They did not know how
gladly we should have received it back!
They were the stoutest and
fattest men we had met.
We travelled at first to the east, in the direction from which the geese
had come last night, but, arriving at ridges covered with scrubby forest,
we turned to the north-east, and continued in that direction about seven
miles and a half, over iron-stone ridges, when we again entered upon the
plains of the river. Mountains and columns of smoke were seen all along
its northern banks; but we afterwards found that most of those supposed
columns of smoke were dust raised by whirlwinds. We now followed the
river until a vine brush approached close to its bank, into the cool
shade of which our bullock rushed and lay down, refusing to go any
farther; our packhorse and most of our riding horses were also equally
tired. The bed of the river had become very narrow, and the water was not
quite brine, which made me hope that we should soon come to fresh water.
Charley, Brown, and John, had gone into the brush to a camp of
flying-foxes, and returned with twelve, which we prepared for luncheon,
which allowed our bullock time to recover. They gave an almost incredible
account of the enormous numbers of flying-foxes, all clustering round the
branches of low trees, which drooped by the weight so near to the ground
that the animals could easily be killed with endgels.
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