« ПредишнаНапред »
they should ever drink again ! " party then moved quietly forward, on Such are the perils which still remain, which the wild man came down from after the dangers of food and field are the tree, picked up two spears which exhausted, to try the heroism of the lay on the ground, and ran off. They traveller. Probably, a slight addition then heard calls in various directions, of heat might have realised the uncer- and the words, “white fellow," protainty, and they might never have nounced very loudly and distinctly-a drunk again, but left their bones in name, of course, borrowed from the the desert as a warning to all future settlers, but evidently conveying at temerity.
the time strong feelings of either The mind of “gentlemen who sit hatred or fear. at home at ease," surrounded by the Journeys of this kind must keep the labours of water companies, and com- traveller in a perpetual state of excite. panies of all kinds, and having light, ment; sometimes, of course, not un. watching, and cool streets at com- connected with alarm at the chance of mand, on the simple terms of paying a stumbling on some horde of savagesfew shillings, yet are peevish at the a nest of human hornets, whose stings state of society, and praise the times might make the explorers pay dear for “When wild in woods the noble savage
their knowledge; sometimes, too, from
the more formidable hazard of dying ran,"
of famine or thirst. Still, what tra. ought to make a voyage to New South vel in a known country can approach Wales, and a summer's journey the interest of treading an unknown through it, wita the sun in the vertex, one? They touch on the verge of a if it were only for the purpose of re- plain—it has never been touched by an conciling themselves to England, and European foot since its creation-it the misfortune of having in it every may contain a hundred plants never thing that man can devise. They heard of before, and among them may should follow this gallant soldier, man supply some specific for some intracof science, and man of accomplishment, table disease, or some incalculable ad. across 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 unexpected 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 ascer. with, perhaps, the same anxiety which tain some grand and leading feature is felt by the sailor in a famine, watch- which decides the form of the conti. ing 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 storm 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 whose 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 enterprising sum that he did not see them till they minds. Even the inhospitable wilds were close upon him. A woman and of the polar regions have their attracher child first gave the alarm, on tion. 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 adven. mediately calling to the female in an ture. But of all explorations, we authoritative tone, she disappeared in should conceive, that one such as 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 wa to its highest branch. Major Mitchell through a soil where every portion o called to him, and made some signs to their progress was not only new, bu give him confidence, but this attempt an addition to the actual territory o at peace was to no purpose. The the explorer's country-where the se
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 enormous 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 shade, in before him new, and all before him his which, as Major Mitchell poetically own.
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, 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 pethink 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 channel of a river. But chiefly composed, they came, on the here he had an instance of the wilder9th January, to a fine lagoon of con- ness. 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, suddenand kettles. They next crossed some ly pricking his ears, drew his eye to a rising ground, on which they perceive 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 bis 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 instant. 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 piever.” A margin of rich soil, covered bald and conspicuous. “And his with long grass and scored with deep position of defiance," the Major obfurrows, intervened. The Major gals serves, “as he had probably never loped over this, and saw a broad silvery seen a 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 intrepiviously discovered, but in a higher dity under the circumstances, he chose part of its course. Yet it may easily not 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 gailoping 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. The Major now felt that he might re- nation of a point so important in geotreat 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 con. The party now turned from the victs. The men seem all to have be. northern course westward, and found a haved remarkably well, and thus to change of weather. It rained heavily, give another illustration of the advan. the 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 specimen 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 themhuts of a native tribe. They were taste- selves philosophers, and tyrants, who fully distributed among drooping ac. would pass for philanthrophists, will acias and casuarinæ. Some resembled be still for chains, dungeons, and the howers under yellow fragrant mi. air of the swamps on the Thames; but mosæ ; some were isolated under deep common sense will decide for Austra. shades, while others were placed more lia. socially, three or four huts together, The heat of the weather sudden. fronting 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 verinterior 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. This 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 all 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 things became important. When the had on his map the Naandawar 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 followno great distance from either; Mount ing in his train. “ The sight of an Riddell, the nearest point of the range, aquatic bird," as the Major pleasingly bore 20} S. of E., being distant forty- observes, “ was refresbing 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 so liable to inundation as this between greater body of water lay in the di. the rivers appeared to be, it was a rection of his flight. Yet, if this primary object to travel along the might not be indicative of lakes, it highest or driest part, and that could evidently did not preclude the probaonly 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 irrejunction, and so terminate thus far sistible attraction of a perfectly unthe survey of both, by the determi. known region still led us northward,"
But water-water, which seems in all full, separated only by grassy intercases of emergency to supersede the vals resembling bridges." value of food, and to become the great On the 23d, their course was crossessential of life—was not to be found. ed by a deep and rapid river, the largStill, though the prospect of finding est they had yet seen, and containing it now seemed hopeless, it was resolv. fish in great abundance. After maed to try the result of as long a march turely considering the prospect this as possible, with the intention of giv- river opened, it remained questionable ing the little water remaining in their whether it did or did not belong to cask to the cattle, and then taking ad- 'the Darling. They were nearly in vantage of the night, and the cool of the prolongation of the supposed the next day, to return to the depot- course of that river, and still nearer camp. In the mean time this melan. to its supposed outlet on the southern choly march became still more melan- coast than they were to any part of choly. The party, faint with heat the northern coast of Australia. No and thirst, toiled after their indefa. rising ground could be seen to the tigable leader. The plains had evi- northward or westward, and whether dently once been melted with mois. they proceeded in a boat, or along its ture, for they bore numerous marks of banks, it was desirable to explore the human feet; but the soil was now bak- course of this river downwards. After ed like a brick floor. Water, too, had allowing the party some days' rest, evidently once lodged in every hollow, the Major left the camp, on Feb. 2d, and the prints of the kangaroo, when with six men and four pack-animals, pursued by the natives, and impeded carrying nine days' provisions, and by the mud, were variously visible. proceeded along the left of the After thus marching five miles, they newly-discovered river, the Karaula. reached an accacia wood. Still no water. Its course was found to be much more The party halted, but the Major, de to the southward than had been ex. termined on exploring to the last, rode pected; the stream separated into on, and observing a slight hollow in branches, and the channel was in front, and following it for about a mile, many places crossed by large trees, he saw a few dry leaves in a heap, reaching from bank to bank. After a which he conjectured to have been journey of some twenty miles, the thus collected by water falling in that course of the river compelled them to direction. This was not much, but travel still further southward, and sethe Major's sagacity had drawn the venteen miles more brought them into right conclusion. He now followed a plain, which they traversed in a the slope downwards. His horse now south-west direction (the Major being had his share in the adventure. The nearly stung to death by a huge inanimal, which on other occasions sect, Mahometanised by him Abispa. would neigh after the others, now Australiana), and, on emerging from pulled hard upon the bridle, and a wood, beheld a magnificent sheet of seemed determined to have his own water, extended in a north and south way. His rider threw the bridle on direction, like a noble river. Keeping his neck; he bounded forward over a its eastern banks, they traced it southrising ground in front, then through a wards to its termination, and there wood; and then, says the Major, “My met another lagoon, which, turning eyes were blessed with the sight of round towards the east, threatened to some fine ponds of water once more, stop their progress. At length arriv. with banks of shining verdure, the ing at the termination of the water, whole extending in a line which re- they proceeded southward to look for sembled the bed of a considerable the Gwydir—which they knew could stream. I galloped back with the not be far distant-and soon found good news to the party, whose despe- it, so much reduced in size, that it rate thirst seemed to make them in- could not contribute much to that credulous. It was still early, but we they were tracing, and in search of had already got over a good day's which they now turned westward. On journey, and we could thus encamp this course the windings of the Gwydir and turn our cattle to browse on the often came in their way, so that they luxuriant herbage which surrounded turned to north 25° east, in which dithe ponds. They were wide, deep, and rection, says the Major, “ I at length
reached the large river which had been move until they had by signs expressed their the object of our excursion. Here it wish to remove, as they then did, under was indeed a noble piece of water, and the shade of a tree. At length they venI regretted much that this had not tured to walk about the tents, and they been our first view of it, that we might then insisted on presenting their clubs and have realised, at least for a day or two, wammeras to our men. None of the names all that we had imagined of the Kin which we bad written down from Barber's dur' I now overlooked from a bank. statements seemed at all familiar to their seventy feet high, a river as broad as ears; but Mr White obtained a vocabulary, the Thames at Putney, on which the
which the which showed that their language was goodly waves, perfectly free from nearly the same as that of the aborigines
" at Wallamoul; the only difference being fallen timber, danced in full liberty."
the additicn of na to each noun, as 'naBut, alas! on tracing it downwards,
mil' for 'mil,' the eye, &c. They were anxious to discover that this breadth
much disposed to steal. Mr White obsers. and magnitude continued, the Major
ed one to purloin a tea-cup from his can. had the mortification to see the Ka- teen and concert i very cleverly in his paula re-assume its former compara kangaroo cloak. Another, not withstandtive insignificance. A little way below ing the vigilance of our men. had nearly a fall the meandering Gwydir termin- got off with the carpenter's axe. They ated in it, nor could he perceive any looked rather foolish when Mr White difference in the appearance of the managed to shake his tea-cup from the channel below that junction. Thus' cloak. The number of our party seemed terminated the excursion to explore an object of their attention, and they exthe Karaula-and there seemed no plained, by pointing in the direction in necessity for extending it further, for which I had gone, and holding up seven it could not, in the Major's opinion, fingers, our number, that we had not gone be supposed other than the Darling. down the river unobserved by them. They The junction of the Nammoy could did not appear to be acquainted with the not be far distant: even that of the use of bread ; but they well understood Castlereagh was only about 70 miles
the purpose of the boat; and when callidé to the south-west--the direction of the (the sea) was pronounced to them, they
pointed in the direction of Moreton Bay, supposed general course of the Darling-and, therefore, it was probable
repeating very frequently the word • Wal
lingall.' They immediately recognised that he had now explored the chief
Whiting, the top-sawyer at the pit, as was sources of that river, by supplying a
a obvious by their imitating, as soon as he
chviove connecting link between it, as seen
appeared, the motion of sawing, and below, and those rivers which had
pointing at the same time to him. They been crossed by Mr Cunningham near seemed rather struck with the thickness of
the coast range above. It now only his wrists : and, indeed, took some inte• remained for him to return to his rest in comparing their limbs with those party, and to cross the river there, in of the party. One man had hair and feaorder to ascertain the nature of the tures very different from those of his com. country forming the northern or north- panions, the hair being parted on the western side of this extensive basin. forehead, long, and not curled. A sailor « Feb. 6,- We reached by 9 o'clock
of our party thought he resembled a Malay.
On the discharge of a double barrel, they A.M. the camp where I had left Mr White
seemed much terrified, and soon after and the party, and I learned that the natives
retired, making signs that they should rehad visited it during my absence. Bur.
turn, and, by gestures, inviting some of nett, having shot a duck, was swimming
the men to cross the river with them. for it to the middle of the river, when a
Two tomahawks were presented to them,
T party of natives suddenly appeared on the
and one of their number was dressed out high bank opposite. The white figure in
re in with old clothes. Their name for the the water, 60 novel to them, continued,
river was understood to be • Karaula.' nevertheless, to swim towards the duck, This interview took place on the day preuntil he seized it, apparently to their great
vious to my return to the camp." amusement, and they were afterwards prevailed on to cross the river. They sat But now all the Major's ardent hopes down together, insisting that our men of exploring the country beyond the should sit also ; they talked very much, Karaula were blasted by the arrival and laughed at many things. They had of his friend, Mr Finch, who had been first taken their seats in a place exposed to following the route of the expedition the sun's rays; and from this they did not with stores.