28 August 1911
THE STORY RESUMES
Old Mrs Kelly contemplated the enjoyment of her grandchildren with as near an approach to pleasure in her wane contenance as the grim, trouble worn features were capable of. Asked it there were any other incidents in her life on which she would like to dwell, she said she could think of none. Most of those stirring events in which her sons and their comrades had been concerned had taken place whilst she was in prison. This—and the cause of her being imprisoned—were the things on which her mind most constantly dwelt. The unlucky encounter at the homestead on that fateful April afternoon she was never tired of speaking about. From that she dated all her own and her family’s misfortunes. And with weary eyes fixed unseeingly upon the wet, drenched landscape, that stretched drearily away from the little cottage, she iterated and reiterated, calling Almighty God to witness that she was innocent of any part in the punishing of Fitzpatrick. Whatever was done, she declared, was done by others, not by her. But she stoutly denied that any of her people shot the imprudent young trooper. What happened, as far as she was able to see, was that his revolver went off accidently and the bullet struck him in the arm or wrist. “And they swore that I hit him with a shovel,” she wailed, again and again; “and they wrecked my life and brought me to this.”
But the old woman had many tales of what she called persecution by the police to tell. Her daughters had been, she said, subjected to continued and studied indignities. Police would come at all hours of the night to search the house; and they would pull the girls out of bed and turn their beds upside down in the most rough and brutal fashion.
“The girls could have told more about those things than I can,” she said wearily. “They had to suffer. And it was the conduct of the police all through—the brutal ill-usage that we had from them—that made all the trouble. I don’t know much of what happened after Fitzpatrick came that day. But the things that the girls have told me the police used to do were simply brutal and without excuse at all. If they had been trying to provoke the boys to break the law and retaliate they could not have done more than they did, and I firmly believe they were trying.”
UNCLE JIM–AND A HORSE DEAL.
But presently there is a wild outcry from outside the hut, where an impoverished tea party and picnic is progressing unctuously. A trio of juvenile shrieks precede a stampede of the small picnickers into the living room. “Uncle Jim’s coming! Uncle Jim’s here-coming right through the panel now on his chestnut horse.”
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