
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04/05/2014

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Evening News (Sydney, NSW : 1869 - 1931), Friday 31 December 1880, page 3National Library of Australiahttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article108749658
Tlia
ffkantomHorseman.
firPica
Quad.^18
1
I
havehid
a
peep
intotbem?itorioBofthatcuriousoofstomknoi7a
by
tbeganeriatermof'Colonialexperience.'
fily
riparienoeofthomatter
ieithatitisn't
worth
the
dandle.Notthat
many
candies
are
neooae&Tilyassociatedwiththe
acquire
mentof
»
full
knowledge
ofthe
myetio
rites.
Tiiointroductoryloctare
mty
bodeliveredbone&th
&
gild*d
roof,in
themidstofbocctifulpictures,softcujtete,andfm«furniture,illnminx'.odbybrilliant
gaajeta,
flashingfrom
a
thousandprienis
pcadant
to
ci
Etatolygasalier.Bntthoinitiationfrequentlytakes
plaaeby
thelight
of
a
slush
lamp
in
a
nlibbut,with
more
holesthanwindows,
and
not
tuoro
to
boastofinthe
way
of
f
nrniturothan
a
rough
t»blo
codeuiIln;
ofthotopof
a
packing
cieo
nailedupon
four
gt&kdsdrivenintothe
ground
-
thecoats,
a
huge
fttoti&,
endtwo3^h^bof
wood,
c&wu
fromthotrunkof
a
trm.Thepictures
are
distinct,
butthecontrast
ofthefirst
lessonsincolonial
cz
porlennoare
very
often
rs
boldlymuked.I
am
not
prepared
tosaythat
colonialexperience
isnot
use
ful.
Ontheoontrary,
it
has
proved
thesteppingstone
to
fortune
tomnay
whokavehadthe
pluci
and
eneroyneoeEstryto
tarn
the
knowledge
to
ac
count.Bat
itis
a
vcrr
ion;'h
sofeool,
aid
its
pri2es
aro
fortbefew.
not
forUio
many.
Isuppose
I
wibone
oftho
latter.
At
all
ovents,
illtrio
prises
I
evoi
polled
off
wana
badattackofrhtrmaticm,andthat
ia
s.
trophy
that
I
ff.il
to
esti
mateat
a
high
rate.
My
doctors,however,
m»y
be
of
a
differentopinion,andprcbitblyattach
a
higher
valuetoit
than
I
do.
I
judge
on
much
by
the
hi;jh
figure
plM3d
en
tteirvicsreof\hasubject
&e
displayed
by
their
bills.I
bavcopportunitiesof
knowing
thecostlinessofiheprize;nevertheless,1have
a
poor
opinionof
itB
vaVoo.But
I
didn'tintend
to
preach
asermonon
theaubjeetofcolonial
ex
perience.It
is
rather
a
p&infnltcpinwith
me,
inmoresenses
tbac
ono.
BatsinceI
&m
oallodnpon
to
epia
you
a
yarnmy
earlyreminiscencesoftny
effortsto
acquirecolonialexperience
are
neooGsarilvinvolved,forthereby
bines
mytale
:
Imean,
of
course,
thetaleofthePhantomHorseman.Yes
.
Iciarosayyonhav*
beardtbe
like
before
;
bnt
asvonRuse&r
uncertain
ob
theBuhiect.nennit
me
to
doubt
thefact.
At
all
events,whether
you
hove
or
havenot,allow
mo
tosuggestthatthis
is
probably
a
boree
of
anothercolour.
Among
mywauy
experiencesofcolonial
life
hasboenthatofcuttledrovinj.Itisn'tptcoisclythosortofthinstittIBhonld
select.
Butthen
it's
twenty
yearsago,
andlwoabyBO
mncbtbeyonngcrand
of
ocuree
noteucowodwithtbe
huge
mzioGnt
ofwisdomwithwhich
come
of
my
friends,
yonn?
find
foolish,
now
fondlyimagine
me
poescssod.iItieprobably
a
mistake.But
it
would
be
cruel
to
oarbthoir
etger
fancLeatabddiscoririi7r!thofondimaginings
oftlieir
youthfulminds.So
I
havenotdose
so.
Twenty
yearsagoI
was
not
particularaboutmysleepingarraniteineEt*.
Ihavoslopt
an
Bound,sounder.iadee^,with
m;
headresting
ona
saddle,ablankotronnd
me,
and
my
feet
to
the
firs,
as
Ihave
ovor
done
in
a
moequito-ncttGd,Bpring-inattrBBBea,
gilt
andfloweredfourposter.It
'
wasa
wild,
free,
reckless
life,
andsuited
my
tasteexactly.Itrust
my
taBtehas
undergoneimprove
mentsinesthat
time.
The
jontloiniwito
whom
I
brought
ifcttorRof
recom
mendaUoudetermined
to
give
mea
good
doseofexperience
at
one
time.Hence
I
was
consigned
to
a
stationowned
by
thefirm
oh
theDarling.ItiBn't
necessarytoenter
into
amore
precisedescription
;
and
as
theDarling
isa
good
many
miles
in
length,andnumbers
a
'
fev
'
stations
on
its
banks
and
its
tributaries,
itwill
bepleasant
pastime
forthosewho
'
knowtheconuti-y
'
to
try
e.n.dgncsa
theparticularlocalitytowhioh
my
story
relates.
Tothose
to
whomtheDarling
is
nomore
than
anr
otherdarling,and
somebody
else'B
atthat,particularinformation
is
notimportant.SbSco
tosayI
ciune
(after
a
very
son
journeyofabout1200miles
on
horbebiofc)
;
I
bkw
(all
thatconldbe
seen
for
bnsb)
;
1
conqnered
(themethodofriding
a
bockjnropor).Afterbeing
iuitiatcdintoalltlie
mysteriesofstation
lif'ion
the
Darling-,
our
stationbeing
ono
ofthepioneertettlementBconsiderably
beyond
theuttermostbonncls
otcivilisation,intktae
days,I
began
tothink
I
liked
it.
Bnt
Imust
confess
to
a
homesick
nces
somctimos,and
a
hankering
after
eome
othersocietyfsantbebats
on
theoutstationBafforded.A
feirtame
bluokMlowaattachedtbnmselvestothestation.Andc-cccsiots-liythe
monotony
wasbroken
bymoettng
a
fewwild
onesott
the
war
path,which,exciting
and
novelinthelieht
of
spearsfly
bymoettng
a
fewwild
onesott
the
war
path,which,
though
exciting
and
novelinthelieht
of
spearsflyingaround,cwmot
1»Q
characterised
aa
pk.&sa.nt
on
thewhole.
,
At
allevents
Iprofer
billiards.
Aftertwelvemonths
herowordreachedtheBtation
thattbe
ownors
were
desirous
o[
Belling
out.
Thecountry,whieh
was
ofextraordinaryluxuriancein
good
seasons—
andtheyhadbeenunusuallygoodin
my
time
was
heavilystocked.Inorderto
secure
a
i
good
sale
forthestation
it
waa
determinedtoreduce
?
TiJifi^iuniber
of
cattle
considerably,andaenrtalarge
J
draught
to
market.
Thesuper,
issuedinstructions
J
for
a
master,andintbe
aonrsc
of
a
fewweekscattle
1
rollingfat
were
pRttaod
inclose
to
thehomestation.Alargestockyard,
or
bushcrnsh,
wasbnilt,
andthe
cattle
rnn
through,andcounted.It
wasa
hardtime
for
cverj'body,
but
at
lastthework
was
completed,and
I
dobelievethe
knowledge
that
somo
of
ns
had
a,
cha.uco
of
a
trip
to
Melbourne
or
Sydney—
we
didn'tknowwhioh—
made
everything
light.Attcr
a
hard
day
in
thesaddle
from
morning
tor.ighUa.11,arr.idtho
du3tandmite«f
a
thonsand
gallopinghoofs,
a
plunsrointheriveroloBetohand
wus
oxoeedinRly
plea&F^ut,
and
a
nightofawootandunbrokpnslumberboilt
up
tbe
tired
frameagainfortho
hard
labour
of
tbegncoeedingday.
Ai
lastthework
was
completed,audI
wasone
ofthosetold
offto
Mnompany
tlin
otttla
to
market.It
wason
the22nd
December!1S5-,
that,at
daybreak
ws
oftbo
first
oontini:ent
jot
a
clear
stiirt
ofthestationwithabout1500huhdoffatbnllooks,
all
splendidfellows,
vrilj
as
bnobs,&ctce
as
tigcre,
andactive
asraoers.
Thoy
sUrted
on
tb«
run
atfirst,
anddidn't
e&so
down
loa
walkuntil
they
hadgot
overa
clear10miles
;
and
even
when
they
did
settle
down,they
were
uuoMy
andeasilystartedinto
rnns.
Btttit
wasour
A«t«irKuiiaiinntomake
a
goodday
of
it,boas
to
render
a
ru&hbiick
at
night
not
each
a
tempting
thinjr
for
oar
hornedchargeslo
do.
Wemadoabouttwenty-fivemilesthatday,andgotalmostolearof
ourown
boundaries,
by
travcllinR
late,
after
having
made
an
early
start.
?
Thatnightandthefollowiue
oue,
about
fifteen
milesczvinpbeennegotiatedthescoondday,thocattle
were
restleas,
andneedodconstantwatching.Onthethird
day
we
didanother
fifteen
miles,and
camped
inthe
neigh
bourhoodof
a
darkgloomy-lookingfully
on
ChristmasEve.Ourhornedfriends
were
by
thistime
beginning
to
feel
the
effeots
oftherapidjourneyoftbepastthreedays,and
manyof
thorn
were
evidentlyanxious
tecamp.Still,manv
ofthem
were
wild,and
kept
tbeothers
restless.
Itwasn'tsafe
toturnin,
though
wewero
allweary
and
tired.
It
was
wellpastnithtfallbefore
we
gottheoattle
camped.
Thospotwhere
our
firo
was
lighted,
andaroundwhich,
wo
gathered,uot
eo
muchforwoxoith,butfor
light,
was
infrontof
a
pinescrubofconsiderabledensity.
It
didnotextend
more
than
a
fewhundredyards,however,and
beyond
wasa
plain
of
fai-strotchingextent,
on
whioh
,
the
oattle
were
camped—
a
fewlying
down,
eome
mazing,
bntmany
still
wildandneroe-looking,withheads
erect,
andwithrestlesseyes,seemingly
on
thealertfor
un
knowndangers,
or
tocharge
any
lurkinefoe.Thoimmediateforeground
was
tbedark-looking
(rally.
Thebanks
were
not
eteep,
bat
wore
denselycoveredwithdwarfuiaefromtop
to
bottom.Ontheotborsidothocountry
was
lieavily
timbered,
chiefly
withpineandstonteibox.Thenight
was
fine,
and
a
ooolwind
waB
blowing.This,
though
refreshing,
was
obilline;
aftertbeheatandperspirationofthnJongday's
ride.Afloat
or
blanketthrown
over
thechonlders
wasa
comfortableaddition
to
puroutward
rig,I
can
tellyen.
Oarpartyoonaiated
.
of—oart-drivorandcook
{?eluded—
-a
doien
persons,andwith
so
large
a
mob
of
oattle
our
work
was
noneof
theeasiest.Thero
was
lotstodoforeverybody.Onthisparticularnight
wewore
in
hopes
ofgetting
a
good
sight's
rest,
but
we
knewit
wasno
use
to.ru
intrin
for
some
hours,
as
it
wouldprobably
be
midnightbefore
all
tbereBtlets
ones
oftheherd
finally
mad*'
up
theirmindsthatthere
was
nothing
much
to
bealarmedabout.
In
our
oompany
wasan
individual,
one
ofthedrovers,whose
proper
namewas
KubenBrown.Bnben
was
a
queer
lookingobjeotanyhow.Asmallretreatingforehanddidnot
bespeak
a
very
largesupplyof
intellect.
Hisnasalfeatureof
extra
flize,
andofthekindknown
aa
BomaninBttnotnre.
Theprominence
oftbis
important
putofhis
faaial
fornationtadobtainedforhimthesobriquetof
'Nosey
Bubo'
among
hismates
on
the
station,
generallyshortenedinto''tfosey''in
common
con
versation.His
body
wea
longandlanky,and
hislees,
generallyoneased
in
tightpantsandleatherloggisga,precontadtheappearanceof
being-
ofequalthioknesBfromtiesukle
to
tbethigh.'
'Nosey'
 
thioknesBfromtiesukle
to
tbethigh.'
'Nosey'
whoo.
featleBBhoiBemui,expert
among
cattle,
aud
inevery
way
o.
usefulstationhand.Heknow
no
other
Work,
.
and
on
theroadwith,cattlehisexperience,whiouamounted
more
nearlytowhat
we
know
as
instinct,
was
invaluable.He
was
usuallytaciturn,andquiet
in
his
demeanour,
andoE
a
sasminglymolancholy
temperament.
No
ono
whotsewhimwould
call
himimaginative.He
was
toomatteroffactfor»nyaaapioioaof
tlict
kind
la
present
itealf.
His
life
appa&redalways
terriblyinearnest.There
woe
still
An
hourtornidcight,and
itwasno
Ufis
turningin
before...
3?£mi
of
tho
satmwere
vmyat
various
points
on
watoh.Thoothereight
left
atthefirmincludedtheboss,
'
Nosey
'
En
be,
theoook,
I
{hedriver
of
the
waggonctta
withtbetucker,tti»eofthedroversandmyself.
'
Wellboys,'aaid
Mr.
Bonier,thedroverin
oWffa
'
itis
notlikeiytinttheoattlo
will
nettledownformotherhour,andit'e^o
nai
iiopiupfora
anooro
untilthen,
$Midi»a
thesaiddlomto.libegiae«t
w«1t*-
nndthegoingont
of
one
lotandtie
oomlxg
in
of
tbeother
is
pretty
eure
towate
us
np,ifwe
trytosleep.This
is
CbrUtmaiEve.Who
cm
spin
a
yarnto
keep
us
awake
?
That'stheproperthingtodo,
on
Christ
MM
Ere.Ithink,ehP'
'Eichtyoaare.bass1.'
said
Thomosan,
one
otthe
hands.
'
Bat
whois
goinn
to
spinit?'
'
Oh,Noseyought
tobeable
totell
us
something,
put
in
Dicky
Dixaon,'
a
cockneywaterman,
fall
of
fnn
and
frolic,
a
very
badrioor,butplunk
to
thebaokbone»ndppinal
marrow.
'
Well,he's
seena
lotof
life,
at
all
events,especiallyamong
cattle,
knng»roos,andblackfellovn,'
s-jid
another.
'Now,Babe,
you
see
Low
itis.
Wewanttbestory.
Somebody
mnsttell
it.
Pnbiioopinionpoints
toyon,my
boy,
vnH
I
thinkyou're
not
tbe
man
to
showthatconfidencereposedin
youinanyway
can
possiblybemisplaced.'
'Thanks,
boss.ButIdon't
feelmuch
on
tho
rum
to-nighf.
Ifee!
kindergloomy,somehow.
It'sthin
confoundedcil!?here.Ten
see
I
knatrtba
place,
and
I
don't
likeit.
There's
a
darktsjoconnectedwith
it
;
and
though
I've
comaover
it
lota
of
times,I
never
Gi.mr.ed
herebe
ore,
and
Ivrisa
we
bacn'tnovr.'AndBnbelookedroundin
a
Dervoufisort
ofwaythatAttractedcverybody'nattention.
'
Oh,
tbero'B
a
da.rii
ta\onbout
ii,istber»f
'
esiid
ThomiBoa.
'
Does
it
bolong
'.oa
darkhorse,oh
?
Let'shearthe
yarn,
anyhow.'
?'
The
yarn
!
theyarn
!'
was
tbecenoral
ory.
Allhand!settled
down;
end
Bnbc,
after
a
little
more
persuasion,commencedhisstory.Shortlystated,
itia
t.Viia.
Woil,
wey
bachfromthisgully,about
twenty
miles,thorn's
a.
cattle
station,
one
of
tbe
firstUtraupinthefifl
parts.
jM.V
father
wason9
of
thehandsthere,andthestory
I
haveto
tallis
fromhis
lips.
Anotherstationhand
was
Hi.rry
Beil,
a
dashing
young
stockm&D,
handsome-,
b«i.ve.
and
a,
generalfavourite.Thispart
of
thestationw:iEn't
mnon
used
in
thosedays.There
-»aa
plenty
of
feod
on
tbeother,whiah
w&b
besideswellwatered,and
moreun
dulating,nffordiugohelterwinter
t.rid
sumnier
iaita
gullieE.
Bntsometimesstraybullocks
did
net
over
thiBroad
;
cvttrvnow
and
then
ft
sep.rch
wns
made
and
a
fewbead
always
recovered
ana
diivenbucktotheordinary
gr&zincr
errounds.Ono
davHarry
waBoul
on
thiswork,nndrpnehod
this
pally.Inhis
Fftoroh
for
cntt!e.
which
some
timesplant
amongst
thetimberheenteredthopinescrubyonder.Inthe
thickest,
partof
it
became
sndddanly
ona
lint,constructed
of
tu.rk,
pino
sap
ling*«ndfronds.
Harry
nearly
fell
fromhishorseinastonishment.Hehad
nevei*
hoard
orfieon&
livinpsoulistheneighbourhood,anddidn'tthinkthere
wos
a
white
f
nee
within
a
hundredmilesofthestation,
the
hands
employed
execptrd.Itwasn't
a
black's
gtmyah.
Th&t
wts
evident
at
once.
Itmnetthenbetheplaceofdiodeof
sono
white.Thore
were,moreover,
a
few
ntcnsileouteide,&uch
asa
tin
bneketusedforboilina.a
till
diab,
niloxc.
audother
articles
lyitto;
about.Thopinefrondscimoat
covered
the
roof,
which
was
low
;
inshort,
it
was
evident
at
a
Rlancothatthobnt
was
erectedwith
a
viewto
con
cealment.
Harry
soon
recoveredfromhisenrpriae,anddetermined
to
find
oatif
themysteriousdwellingcontained
any
occupant.
Making
hia
way
tothe
loir
doorofbark,without
dismounting
hegave
onoor
two
loed
knooka
with,
thohandle
ofhis
stockwhip.In
a
momentafterwardsthedooropened,andDicknearlytorehiseyelidsasunder
in
theextremity
of
their
opening
afltonisbtnont.Beforehimstood
a
younggirl
not
more
than
twenty
at
moBt.She
wan
younggirl
not
more
than
twenty
at
moBt.She
wan
veryhandsome.That
was
the
first
thonpht
thatenteredHarry'smindafterthe
firstfnvrmoment*
ofastonishment.
Harry
didn'tknowmuchabout
fairieE
or
lie
might
bavs
thosght
she
wasone.
l£:s
knowledge
of
angels
was
alsolimited,
or
he
mipnt
have
imagined
thathis
companion
wasone.
Hisideasofvisions
were
anythingbutwelldeveloped
;
and
his
digestion
was
too
good
to
believo
in
ghosU.
Besides,hequietlyfoundoutthathis
fair
friendwasn't
a
ghost,butsubstantial
flesh
undblood,and
a
vary
good
specimenof
th»
materialatthat.
It
was
evidentalsothatthe
girl
waans
astonished
as
be
was.
Whatdid
it
mean—
this
fair
oreaturcalono
in
thobush,
in
a
hnt
by
herself
forhecouldn't
Boe
another£ipn
of
a
livingbeing.'I—
I
thonght
it
was
father!'stammeredthnastonished
girl.
'
Whatdid
you
please
to
want
sirp'shecontinued.
Harry
explainedthathe
was
lookingfor
cattle,
andenterodtheBcrnbinsearchofuknlkero.Bnt
I
don'trightlyknowtho
rest
oftheinterview.
Harryappeared
ratlier
ooulnsad
on
thepointhicm-lf
.
Ionlyknow—atleant
fctber
has
often,
told
moso
that
Harry
oftenhadoccasion
to
lookfor
cattle
on
this
Bideof
the
station,
un
one
of
theBeabsences
it
was
Christmas
Eve,by
tho
way
a
messengerarrived
it
thestation
with
instructions
to
simd
Harry
on
to
Sydney
atonce,
as
hisevidence
vraa
wantedin
an
importantlaw-suit,involsingthoownershipofmuobvalunbloproperty.There
waB
uot
a
moment
tolose.
Hewouldhave
to
ridahard
to
rcaah
torrfi
intiaethere
wjisno
railway
over
thomountains'inthasedays.Withoutbistestimonythe
owners
wouldlesetheir
case,
and
many
thousandsof
pounds
as
vre-U.
TUtire
wa«u.
cry-out
for
Harry,butbo
^Asnt..o
bu[ound
nnywhero.
At
lastmy
fatherrcmenibsrodtheadventare
in
tboscrub,andtbefrequont
absencoe.
The
caseiras
pTeBsing,and
no
time
was
to
he
lost.
Havolunteered
tonoinaearoh
ofHarry.lo
company
withanotherstock
ruin
hestartedfortbescrub.It
was
darkwhentheystartsd,butthe
moonwas
bright,and
in
didn't
ta.k'e
themlong
to
negotiatethetwentymiles
to
the
spot.
Bntto
find
tbo
lint
woe
not
bo
easy.
After
a
longsearchtheyhalted
on
the
margin
ofthe
scrub,
aa
it
might
boabouthere.
By
jove!Tbme'sthoblackened
stump
I'vebeard
myfather
talkaboar,wherethey
were
both
sitting,filling
theirpipes,whilethehorses
were
BDellin?
a
ion-
minutes.Whilo
so
engaged
they
wora
bothstruckwiththosilonooofthenight.Tho
moon,briijht,full,
and
olesx,
shoneoutwith
an
elTulgenooalmostequal
to
thenoonday
sun.
Father
was
just
going
to
strike
a
matchaudlightbispipewhonpresently
a
tuebingsound,
asif
of
a
horse,infull
cireer
through
theBornb,
was
heard.Both
my
fathorand
his
matesprangtotheir
foet,
andinstantlyclutchedthehandlesoftheirstookwhips,
to
thelongthongs
cf
whiohtheirhorses'bridles
ware
oUaohed.Thoanimalsrearedandplunged,andshowed
allth-3
evidencesofterror.Bnt
in
a
momont
thetwo
men
Trero
inthesaddle.Nearerand
neaTorcamo
thorushingsoundtheBound
of
hoof
(trashingover
broken
licubs
oftrees
of
tbe
body
*'
swishing'
through
tbebranches.Whatoould
bs
tbe
meaning
cfthemysteriousfionnd.No
horse
ofbis
own
accordwouldrashlikethat
in
such
a
place.Noriderin
his
senses
would
urgo
a
horso
to
Buohapeod
through
thoBcrub.
There
vras
eoaiethinir
in
it.
Thoy
had
not
longtowait
for
a
iwlutimsthemyatory.Whileyettheywondorod,
or
had
timetooolleot
theirstartled
senses,
a
Bightburst
on
thoir
gaze
that
al
mostfrozethe
mat-row
in
their
bonofl,
andcurdled'theblood
in
thoirveins.
'
Throngh
thoeorubrushed
a
powerfulblockhorse,which
my
fatherand
hia
mate,alarmed
as
theywera,at
onoe
recojrnieed
aa
Harry's.But.that
was
not
all.
Mounted
on
thecareeringsteed
wasa
formwhioh
they
alsorecognised
as
thatofthe
youngf
riandofwhom
they
vera
inBftarah.
Batoh
!
horror
of
horrors
1
Theform
was
hoadlcBB
!
'
Onwontthemaddenedhoreo,with
his
life
Ibbb
burden
paBsingthemliko
a
.whirlwind,hiseyeballs
Bbuing
andred
aa
blood,
his
nostrilsdistendedwithterror,snorting,foamspeekefLyingrightand
l«ft
urged
ae
it
were
by
thelooselyflappinglega
of
hisheadless
rider.It
wasa
terrible
moment.Bntboththeonlookers
weremen
ofstrong
nerve.
Inlagstimethan
it,
taken
totellit
they
were
intbesaddleasd
Lifoil
gallop
after
the
terrified
horseand
hm
ghastlyfreight.
Biding
rapidly
through
thegully,
thoy
proceededalmost
a
milefurther,andthenthe
full
horror
of
thewnolo
affair
was
beforethorn.OntbefartherBideof
a
hugo
loglaythe
body
oftheherse,hisneckbroken,
andhis
shoulderoraBhod
to
a
&oftpulp,
in
the
attempt
to
bIemtheobstructionbeforehim.Lushedtothe

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