Chapter 5

Written by: Ray Stone

"Saul Trevelyan, at your service ma'am."

As Mary freed herself from the rope that bound her loosely, a long slender hand gently pulled her to her feet. Embarrassed, she felt his lips on the back of her outstretched hand as he bowed before her. Their eyes met and her curiosity was aroused. An English gentleman in the middle of the outback was a rarity. She stood, undecided, not knowing whether to accept his welcome or slap his face.

"You're a bushranger then. Where did you escape from, mister?"

Saul grinned broadly and picked up her baggage. "Have mutton dinner with me, such as it is, and enjoy a wonderful bottle of wine I acquired quite legally at the Silverman sheep farm some two days’ ride south from here."

Mary laughed. She followed Saul into a makeshift shack. Dressed differently to the other two men in a thick black woollen coat with high collar and brown riding breeches, he was tall and with long wavy black hair. His weathered face was pink about the cheeks and the small pointed nose that gave him a regal appearance. Even teeth shone white as he grinned and eyes that seemed to sparkle moved her, such that she could feel her heart start to race.

He waved her to a seat at the small table and poured wine.

"I left some money for the wine and a horse so there was nothing illegal about my acquisitions." He grinned again.  "That Silverman was bound to a chair at the time is neither here nor there."

Mary warmed to Saul's easygoing soft voice and joined him in a glass of red wine. "So tell me how you came to be such a bad man," she said. "You were once a gentleman and still are by the tone of your voice and the way you treat a girl - not like those two out there?" She turned to the door.

"A sad story," he replied, placing two plates of mutton and potatoes before them. "I lost a lot of money that I borrowed from a friend and could not pay it back. He tried to possess my London home, which he did - and my wife. She left me for him and I gave him a good hiding. Unfortunately, his father was a judge, and I received fourteen years in servitude. Four years ago, it was, I landed in Botany Bay and for three years suffered the hard labour that was nearly the finish of me. So I escaped. I'm now hoping to find enough money to get a ship from the bay to take me to America. There's captains that are not too fussy who they transport as long as the money's good."

Mary's heart thumped wildly. A chance to be free from the terrible life that threatened her future beckoned her through his words as he recounted his tale.

"Maybe if you disguised yourself with a wife, it would be easy to get a ship."

Comments

Excellent Ray. He sounds like a real greaser trying to take advantage of the situation. Anyway that's how I see it. Serials provoke different responses from each of us.
I love your take on this, Ken. You are refreshingly different and unique. Love to hear from you.
The back story was cleverly interwoven with the current story. I found myself wanting to hear what the man was doing in Botany Bay and you answered the question without an jarring. Transitions like that are hard to achieve. Very good! And Mary has found a way out of her dilemma....? Hmm I wonder. Great chapter Raymond. Congratulations!