The True Story of the KellyGang of Bushrangers Chapter 4 page 2

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Fitzpatrick said he would, and, tying up his horse, went in to join the party, where he was welcomed with abuse by Mrs Kelly, who said he was ‘a deceitful little -----,’ and that he should not take Dan out of the house that night. Dan, according to Fitzpatrick, was much more reasonable, and went on with his meal, so far agreeing with the constable as to say, ‘Shut up, mother; that’s all right,’ when she objected to Fitzpatrick’s assurance that there was no need to quarrel, merely because he had to do his duty.

Fitzpatrick had scarcely been three minutes in the house, when Ned Kelly entered suddenly, and exclaiming, ‘Out of this you -----,’ fired a shot at Fitzpatrick from his revolver.

It did not hit him, but Mrs Kelly rushed in to the fight, and struck Fitzpatrick on the head with a fire shovel, smashing his helmet down over his eyes. As Fitzpatrick raised his arm to defend himself, Ned Kelly fired a second shot, which struck him in the wrist, and when he turned to draw his revolver, he discovered that Dan Kelly had taken it while his attention was engaged, and was now covering him with it. By this time Williamson, the rail-splitter, had also arrived upon the scene, entering the kitchen from an adjoining bed-room, and he too had a revolver, while immediately afterwards came Skillion with another, which he pointed at Fitzpatrick.

Any arrest was clearly out of the question for a time, and as Ned Kelly grasped Fitzpatrick’s arm, the latter fell to the ground, and Kelly, he says, recognising him for the first time, exclaimed, ‘That will do, boys; if I had known it was Fitzpatrick, I wouldn’t have fired a b----y shot.’

After this Fitzpatrick became, for a short time, unconscious, and when he came to himself and rose, Ned Kelly insisted upon taking out the bullet, which was a very small one, and not deeply imbedded in the constable’s wrist. Ned was anxious to use a razor for the purpose, to which Fitzpatrick, not liking amateur surgery, objected, begging to be allowed to go to a doctor in Benalla, but Kelly was insistent, and finally consented to prize out the bullet with the penknife which Fitzpatrick took out of his own pocket.

It was about dusk when this occurred, but the Kellys and their friends would not let Fitzpatrick depart, keeping him in the hut till eleven o’clock, when he mounted his horse and rode away through Winton to Benalla, and reported his misadventure.

The above is Fitzpatrick’s version of the affair, upon which the police and the Criminal Court acted, for Mrs Kelly, Williamson, and Skillion, who were all arrested, received very heavy sentences for their alleged assault upon Fitzpatrick. The constable’s version was, however, afterwards corroborated by Williamson, who, during the course of his six years’ imprisonment, was interviewed in Pentridge by the Chief Commissioner of Police, Captain Standish, and backed up every word of Fitzpatrick’s evidence. It was, on the other hand, absolutely denied in all essentials by Skillion, Mrs Kelly, and Ned Kelly, who swore that he was hundreds of miles away on the occasion, and stated that Skillion was not present either. Ned’s version of the matter, based on information from Dan, is that Mrs Kelly advised him not to go unless the constable could produce a warrant, and that Fitzpatrick thereupon drew his revolver, threatening to blow Mrs Kelly’s brains out if she interfered, to which the old lady replied that he would be less free with his pop-gun were Ned anywhere about. Dan cunningly called out, ‘Here is Ned coming now,’ and as Fitzpatrick, taken in by the ruse, turned his head, Dan snatched the revolver from him, emptied it, returned it, and allowed Fitzpatrick to go away unharmed. Fitzpatrick’s wound, which was very slight, Dan declares was self inflicted.

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