|Chapter Title||THE SEA OF SAND AND ITS VICTIM|
|Newspaper Title||The Newcastle Chronicle and Hunter River District News (NSW : 1859 - 1866)|
|Trove Title||Civilisation; or, Dark Scenes in Australia. A Tale Founded on Fact|
CIVILISATION; OR, DARK SCENES IN AUSTRALIA.
A TALE FOUNDED ON FACT.
Bt EtieNnk— Author of 'Rough Yarns from the Bush,' ' Colonial Sketches,' 'Life at the South.'
Chapter Xllt. ME StfA OF SAND AND ITS VICTIM*
Here Leichardt fell.— here but a tree Marks the lone tomb of Kennedy. Whou Clara awoke to ConeoiousnoBP, the morning aun was high in the heavens, and for sovoral moments sho could ecaroo reoolleot the
ovents preceding that deatn-liko sloop) at last memory recalled the shrieks she had heard, and the answering yells from tho savage mur derers of hor sister. She was nlono now, for her child was nowhere to bo seen; and in the anguish of heart she thought it had beon stolen from her by tlioso savage fooB who wero even yet prowling about on evory side. Sho rose to the ground, and, gazing around, was unable to discover the little infant ; for a few moments silo stood in a transport of agony and tears, till, having somewhat regained her composure, she began to searoh, and ero long, discovered the little creature calmly sleeping beneath the shade of borne thick shrubs. Sho rushed for ward, and, clasping him to her bosom, boe towed on him muny a long and passionate oar rcES ; then ho opened his eyes, and, notwith standing the loss of her sister for tho next few momontH, tho mother was perfcotly happy ; but she felt faint from hungor and thirst, and almost despaired being able to bear up much longer ; but tho spring boforo mentioucd was not far off, and thithor she dirooted hor steps ; and sho drank; oh, suoh a draught, for that water was clear add purling, p.nd its taste seemed sweeter than nught she hnd before tnsted ; a draught tborofrom eeemed to impart new courago and strength to that siuking frame, as, taking tho ohild in hor arms, bho rcButnod that perilous journey. The oountry no longer woro tho hilly aspaot whioh characterised it when they had first sot out, and thero was an abfenoo of the remarkable jungle whioh had at intervals during tho journoy obstruotod tho path, More and thoro small plains, intersootod by interminable- reed beds, appoarod, and the oouutry here seemed totally unfit for cultiva tion or habitation. Tho poor lone iernalo hocdod not this, sho merely kept a straight course, without deviating to the right or loft. On wont tho fugitive aoroBS thoBO plains, from ono bolt of titnbor to another, olasping hor bubo tightly to her breast as the heavons.grow black and dark, and tho storm king oEo-udod to his throne, and oast forth forked lightninp.
from the sky, whilst the wind, in all its power, rushed wildly over those wide wastes, as if to sweep her from its path ; the 6ky grew black as night, and the air thiok and hot, whilst the sound of distant thunder' gavo evidence of a coming storm. Presently there was an awful report similar to tho roar of artillery, and then a flash, terriflo to behold — a complete stream of fire encircling the sky as with a zone ; one long flash appeared to strike that open waste, and then a thin curling smoke shot upward — the plain was on fire (48). The fugitive saw this, but understood not for Bome moments the awful nature' of her situation, till the flames from the burning grass, towering high in the air in tODgues of fire, told how great was the threatened danger. Nerving herself for one vigorous effort, 6he ran for life ; the timber was nearly two miles distant, and tho grBss nround on all sides had theappearaooe of stubble from the parching influence of a tropical sun. Sho was hot, thirsty, and wearied with her long and perilous journey ; but such wero forgotten in the horror of her present position; as like a frightened deer she fled onward to the goal of safety before her ; the black *ky, the storm, and devouring element behind. On, on, for dear life, tasking her energies to the uttermost, well knowing it's not she alone, but her babe also that will suffer, and die that direful death. Thus she fled, and at length reached the goal of her hopes; sinking exhausted on the ground as the storm-king and bis attendant flames swept harmlessly by. The fire still continued its course, ravaging every spot over which it passed, whilst the other elements, now letting loose their fury, appeared to employ their power in adding to the horrors of tuo scene. Thun der, lightning, hail, rain, and wiod, appeared at one time to struggle for the mastery, and
the sunortng tetnale recovered cousuiuusueoo but to believe herself transported to the regions of Pandemonium. Towards morniag the storm abated, aud tho fugitive rose completely drenohed through ; she was no longer thirsty, but the pangs of hunger were almost unbear able ; still she resolved to struggle yet another day ere she laid down to die. Who oould tell but that one of those parties sent out to ex plore the interior of the colony might yet fall in with and rescue her from impending death ? I; was a frail hope, but it served to keep her spirit from repining. Another day passed, and still succour appeared as far as heretofore ; she appeared to have entered ou a large plain ; far as the eye could see it was a waste — a sea or oocan of sand — destitute of vegetation or trees ; but this lay straight in her path, so she turned not aside, but went onward till exhaus ted, when ebe sat down on the sand. Oh what a wild scene that was; far behind wbb visible but a few trees, the only apparent link oonneot iug the place with aught pertaining to life, and before her, was the wide waste of Baud stretohing miles upou miles into the intorior, whereon, as yet, few human feet have dared to tread, and it was there she first awoke to the reality of her position ; she was alone, none ? I ? . /^ . J _UJ !.__ ^l.tlJ — « #1 aalvn IfHflll
near uut uruu auu uer uuiiu, uuu ouu autu down and tried to pray ; the solitude was awful, not a bird, a bush, or tree was near, nothing but sand and sky far as the eye could see, even to the verge of tho blue horizon. Oh, thon, how real, how intense was her agony ; it was no dream, sho was alone in the desert^49), She olasped her hands upon her burning brow, and, rising from her knees with difficulty, re sumed her weary journey. Night came, aud, though having proceeded several miles, she seemed but a few yards distant from the spot whence she had that morning started. Uer strength was failing fast, aud the heat of the sand made tho want of water felt, added to wbioh the fine partiolts entered the pores of the skin and blistered her face ; nor did her feet escape; having 'no shoes, thoy were muoh out by stones in the first part of the journey, whiht hore tho sores wero filled with grit, and rendered perfectly incut able. Oh, that dread ful night, tho last poor Clara ever saw on earth ; she lay down to rest, exhausted in a vain attempt to reach civilisation. As she re clined on the ground, hor face turned up to the
sky, with its myriads of beautiful stars Giling the expanse of blue, thinking of hor husband, and the sorrow he would endure at hor loss — thinking of poor' Mary, her sister-in-law, mur dered by savages — sho seemed to hear her mo ther's voice calling, and, as sho gazed upward, appeared to see a group of angels hovering around, and a bright gleam of glory siiiuin down out of heaven and illuming tho sp. whereon oho lay ; so sho clasped her babo olosei to her breast and fell asleep- and the angels bore thorn both to that world above where tears and sorrow aud Buffering nro unknown. At tho last day, when God mukesup his jewels, will tlioir souls be found ; and on some future day tho traveller, who crosses thatstorilo waste, will there seo two skelotons, ono of a full grown female, the other of a little child; aud Un fair hair, and remnents and shreds whioh cling to the bonco, will inform him who hero met suoh un awful fato. — liccunlat in pax
Note (18).— Similar circumstances characterised a storm, to which the author wits witness a few years since at Tenterfleld, in New Ztalmid. Note (49).— It has lately been disputed by numbers of colonists that there is no such di-atrt in existance in Australia [ but from the accounts taken from lliejoimilm of Leichardt, Gregory, Stuart, and other explorers, I am perfectly aware my remarks in reference to this spot arc correct. ' Messrs. Stuart, Landaborough, Major War. burton, and others, clearly prove the existenco of a largo traot of barren and sandy country to tho north-west of Lake Torrens, and Grenory's pnrty met with a desert tract on the other side of tho Victoria River. Adelaide, Tuesday, Nov. 3.— On Sunday there wan an unusual fluod by the over.flow of the Toercus at Reed Uedes, below Adelaide, which caused considerable dam. age. Dowden's steam flour mill was burned down last night. The mill was empty at the time of the Ore. It was mortgaged to one of the banks. In the Legislative Council, the Debenture Hill was passed, and tho Appro, iiriation Ait rend a second time. Markets quiet. Flour is quoted at £12 to £13, hut there nre nu purchasers. Wheat, £s. 2d, to 5s. 3d. Tho Aiding! sailed nt 4-30 p.m. ? Wednesday, Nov. 8.— The Northern Territory Dili was severoly commented upon by the members of the Legislative Council. Tho debate on (he second readiiiR is adjourned till to-morrow. Measra. Solomon sold half of the Amazon's cargo of sugar at £21 7a, (id. to £32 B», per ton. Arrived— Klpliinstono, from London, Snileil— Sora, for Sydney, with nearly 3000 bags flour. The Freak cleared for Sydney with 2fl!)l) bags flour. The Elphin stone reports having fuund a cuso of gunpowder, hrandoil S. C. and Co. 672, in latitude 21. South, longitude 37 BnisDANE, Tuesday, Nov, 3.— A deputation, appointed nt a puhllo meeting waited upon Mr. Herbert, tho Colo, nial Secretary, yesterday, praying an Investigation as to immoralltes that ocourred In the ships Situdu and Rock liampton. It wns admitted that both the Captains mid Doctors uf tlioso vessels woro occasionally drunk. No objection was raised ns to tho commission of Inquiry, nnd ths Government notified I heir intention nfcomimiiiivatinK tho result through tho columns of the 1'rcss. Tin news from tho Talgal Quartz Hoofs is good, but mnohinery was .required to work tho mines. The notorious Matiolino Smith was a passenger by the Sunda. Launof.bton (via Molbourno), Tuesday, Nov. 8 — Tht markuts continue in a very depressed state. Whoat 6s. por buihel i Hour, about £12 per ton, Hod art Town (via Melbourne)', Tuesday, Nov. 3. The markets nro dull and unchanged,