Изображения страниц

The Major now felt that he might re- nation of a point so important in gera treat with a safe conscience-found a graphy. convenient cover by which he could Thus advancing, leading alternately return, without showing his back to the life of a forester, a hunter, and a the enemy, and took up his position man of science, the Major advanced to upon the river with all the honours of the conquest of his new empire at the war.

head of his little army of a dozen conThe party now turned from the victs. The men seem all to have be. northern course westward, and found a haved remarkably well, and tbus to change of weather. It rained heavily, give another illustration of the advanthe Gwydir marked its winter course tage of giving even the most unlucky by deep and extensive hollows, and in this generation something to do here they fell in with a speciinen of an This book ought to give the peni. Australian Arcadia. Crossing one of tentiary system its death blow. Of these hollows, they passed among the course, blockheads, who call thenhuts of a native tribe. They were taste- selves philosophers, and tyrants, who fully distributed among drooping ac- would pass for philanthropists, wil acias and casuarinæ. Some resembled be still for chains, dungeons and the bowers under yellow fragrant mi- air on the swamps of the Thames; but moeu; some were isolated u: der deep common seuse will decide for Austrashades, while others were placed more lia. socially, three or four huts together, The heat of the weather suddenfronting to one and the same fire. ly became once more intense ; but Each was semi-circular or circular; the country was fine. It consisted of most of them were close to the trunk an open forest, which, gradually of a tree; and they were covered, not, growing thinner, gave intervals of as in other parts, by sheets of bark, open plain. Still in search of water, but with a variety of materials, such they crossed to another plain, a beauas reeds, grass, and boughs. The tiful one, covered with shining Fer. interior of each looked clean, and to dure, and ornamented with trees them, passing in the rain, gave some which, though dropped in nature's idea, not only of shelter, but even of careless haste," gave the whole the comfort and happiness. They afforded appearance of an immense park. This a favourable specimen of the taste of will be the hunting-ground of some the women, whose business it usually future Australian potentate. But now is to construct the huts. The village a pond, covered with the greenest of bowers also occupied more space weeds, would have been a more atthan the encampment of native tribes tractive prospect. The cattle were in general. Choice shady spots seem sinking with intolerable heat, and al to have been an object, and to have were enfeebled and worn down. On been chosen with care.

those occasions the most common On the 14th January the Major hings became important. When the had on his map the Nandawar range, sun had nearly set, a black swan, high with the courses of the Nammoy on in the air, attracted all eyes. He was one side and the Gwydir on the other. slowly winging his way to the southHe was between the two rivers, and at west, with many smaller birds follow. no great distance from either; Mounting in his train. « The sight of an Riddell

, the nearest point of the range aquatic bird,” as the Maior pleasingly bore 20: S. of E., being distant forty- observes, “ was refreshing to us then." two miles-the opposite bearing, or 20 But even this was regarded as a bad deg. N. of W. might, therefore, be omen for the northern quarter, for, as considered to express the common di- the swan must then have been going rection of these waters. In a country home, it was to be presumed that the 80 liable to inundation as this between greater body of water lay in the dithe rivers appeared to be, it was a rection of his flight. Yet, if this primary object to travel along he might not be indicative of lakes, it highest or driest part, and that could evidently did not preclude the proba. only be in the above direction, or pa. bility of rivers existing in the north, rallel to, or midway between the riv- and rivers were the peculiar object. ers, until he could thus trace out their They again advanced. “The irra. junction, and so terminate thus far sistible attraction of a perfectly usthe survey of both, by the determi- known region still led us northward."

But water--water, which seems in all On the 23d, their course was crossed cases of emergency to supersede the by a deep and rapid river, the largest value of food, and to become the great they had yet seen, and containing fish essential of life-was not to be found. in great abundance. After maturely Still, though the prospect of finding considering the prospect this river it now seemed hopeless, it was resolv- opened, it remained questionable ed to try the result of as long a march whether it did or did not belong to as possible, with the intention of giv- the Darling. They were nearly in ing the little water remaining in their the prolongation of the supposed cask to the cattle, and then taking ad- course of that river, and still nearer vantage of the night, and the cool of to its supposed outlet on the sou thern the next day, to return to the depot- coast than they were to any part of camp. In the mean time this melan- the northern coast of Australia. No choly march became still more melan- rising ground could be seen to the choiy. The party, faint with heat northward or westward, and whether and thirst, toiled after their indefa- they proceeded in a boat, or along its tigable leader. The plains had evident- banks, it was desirable to explore the ly once been melted with moisture, for course of this river downwards. After they bore numerous marks of human allowing the party some days' rest, fect; but the soil was now baked like a the Major left the camp, on Feb. 2d, brick floor. Water, too, had evidently with six men and four pack-animals, once lodged in every hollow, and the carrying nine days provisions, and prints of the kangaroo, when pursued proceeded along the left of the by the natives, and impeded by the newly-discovered river, the Karaula. mud, were variously visible. After Its course was found to be much more thus enarching five miles, they reached to the southward than had been exan accacia wood. Still no water. The pected; the stream separated into party halted, but the Major, determined branches, and the channel was in on exploring to the last, rode on, and many places crossed by large trees, observing a slight hollow in front, and reaching from bank to bank. After a following it about a mile, he saw a few journey of some twenty miles, the dry leaves in a heap, which he conject- course of the river compelled them to ured had been thus collected by water travel still further southward, and sefalling in that direction. This was not venteen miles more brought them into much, but the Major's sagacity had a plain, which they traversed in a drawn the right conclusion. He now south-west direction (the Major being followed the slope downwards. His nearly stung to death by a huge inhorse now had bis share in the adventure. sect, Mahometanised by him Abispo The animal, which on other occasions Australiana), and, on emerging from would neigh after the others, now pull- a wood, beheld a magnificent sheet of ed hard upon the bridle, and seemed water, extended in a north and south determined to have his own way. His direction, like a noble river. Keeping rider threw the bridle on his neck ; he its eastern banks, they traced it southbounded forward over a rising ground wards to its termination, and there in front, then through a wood; and met another lagoon, which, turning then, says the Major, « My eyes were round towards the east, threatened to blest with the sight of some fine ponds stop their progress. At length arrivof water once more, with banks of ing at the termination of the water shining verdure, the whole extending they proceeded southward to look for in a line which resembled the bed of a the Gwydir—which they knew could considerable stream. I galloped back not be far distant--and soon found it, with the good news to the party, whose so much reduced in size, that it could desperate thirst seemed to make them not contribute much to that they were incredulous. It was still early, but we tracing, and in search of which they had already got over a good day's

jours now turned westward. On this course ney, and we could thus encamp and the windings of the Gwydir often came turn our cattle to browse on the luxuri- in their way, so that they turned to ant herbage which surrounded the north 25° east, in which direction, ponds. They were wide, deep, and says the Major

, “ I at length reachfull, separated only by grassy intervals the large river which had been the

object of our excursion. Here it was

resembling bridges."

indeed a noble piece of water and, I did, under the shade of a tree. At regretted much that this had not been 1-ngth they ventured to walk about the our first view of it, that we might have tents, and ihey then insiste i on presentrealised, at least for a day or two, all ing their clubs and wamineras 10 our that we bad imagined of the Kindur.' men. None of the names which we had I now overlooked from a bank, seventy wriilen down from Barber's statements feet high, a river as broad as the seemed at all familiar to their ears; but Thames at Putney, on which the good- showed that th ir lan2uage was nearly

Mr White obtained a vocabulary, which ly waves, perfectly free from fallen the same as that o the aborigines a timber, danced in full liberty.” But, Waliamoul; the only difference being alas ! on tracing it downwards, anxious the addition of na to each noun, as 'nato discover that this breadth and mag- mil'tor.mil,'the eye, &c. They were nitude continued, the Major had the much disposed to steal. Mr White ob mortification to see the Karaula re-as. served one to purloin a lea-cup from bis sume its former comparative insignifi- canteen, and conceal it very cleverly in cance. A little way below a fall the his kangaroo cloak. Another, notwithmeandering Gwydir terminated in it, standing the vigilance of our men, had nor could he perceive any difference in nearly got off with the carpenter's axe. the appearance of the channel below White managed to shake his tea-cup

They looked rather foolish when Mr. that junction. Thus terminated the fro in the cloak. The number of our excursion to explore the Karaula-and there seemed no necessity for extend- and they explained, by painting in the

party seemned an obj .ct of their attention ing it further, for it could not, in the direction in wbich I had gone, and boldMajor's opinion, be supposed other ing up seven fingers, our number, that t'ian the Darling: The junction of the we had no gove down the river onobNammny could not be far distant; served by them. They did not appear even that of the Castlereagh was only to be acquainted with the use of bread; about 70 iniles to the south-west-the but thry well understond ibe purpose of direction of the supposed general course

the boat; and when callidé (the sea) was of the Darling—and, therefore, it was pronounced to them, they pointed in the probablc that he had now explored the direction of Moreton Bay, repeating chief sources of that river, by supplying They iminediately recognised Whiting

very f equently the word Waliogall. a connecting link between it, as seen the top-sawyer ai the pit, as was cbribelow, and those rivers which had been ous by their imitating, as soon as be apcrossed by Mr. Cunningham near the peared, the motion of sawing, and puntcoast range above. It now only re- ing at the same time 10 him. They mained for him to return to his party, seemed rather struck with the thickness and to cross the river there, in order to of his wrists: and, indeed, took some ascertain the nature of the country interest in compariog their limbs with forming the northern or north western those of the pariy. One man had hair side of this extensive basin.

and features very different from those of his companions, the hair being part

: “ Feb. 6,-We reached by 9 o'clock A sailor of our party thought he resem.

ed on the forehead, long, and not curled A.M. the camp where I had left Mr. White bled a Malay. On the discharge of a and the party, and I learned that the na- double barrel, they seemed much territives had visited it during my absence. fied, and soon after retired, making Burnett, having shot a duck, was swim. signs that they should return, and by ming for it to the middle of the river, when gestures, inviting some of the men to a party of natives suddenly appeared on

Cross the river with them. Two ton the high bank opposite. The white figure ahawks were presented to them, and in the water, so novel to them, continued, one of ibeir number was dressed out nevertheless, to swim towards the duck, with old clothes. Their name for the until he seized it, apparently to their great river was understood to be 'Karaula.' amusement, and they were afterwards This interview took place on the day prevailed on to cross the river

. They sat previous to my return to the camp." down together, insisting that our men should sit also ; thcy talked very much

But now all the Major's ardent hopes and laughed at many things. They had of exploring the country beyond the first

taken their seats a place exposed to Karaula were blasted by the arrival of the sun's rays; and from this they did not his friend, Mr. Finch, who had been move until they had by signs express following the route of the expedition od their wish to remove, as they then with stores.

"The boat was already in the water the natives on their rear was hostile and every thing packed up, for the pur. and these considerations not only deterpose of crossing the river, when Mr. Finch red the intrepid and judicious leader from approached the camp, and I hastened to crossing the Karaula, but determined congratulate him on his opportune arrival. him to turn his attention to the journey But he told a dismal lale—two of his men homewards. On the 7th of February being killed, and all the supplies, cattle, they commenced their retreat. and equipment, fallen into the hands of the natives. This catastrophe occurred at the ponds of Gorolei,' beyond Mount “ Feb. 9.-I was awoke by the shouts Frazer, which Mr. Finch had reached, of a numerous tribe of natives, and on go. after having been distressed, even more ing out of my tent I found that they cothan our party had been in the same place. vered the opposite bank to the water's for want of water. "I his privation had edge. They stood in scores on our empty occasioned the loss of his horse and seve. carts like so many sparrows, and on ral other animals, so that his party had every old tree or stump likely to afford only been able to convey the supplies to them a better view of my camp. But I these ponds, hy carrying forward a por. overlooked them compleiely, and as they tion at a time, with two bullocks only, became more and more vehement in their from the dry camp. Mr Finch at lengin language and gestures, the greater was our succeeded in lodging all these stores at satisfaction in being on the right side of the ponds, but, being unable to move them the river. What they did say, we could not further without the rest of the cattle, he guess; but, from their loud clamour and left them there, and proceeded forward on gestures, all the leading men seemed to foot along our track with one man, in ex. be in a most violent passion. One word pectation of falling in with my party at no only they knew of the language spoken by great distance in advance. After ascer- our stockmen, and that was budgery,' or taining that our party was not so near as good; and this, I concluded they had he hoped it was, and having reached the learned at some interview with Dawkins, Gwydir, and traced our route along its who used it ever and anon, in addressing banks, until he again recognised Mount them. They were handling every thing Frazer,-he returned at the end of the attached to our empty carts, which still second day, when he found neither his remained on that side, and some of our tents nor his men to receive him, but a men went over to prevent any serious in. heap of various articles, such as bags, jury to them. Al the clamour seemed trunks, harness, tea and sugar canisters, directed at me, apparently inviting me by &c., piled over the dead bodies of his signs to cross to them, and I therefore men, whose legs hc, at length, perceived went to the water's edge, curious to know projecting. The tents had been cut in their meaning. They there assumed the pieces; tobacco and other articles lay attitudes of the corrobory dance, and about; and most of the four had been pointed to the woods behind them. These carried off, although some bags still re. were the finest looking men of their race mained on the cart. The two remaining that I had seen. The peculiar colour of bullocks continued feeding near This their bodies, covered with pipe-clay, gave spectacle must have appeared most appall. them an appearance of being dressed. ing to Mr. Finch, uncertain, as he must They were in number about 100, all men have been, whether the eyes of the na. or boys, the strongest carrying spears. tives were not then upon him, while nei. None of the words of Barber seemed at ther he nor his man possessed any means all intelligible to them, but on mentioning of defence! Taking a piece of pork and the Nammoy, they pointed to the south. some flour in a havresack, he hastened west, which I knew was the direction from the dismal scene, and by travelling where the river was nearest to the camp: all day, and passing the nights without I recognized the gigantic pipe-clayed fire, he had most providentially escaped man, who had presented his spear at me, the natives, and, at length reached our when we first reached the Gwydir so much camp.”

higher up. This he clearly explained to me

by gestures. A good deal of laughter (part. Instead of a supply of stores, an addi- ly feigned, I believe, on both sides) seem. tional demand was now about to be made and action, but when I brought down a

ed to soften the violence of their speech on the much-exhausted stock of provi- tomahawk, and was about to present it to sions—the rainy season was approach, the man whom I had formerly met, and ing—they had behind them two hun- who had first ventured across, their voices dred miles of country subject to inunda- arose with tenfold fury. All directed my tion, without a hill to which in that case attention to a dirty-looking old man, who they could repair—the disposition of accordingly waded through the water to

me, and received my present. Several backward and forward on the bank before
other stout fellows soon surrounded us, our tents, with a firelock on his shoulder.
and with the most overbearing kind of with the calm air of a sentinel, and with.
noise, began to make free with my person, out noticing the natives opposite. They,
and pockets. I was about to draw a pistol accordingly also kept back, althougu one
and fire it in the air, when White, mis- of them crossed to the bullock-driver, who
taking my intention, observed that their was alone, watching the cattle on our left,
vehemence probably arose from their im. and endeavoured to persuade him to go
patience at our not understanding them, over the river with him. The whole at
which I thought very likely. They re- length disappeared without further parley.
peated so incessantly the words, • Einèr,' Under any other circumstances I should
• Einèr,' that I ran up the bank for my certainly have been willing to have niet
book, remembering to have seen the word, their civilities at least half-way, but re-
and found that · Einèr meant a gin, or cent cvents had weakened our confidence
female, as will appear on referring to the in the natives. When night came on wc
vocabulary I obtained at Wallamoul. The saw their fires behind the irees, at a little
translation of this produced a hearty laugh distance back from the river, and we also
among our men; and Finch drily observ. heard their voices; but to complete
ed, that some would then be very service- the effect of our coolness in the evening,
able. I was in doubt whether they meant which certainly must have puzzied them,
to enquire, on pointing to our tents, whe, considering our kindness in the morning, I
ther we had any, or whether they wished sent up a rocket, after which their very
to accommodate us with wives. At fires disappeared, and we heard their
length they rather suddenly drew together voices no more.”
on the bank, again making signs of danc.

By and by they recognized the
ing the corrobory dance, beckoning to
some of the men to go with them, and cx.

park-like scenery which they had for. pressing their intention to depart and re. merly crossed on their advance, at a turn again to sleep there, by saying Nàn. distance of about three miles from gary,' and pointing to the ground. This I the old camp at Rodrigo Ponds. understood clearly, and very soon they

“While I stood near this spot, attendall disappeared. Fortunately, none ascended the bank to our tents, as it was still at some distance, i overheard a fe.

ing the arrival of the party, wlrich was not desirable they should know our num. bers exactly. It did not appear that they

male voice singing. The notes were understood the nature and effect of fire pleasing, and very different from the

Mean-while our wheels had been monotonous strains of the natives in ge. found so frail, that we must have halted neral. Just then I had been admiring

the calm repose of the surrounding land. here under any circumstances, in order to strengthen them for the tough work they scape, gilded by the beams of a splendid were to encounter. The carpenters, there setting, sun, and anticipating a quiet fore, worked hard at them this forenoon. night for the party. Tbe soft sounds, so In thus returning, I gathered for my kind exprc:ssive of tranquillity and peace, were friend Mr. Brown a hortus siccus, of such in perfcct unison with ihe scene around. plants as appeared new to me; the field Nothing could have been more roman. of research being obviously at this time tic, nevertheless I could most willingly

have dispensed with the accompaniment confined to our line of route.

As soon as

at that time, so associated were all our the natives were gone, I sct all hands, ex. cept the carpenters, to the cart, still in the and pillage. When my men came up !

ideas of the natives then with murder bed of the river, and it was thus at length directed them to give a hurrah,' in brought up the bank. We next yoked the bullocks to the empty drays and carts on

hopes that it would put the party, who the opposite side, and all were soon

ever they might be, to flight. Yet, after

a cheer about as rough as English throats brought safely through the river to our own side. I preferred doing this work could well utter, the sweet strain, to my when the natives were absent, because I surprise, continued, did not wish them to see what difficulties 'And bade the lovely scenes at distance bail." the passage of a river occasioned us. But this was not the song of hope,' but

" When the sun was near setting, the of despair, at least so it sounded to me voices of our unwelcome visitors were under the circumstances, and so it real. again heard, and they soon appeared, gai- ly proved to be, as I afterwards ascer. ly painted white for the corrobory ; but tained. this return I had foreseen, and had forbid- • Men's voices were also heard, as we den the men from looking towards them; proceeded quietly to our old ground, and and, in order to discourage their approach. I could not help regretting that, after has. ing still more, I directed the Doctor to pace ing given those natives on the Gwydir the


[ocr errors][ocr errors]
« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »