The True Story of the KellyGang of Bushrangers Chapter 8 page 5
But whatever were the facts concerning the log, the police had no doubt that Mrs Skillion was conveying food, either by herself or confederates, to the outlaws, and they tried hard to ascertain what became of the great bakings turned out from her oven, with the result that they soon learnt from a reliable agent that she used frequently to ride away from her house in the middle of the night carrying a well-filled swag. Several attempts were made to follow her, but they all failed. On the face of it one would suppose that here was a chance of effecting a capture, but Mr Sadlier insisted that to follow Mrs Skillion for any distance of horseback, which would be necessary since she rode herself, was impossible without being discovered. If she cantered she would get out of sight, and would soon hear the hoof beats of any horse following her when she pulled up to a walk again, at what distance ahead of them the pursuers could not tell. Wherever Mrs Skillion went, she went far, for according to the agents’ information her horse was always knocked up when she returned, and for her expeditions she constantly used fresh mounts. Had her trail been followed by black trackers some news might have resulted, but there were no competent and trustworthy aboriginals in Victoria at that time, and even later, when the Queensland Government offered to send some of theirs to Victoria, Captain Standish, who had little faith in their usefulness, refused the offer of their assistance. Another alternative possible, and perhaps of value, would have been the arrest of Mrs Skillion under the Felons Apprehension Act, and later, in case of her making signals from her house as Williamson suggested she would do, Captain Standish urged the advisability of her arrest. Nevertheless, at this time, for several reasons nothing was done. For one thing Mr Nicolson did not consider there was sufficient evidence against her to secure a conviction, and further it was hoped that immunity from interference would lead her and her brothers to betray themselves by more daring undertakings beneath the noses of the police. The agents at any moment were likely to give definite and fresh information which might enable a sudden blow to be struck, and therefore, fully aware that the Kellys were being provisioned and interviewed almost in sight of the police, the officers felt themselves compelled to suffer these things, and to remain more or less inactive in the hope of some really good chance arising for an successful attempt at arrest.
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