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shall be too late. If we can push a few sheep across, the rest may swim after them. But in a few minutes, if the creek rises still, this hollow will be too deep for us to wade, and neither of us, unluckily, are swimmers."
[Write from dictation] Any one who wishes to emigrate, should try to make himself actually acquainted with the peculiarities of the country and its inhabitants. He should try to imagine his solitary dwelling—no inhabitants between him and the horizon far away ; while around him, there may be tracts of land impassable for many months of the year, owing to continued floods; and though a knowledge of these truths will not persuade him to remain at home, if he is brave and strong, they may prevent him, if he is neither the one nor the other, from making a piteous blunder.
THE AUSTRALIAN SHEPHERD'S STORY
[Spell and write] heartrending, destruction, desperately, determined, terrific,
indescribable, increased, astonishment, anxiety, stationary, solemnity, experience, scheming, alluvial, jeopardy, miserable, agile, predicament, courageous, rheumatism, attributed, exposure.
* We came up now with the outer ranks of the flock, which was closely crouched together, with the water up
to the throats of those on the outside. We seized the first we came at, and pushing them into the stream with their heads towards the land, after one or two attempts to come back again, which we prevented, they swam right off. So far so good. We continued to push one after another, but few were bold enough to follow of their own accord ; others came back, spite of all our efforts; and thers were too weak to battle with the current, and were swept down the stream, making the most lamentable bleatings. In fact, the whole flock kept up a most dismal and heartrending clamour of bleating. I was almost beside myself. Such a splendid flock to be at the very brink of destruction; and yet most of them might be saved, if they would only follow over those that we sent across.
'While I was desperately tugging at them, and forcing them into the stream, there came floating a large branch of a tree, full of leaves, and swept several away with it. At the same time, Gryce screamed out: “Micky! Micky! I am drowning-help ! help !"
' The great bough had pushed him back into the hollow, and there he sunk overhead.
He was now beyond his depth. In trying to lay hold of him, I myself went down too. But at the same moment, I had caught hold on Gryce, and instinctively I pushed him, as I had pushed the sheep, landward. I could see him floating, or rather floundering forward, and I made a desperate plunge after him. The water was still over my head, and running at a terrific rate. I began to think all was over, but I determined not to yield without a struggle. As I felt pretty certain that my face was towards the land, I still waded onward, though fast choking; and anon had the indescribable pleasure of feeling firm ground, and yet with my nostrils above water. At the same moment, I again caught sight of Gryce, just by me, with his arms extended out of the water. I seized a hand, and dragged him along with me. Presently, we were high enough to pause and get our breath. The water was now only up to our chests. But what a situation !
My heart pulled in two as it were ; for, on the one hand, I heard numbers of sheep going down the flood, bleating in vain for help; and, on the other, I thought of the poor family of Gryce in the tree, and no means of coming at them.
* At length it began to dawn; the light rapidly increased ; and I saw to my astonishment that only the head of one solitary sheep was visible upon the mound ! There it stood, on the very centre of the mound-al] the rest were gone! If the waters rose, that would
· With what anxiety did I watch the waters, whether they advanced or receded! I stuck down a stick into the edge of the flood. It at least appeared stationary. “There !" I cried, “the flood is at its height; and in this country, I have heard that floods fall as rapidly as they rise.”
My wife said solemnly: “Pray God !" Gryce sat and said nothing. I still watched the flood with eyes that seemed to strain themselves in their sockets; and I
saw that which made me clap my hands, and exclaim : "It sinks ! it falls !" All rushed to the stick to see, and all cried joyfully: “ Yes ! yes ! it is
New hope sprung up. In a few hours at furthest, we could get to the tree to rescue the sufferers. In my joy, I rushed into the waters, and got so far, that I could make them hear the news, and bade them take courage and hold on fast, and we would reach them at the earliest possible moment. But how slowly did the flood sink ! how slowly seemed to creep on the hours ! Never did I experience such a forenoon; it seemed as if the sun once
more had stopped at the command of some mighty enemy.
Meanwhile, I busied myself with scheming how we might make a raft to sail to the sufferers in the tree. We could not get boards, but we could get bark, so we set to work-tied together four poles with some strips of sacking that we cut up for the purpose, laid other poles over them, and then peeled off some large sheets of stringy bark, and, with each a pole for a boat-hook, set sail. It was all very well so long as we could reach the bottom with our poles ; but when we came to the hollow between the alluvial mound and the mainland, there we were out of reach of the bottom, and our raft whirled about, and darted off at the mercy of the stream. It was a moment of horror! We
e were in the utmost jeopardy. There appeared nothing for it but our being carried on, dragged by the current into the main stream, and speedily dashed against some tree and sunk.
“ Heaven have mercy upon us !" I cried ; are likely to perish in earnest in trying to save your family, James !” He sat holding his pole like a man stupified.
“ Rouse yourself, man !" I cried; “ don't be lost without a struggle. See! there is the tree on which your family is, right before us, some way down the stream ; let us steer the raft for it.” He rose up, and, after many vain attempts, we managed to run the raft so that we came slap into the branches at the end of the huge horizontal bough, on which sat those miserable and starving creatures.
“ Now for it, James !” I cried; " seize fast hold, and sling yourself up upon the bough; it is your only chance." I did this at the same moment, and was just
in time to give James a hand, for he was not quite so agile as I was, and hanging more like a scarecrow than he had represented each member of his family to be. With a little struggling, there we were, now seated astride of the same bough on which were those wretched females. The raft and our poles were carried away, and we were thus locked up in the same predicament that they were. But the poor creatures, who had been all night there, with only their night-dresses on, were almost fainting with cold and terror. I pulled off my thick coat, and gave it to the mother; Gryce did the same to one of his daughters, and I gave a waistcoat to the other. At the same time, I bade them be courageous, for the flood was going down, and in a while we should be able to get them off. But hours went on before we could venture to try the depth of the water. I managed to cut a branch with my knife, and going downwards to the end of the great bough, hung from it, and poked the stick into the water, to seek for bottom. At length I was persuaded that I could reach it if I dropped off, so I committed myself to Providence, and down I dropped from the endmost branches.
“ All right!" I sung out joyfully. I alighted on terra firma ! The water was only up to my chest. With some difficulty I got James Gryce to do the same, and with much more difficulty persuaded the wife and daughters to follow our example.
One after the other I carried them out, and had them put into warm blankets beside their mother.
"To shorten a long story, James Gryce's wife and daughters were gradually restored, though the old woman