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kangaroos: they hop away from you; the dust-clouds shroud them, if he should you follow, each hop becomes knows not the way! less steady, and needs more of an ef- Twelve years ago the rabbits reached fort, and finally, he rolls over, helpless, this district from the south; it is now soon to be another of the countless one huge rabbit-warren.
This year victims of the drought. But the great they are ing in thousands; yet some est mortality among the rabbits and will live, for they have cover here and kangaroos has been around the tanks the river, and in a few years will be and dams and water-holes that are numerous as ever. They have now dry. As these dried we fenced made the country a happy huntingin the little water left with wire net- ground for the dingoes, or wild dogs, ting, and put troughs of arsenic or who in old days lived beside the river strychnine solution round about, and and hunted the game there, kangaroos, the poor brutes died in such numbers emus, wild-fowl, and the rest; and that the stench was almost unbearable. when in a dry time these had migrated
To the north lies the cattle-country, perhaps hundreds of miles to where - light gray,
almost white in parts, rains had fallen, the dingoes had a washed by miles of water in food- hard struggle to live. But now with time, the inland sea of early explorers. the rabbits they have penetrated everyFor thirty miles it is like this, a dull where; and where formerly litters of white plain, broken here and there by puppies born far away from water sandy bummocks, and, where the water
deserted and perished, both lies longest, covered with dense puppies and dam live on the flesh and straggling forest of lignum bushes. blood of rabbits, and with three lit"They are higher than a man on horse- ters a year, and nine or more puppies back, so dense that he can hardly force to a litter, they increase at an epora way through them, and, when the mous rate. Of course they do much waters are out flooding the maze of less damage to cattle than to sheep; channels so that a horse must swim, he but in the dry season when cows must needs in order to find his way the com- leave their young while they go for a bined bushcraft of all the bushmen drink, many calves are killed or driven that ever went to South Africa.
away by them, till the cows cannot At the far side the river comes in, find them. It is curious, this instinct -a great river for this country, now in cattle, and to some extent in sheep, a string of water-holes. Around the -leaving their young behind them lake and for many miles along the when they are too small and weak to river extends the cattle-country, an travel a long distance to water. It area of nearly three thousand square is almost impossible to drive these miles, fully stocked last winter with calves away from the place where they eighteen thousand cattle. In addition were left; and since the dingoes have to the swamp-country it consists of become so numerous, we sometimes endless red sandhills or dunes, covered see
cow minding three young thickly with low shrubs, and of a few calyes while the other two mothers great plains stretching away to the are away for a drink of water. But horizon treeless and trackless, and for the last three months the calves forming among their gray wastes such have been knocked on the head so mirages in the summer sun, that even soon as possible, to give the cows a when quite near their borders they chance to live. seem without end. Heaven help the Before the rabbits came the sandman who travels them then, or when hills were covered with salt-bush and
other edible shrubs; but now there is and a donkey packed with two large nothing. For three months the cattle leather water-bags, we drove among have not been able to find more to eat the cattle, carrying also on our sadthan they could find in the streets of dles small canvas water-bags, holding London, Those that have lived (about two pints or so. Flog, filog, hour after three thousand) have borne starvation hour, we thought ourselves lucky when the longest; they have simply lived on we could get a mile an hour out of water, or satisfied their craving for the poor brutes. About ten my bag food with leaves of trees in which had long been empty, and I was terthere is absolutely no nourishment. ribly thirsty; but rather than stop the There is no water but what is in the cattle to catch the donkey I was holdriver; all the tanks and dams are dry. ing out as long as I could. Then the A little while ago there was a bellow- stockman came up; he could last no ing of cattle up and down the river, longer he said, so the cattle had to be the bellowing of the many bogged stopped and the donkey caught; but and dying; in one water-hole there though all the horses were there, there are three thousand dead, packed tight- was no donkey,—the little brute had ly together on the top of one another. got into some bushes and strayed.
The blackfellows have a tale hand- Well, there was nothing to do but go ed down from their forefathers of the on, and make the best of it we could. time when the river was dry but for We arrived at the yards in good time, one big water-hole, to which were gath- and when the cattle were safe within ered all the natives in the district, the rails, so exhausted were we that to the ber of many thousands, for we lay dowi on the sand, each man it was once heavily populated—and where he stood, and slept. For an there they lived or starved on fish. hour and a half we lay there in merWe are wondering if the like will occur ciful oblivion, and then on again, one again; but stocking the country has boy being sent to pick up the tracks of made water run off more easily; the the donkey. Day-light came, and soon surface has hardened and the stock- one boy disappeared; in a short time pads
form good surface drains, there were only the stockman and myand now a much lighter fall of rain self left; and then he went. I rode to will cause the river to rise.
the top of a high sandhill and caught There is nothing to be done now to a glimpse of them on the plain below help the cattle to live; we can only going as fast as their horses could lay watch them die. When the backwa- legs to the ground towards the river. ters were drying up we had a hard What on earth was I to do? If I let time shifting the beasts on to the the cattle go they would nearly all frontage. They could only travel at perish, or give us very hard work to night, the heat during the day being get them together again; and get a too great and the cattle too weak. One man could not tamely die. My tongue day we were shifting a large mob was dry and seemed of enormous size; from an outlying water-hole, a stock- I had visions of all the most alluring man, six blackboys, and myself. drinks I knew. Though always a modStarting in the afternoon, we intended erate drinker, I felt that, if I got in travelling till about midnight, when alive, I could never stop drinking we should reach a cattle-yard, to camp while nature held out. However, I there for an hour or so, and then on, tried to endure it yet a little longer hoping to reach the river before the and flogged into the cattle once again. heat of the day. Our spare horses, Stubborn brutes, they knew as well as
I did how helpless I was alone! I kind. The waters were far apart, and flogged one; he moved a few yards, if a man missed one, the chances were stopped and looked at me flogging his he would not reach the next. This man neighbor,—and so on all round the was actually within four miles of the mob. And then, just as I was giving the river, down which the main road ran, job up, I heard the hoof-strokes of the and which he intended following truant donkey. One mouthful,-inex- south. So he was left with water and pressibly exquisite, though lukewarm the direction of the river was shown and tasting of mud and dead cattle him; he had also the broad cattle-pads chased away my drunken imaginings; to guide him. The stockman's road in a little while the stockman and boys lay north, eventually joining the river came galloping back with full water- further on, and as it was late, and inbags, and eventually we reached our deed having not the slightest fear of destination.
a man failing to find the river from We do not ays have so rough a there, he came direct to the station. time as this, of course; but what with A fortnight later a party of us, who bad water, hard living, and hard had gone out to muster cattle, found working, it is rough enough at all this man under the same tree, dead, times. We know what thirst is, and he and his two horses. He had we can form a very accurate idea of stripped himself of his clothing; his the hardships suffered marching over fingernails were torn in his efforts to the South African veldt under a sum- tear up the roots of the tree, his mouth mer sun, and of what the men are like biting at the earth in the madness of who have done so and are doing so the last agony. His horses had given now.
him a short respite; their necks had It were well if these were the worst been cut and the futile blood drained of men's experiences in this country. off. We buried the poor fellow as best Early in the summer one of the stock- we could, and then set off to trace his men was riding to the head-station; footsteps, to see how near he had come about fifteen miles out he came across to water. He had come within two a man lying beneath a tree, his saddle hundred yards of it, and then he had and pack-horses tied up beside him. gradually veered round back to his The stockman rode over to give tbe starting-point. He actually must have usual greeting, and found him so done seen the tops of the high river-timber, in, as the phrase is, for water that he and if he had only laid his reins on his could scarcely speak. Fortunately horse's neck, he would have been there were five quarts or so of water. taken to safety, for no bush animal in his bag, and the stranger was soon could fail to smell the water at that to all appearances as well as ever. He distance or know it was there. But explained that he had been directed no, he must have lost his head,-the from a neighboring station by a road, strongest do so under the fear of thirst marked plainly enough on the map -have deliberately pulled his horses a broad line of scarlet ink signifying round till his evil chance brought him a road a mile wide over which stock to his former camping-place. could travel-and plain enough to a If this were the only one, or even the good bushman, but in a time like that only one of a summer! But the suba most hazardous route for the ordi- ject is too ghastly to write about. nary traveller. The whole traffic along Here we have three thousand square it during three years had been three miles of country, half a dozen white mobs of cattle,-no vebicles of any men and twenty black. Now and then in the course of our work we come invariable answer. And then one of across these poor fellows; this summer us promised him a bullock if he would we have found two men dead and two make rain before morning. He went men out of their wits with thirst. I away looking as if the bullock were wonder what the yearly tally for all his already. There was not a cloud in the country is? They are mostly the sky, but as we went to bed we noscamps who come here, who have ticed a little black cloud on the hori. made civilization too unpleasant for zon, and behold, we bad two inches of them, or, bave found the public-houses rain before morning! Well, Paddy there too close together; some are had his bullock, and they all ate till maddened by the poison of a wayside every scrap of offal was finished, and tavern and wander off into the bush, afterwards slept for a week. —the publican has their cheques, so From droughts we change to floods, what does he care?-and in two hours to break the monotony; we count up or less the summer sun does its work. the years since the last great flood, Some try to travel too long a stage and
now, and foretell the fail; some fall ill on the road; while in king of them all when this drought the early days many a good man,
breaks. We delight in every detail, searching for grazing country and de- recalling the fun we had when horses termined to be the first, risked too were strong and colts fresh; how Jim much and paid the penalty with his the blackboy's colt started bucking, life,-a lonely death and a hard one. when we had some cattle rounded up Will it ever rain? We almost give
to muster the cows and calves for up hope. Each recounts the droughts branding, and getting out of control, he has experienced or the droughts of bucked blindly into the mob, cannoned which he has heard,-wonderful tales, off a bullock and went head over heels half true, half romance-how once in over a cow; how another boy, whose the north they were thirty-three colt had blundered on to his nose and montbs without sufficient rain to lay knees, made
he was coming the dust, and though it is only two down, and took his feet out of the stiryears since we had rain to do much
rups to get clear of him, when the colt, goou to the country, the thought of by an extraordinary effort, got on to another year's drought haunts me day his legs again, set to work bucking and night. Paddy, the king of the worse than ever, tossing his rider like blackfellows, makes frequent and un- a shuttle-cock from head to tail and successful attempts to "make rain" by back again, till at last he flew over his the use of mysterious rites connected horse's head,-and landed on his feet, with hiding a stone in a water-hole, not a whit the worse! What laughter which, notwithstanding their frequent there is when we remember the look or, rather, usual failure, he has the on his face as he clung to the last to utmost faith in. “Rain come up by'n his horse's back, anticipating his fall. by," he assures me; "mine been In our spare time we tried their paces mak'em.” One year he was most suc- on the race-course and taught them cessful, It was very dry, a suffocating to jump, and had uproarious fun at the evening, when we were sitting outside local races. They are worth recalling, the homestead. Paddy had come for those times of plenty, the floods out some orders for the following day's everywhere, a great portion of the run work, and we asked his opinion of the under water, the cattle standing knee weather. “You think rain come up
deep eating the long luscious grasses. soon?” “Yes, mine think it,” was his The hot summer sun shines down; one
can almost see the grass growing, so bred seemingly of sand and water, so warm and moist it is. And soon the that it is scarce safe to open one's mosquitoes are up in myriads, they mouth. We grumble and growl of and the sand-flies and buzzing March course, but what would not we give fies. The sand-fies come out in the now to be devoured of insects! day time,-little things one can And away on the stony downs the scarcely see, that burrow into the strong-stalked Mitchell grass stands flesh and itch indescribably, so that like wheat up to the horses' knees, no man can work on foot without a stretching for miles, green and densely fire burning to keep them off; and waving. Soon it yellows and ripens, those stinging, buzzing March flies,- till looking across it on a misty dour should you, when driving cattle, tie a day at the purple hills in the distance, stone at the end of your stock-whip we can recall parts of the homeland and crack it so that the stone whizzes that some of us love so well. over heir backs, they lift heir tails That is our springtime, when everyhigh as with one accord to swish away thing comes to life with a rush,—the that pestilent insect. At nights the wild flowers bloom, the trees put forth finest nets cannot keep out the mos- their leaves, the birds mate and fill quitoes; and the insects torment not the air with singing. Ducks, and only us human beings, but the cattle many kinds of water-fowl with the and horses too. The sand-flies are the queerest combinations of little bodies worst. The horses get together and and long legs, and great cranes, and walk round and round, ploughing up native companions are gathered in dense clouds of dust with their hoofs their thousands from the uttermost the whole day through, and if a fire waters of the continent; and out away of dung is lit in the yard, when the from the river and lagoons the jolly horses are brought in of a morning, magpies whistle away, where before they will stay there while the fire
the rain there were
none,-sweet lasts, standing over it so that the heat sounds, sweet sights, sweet scents scorches the hair off their legs and everywhere! flanks. The flies too, are in clouds,
G. Lumley. Macmillan's Magazine.
THE DECIPHERMENT OF THE HITTITE INSCRIPTIONS.
It is twenty-three years ago that I armed warrior had been known to made a discovery which threw a new Herodotus, who saw in the figure a light on the art and archæology of monument of the Egyptian conqueror Asia Minor and the relations of Syria Sesostris. In this, however, the “father to the world of the West. At Bogbaz of history” was mistaken; there was Keni and Eyuk in Cappadocia rock- nothing Egyptian about it, and it sculptures and palace ruins had been pointed to Cappadocian conquest found in a peculiar style of art, which rather than to invasion from the closely resembled that of a figure of shores of Egypt. an armed warrior carved on the cliffs Far away from the neighborhood of of the mountain pass of Karabel, a Smyrna, at Ivriz, in the mountain few miles eastward of Smyrna. This range which forms the northern bor.