The True Story of the KellyGang of Bushrangers Chapter 14 page 3
Disappointed here, the party rode away to watch Mrs Byrne’s house, which lay in the gully under the lee of a steep hill. Sherritt, crawling up to the window, listened for a time and returned, saying that the gang were not yet arrived, but he pointed out the spot where they were accustomed to tie their horses, and led the two officers to a hiding-place near a stockyard by which he advised waiting and watching all night, as through the stockyard the outlaws always passed on their way to the house. The police waited; the outlaws did not come, but Sherritt was confident that before long they would do so, and said that if the police wanted to get them they must watch the house.
Mr Hare determined to follow this advice. Riding back to Beechworth in the morning, he made arrangements for a permanent camp in the gully about a mile from the Byrnes’ hut. To this camp he brought seven men, and placed four more in another, high above it in the mountains at a spot which commanded the gully below, and to which Sherritt said the Kellys often came. For twenty five days and nights Mr Hare and his men underwent severe hardships and ran considerable danger in their watch for the Kellys. During the day they rested, exposed to the heat of the sun and without any cover, while at night they crept down and watched Mrs Byrne’s house till morning, returning half frozen at dawn to their comfortless camp. Fires were forbidden lest the smoke should give the outlaws warning, but all Mr Hare’s precautions against discovery were in vain. The Kellys did not come, and after the twentieth day Mrs Byrne, who for some reason suspected police were about, discovered a piece of soap near the creek, and a stick which a constable had been whittling to amuse himself, while later on the reflection of the sun on a sardine tin on the hill side caught her eye, and, going to investigate its meaning, she stumbled upon the police camp. Mr Hare’s chief concern seems to have been for Sherritt, whose chance of life would have been small had he been seen with the police and remained afterwards in the district. Sherritt realised his danger and on Mr Hare’s advice left the camp immediately at his best speed, in order to prove an alibi, by showing himself to other friends of the Kellys at a distance, returning to join the police in the evening.
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