The True Story of the KellyGang of Bushrangers Chapter 14 page 2

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On the Saturday after the robbery, Mr Hare, whose faith in Sherritt’s bonafides was strengthened by late events, went to see him at Beechworth, and learnt that on previous Wednesday Dan Kelly had been at Mrs Byrne’s and had breakfasted there. The gang, he said, had separated after leaving Jerilderie and were to meet at a certain place; but the others had not kept their appointment, and he was in search of news of them. Sherritt believed that the whole gang would be at Mrs Byrne’s on the following night and he asked Mr Hare to bring men to watch the place. Detective Ward, who was present at the conversation, distrusted Sherritt and told Mr Hare that though the man could put the outlaws into his power he did not believe that for all the money in the world he would betray his friend, Joe Byrne. Sherritt was at this time engaged to Byrne’s sister, and for the credit of human nature one hopes that Ward was right; but Mr Hare thought otherwise, and the evidence is inconclusive, though there is little doubt that Sherritt cared far more for the reward money than for his faith towards other members of the gang.

Next night Mr Hare and Detective Ward met Sherritt at a place agreed on, where they were to have been joined by a party of police of the township of Eldorado, but by a mischance these men did not appear, and accordingly, pluckily determining to go alone, Mr Hare and Detective Ward trusted themselves to the guidance of Sherritt and set out on a pitch-black night for a ride through the rough, stony and scrubby mountains. After riding for some time Aaron Sherritt halted and pointed out a glimmer of firelight through the trees. It was the bushrangers, he said. This was their country into which no one else ventured, and for once they had been careless enough to betray themselves by enjoying the comfort of a fire, instead of seeking safety by freezing in their camp on the coldest nights as they were usually reported to do. On instructions from Mr Hare, Sherritt got down from his horse and sneaked forward to make certain who the men by the fire might be, and in a few minutes he returned. ‘Where do you think the fire is, Mr Hare?’ he asked. ‘About 150 yards away,’ was the reply, to which Aaron answered that it was three miles or more. Mr Hare believed that Sherritt had sold him, but on riding forward found that he spoke the truth, for they reached the edge of a precipice and saw that the fire which had looked so near was on the other side of a deep gully, with the Woolshed diggings on the flat between.

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