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2-067 (Text)

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author,male,Govett, William Romaine,un addressee
Narrative Discourse
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Plaint Text :
Private Written
Ward, 1969
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2-067-plain.txt — 3 KB

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The Black Snake
THIS PEST of the Bush is the most numerous of its kind, although there are many other snakes equally venomous and deadly - as the grey, the brown, or earth coloured snake, the whip and the yellow snakes - and the only one whose bite is not venomous is the Diamond snake, which is the largest and the most beautiful. I have killed as many as thirteen of a day on the banks of the Wollondilly River in Argyle - for, (with the exception of the Diamond snake) they all frequent the banks of rivers and marshy places - I was an inveterate enemy to them, and made a rule never to pass one without killing it if possible, consequently many a valuable hour has been thrown away by myself and men in the service of Government, in rooting or cutting out one of these accursed reptiles - I have often frightened people by cutting the head of a black snake close off, and then taking it in my hand, allow the headless monster to twist round my arm, and so carry it for miles - while they imagined I had its head compressed in my hand, and shuddered lest I should be unable to disengage it.
Nor do I think that I should to this day have been afraid of them, had I not witnessed the dreadful and fatal effects of their venomous bite. I was out with a Gentleman surveying a Dividing Range of country, and we were upon the point of crossing a swamp when a Flier (swift Kangaroo) brushed by us. Away went my dogs, Duke and Spanker, away my men and I awaited by my Instrument the event of the chase. Almost immediately after the dogs had left I heard one of them make a peculiar howl or shriek - it was a sound unnatural for either man or dog, and expressive of excessive terror. The men returned, the Kangaroo having escaped owing to the thickness of the underwood, and I commenced crossing the swamp with my pack horses when young Duncomb called out, 'Stop Sir, stop!  There's something the matter with Duke.' I turned round and observed the Dog lying down among the rushes, I patted him, he got up and looked piteously in my face, and walked slowly after us while we were crossing the swamp.  My attention was again directed to the dog, who went to the water and tried to vomit, retching violently. He again came back to us, who were all now watching the poor creature. The dog opened his mouth which was choked with white foam. 'He has been bit by a snake,' I cried, and before I could examine him he reeled a few paces between us like a drunken man, and fell down dead!! Ten minutes had not elapsed from the time I heard the shriek, and so virulent was the poison that when the dog fell you could observe the carcase swelling, and no blood could be brought from him.
From that time my blood curdled when I crossed a snake, and I was always coming in serious contact with them. Imagine, if you can, the horror, the feeling, the shudder which is caused by stepping accidentally on a snake of this description. Such was the case with me, atone day returning to my tents in stepping over a fallen tree I felt the coil of a large snake round my leg - I was fixed, and stood motionless - oh agony, agony!