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3-036 (Raw)

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addressee author,male,Cecil, Robert,un
Narrative Discourse
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Plaint Text :
Private Written
Clark, 1975
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3-036-raw.txt — 2 KB

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Monday, March. Went down with Mr. Armstrong into a neighbouring glen to make a seizure of a sly-grog shop. As we were walking over the hill under which the camp lies, we came up with a digger who was erecting a sort of tent with poles cut from the forest. It was a large tent and involved a good deal of work for a single man; but it was nearly finished. But as this hill was destined in winter for the camp, it was of course sacred ground, and Mr. Armstrong told the unhappy man that he must pull his erection down. He grumbled, as was natural, inasmuch as he had not heard of the reservation before; but like the rest, he submitted. When we arrived at the grog shop we found a policeman already standing as sentry at the door, and others, carbines in hand, standing round. Mr. Armstrong went in, ordered all he found inside to be handcuffed, and proceeded to search. The man, however, had been too much for him - we only discovered half a keg of port. However, the selling had been sworn to by a police spy, and so the tent was doomed. The culprit's own spade was used to knock his tent down, and his wife actually helped to pull the stakes out of the ground. All the woodwork was piled, and a glorious bonfire was made. The kegs and the tent were confiscated for the use of the authorities. Meanwhile a crowd was gaping round without venturing to offer one word of interruption; both they and some diggers who were washing their gold in the waterhole beneath seemed to look on with the most perfect unconcern. At Ballarat, in more lawless days, when Mr. Armstrong had it entirely his own way, he used to collect a bundle of faggots, pile them up in the middle of the forfeited tent, and set the whole concern in a blaze - burning them out, as he expressed it, "rump and stump," destroying bedding, furniture, merchandise, and clothing; and yet, even to this, unauthorised as it was, they never offered serious resistance. On the present occasion the culprit seemed to fear that Mr. Armstrong was going to do the same, and humbly begged an exemption for his "traps," which was graciously granted. In the course of the day this man was fined £100 (it being a second offence), which he paid before night; such are the profits of the illicit trade.