The Power of a Word II

…I will leave for next time.

After cantering around a little to let the horses blow off steam, we began to make our way via a circuitous path that wound its way gradually downward round the bowl created by the encircling hills. We passed the chute, a clear area going straight down the steep hill, down which the felled trees were were sent to the bottom after being dragged into position at the top by teams of horses. Reaching the base we went to the saw pit, or what remained of it; it was mostly filled in by encroaching time. Then our special treat. Nev told us: ‘If I don’t like you this is where we go back, but f I like you I make the ride longer and we go to see Gertrude’s grave. We rode on and there it was, a lonely grave in a lonely spot.

During the nineteen forties a group of soldiers had been billeted in the Bunya Mountains and while there they re-furbished Gertrude’s Grave. They replaced the iron railings around it which were corroded, with new ones, and planted four Bunya pine trees, one on each side. Originally four trees had been planted, one at each corner, but these had begun to decay so were cut down, the tree stumps prohibiting further planting at the corners. We sat quietly, again resting the horses and looking at the grave while Nev told us the story.

In the later part of the nineteenth century many men in Great Britain who were looking for a better life emigrated to Australia, and one such man was from Cornwall. Named Carbonares, he was of a swarthy complexion making him foreign looking, and had a pronounced Cornish accent which made it difficult for others there to understand him. He was an outsider from the start. Never the less, he married, a young woman called Gertrude who, like him, seeking a better life and a husband, had emigrated from the home country specifically to provide a wife for Carbonares. (I regret I never found out his first name so am obliged to use his surname).

All seemed well with the couple, Gertrude became pregnant, but when the time came to give birth the troubles started.

That’s enough for now. More will be revealed next time.

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