We left the spot long before the last billet was consumed, and Bennillong appeared during the day more cheerful than we had expected, and spoke about finding a nurse from among the white women to suckle his child.
The following day he invited us to see him rake the ashes of his wife together, and we accompanied him to the spot, unattended by any of his own people. He preceded us in a sort of solemn silence, speaking to no one until he had paid Ba-rang-a-roo the last duties of a husband. In his hand he had the spear with which he meant to punish the car-rah-dy Wil-le-me-ring for non-attendance on his wife when she was ill, with the end of which he raked the calcined bones and ashes together in a heap. Then, laying the spear upon the ground, he formed with a piece of bark a tumulus that would have done credit to a well-practised grave-digger, carefully laying the earth round, smoothing every little unevenness, and paying a scrupulous attention to the exact proportion of its form. On each side the tumulus he placed a log of wood, and on the top of it deposited the piece of bark with which he had so carefully effected its construction. When all was done he asked us ‘if it was good,’ and appeared pleased when we assured him that it was.
His deportment on this occasion was solemn and manly; an expressive silence marked his conduct throughout the scene; in fact we attended him as silently, and with close observation. He did not suffer any thing to divert him from the business he had in hand, nor did he seem to be in the least desirous to have it quickly dispatched, but paid this last rite with an attention that did honour to his feelings as a man, as it seemed the result of an heartfelt affection for the object of it, of whose person nothing now remained but a piece or two of calcined bone. When his melancholy work was ended, he stood for a few minutes with his hands folded over his bosom, and his eye fixed upon his labours in the attitude of a man in profound thought. Perhaps in that small interval of time many ideas presented themselves to his imagination. His hands had just completed the last service he could render to a woman who, no doubt, had been useful to him; one to whom he was certainly attached (of many instances of which we had at different times been witness) and one who had left him a living pledge of some moments at least of endearment. Perhaps under the heap which his hands had raised, and on which his eyes were fixed, his imagination traced the form of her whom he might formerly have fought for, and whom he now was never to behold again. Perhaps when turning from the grave of his deceased companion, he directed all his thoughts to the preservation of the little one she had left him; and when he quitted the spot his anxiety might be directed to the child, in the idea that he might one day see his Ba-rang-aroo revive in his little motherless Dil-boong.
Cole-be’s wife, who bore the same names as the deceased, lost them both on this occasion, and was called by every one Bo-rahng-al-le-on. This peculiarity was also observed by them with respect to a little girl of ours, of whom Ba-rang-a-roo was so fond as to call her always by her own name. On her decease she too was styled Bo-rahng-al-le-on.