The True Story of the KellyGang of Bushrangers Chapter 10 page 5
Byrne was left behind in sole charge of the thirty prisoners which by this time the store room contained. It was seemingly a large order for one man to control them; but, stuck all over with revolvers and with a double barrelled gun in his hand, and two loaded rifles within easy reach, Byrne calmly marched up and down before the door, apparently in no way over powered by his responsibility. There was, in fact, not very ardent desire on the part of the prisoners to escape. They were cramped and uncomfortable, but this, not to speak of any impersonal desire of bringing the scoundrels to justice, was by no means strong enough inducement to make them risk their lives in an attack upon Joe Byrne. There were axes in the hut. One or two daring spirits did suggest that they should chop their way out and rush upon the outlaw. Doubtless he might have been overcome and captured; but doubtless also one or more men would have lost their lives in the attempt, which prevented any enthusiasm for the idea. Among those who might otherwise have been in favour of some bold step there was also the knowledge that the store-room contained strong sympathisers with the Kellys as well as bona fide prisoners, and it was also suspected that other of the outlaws’ friends were lurking in hiding near the station. Accordingly Joe Byrne was not threatened in any way while he mounted guard over his prisoners.
Once, when a passing train slowed down and came almost to a standstill in front of the station, must have been an exciting time for the prisoners and an anxious one for Byrne, who might reasonably have expected an attack. However, he showed no sight for faltering. The train was that in which Mr Wyatt travelled to Euroa when he and the telegraph repairer, Watt, first observed the break in the wires. Watt, as related, jumped off the engine, while the train quickened pace again and went on. After a casual examination of the damage Watt walked up towards the homestead to ask for information and assistance. As he approached the store room, Byrne, covering him with a gun, ordered him to come forward, which he was forced to do, and he, too, was locked up with the ever growing crowd in the store room. Thus the non appearance of the line repairer, in the event, afforded the fullest justification of Mr Wyatt’s suspicion that his failure to return to Euroa argued something very wrong at Faithfull’s Creek. The curious matter was, that at the very moment he was pouring forth these suspicions to Mr Gorman, something far more wrong was in progress only half a mile from where he stood.
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