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JOHN VANE, BUSHRANGER.
Another chapter to the history of Australian bushranging is added by Charles White's latest book, 'John Vane, Bushranger. Tho story is given us, we are assured, in the in troductory. almost word for word as told by John Vane. It is an interesting
lv written record of the times ; no pad ding, no anything save facts that can not fail to hold the attention of the ruuler. John Vane first got off the narrow path of righteousness by cattle 'duffing' and horse 'lifting.' If all the tales are true, plenty others of the time and later had a habit of dropping into the same byways. But Vane went further. From the 'stick- ing up' of a Chinaman and innocent and fearful travellers he got to larger game, at length falling in with Bon Hall, Gilbert, O'Meally and Burke. Their stirring adventures are simply, though graphically told. No plea for pardon is made, no excuse for their crimes is advanced. 'It was tho love of excitement and change that first led me into wrong paths,' explains Vane. It was in the near west these lords of the roads operated. Around Bathurst especially, afterwards moving to Lambing Flat and Carcoar, again returning to the mountain fastnesses. On one occasion the gang 'stuck up' Bathurst mainly because of a chal lenge. On the Sunday afterwards 'very little else was talked about, in church or out of church, and during tlie day the police magistrate, old Dr. Palmer, issued circulars to the leading inhabitants, requesting them to attend a meeting next morning at the Court House to oonsider 'what steps should be. taken to protect the town in the present emergency.' ' That was in 1863. We want defenders from Bath urst for a different purpose now ! Vane would muke out that Ben Hall was not at all a bloodthirsty bush ranger, giving him credence for the reply to Gilbert's threat to shoot every one who helped the police: 'You had better not try shooting either. I mean to hold out till I am shot, if I cau't get away, but I won't take the
life of another man who doesn't ^try to take mine.' Vane at length repented of his evil ways and gavo himself up to a priest I Together tho two went to Bathurst and to Inspector Morrissott. Ho wa3 sentenced to fifteen years, but at the expiration of six was released. While in Darlinghurst Gaol he met Bon Hall, a 'quiet, easy-spoken man,' who was discovered keeping a roadside store near tho Queensland border. What a host of familiar figures and old-time landmarks tho book brings before the reader ! Most of us know of those far-off days by tradition ; our fathers, our grandfathers, loved to talk of them. We were wont to look at the luishranging days as the romance period of our history, and to look on tho bushrangers as knight's errant colonialisod. But tho book in its nakedness makes one realise what a wanton, undesirable lot were they. It's a valuable addition to the history of our land. Published by the New South Walos Bookstall Coy., at Is. Say Is 3d post free.