For the Term of His Natural Life

[* = reconstructed and non-original titles]

1
Today Australia is a great and
 prosperous country whose rapid
progress leads on to a greater Destiny
rich with tremendous promise.
 Yet its history has been similar
to that of other great countries
where brave men with noble ideals
have struggled with Life's social
problems in a rugged and mighty
          wilderness.

2
And this great drama of a hundred
  years ago is purely a work
of fiction. That it is laid against
a sordid phase of Man's social 
life is the story-teller's license.
Here are contrasted all the noble
and base impulses of man - - -
to live forever - - - an inspiring
evidence of progress and the
     ultimate millennium.

3*
Northend House, Eng-
  land, on May 3rd,
1827, was the scene of
a domestic tragedy.

4*
Love had no place in the
  marriage of Lady
Elinor Devine, but her life
held a hidden chapter -
and for twenty years
she guarded a mother's
secret about her son.

5*
The boy sailed strange
 seas in the ships
that built Sir Richard
Devine's fortune. Storms
hardened him to man-
hood before he rode the
last gale home.

6*
Richard Devine had argued
often and violently with his
father. This homecoming quarrel
brought a startling revelation:
he was no son of Sir Richard,
but that of Lady Devine and her
  cousin, Lord Bellasis.

7*
Plunged into fury, Sir Richard
banished the man he would no
longer regard as his heir, then
   strode from the house.

8*
"Try to forgive me, my son.
Your true father, Lord Bellasis,
courted me before my marriage
to Sir Richard. If Sir Richard
returns to find you here, he will
 tell the world of my shame".

9*
"Pray heaven that Sir Richard not
meet Lord Bellasis along the road.
 A terror of evil overpowers me".

10*
"Mother, I can't let you
 bear that. I'll ship on
 the Hydaspes for Cal-
 cutta, until you call me
 home."

11*
"Sir Richard."

12*
He suspected his mother's
worst fears had been realised
- that Sir Richard had
encountered Lord Bellasis.

13
     By that strange fate of
       circumstance which
     creates events, another father
     and son were quarrelling.

Lord Bellasis. . . . . Arthur Greenaway
His Son - known as John Rex..George Fisher

14*
As a second son of Lord
Bellasis, John Rex was
Richard Devine's double.

15
     A Silent Witness.

Reverend North...Mayne Lynton

16
"Lord Bellasis!"

17*
Perhaps in meeting Lord
Bellasis, Sir Richard had
exacted revenge for twenty
     years' shame.

18*
Lord Bellasis' riderless
horse had alerted drinkers
 at the Spaniards' Inn.

19
"Oh, you villain! You've
 murdered Lord Bellasis!"

20
Had Sir Richard slain Lord
 Bellasis? For the sake
of his mother's name he
must keep silence. She had
made a great sacrifice - - -
  now he must make his.

21
"You'll sleep in Bow Street
 gaol tonight---what's your
          name?"

22*
Would they recognize
 him after all these
years at sea?

23*
If he blamed the murder on 
the man twenty years 
deceived, his mother's 
dishonour would be public.
Rather than shatter old 
lives, he resolved to adopt
      a new name.

24*
"I'm Dawes - Rufus
 Dawes."

25*
Unrecognised, he stood
 trial as Rufus Dawes
and when the prisonship
"Malabar" sailed for Van
Dieman's Land -

26*
Mrs. Vickers and her
 daughter Sylvia
sailed with Commander
Vickers to rule the con-
vict settlements.

27*
Vicious haunts of
 London had been
Sarah Purfoy's nursery.
Only the convicts knew
why she shipped as
nursemaid to the child.

28*
Lieutenant Maurice 
  Frere, second in
command.

29*
"Now will yer join us?"

30*
All day a black cloud
  streaked the horizon.

31*
"Take a few prisoners
 and search for sur-
 vivors.

32*
"Sick eh? Then you'll
 be lucky if this helps
 you to die."

33*
"It's the Hydaspes -
 bound for Calcutta -
 the crew have deserted
 her."

34*
Matt Gabbett -- mad-
  man, mutineer.

35
"I say now's the time. Rex
 is in the 'orspital---if 'e
 dies---Sarah won't 'elp
 the rest of us blokes."

36
"Sarah threw me this,
 rolled in a crust o' 
        bread."

37
"It means she 'as got the
 guard fixed---we do the
         rest."

38
"It's the fever, ye grinning
 fools, and 'e's the fourth
         man down."

39
In the cuddy the dinner
 hour was always passed
  pleasantly enough.

40
"Miles, let me see the
       prisoner."

41
"Yer carn't, the Captain
 will be here any minute."

42
"Very well, if you don't
 love me, I'll go away."

43
John Rex had been convicted 
 for forgery; he was the
double of Rufus Dawes
  and leader of the
      mutineers.

44
"Rex dear---this is Sarah,
 your wife---hush, you will
     be free tonight."

45
"The fever is aboard ---
 but if you keep order I
 will do all I can for your
         comfort."

46
"Tonight----the prisoners
   ---- MUTINY!"

47
"Let me prepare, sir,
 and for God's sake say
 nothing. Our lives may
     depend on it."

48
"We mean to take the 
        ship."

49
"Better chance a shot from
 the soldiers than to die
 'ere of fever---like rats
        in a trap."

50
"Come, drink my health
  ---if you love me."

51
A sinister silence had
  fallen over the prison
---eight bells---the hour
      of disaster.

52
"The Commander's wife
 and kid---get 'em and
  the ship is ours!"

53
"Surrender! In the name of
 the King!---or I'll blow
     you to pieces!"

54
"Dawes must 'ave squealed.
 We'll swear 'e was the
       ringleader."

55
   SIX YEARS LATER.
In Van Dieman's Land ---
 Macquarie Harbor, where
the convicts toiled in the
timber swamps of the
    Gordon River.

56
Major Vickers, now commander
  of the penal settlement,
awaits the arrival of his old
  friend, Captain Frere.

57
"You are to transport all
 the prisoners to Colonel
 Arthur's new prison at
 Port Arthur and abandon
   this place at once."

58
"Sylvia is growing fast
 ---but she still retains
 a childlike sympathy for
 the convicts, and weeps
  for their sufferings."

59
Sylvia Vickers . . .

      . . . EVA NOVAK

60
"Why waste tears on convict
 scum? Lighten my sufferings
    with a sweet kiss."

61
"You're an impertinent
     fellow, sir."

62
"Gabbett's come back, sir."

63
"Well, Gabbett, where are
      your mates?"

64
"Died, in the bush."

65
"Yes---there was four 
 o' us---'n if there'd
 been more I wouldn't
    been 'ere now."

66
"Can you understand
 such mumbling? I'd
 flog him well, sir!"

67
"No, I sometimes believe
 kindness would do more 
 than the chain and cat."

68
The night before deserting
 Macquarie Harbour, the
 officers held a banquet.

69
"That's Grummet Rock---
 Rufus Dawes lives there
 in solitary confinement
 --- remember, he was the
 fellow who plotted the 
 mutiny on the Malabar."

70
Sometimes in his solitude,
 the love for his mother
seemed to comfort him. It
was the one shining star
in this dreadful pit where
Destiny had thrown him.

71
He would try again---
 either freedom, or an
end to all his miseries.

72
Major Vickers lost no
 time in deserting the 
      settlement.

73
"The big vessel is
 overcrowded, sir."

74
"By the King's regulations
 it is my duty to stay
 with the prisoners. Will
 you follow in the Osprey,
 with my wife and child?"

75
"Dawes committed suicide,
 sir, gone, chains and all!"

76
The rascally John Rex
 --- working on the
Osprey---had hatched a
   fiendish plot.

77
"Be ready---when the big
 vessel is out of sight."

78
"Ladies, au revoir---oh,
 I'm not doing this for
    you, you tyrant."

79*
Gaining the mainland
 after drifting all 
night, Dawes was
puzzled to find the
quarry deserted.

80*
Dawes learned the
 settlement was de-
serted. Aimlessly he
stumbled through the 
wilderness, hoping to die.

81*
"It's Rufus Dawes, the
 worst convict at Mac-
 quarie Harbor."

82
"I'm beat---you can give
    me up tomorrow."

83
"We're as helpless as you 
 ---John Rex has seized
 the Osprey---we are left
     here to starve."

84
"Then you and I shall
 starve together, Frere.
 I'm only sorry for the
 women---God pity them."

85
While at Port Arthur,
  Major Vickers began
to worry about his family.

86
Days passed, and Rufus
 Dawes became the leader
of the little party---his
strength, his tireless efforts,
had added much to the 
  women's comforts.

87
"It says the ancient Britons
 made 'coracles' or skin-
 boats---Mr. Dawes, can't
 you make us a coracle?"

88
"I'll try to swim over to
 the deserted settlement on
 Macquarie Island. Some
 goats were left there. I
 might trap them and use
      their skins."

89
From goat hides and saplings
 Dawes made a rude boat
in which they hoped to sail
    along the coast.

90
"Oh, good Mr. Dawes. I
 shall love you always."

91
"You insolent beggar,
 remember your place."

92
Mrs. Vickers' illness had
 exhausted her strength.
One day Dawes' fears were
        realized.

93
"Mr. Dawes---promise me---
 if anything happens---you
 will protect my baby--- oh,
 I'm so tired---tired------"

94
More than ever Dawes was
  determined to reach
civilization with his 
  precious charge.

95
Beating along the ironbound
  coast, suffering from
  cold and hunger.

96
Days later, Major Vickers'
 long search was rewarded.

97
"Well---we didn't starve
 together---but you're
 going to wish we had."

98
"Put that scoundrel in
       chains."

99
Suffering with delirium
   he bore her away.
The dreadful adventure had
shocked her mind, leaving
there a cloud that was to
shadow over the grim years.

100
Five long years went by
 ---uneventful ones for
Sylvia, except for her be-
trothal to Captain Frere
and the wedding which was
 to occur in two days.

101
Nature had blessed her
 with lovely womanhood
but maliciously withheld
from her all memory of
      the past.

102
"The Reverend Meekin
  to see you, miss."

103
"I see that they have
 captured John Rex at
 last. Tomorrow he will
  be brought to trial."

104
"I have tried in vain to
 remember my childhood.
 Sometimes I have a strange
 feeling that I should know
     more about it."

105
"And how gallant of Captain
 Frere to have saved you
 from the wretches---but
 then he has been rewarded.
    Ah, how romantic."

106
Sarah Purfoy had made
 good use of the years.
Acquiring an inn at Hobart,
she had amassed a fortune.

107
"So you want another
 favor? Isn't this property
 a favor---what do you
      want now?"

108
"It's John Rex---save his
 life for me, do this last
 favor for a miserable
        woman."

109
"Impossible---it can't
       be done."

110
"You have power---but say
 he left you food and
 arms---and they will not 
       hang him."

111
"He left me on that
 cursed coast to die---
 confound him, let him
       swing!"

112
"You do this for me, or
 I will tell my story to
 her---and some of these
 poor women shall tell
       theirs."

113
"You would be respectable---
 and marry that innocent 
 girl. She will shudder when
 she knows what kind of a 
       man you are."

114
"Don't speak her name
 ---or I'll do you a
     mischief!"

115
"I'll do what you want,
  on one condition."

116
"You must leave Hobart 
   Town---forever."

117
And so John Rex approached
  his trial, confident that
his precious life would be
         spared.

118
Rufus Dawes, first witness
     for the crown.

119
"I know the prisoners---we
 were in the chain gang
  at Macquarie Harbour."

120
"That is Miss Sylvia
      Vickers."

121
"Sylvia---they told me 
    she was dead!"

122
Intuition of some great
 injustice struggled
vainly to piece together
the scattered memories of
the past. Who was this man?

123
"I see you, Captain Frere,
    liar and coward!"

124
"I built the coracle ---
 I saved her life --- she
 called me Good Mr. Dawes!"

125
"This is not the time
 to argue upon your
  alleged wrongs."

126*
After the trial, the Reverend
Meekin visited Rufus Dawes
 in Hobart Town's gaol.

127*
"I'm afraid you have
 done yourself no good
 by your outburst in
 court."

128*
"Captain Frere's evi-
 dence saved John Rex
 from the gallows."

129*
"Then there is to be no
 investigation? They do
 not believe me?"

130*
One more leap and a run
for freedom. Perhaps Sylvia
would still save him if he
begged her to speak the
        truth.

131*
The fugitive was 
 forgotten with the 
festivities of the evening.
Society celebrated the
wedding of Sylvia and
Captain Frere.

132*
"Why did that poor
 convict cry to me
 to speak?"

133*
"I must have known
 him before - in a
 dream life."

134*
"Never mind, dear, the
 rascal can do you no
 harm."

135*
Maurice Frere and his
guests swarmed into the 
garden. Stunned by Sylvia's
lack of recognition, Dawes
     was led away.

136*
At Port Arthur.

137*
"Tried to break into
 society, eh, Dawes?
 Well, I'll give yer a
 chance to break into
 some 'ard ground."

138*
Reverend North had 
 come here as the
convicts' Chaplain - the
drive of conscience had
led him to seek out
Rufus Dawes.

139*
"Will you have some tobacco?"

140*
"The man I could have
 saved."

141*
Men wondered why
 that parson fought
for the weary exiles.

142*
"Don't bother me
 because Cranky
 Brown tried to
 escape, give him
 fifty lashes."

143*
"Flog that youth and
 I'll report you to the
 Governor."

144*
The next morning Rufus Dawes 
was assigned to the flogging.

145*
"Now prisoner, do your duty".

146*
Soon after Dawes was forced to 
begin the fifty lashes, Brown was
unconscious. Arriving late, the
Reverend North found Dawes
one more refusing to continue.

147*
Brown was removed and
Dawes tied to the triangle,
while Troke appeared with
 Gabbett. Gabbett liked
       flogging.

148*
Startled, the Doctor looked
  up from Cranky Brown.
     Brown was dead.

149*
Freed from the triangle, Dawes
cursed his persecutors, calling
for heaven to rain fire and hell
   to engulf them quickly.

150*
At the end of painful
 days were nights of
a new bitterness for
Rufus Dawes.

151*
Despite a doctor's certificate
attributing the death of Cranky
Brown to heart disease, Captain
Frere visited Port Arthur to
investigate. Frere and Sylvia
  toured the prison on the
    commandant's 'train'.

152*
The train stopped at
the children's prison
  at Point Puer.

153*
Two children, keen for
news of Cranky Brown
spoke to Sylvia, and
hearing their stories she
     kissed them.

154*
Tommy, moved to tears by
Sylvia's tenderness, watched
the completion of the tour.

155*
This trip to the 
 dreadful prison was 
Sylvia's honeymoon.

156*
"Tom, I'm afraid. It - it
 will hurt."

157*
"It won't hurt as much
 as the floggings - and
 we'll go to heaven
 with Cranky Brown."

158*
"Cranky Brown - tell
 God we're coming."

159*
Sarah Purfoy had laid
 plans for John Rex's 
escape - but he needed 
men.

160*
"I'll stay here. Those
 who run away with
 Gabbett, never return."

161*
"Dawes, isn't there any-
 one waiting for you at
 home?"

162*
"My Mother - but she
 thinks I am dead. If
 you get through, send
 her this letter."

163*
John Rex laid his plans
 for escape with all
the cunning of a master 
crook.

164*
Rex, Gabbett and a band of
fellow desperates escaped
by boat half an hour ahead
      of the alarm.

165*
An inland signal station
read the next message
- "PRISONERS ABSCONDED".
But too late - the 'bolters' had
arrived as soon as the signal!

166*
A false signal was relayed to
remove guards from Eaglehawk
Neck. The prisoners tore their
 way on through thick scrub.

167
 EAGLEHAWK NECK IN 1838.
This narrow isthmus was the
 only means of reaching
the mainland. It was guarded 
by soldiers and ferocious 
dogs, while the waters on 
either side teemed with 
   man-eating sharks.

168
John Rex had no intention
 of going with Gabbett,
merely using him to throw
the warders off the scent.

169
Gabbett's gang of ruffians
 evaded capture but Destiny
had a less merciful fate in
     store for them.

170
Blunt had followed Sarah's
 instructions and came
to the secret rendezvous.

171*
The ninth day dawned
 on the fruitless bush
and the pitiless heaven -
and six famine-stricken 
wretches, cursing their 
God, yet afraid to die.

172*
On the tenth morning of the 
escape, Gabbett decided
to benefit from a small
 accident, announcing -

173
"I've done the same before, 
 boys,---'n' it tastes like
          pork."

174
"Pah! We can't starve 
   'ere all night"

175
"For God's sake don't
      kill me!"

176*
John Rex had made good his 
escape, still bearing the 
letter from Richard Devine
  - alias Rufus Dawes.

177
At a certain mysterious
    place in Sydney.

178
The Devine fortune---his
 striking resemblance 
to Dawes---at once Rex
decided to make a daring
     impersonation.

179
The thirtieth morning
 dawns, wet and misty.
The Crow feels with dismay
that he is the weakest of
the party, but has a
ludicrous consolation that
 he is also the leanest.

180
"I'll keep the axe ---
    Stand back!"

181
Days passed. The Crow
 realized the devilish
scheme of the monster who
had entrapped his mates,
hoping by their deaths to
reach safety. In vain he
tried to escape the famine-
    stricken madman.

182
The Valley of the Shadow
 ---by the edge of the
     "great abyss."

183
For days---Gabbett had
 promised himself that
his companion must sleep
     ---and die.

184
The axe that had drunk
 so much blood seems
heavy as lead. His limbs
are powerless. This horrible
thing must be a dream.

185*
A boat crew landing on the
north-east coast was startled by
a man who brandished an axe
   and a grisly bundle.

186
While in England, Lady
 Devine awaited the
homecoming of the man
she believed was her son.

187
John Rex had succeeded;
 his resemblance to
Dawes was complete. It
was the beginning of a 
long career of reckless
      spending.

188*
Norfolk Island, May 1846.
Rufus Dawes now led the
'Ring', a gang of convicts
bound by oath to avenge
      punishment

189*
Soon after his arrival on the
island, the Reverend North
saw the Ring at work.
Discipline led to rioting.

190*
Frere was appointed commandant
of Norfolk Island, and began
 another tour of inspection.

191*
London's life reeled
 around John Rex,
flinging the Devine for-
tune away.

192*
"I'm master here -
 master of every-
 thing!"

193*
In place of disorder on Norfolk
Island, Frere imposed rigour.
Floggings increased and each
convict was set to spy upon his
         neighbour.

194*
The Reverend North wrote
in his diary of a growing
 friendship with Sylvia.

195*
While Frere boasted to Sylvia
of the punishment on Norfolk
Island, North talked of 'The
Count of Monte Cristo', the tale
of an unjustly imprisoned man.

196*
When Warder Troke laid a 
trap for Dawes, the prisoner
retaliated with violence. To
break Dawes' spirit, Frere
ordered lashings, solitary 
confinement and finally the
           mill.

197*
For days in the mill,
 he ground cayenne
pepper, blinded and
burned by the prison's 
worst punishment.

198*
Emaciated, blistered, blinded,
     Dawes broke down.

199*
He begged Frere to kill him at
once. Now that Dawes' spirit 
   was broken, he ordered
   him taken to hospital.

200
"I have resigned --- I am
 going to Sydney where I
 will take up your case
  with the authorities."

201
"Oh, sir --- tell Sylvia
 my story: perhaps she 
    will remember."

202
"That rose---may I keep 
 it --- as an emblem of
         hope?"

203
After months of search
 --- Sarah had traced
   Rex to England.

204
"So---Mr. Devine, you fat
 old sneak---you've tricked
  me for the last time."

205
"Sarah! I never meant
 to desert you. Let me
       explain."

206
"You've been a selfish,
  ungrateful villain."

207
"I admit it. But how
    did you know?"

208
"Richard intends to sell
 the estates. Furthermore,
     he has a wife."

209
"I can prevent him---
 if he is the man he 
    says he is."

210
"If he is the man?
 can it be that we
 have been deceived?"

211
"Between Richard and
 myself there is a
 shameful secret of
 which we have never
 spoken. Tonight I will
    question him."

212
"My father's will allows
 me to sell the property."

213
"Do you know what
 happened here nine-
 teen years ago?"

214
"Of what do you accuse
     my husband?"

215
"Of imposture! He may
 be your husband but
  he is NOT my son."

216
"Take care, you've recognised
 me as such. I stand upon
  the law and my rights."

217
"You shall have your
 rights! Richard Devine
 was illegitimate---and
 the law allows him
      NOTHING!"

218
"Lord Bellasis was his
        father."

219
"Lord Bellasis!  He
 was my father, too, and
   I KILLED HIM!"

220
"Tell me, where is my 
         son?"

221
"Will you give us time
      to escape?"

222
"He is a convict at
 Norfolk Island. They
 call him RUFUS DAWES."

223
"Have him sign a 
   confession!"

224
"I can't stand it any
 longer. You know what
 we resolved to do. Let's
        do it."

225
"I hold the shortest.
 'Tis Bland that must 
        do it!"

226
"Dawes, lad, do you think
   there is a Heaven?"

227
"I know there is a Hell."

228
"Ay, and a Heaven, lad. I
 think I shall go there.
 You will, for you've been
 good to me---God bless
 you, you've been very good
         to me."

229
"Where are ye?---don't
 be fainthearted, man.
 It won't take ye long."

230
"We drew lots, and it
 fell upon him to do it.
   I'm the witness."

231
"They'll hang you for
      all that!"

232*
Tormented by love, the
Reverend North avoided
Sylvia. This offended Frere,
who took revenge through
Rufus Dawes as one of North's
  few remaining friends.

233*
Dawes was deprived of food,
kept awake and assigned the
hardest labour. Finally Frere
sentenced him to the 'spread
eagle' and the 'stretcher'.

234*
Still haunted by vague
 memories, Sylvia de-
termined to question
Dawes.

235*
Visiting the prison with 
North, she insisted on seeing
the notorious convict. They
 found him near delirium.

236*
Sylvia ordered Dawes untied.

237*
Sylvia, sick with horror,
was guided by North back
     to the house.

238*
Maurice Frere, learning
of the prisoner's release,
      was furious.

239*
As North tried to curb the
quarrel between husband
and wife, Frere's mind leapt
to the worst conclusion.
Livid beyond reason, he
hurled Sylvia to the floor.

240*
North returned home to deaden
    remorse with brandy.

241
Unable to bear any more
   of her husband's
 cruelty, Sylvia had decided
 to go to her father.

242
"I've forgiven you
 enough during the
 last seven years."

243
"Mrs. Frere ready, sir?
 I must get over the
 bar before the rough
      weather."

244
"I am sailing at once---
 but I must have a word
 with the condemned man."

245
"Dawes, I have come
    to confess!"

246
"In my youth I was a
 gambler. Lord Bellasis
 held notes which I had
 forged. I waited in the
 woods to buy them back
 on that dreadful night
       when---"

247
"I might have saved you
 --- but I robbed his
 body of my forgeries and
 I was afraid. Spurn me!
  ---Spit upon me!"

248
"God forgive you, sir."

249
"Come, there is yet time.
 Sylvia is on board ---
 go to her --- God grant
    she may remember."

250
In the terror of the
 moment --- the cloud
which had so long
oppressed her brain,
    passed away.

251
"GOOD MR. DAWES!!"

252
"Save me, life is doubly
     sweet --- now."

253
Sometimes Death's message 
   is written in the
stealthy tread of rat-like
feet and the thunder of
the tempest --- moaning
   of a great wrong.

THE END


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