ページの画像
PDF
ePub

2. So do you, boy-since up life's rough hill you must go, And see the steep precipice far down below, Pause not to gaze over it, raise up your head, ‘Look aloft, look aloft !' and in safety you'll treada

[ocr errors]

3. When you find in yourself some low petty desire, Feel cowardly, weak, lacking strength to aspire ; Take a noble example, don't stand still and fret, * Look aloft, boy, aloft !' you may grow to it yet.

a

4. When, spite of all efforts, misfortune shall come, Or sorrow shall darken your life or your home; Raise your head and

your heart with hope and with prayer, • Look aloft, look aloft, boy !' no sorrow is there.

6

CROSSING AN AUSTRALIAN DESERT-
(Captain Spencer's Adventures continued.)

[Spell and write] encircled, mechanically, fatigue, tolerable, difficult, proceeded,

vegetation, deceitful, telescope. The travellers were now encircled by a region of sandridges without a blade of grass, or a small animal for Gip's dinner, and, late at night, they sank down overcome with thirst and fatigue. In the night, Captain Spencer was restless and feverish, and almost mechanically rose to examine the linen outside the tent-covering; he drew one of the handkerchiefs to his mouth, sucked it,

a

and was refreshed. An ample supply of dew was afforded in the morning, and they all started in tolerable comfort. They mounted a ridge of sand which lay before them, and, to their great surprise, beheld a large sheet of water at their feet-not fresh water, however, as the deep blue of its colour too plainly shewed. It was fortunate that he did not know they had at least three hundred miles to go before they could get rid of that lake, and a terrific desert to cross on the way. Fresh water was the difficulty, as digging in the neighbourhood only produced brine.

Only when obliged to halt in consequence of the intense heat, did the travellers rest in the middle of the day. Whenever they came to a fresh sand-ridge, if not obliged to cross it, the captain mounted on the top, glass in hand, and on one occasion, far away to the west, he saw a belt of gum-trees.* They gladly left their route, and proceeded towards it, where the water and food afforded by the roots again saved the poor horse. It was easy to trace their way back by the marks of their footsteps, the soil being so salt, that it lay in shining crystals under their feet. The only vegetation was a plant like samphire, which Tiger at first eagerly cropped; but the sensible animal, finding it made him thirsty, soon refused to touch it, green and fresh as it looked.

Several days passed in this manner, and again Captain Spencer thought he saw a row of trees like the useful gum-trees. He rejoiced for poor Tiger's sake; but it was only a deceitful mirage, and soon all hope of them was gone. Worn out and foot-sore, he could scarcely unload the poor horse, who that night sank instantly upon the

[ocr errors]

* From the roots of these trees, when dug up and cut into pieces, water will run freely.

6

ground. He rubbed his legs, and succeeded in finding water enough to revive the poor

beast. After many days of this painful travelling, at the end of a long day's journey, Captain Spencer remarked that no birds, no trees, no living thing had been lately seen, for even the scrub had disappeared, and the horizon was bounded by some sand-hills, which appeared to lie directly in their path. Beyond these,' said he is

. • , surely the head of the lake, and there we shall find something better.' Starting earlier than usual, and swallowing a mouthful from their now scanty stores, he gave the dumb beasts—for Charlie now asked for one or two dips of his bill—the last drop of water ere they started ; Tiger, stiff and sore-footed. On they went, silently and slowly, and with difficulty did the poor horse ascend the hill, his master almost pushing him up the steepest parts. When they reached the top, the prospect did appal even the stout heart of the English

Before them lay a large tract as wide as the eye could scan, the whole surface of which was covered with large and small stones, on which nothing grew, which nothing appeared to live. The sun scorched this sandy plain, and so heated the stones, that Tiger and Gip were almost afraid to put their feet down upon them. The often-repeated question, of what was to be done, again rose to Captain Spencer's lips. The telescope everywhere shewed the same thing-no water, but little food ; no sign of an end to the sterile country before, behind, and all around them. If they went back, the traveller knew they must pass days without relief; if they went forward, he found it would be the

same;

and leaning his head upon Tiger's neck, the strong man was for a moment overcome. Gip inquired, by her

man.

and near

a

countenance, what was the matter, and Tiger stood patiently with his head bent towards the ground. But the faith and trust which had hitherto supported the English soldier were not wanting in this hour of need, and a silent and fervent prayer was lifted to Heaven for further aid. Then he started again, keeping by the horse's side, to cheer him with kind words and caresses. Miles were passed over, Tiger now and then stumbling over a stone larger than usual, and giving his owner cause to fear that he would fall and cut his knees.

Then Gip came to a stand-still, whined, and lifted up one of her fore-feet to be looked at; and when her master examined it, he found all her paws were blistered and cut; she was of course lifted on his shoulders, and shewed her gratitude by licking the back of his neck.

[Write from dictation] The poor traveller proceeded mechanically on his toilsome journey, through a country difficult to traverse, encircled by deceitful savages, and almost without vegetation. You will see that, despite his fatigue, he made tolerable progress.

CROSSING AN AUSTRALIAN DESERT

Concluded.

[Spell and write] recollected, descended, minute, satisfied, embrace, motionless,

revelled.

After many hours of toil, it seemed as if they could do no more; the sun was sinking, the horse could with difficulty drag his legs along-his master thought they must all lie down and die. Charlie had altogether disappeared, and it was to be hoped his wings had borne him him;

gone too?'

high enough to desery relief. Captain Spencer still tried to reach some distant ridge of bright red sand, but a dizziness came over his eyes; his head became confused, and he fell, with Tiger by his side, loaded as he was, prostrate on the sand.

The cool breeze at night awakened him; he took the now empty bags from Tiger, and altogether unloaded him. Then thick darkness seemed to come over him, and he lay down, thinking he should rise no more. After a while, Tiger dragged himself close to his master, put his nose on his shoulder, heaved a long sigh, a shudder ran through his frame, and he lay motionless. Dead, Tiger, my dear, faithful friend,' said his master, throwing his arm round this is almost too much to bear ! Gip, are you

Gipuncurled herself, walked round poor Tiger, licked him, looked at her master, and again lay down.

In the morning, Captain Spencer rose, and loading himself with as much of poor Tiger's burden as he could carry, with Gip in her usual place, he prepared to start. He cast a look of agony on the beautiful, faithful creature, who had carried him so often, travelled with him so long, and more than once had saved his life; and tears coursed each other down his cheeks as he turned away. They crossed ridge after ridge, till Gip was unable to raise his head, and then her master, taking her in his arms, lay down, saying : We must follow poor Tiger !' He dozed, with visions of waterfalls, streams, and verdant plains crowding upon his sight and mind. He did not know how long he lay in that state, but it was morning when he opened his eyes, and recollected all that had happened. He was wet all over ; everything about him was damp, and he was sure either a storm or

« 前へ次へ »