Изображения страниц



connected with field enclosures—parts hills appeared at no great distance to where bushes or grass had been re- the right of that line ; but the country cently burned looking red or black, between Tangulda and the lowest and thus contributing to the appear- part of the horizon seemed so gentle ance of cultivation. The soil was and undulating, that he felt it his indeed well worthy of cultivation, for duty, before tracing the Nammoy furit consisted of a rich black mould, so ther, to explore the country in the diloose and deep, that it yawned in rection so particularly described by the cracks as if for want of fčet to tread Bush-ranger. Quitting, therefore, the it down. But the want was of water line of the Nammoy, they pro-one small and dry channel appear- ceeded in the direction north-east by ing to be the only line of drainage in north from Tangulda ; and, after jourwet weather from the extensive open neying some twenty miles on the 18th, country of Mulluba.

But it could early in the morning of the 19th, they not fail to strike Major Mitchell, encamped at the stream of the valley, that much might be done to remedy which the Major named Maule's river. the natural disadvantages, whether Leaving the cattle to be refreshed duof a superfluity of water lodging on ring the day, he proceeded, with the the plains in rainy seasons, or of too native and two men, to examine the great scarcity of moisture in dry mountains. After climbing about weather, by cutting channels on the mile and a half, he reached a lofty lines of natural drainage, which would summit, where he hoped to have observe to draw off the water from the tained a view beyond the range, or, at plains, and concentrate and preserve a least, to have discovered how it might sufficient supply for use in time of be crossed, but was disappointed ; disdrought.

tant summits, more lofty and difficult A few hours after leaving the en- of access, obstructed the view towards campment on the Nammoy, the party the east, north, and even west ; the came on a very large stock-yard, which only link connecting the hill they had the natives said had belonged to gained with those still higher being a

George the Barber." They saw, very bold naked rock, presenting a perbesides, the remains of a house, and pendicular side at least 200 feet in height. the “gunyas,” or huts, of a nume. To proceed in that direction was quite rous encampment of natives. The out of the question. bones of bullocks were strewed about “ As we descended, we came suddenly in great abundance, plainly enough on an old woman, who, as soon

as she showing the object of the stock-yard, saw us, ran off in terror. I ordered the and that of the Barber's alliance with two men who accompanied me to keep the aborigines.

The whole country back, until • Mr. Brown' could overtake was on fire, and though the guide fre. and speak to her, saying that we intend. quently drew their attention to recented, no harm; and she was casily persuadfootmarks, not a single native was to ed, after a brief conversation with our

Distant about two miles from guide to allow us to come near. She prethis stock-yard lay due north the Pic sented a most humiliating specimen of of “Tangulda,” and as the Barber

our race—a figurc shortened and shrivel. had positively stated that the only

led with age, entirely without clothing ; practicable way to the big river

one eye alone saw through the dim decay

of nature-several large fleshy excrescenwas N.E. by Ńfrom Tangulda, the ces projected from the sides of her head Major mounted the pic, and saw the like so many ears—and the jawbone was Nammoy's course through a cluster visible, through a gash or scar, on one of hills, between which it passed to a side of her chin. The withered arms and lower country in the north-west. These hands, covered with earth by digging and hills were connected on the right bank scraping for the snakes and worms on with the pic, and also with a low range which she fed, more resembled the limbs on the east and north-east, whose west- and claws of a quadruped. She spoke with ern extremities appeared to terminate a slow nasal whine, prolonged at the end westward on the vale of the Nammoy, of each sentence, and this our guide imias far northward as he could see them tated in speaking to her. The mosquiin perspective. It appeared, then, that toes tormented her much, as appeared the lowest part of the range lay exact from her_incessantly slapping her limbs ly in the direction described by the and body. Mr. Brown's conversation Barber. Some bold and remarkable not, as I at last suspected, on that most

seemed animated on some subject, but

be seen.

important to us; for, when I enquired, deavoured to pass to the northward; after he had spoken a long time, whai but, judging it nearly impracticable, she said of the ' Barber' and the way the leader wisely desisted from any across the moun'ain, he was obliged to further attempt on the direction pointed commence a set of queries, evidently out by the veracious Barber, and de. for the fir:ltime. She said horses might termined on returning to Tangulda, pass, pointing at the same time further that, by following the Nammoy, he io the eastward-bul our guide seemed unwilling to put further questions, say.

might endeavour to turn this range, ing she had promis d to send at sunset and so enter the region beyond it. On to our tents iwo young boys who could the 22d, having again encamped on inform us better. Even in such a wretch. the Nammoy, six miles from Taugul. ed state of existence, ornaments had da, at a spot favourable for the forma. their charms with this female, when tion of a depot--the waters clear and even tae decency of covering was sparkling, the grass excellent, a bill wholly disregarded. She had kanga- at hand overhung with pines, and lotty roo teeth set round her brow, these be- blue gum-trees growing on the margin ing fastened to the few remaining hai's - Major Mitchell resolved to make a and a knot of brown feathers decora:ed her right temple. The roasting snake voyage of discovery in canvass-boats which we had seen in the morning, be down the riverthe channel of all the longed, as we now learned, to this witch waters of the Peel, the Maluerindie, of the ylen.

and Conadilly. “The buys did not visit us in the evening, as Mr. Brown' had expected, and with ut meeting any impedimeni, bu',

We passed along several reaches he appeared unusually thou htful when I found him sitting alone by the water, ber and gravel brought us up at a sp.

at length, an accumulation of drift-L'ILside at some distance froin ihe cainp. I where two large trees had fallen across was then making arrangements for car; ihe stream from opposite banks. From rying the bulk of our provisions and the magnitude of these trunks and equipment on pack-horses and bullocks- o: hers which interwoven with rubbish; across this range, intending to leave the and buried in gravel, supported them. I remainder of uur stores at this spot in anticipated a long delay, but the activity charge of iwo men armed; and of this of the whole party was such, that a clear measure' Mr Brown' did not approve. Dec. 20.-- When the pack-horses passage was opened in less than halfan

hour. The sailors swam about like had been loaded, and we were about to frogs, and swimming, could cut with a start, leaving the remainder of our pro cross cut saw,trees under water. Ifuond visions in ciarge of two men, we dis- I could survey the river as we priceedcovered that our native guide was mis- ed, by measuring with a pockei sextant vices, a tomahawk, a knife, and a blank the angle subtended by the two ends of a et, and as he was already far beyond his boat-at the opposite end of each reach

twelve-feel rod-held in the second own beat as I supposed, he might have the bearing leing observed at the same had the promised rewards, by merely time. By referring to one ot Brewster's asking for them. We had always given him plenty of four, also his iwelve-feet rod, I ascertained the dis

tables, the angles subtended by the choice of any part of the kangaroos we killed. It had been observed by the ed a delay of a few seconds only, jus:

tance in feet. This operation occasionmen, that the intelligence received

as the la-i boat arrived in sight in each from the old woman had made him ex

place of observation. tremely uneasy, and he had also expres.

“ Several black swans floated before ed to them on the previous evening, his apprehensions about the natives in the at the upwonted sights of boats on the

us-apparently not much alarmed even country before us. I was very sorry for Nammoy. The evenness of the banka the loss of Mr Brown.' He was very and reaches, and the depth and still. comical, as indeed, these half civilized

ness of the waters were such, that I aborigines generally are : he liked.tu might have traced the river downwards, be close shaved, wore a white neckcloth, at least so far as such facilities conand declared it to be his intention of be- tinued, had our boals been of a stronger coming, from that time forward,' a white material than canvass. But dead treis fellow.” I concluded that he had re- lay almost invisible under water, and at turned to his own tribe ; and that he the end of a short reach where l'awaithad been unwilling to acknowledge to ed the re-appearance of the second boat, me his dread of the 'myall' tribes.

we heard suddenly, confused shoots, The expedition then proceeded up and, on making to the shore, and runthe valley, or eastward, and

en- ning to the spot, I found that the boat



[ocr errors]

had run foul of some sunken tree-and about three miles in search of water filled almost immcdiately. Mr White for an encampment. He came upon had, on the instant, managed to run her a slight hollow, and followed it dowr, ashore across another sunkcn trunk, and but it disappeared in a level pla n su!. thus prevented her from going down in rounded by rising grounds. deep water, opposite to another stcep search became

One diy bank. By this disaster our whole stock of pond encouraged his hopes of findirg tea, sugar, and tobacco, with part of our four and pork, were immersed in the wa. water, and he continued bis search ter, but fortunately all the gunpowder along a flat where the grass had been had been stowed in the first boat. This recently on fire. From this, pursuirg catastrophc furnished another instance a kangaroo, he caine upon a well-mark. of the activity of the sailors; the

ed water-course, with deep holes, but

cargo was got out, and the sunken boat being they were all dry. Tracing the line of hauled up, a rent was discovered in the these holes downwards, he at last was canvass of her larboard bow. This the fortunate enough to find a decp pool of sailmaker patched with a piece of can. water. Here, therefore, they encampvass; a fire was made; tar was melted ed; and their good fortune was not at and applied; the boat was set afloat; re- an end, for they soon after found two loaded, and again under weigh in an hour very large ponds on a rocky bed. In and a half. Once more upon the wa- our verdurous climate we know little of ters,' every thing seemed to promise a the miseries that want of water occasuccessful voyage down the river; but sions in others; we lose half the genuour hopes were doomed to be of short du- ine enjoyments of sinple nature, by ration, for, as I again awaited he re-appearance of the second boat, a shout sim. having them in too great profusion. ilar to thc first again arose, and on run.

These pools seem to have made every ning across the point of land within the one happy; such are the virtues of a river bend, I found her once more on the draught of cold water. The very landpoint of going down from similar damage scape enjoyed it, for the spot was cosustained in the starboard bow. It was vered with rich grass, and was enclosed now near 5 p M., and the labours of the by shady thickets.

The prospect," day had been sufficient to convince me says Major Mitchell, “ of two days' re. that the course of the Nammoy could be pose for the cattle in that verdure, and much more conveniently traced at that under those shades, was most refreshtime by a journey on land, than with ing to us all. It was, indeed, a charmboats of canvass on the water."

ing spot, enlivened by numbers of pi.

geons, and the songs of little birds in On the 31st December they resume strange but pleasing notes.”' their land-journey, and on the 5th of Still the heat was intense ; the ther. January arrive in the country beyond mometer was at ninety during the the mountains which they had in vain night. Few of the men could sleep; attempted to cross, having found an there was not a breath of wind, and open and accessible way round their the heat was overpowering. Thus ridges; and it now remained to be as- even night, which had previously afcertained whether “ the large river," as forded a relief from the day, was no described by the Barber, was near; ac- longer their friend. The effect was cording to him it was the first river met formidable, weakening their cattle, with aiter crossing the range north east drying up the water, destroying their by north of Tangulda.

wheels, and nourishing the fires in the One of the great difficulties of this grass and woods, which covered the country is the want of water; and, as country with smoke, until, in the nar. the expedition travelled in the very rator's words, “ humidity seemed to height of the Australian summer, us the very essence of existence, wa which is our winter, they voluntarily ter almost an object of adoration."took the bull by the horns. The ther. The thermometer at this date (it was mometer was frequently at a hundred, January) ranged from 96 to 101 durand the sufferings of the men and ing the day; and, during the last five cattle were often dreadfully severe.- nights, had stood as high as 90 from On the 6th of January we thus find sunset to sunrise! From the time of him searching for water. At len :th their leaving Sydney they had met the wheel of one of the carts, and the with only one day of rain. They axle of another, became unserviceable. now left each “ friendly water-hole The Major then rode forward for in the greatest uncertainty whether



they should ever drink again!"- party then moved quietly forward, an Such are the perils which still remain, which the wild man came down trou aiter the dangers of flood and field are the tree, picked up two spears wines exhausted, to try the heroism of the lay on the ground, and ran off

. They traveiler. Probably, a slight addition tien beard calls in various direction: of heat inight have realised the uncer- and the words - white fellow," protainty, anu they might never have rounced very loudly and distinctyy drunk again, but lett their bones in name, of course, borrowed Imom the the desert, as a warning to all future settlers, but evidently conveying ai the temerity.

time strong feelings of either balala The mind of “gentlemen who sit at fear. home at ease,” surrounded by the la. Journeys of this kind must keep the bours of water companies, and compa- traveller in a perpetual state of excitenies of all kinds, and having light, ment; sometimes, of course, not un, watching, and cool streets at coinmand, connected with alarm at the chance of on the simple terms of paying a few stumbling on some horde of savagesshillings, yet are peevish at the state of a nest of human hornets, whose stings society, and praise the times

might make the explorers pay dear for " When wild in woods the noble savage the more formidable hazard of dying

their knowledge; sometimes, low, from ran,”

of famine or thirst. Still

, what traought to make a voyage to New South vel in a known country can apruch Wales, and a summer's journey the interest of treading an unknown through it, with the sun in the vertex, one ? They touch on the verge if it were only for the purpose of re- plain—it bas never been touched bý a conciling themselves to England, and European foot since its creatuthe misfortune of having in it every may contain a hundred plants Leter thing that man can devise. They heard of before, and among them may should follow this gallant soldier, man supply some specific for some intra of science, and man of accomplishment, table disease, or some incalculabie adacross the fiery sands of the Austra- dition to the nutriment of man. They lian wilderness, and record their expe- reach the skirts of a mountain-they rience for the benefit of all the discon- may have only to climb its summit to tented.

see some unrivalled and unexprted The party, after watching the roll. region of fertility—to look over some ing of clouds from the north-west, landscape of novel loveliness, or ascerwith, perhaps, the same anxiety which tain some grand and leading feature is felt by the sailor in a famine, watch- which decides the forin oi the contiing the distant sail that is to bring him nent. They cross a rivulet—it may bread, saw the evening fall without a be the little parent of some mighty shower. But the storin broke some- stream, whose course leads through the where, for the next morning rose cool bosom of the land, a noble depositary and with a pleasant breeze. The of future national riches, and where party now set forward, and, after tra- discovery shall immortalise the man velling some miles, they entered a fo- who has merely proved its existence. rest. There they heard the sound of Under such circumstances we feel no the native's axe, and saw fires. As wonder at the eagerness with which they advanced they surprised a native journeys and voyages of discovery are in a tree, so busily cutting out an opos- adopted by manly and enterprise sum that he did not see them till they minds. Even the inhospitable wide were close upon him. A woman and of the polar regions have their attraco her child first gave the alarm, on tions. Even Africa, with its crafty which he stared at the strange assem- and cruel savages, its sands and its blage with a look of horror, and im- wild beasts, cannot deter daily advenmediately calling to the female, in an ture. But of all explorations, we authoritative tone, she disappeared in should conceive, that one such.de the woods. He then threw his club the present must have excited the to the foot of the tree, and ascended highest interest. The expedition was to its highest branch. "Major Mitchell through a soil where every portico e called to him, and made some signs to their progress was not only new, be give him confidence, but this attempt an addition to the actual territory of at peace was to no purpose. The the explorer's country—where the re




curity from casual failure was almost give a grand character to any landcomplete, and where the success was scape, but especially to river scenery. sure to increase the distinctions and The blue gum-tree luxuriates on the rewards of the manly investigator. It margin of rivers, and in such situations had somewhat of the feeling which an grows to an enorinous size. Such heir might have in taking a view of trees overhung the waters of the Gwy. his inheritance for the first time—all dir, forming dense masses of shape, in before him new, and all before him his which, as Major Mitchell poetically

observes, " white cockatoos sported like The convict's information had his spirits of light.”

therto been “a mingled yarn,” partly He now advanced across the river T: false, but partly so true, that the Major, which, though, probably, in the rainy

with all his sagacity, at last began to season a powerful stream, at this pe-
think that the “ Kindur” lay before riod was not above the ankle. Riding
him. After traversing some plains, of some miles northward over a plain, he
which the interior of Australia seems found another chanel of a river. But
chiefly composed, they came, on the here he had an instance of the wilder-
9th January, to a fine lagoon of con- As he approached a thicket he
siderable extent, brimful of pure saw a kangaroo, which sat looking at
water, short grass growing on the him and his horse till they were near
brink, no reeds, and a sprinkling of it; and as the Major was asking his
water-lilies. All this was favour- servant whether they could carry it
able. Here they filled their kegs back if they shot it, the horse, sudden-
and kettles. They next crossed some ly pricking his earz, drew his eye to a
rising ground, on which they perceiv- native, apparently also speculating on
ed, to their astonishment and exulta- the kangaroo, and with two spears on
tion, dry tufts of grass, old logs, and his shoulder. On perceiving the
other drift matter, left high in the Major, the savage changed the object
branches of the trees. Of course, this of his attention, stared for a moment,
showed that the ground was inundated then took a step back, and, swinging
from time to time, an inundation which his right arm in the air, poised one of
could proceed from nothing less than his spears, and stood in the attitude to
a powerful stream. “I felt confi- throw. The Major has evidently the
dent,” says Major Mitchell, “ that we glance of a painter, for his sketches in
were at length approaching something these volumes are very able ; but he,
new, perhaps the large river—the probably never was less delighted by
Kindur-of the bush-ranger.” On the picturesque of the human form
descending by a very gentle slope, a than at this instance. This Mars or
dark and dense line of gigantic blue Apollo of the desert was a tall figure,
gum-trees, growing amid long grass covered with pipe clay, which, if it did
and reeds, encouraged their hopes that not make him, as it probably was meant
they had at length found “the big ri- to do, beautiful, yet made him pie-
ver.”. A margin of rich soil, covered bald and conspicuous. 6 And Iris
with long grass and scored with deep position of defiance," the Major ob-
furrows, intervened. The Major gal- serves, “as he had probably never
loped over this, and saw a broad silvery seen horse before, was manly
expanse shaded by steep banks and lofty enough." To have got out of his way
trees. No current was perceptible in would naturally be the first idea, un-
the water, but the breadth and depth less the rifle could anticipate the spear.
far exceeded those of the Nammoy. But the Major was a soldier, and little.
Nevertheless, this was not the Kindur, according to our ideas, as any demand
but evidently the Gwydir, a river pre- was made for the display of intrepi-
viously discovered, but in a higher dity under the circumstances, he chose
part of its course. Yet it may easily noi to retire. But he was also anxious
be conceived that the discovery, though to avoid beginning a quarrel with the
a disappointment was delightful. It natives. He, therefore, took the bolder
was a new feature of the country to alternative of galloping up to the
them, and, after so much privation, , spearman's front. This charge was
heat, and exposure, the living stream effectual. The sudden movement of
and umbrageous foliage gave them a the English centaur perplexed the
grateful sense of abundance, coolness, savage. He turned on his heel, and
and shade. Trees of great magnitude went at a dog.trot into the woods.


[ocr errors]


« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »