Imagens das páginas

We now


On approaching these remains of Mr arrived safe, bringing up the old horse, Finch's party in the morning, I had pro- which after resting a while, and drinking ceeded under cover of the scrubs, that the at the water (found by Whiting as well as natives might be as little as possible aware by us), had come on tolerably well." of our movement or intentions.

It was well that the party had been returned towards our camp along the ori- able to get on as they did—fairly out ginal track, as being a direction not only of those low levels and dense scrubs, the most favourable for the cart, but more

where the natives had begun to hang expeditious ; for, as the route was already about them like hungry wolves ; and marked, no further care was necessary as

the Major says he could not reflect to the line, and I could thus devote my

on what might have been the consewhole attention to the natives who were about. When we reached the head of the quence, had they been delayed only highest slope, near the place whence I first

one week longer there, without feeling saw these ponds, a dense column of smoke grateful for their providential escape. ascended from Mount Frazer, and, subse. It was obvious that had they got fast quently, other smokes arose, extending in in the mud, or hemmed in by inundatelegraphic line far to the south, along the tions, they might have been harassed base of the mountains, and thus communi. on one side by the natives of the Gwycating to the natives who might be upon dir, and on the other by the plunderers our route homewards, the tidings of our of Mr Finch's party, until they shared return. These signals were distinctly seen a similar fate. The rain had continued, by Mr White at the camp, as well as by for some days, to pour from a “sky

that might have alarmed Noah," and “ The sun set soon after we passed the ground had become a sea of mud. Mount Frazer, but, fortunately, not until To a hill iu the neighbourhood he woods no longer intervened between us

gave the name of “ Mount Mud.” and the camp. On that naked horizon we

On the 22d February occurred the might hope at length to see our fires, following unintelligible scene—at the although they were then nine miles distant; time unintelligible :and I knew the bearing sufficiently well to be able to travel by compass nearly in their “ We had not advanced far beyond the direction. A few bushes on the dark out- scene of that interview, when I perceived line of the horizon were long useful, as a number of natives running before me precluding the necessity for repeated re- along our line of route. I hastened after ference to the compass in the dark; but a them, when I perceived several men addark cloud arose beyond and obscured the vancing to meet me. They halted in a western horizon. Just then a good old rather formal manner at some distance, and pack-horse, named Rattler, knocked up, I next came upon their spears, which, with and I reluctantly gave orders to leave him a stone hatchet, had been laid across our behind, when Whiting, the old guardsman, track. There I alighted from my horse, volunteered to remain with him, and bring and proceeded slowly towards them on him on after he had rested: this, in the foot, inviting them, as well as I could, to face of both hunger and danger, I duly come forward, and which they accordingly appreciated, and remembered long after, did. Three men met me at half-way. to his advantage. We soon after came One of these seemed rather old, another upon some surface water, and refreshed was very stout and fat, and the third had the tired animals. Precisely at eight an intelligent countenance and thin person, o'clock, as I had arranged with Mr White, being thickly covered with the most raised a rocket ascended from the camp, and to sort of scarifications, so much so indeed, us was just perceptible, like a needle in that I was half inclined to think that the the remote distance. That little column slightness of his frame might be partly of fire, however, was enough to assure the owing to the lacerations which covered it. fatigued men, and enable me to mark two other members of the tribe soon came up, stars in the same direction, which guided and as the carts by this time had arrived me on towards the camp. At length we at the spears on the ground, I took one could distinguish the large fires made there up, and explained to the natives that the for the same purpose, and by ten o'clock wheels passing over would break them; we terminated the arduous labours of the still these strange people would not reday, and I had the satisfaction to find that move them, and I concluded that this the party under Mr White had remained prostration of their weapons was intended undisturbed. Two more rockets were af. to make us acquainted with their friendly terwards sent up for the guidance of disposition towards us. They began to Whiting, and a huge fire was also kept call loudly to their gins, who stood assem. burning, until, at 3 A.M., the old soldier bled under a large tree at some distance,

and we plainly understood the invitation now understood their meaning: They had of the men to visit these females. But pointed forward along the way we were the party was much more disposed to fight pursuing, holding the hands as high as the than to make love just then, and I have breast, as if to show how deep ; and then little doubt but that by throwing a single to the eastward, as if to say that direcspear the natives would have pleased them tion would be better. We were now more than by all the civility they were forced to retrace our steps, and in followevidently anxious to show us ; so ready ing the direction indicated by the natives, were they at that time to avenge the late we made a slight detour, thus avoiding murders—when even the odour of corrup- the difficulty, and travelled over hard tion still hung like a pestilence about the ground into our old track again. This articles recovered from the plundered useful information, given so kindly by these camp. The natives, however, perhaps out natives, convinced me that no treachery of pure cordiality, in return for our former was intended; although among the men disinterested kindness, persisted in their who had so recently buried their comrades, endeavours to introduce us very particu. I believe a different opinion prevailed." larly to their women. They ordered them to come up to the party, divested of their

On the 26th, the party passed the cloaks and bags, and placed them naked

old encampment beside « the Barbefore us. Most of the men appeared to

ber's" stockyard near Tangulda, and, possess two, the pair in general consisting soon afterwards, met Mr Brown of of a fat plump gin and one much younger.

Wallamoul and his stockman, on Each man placed himself before his gins, horseback, who had followed their and bowing forward with a shrug, the track thus far, on the information of hands and arms being thrown back point

Mr Brown," the native, and were ing to each gin, as if to say— Take which proceeding to examine the “ Barber's" you please. The females, on their part, stockyard. They informed them that evinced po apprehensions, but seemed to the native guide had confessed to them regard us beings of a race so different, that his dread of the savage natives without the slightest indication of either had induced him to return. Mr Brown fear, aversion, or surprise. Their looks overtook them again next day, and were rather expressive of a ready acqui- informed them that he had found vaescence in the proffered kindness of the

rious brands of his cattle on portions men ; and when at length they brought

of hide at the stockyard of that celea sable nymph vis-a-vis, to Mr White, I

brated bushranger. On the morrow, could preserve my gravity no longer,

the ford of Wallanburra was the only and throwing the spears aside, I ordered the bullock-drivers to proceed.


stream that separated them from the endeavoured to explain by gestures that

Christian world. That once passed, two of our party had been killed by their they might joyfully bid adieu to pes

tilence and famine, the lurking savage, countrymen, and pointed to the place, so that, as Mr White thought, they under- and every fiend of flood and field. stood me. On seeing the party again in

Under the sense of perfect security motion, most of the natives disappeared, once more, and relieved from the one or two only lingered behind trees, and anxiety inseparable from such it then occurred to me to offer them a charge, every object within the counsmall iron tomahawk in exchange for that try of civilized man appeared, to the of stone which lay beside the spears.

1 eyes of the Major, couleur de rose. therefore sent Dawkins to them, to make After crossing the Peel, he left the a bargain if he could, but on going back party in charge of Mr White, and, athe saw most of the natives running off with

tended only by his man Brown, comspears in their hands, and could not make menced his ride homewards through his object understood by those who re- the woods, forwarding from Segenhoe mained. The earth in this part of our old

to Government his official despatch, track had become very soft, and although announcing the return of the party and the surface was undulating, it possessed a

the result of the expedition. peculiar rottenness, so that where the

On his arrival at Sydney, the Major upper crust bore me on horseback, the

found that his report of the course of carts would suddenly sink to the axle. The horses at length began also to sink

the Peel and Nammoy coinciding, as through the surface crust, and we were

notified in his first despatch, with the approaching a hollow which appeared like- Barber's description of these rivers, ly to be still worse ; and when our wheel. had encouraged the Government to carriages at length got quite fast, I recol- place considerable confidence in that lected some gestures of the natives, and worthy's story. It was now obvious,



however, that the account of his tra- officer reached the Gwydir, in lat. 290 vels beyond Tangulda was little else 27' 37", long. 150° 5'; and tracing upthan pure invention.

The Major ex- wards its course or a branch, arrived amined him in the hulk at Sydney, near the western extremity of the in the presence of the acting governor, Nandawar range, and ascended a hill and was quite satisfied that he had named by him Mount Albuera. He never been beyond the Nandawar proved that any large river flowing to range.

The Barber thenceforth con- the north-west must be far to the northceived a deadly hatred to the man who ward of latitude 290. All the rivers had been the means of thus saving his south of that parallel, and which had life, and afterwards, in a letter, couch- been described by “the Barber" as ed in the most grateful terms, offered falling into such a river as the “ Kinto accompany the Major on his expe- dur," have been ascertained to belong dition to the interior in 1835, which wholly to the basin of the Darling. offer the Major was inclined to accept, The territory traversed by Major but Sir Richard Bourke, the Governor Mitchell was very eligible, on many of New South Wales, who had heard parts, for the formation of grazing from the Commandant of Norfolk establishments ; as a proof of which, Island, that a man named George flocks of sheep soon covered the plains Clarke, according to private informa- of Walluba, and the country round tion, intended some injury to Major the “ Barber's” stock-yard has ever, Mitchell, appreciated the offer more since the return of the expedition, been judiciously, as events proved, and sent occupied by the cattle of Sir John « the Barber" to Van Diemen's Land, Jamieson. At a still greater distance where, as we said before, he was soon from the settled districts, much valuafter hanged. Had he gone with the able land will be found round the base Major he had murdered him “ to a of the Nandawar range. The remoral." He was, says the Major, gion beyond these mountains, or betruly a man of remarkable character, tween them and the Gwydir, is beauand far before his fellows in talents tiful, and in the vicinity, or within and cunning ; a man who, under fa- sight of the high land, it is sufficientvourable circumstances, might have ly well watered to become an impor. organized the scattered natives into tant addition to the pastoral capabiliformidable bands of marauders. ties of New South Wales.

Notwithstanding Major Mitchell's In our account of this, his first exproofs, from experience, that the Bar- pedition, we have kept as closely as ber was an impostor, he so persisted in we could to Major Mitchell's own his story of the “big river," that a words, abridging his narrative ; and party of mounted police, commanded we shall follow the same method in by Captain Forbes, of the 30th regi- our articles on his second and third, ment, again repaired to Nammoy, in which are even more interesting and search of a gang of bush-rangers, but important, especially the third, connot without hopes of finding the Kin- taining his description of Australia dur. That active and enterprising Felix.


Edinburgh: Printed by Ballantyne and Company, Paul's Work.


Vol. XLIV.





730 741 769









To whom Communications (post paid) may be addressed.



[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »