Page images

of eating meat without salt, and a long continu- To check your speed-—for strange to say, ance of milk diet, the natives are peculiarly lia- You're rudely hurled sometimes alongble. The broken nature of the country, and the A steep declivity may lay continuation of a rocky ridge, impassable for wa- Across the path you 're journeying on; gons, obliged us to make a great circuit to the In serpent windings to and fro, northward, so that at our evening bivouac but The skillful leader makes them go. little progress had been made in the desired direction. * Distance travelled about nineteen miles And dust and stones alike are cast general course, N. N. W.

To check their mad career awhilePerhaps I may here be permitted to introduce

An avalanche-you gain at last, the divertisement of a rainy day.

By sheer momentum, the defile;
But should perchance a rock be there,

Your wheels would circle in the air.

And oh, what barbarous Dutch I've heard,

Fit language for an ox's ear; Ye locomotive sons of travel,

By all this jargon is preferred, Whose pastime is to scour the land,

When they would make their cattle hear; Listen awhile while I unravel

And, with the harsher whip between,
A tale of distant Africand.

Well suits the wild, the desert scene.
And dream no more of chariots stuffed,
And downy beds with eider puffed.

All is not fair that cheers the eye

Some treacherous bog engulfs the wheel, In our antipodes of ease,

Nor house nor tree for miles are nigh; If comfort you would still combine

And though the pelting storm you feel,
To wagon-pace, by slow degrees

Your whole effects are strewed around,
Your progress you must here confine; Cast on the black and yielding ground.
For should you ever walk or ride,
You'll have no other house beside.

And there perhaps for hours you wait,

Soaked in the rain, and ankle deep, No turnpikes here, and scarce a road

To mark the lightened omnium's fate, Still on the cumbrous omnium moves,

And hail it issuing from the deep; By twelve or fourteen oxen towed,

And then if you have aught that's dry,
While every rock its metal proves,

You 're better off than hapless I.
As jolt by jolt it wends its way
Where bucks and elands only stray.

Such, tourists, are the joys we boast,

Without the light champaign tocheer; Resigned and patient you must be,

Yet we can pledge a blithsome toast : For bumps and tossings you will meet ;

The mountain streamlet murmurs near, Sometimes you'll think yourself at sea,

And bumpers to your health we drink,
And oft be jerked from off your seat;

And only ask-on us you'll think !
And when you come to ford a river,
The whole will creak, and gape, and quiver

Wednesday, 7th.-Passed through a very finc

country, skirted on the right by a small streamFor headlong you will seem to go,

open downs, with well-watered flats between, and Like magnets dipping near the pole, timber in patches on several of the mountain While currents through your boxes flow, slopes. Saw a heard of hartebeests, but they The oxen scarcely in control

all ran off before we were within gun-shot. The Now scrambling-falling-swimming now, tails of these animals are similar to that of a horse, As through the rapid stream you plough. and, when at full speed, flow behind them with

fine effect they do not spring, but, like the And when the nether bank you mount,

eland, go off at a trot or gallop. Spanned out about one.

A remarkable mountain has been Like some huge mammoth stranded there, Awhile you'll hang—for drivers count

visible in the Quathlamba range nearly the whole 'Tis best to pause for change of air,

morning, bearing north-west; and from its singuSuspended on a steep ascent,

larly indented outline, I have been induced to name Lest haply the whole team be spent.

it the Giant's Cup. This afternoon, having for some

time been traversing high open downs, in a direcCrack goes the whip—a passage breaks

tion nearly due west, we were suddenly stopped Through tangled boughs, and reeds and grass; secluded valleys, through which

a river was wind

by abrupt precipices, overlooking some beautifully The sea-cow*, scared, her haunt forsakes, And cranes shriek loudly as you pass,

ing, which I take to be the Ungánguäni. Obliged And loosened rocks in fragments strew

to turn considerably to the northward, and soon The opening you have struggled through.

after sunset stopped on the bank of the same river, at a point where it sweeps the steep base of a

rocky hill, which opposes itself to its course in a Hippopotamus (so called by the Dutch and colo-horse-shoe form. Although on the open grounds Dists.

not a twig was to be seen, the banks of this stream

furnished us with abundance of firewood. Dis. bank. By measuring the wagon and tractow, tance travelled about twenty-six miles-general and allowing for the space between the front oxen course, W. N. W.

and the opposite bank, when in the act of fording Thursday, 8th.—Having pared down the bank in a straight line, I found the width of the river in on each side of the river for the wagons to pass, this part to be twenty-seven yards, and at the forwe crossed at a point opposite to our bivouac, mer eighty. which I have named Wyngart's Ford*. Conti- Afternoon.-Ascended a very steep hill from nued our journey still over open grass downs, in the river; from the top of which it was observed nearly a due westerly direction, the ridges gradu- to make a number of very abrupt windings, through ally declining in height until we reached another a most impracticable country, intersected with a rather larger river, which I think_must be the succession of rocky acclivities. Here the first principal branch of Umzimcoolu. Both this and gneu was seen at a short distance from the the Unganguani

, pent in by steep acclivities, wagons. From another steep hill, which we soon make very abrupt and serpentine bends at the after ascended, a succession of open downs expoints where we reached them. A jackal has tended nearly to the mountains. The day had been seen both yesterday and to-day, as well as closed, and it was quite dark before an eligible some hartebeests. As another remarkable moun- spot for outspanning could be found—there being tain, more to the eastward, has been observed neither trees nor shelter until we approached some among the Quathlamba, I have named it the rocky hills, in a northerly direction, where, in con"Saddle Back,” in order to distinguish it from the sequence of our improvidence in not bringing Giant's Cup, to which it is very similar. The snow some fire-wood in the wagon, we were obliged to has now almost entirely disappeared from the go supperless to bed. Travelled about twenty whole range, as far as the eye can reach. miles-general course, N. E.

On this, and many other rivers which we have Saturday, 10th.—While walking over the hills passed, wild ducks have been seen; but I have at this morning, previous to starting with the wagons, length adopted the opinion of Waterdoer, the I saw a dark colored, thick-bodied snake, about Grigua chief, who, when I met him in Cape five feet long, with a wide, flat head, and pointed Town, replied, with a hearty laugh to my inquiry, mouth: the head was covered with yellow spots. whether he was able to shoot a bird flying, that he It is, I believe, of the species called by the Dutch did not waste powder upon birds. The ducks are the "wrinkle snake.” On my return we protherefore allowed to enjoy themselves unmolested ceeded through a fine valley, leading directly to which our scanty supply of balls (all the hunters the foot of the Giant's Cup; from whence on our lead having been expended before we left Port right a rocky stream was issuing, which is proba. Natal) obliges us to husband it for nobler game. bly the Umcāmās. Having wound for some dis

This forbearance has not been without its re- tance through this valley, skirted on each side by ward, as, during the period of spanning out to-day, mountains, our further progress was suddenly an eland was shot on the opposite side of the river. stopped on one side by immmense fragments of Here it again became necessary to cut the bank rock fallen from the mountain, which rose abruptly on both sides, by which passage we soon after on the left, while the river itself occupied the only crossed naming the spot *“ King's Ford.”+ level spot on the right. Distance travelled about

Afternoon.-Scarcely had we quitted the river, five miles-general course, N. N. W. Having than we were obliged to turn to the southward, already crossed the stream with my horse by the and descend a very steep and rocky ridge, which time the wagons came up, I gave directions to occupied so much time, from the precautions span out, and pushed forward, in the hope of find. which were necessary to prevent the wagon from ing some practicable pass on the other side, or at overturning, that, in order to recruit the oxen, we least of observing the country beyond the mounspanned out as soon as we reached a convenient tains, from one of their elevated ridges. With spot in the valley below. An even grass ridge, this object in view I led my horse over the most forming a complete amphitheatre, sheltered our difficult places; many parts being exceedingly bivouac on three sides, while a small brook of clear steep and rocky; and continued ascending from water meandered through the whole area. It ridge to ridge until overtaken by a thunder storm. was a most sheltered spot, but not a twig was A thick mist rising soon after nearly concealed growing near, and the people had to go in quest my path; but at this time a heavy shower of hail of fire-wood to a considerable distance. Distance was falling, and I gladly endured a wetting, with travelled fifteen miles-general course, west.

the full expectation that it would disperse the mist. Friday, 9th.—The mountains, closing in to the In this, however I was disappointed ; and after westward, obliged me to shape a more northerly anxiously awaiting a break for a considerable course, in which direction the country was more time, I unsaddled my horse, and seating myself open ;and after traversing a continuation of downs, upon a rock, prepared for a nightly bivouac in this we were again conducted to the banks of, what I uncomfortable situation. Thus exposed, without take to be, the Umzimcoolu, which we forded with the remotest hope of assistance from my party, out difficulty, though the bed was very rocky, at a now several miles distant, I had recourse to that spot I have called Ogle's Fordt. A heavy thunder sure refugea throne of grace; and though the storm, with rain, obliged us to stop on the opposite infidel may scoff

, I will declare it for the encou

ragement of others, and the glory of my God, that * From Jan Wyngart, driver of the baggage

he vouchsafed to hear my cry, and delivered wagon.

Through an opening in the mist, I was soon + From Richard King, driver of my wagon.

after enabled to perceive the route which it would : From Mr. Ogle, who accompanied the party. be necessary for me to take, in order to retrace


my steps; and on which I thankfully proceeded, Monday, 12th.-Went out in two parties to ex. although it became shortly after as thick as ever; plore a road. This time I was attended by two but before I had gone far, it again entirely cleared people, a Hottentot, and a Zoolu. My horse up; and I was thus enabled, after a tedions walk, having had such a severe lesson in the anand not until it was quite dark, to rejoin the wa- telope step on Saturday, I thought it but fair that gons. Two men had been sent out in quest of it should not be repeated to-day; and, indeed, as me, but I did not fall in with them until I had it turned out, he would only have proved an in reached the foot of the mountain. In the course cumbrance. As we ascended, the effect of the of my scramble I picked up, on some of the highest new and the old grass divided by the river, which points, several specimens of agate, which were had obstructed the burning, was singular, and had lying about on the surface in great quantities. all the appearance of the distinguishing colors of They occur generally in small irregular pieces, two contiguous countries on a map. Never do I about the size of a nutmeg, and appear to be very remember to have a more difficult scramble; in transparent. From this circumstance, I have many places it was necessary only to regard the given the valley the name of Agate Vale. actual rocks over which I was clambering : the

precipices on each side were too fearful to be con. Sunday, 11th.

templated for a moment. After all this toil I was

again disappointed in obtaining a glimpse of the “ Be careful for nothing, but in every thing, by country beyond: the ridge upon which I was prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let standing suddenly terminated at my feet, in a perrequests be made known unto God.”—Philipp. iv. 6.)

pendicular chasm, which, until I reached the brink,

had appeared to be connected with an opposite Hence, ye vain corroding cares,

pinnacle, adjoining the crest of the Giant's Cup. Never more my heart oppress ;

To return by the way I had come I considered as The word of God a balm prepares

impossible; and it was this conviction which in For every hour of deep distress.

part had induced me to proceed thus far: there

appeared, however, no alternative. The descent A throne of grace is there revealed,

was commenced by letting myself down one or Where Jesus sits to answer prayer;

two of the most difficult places ; but the worst "Tis but to come and to be healed,

was yet to come. Just at this critical point, one And leave our anxious burdens there.

of the men most providentially discovered a less

perilous route, by which we were enabled to reach And oli! how full the promise runs—

the valley in safety. Bare and sterile rocks ocIn every time of need draw near,

cupy the highest elevations of these mountains ; And I will deal with you as sons,

but the middle and lower regions are scantily And banish every doubt and fear.

clothed in detached patches with trees, chiefly the

protea grandiflora, which grows from five to twelve Nought that is needful I restrain,

or fourteen feet in height. Many of the heaths And you may ask for all you need;

are very beautiful ; but did not strike me as dif. None ever came to me in vain ;

fering from those which I have met with in the My promise you may always plead.

Cape Colony. The most common bear a white

daisy-like flower. Bamboo from ten to twelve feet But let not prayer alone ascend;

high are found near the banks of the river. The Shall we the cup of blessing drink,

most remarkable is a tree which is evidently a And thankless our petitions end?

connecting link between the palms and the ferns : No more upon our mercies think! the nearest approach that I have seen is the

Zamia or Kafir-bread tree; but this is evidently a Acceptance we could never gain ;

variety, the leaves of each branch being precisely A fiery sword would bar the way,

those of the fern, while those of the Kafir-bread Had not the blood of Jesus slain

tree partake of the palm. The trunks of those in Procured access whereby we pray.

question, which are only found on the lower slopes

and valleys, are similar to the palmyra--but selAnd never can we fully know,

dom exceed six or seven feet in height; and, Until we reach the realms of love, when blackened by the burning of the gross may The debt of gratitude we owo

easily be taken for a man at a distance. Though To such an Advocate above.

disappointed in my chief object, I was not a little

gratified by the peculiar grandeur of the mountain Well then with prayer may praise unite scenery, which exhibited in great variety many of

Our highest privilege while here; the sublimest characteristics of Alpine regionsIn Heaven 'twill be our chief delight, the rocks, in many situations, being rent and scat. Eternity itself endear.

tered about in shapeless fragments and in others

standing erect, like the ruins of ancient castles. So shall that perfect peace be ours,

Their general composition, as far as I could ascerWhich none but suppliants fully share; tain, was compact and soft limestone; the former And we shall deem our happiest hours abounding with minute particles of quartz. While Were those that we have spent in prayer. we were on the summit a column of smoke was

observed to rise from a distant point of the same Morning.--English service in the tent ;-After. range, towards the S. W., probably some grass noon.--Kafir ditto in the open air.

still ignited, as it is now evident that these exten.


sive burnings must have swept over the whole, ed the colony in the neighborhood of the Stormcountry from the inhabited districts near the coast. berg. The vicissitudes of climate are here very We dire not reach the bivouac until it was dark; great: yesterday the heat was almost tropical: and as no provisions could be taken, after nine to-day the wind from the S. W. is high, and we hours of nearly constant walking and scrambling, are all suffering from the cold: the natives nearly I felt quite ready for a mess of our gipsy fare. benumbed. The other party had already returned, but without About nine this morning we broke up our bi

vouac, and taking our final leave of Agate Vale Tuesday, 13th.--As no practicable road has with is romantic rocks and precipices, proceeded. been discovered by either party, and there is every as soon as we had turned the mountains which probability of there being as broken a country for margin this sequestered valley, in a S. W. direcsome distance on the other side of these moun- tion by compass. Before noon we reached a very tains as (contrary to every previous account) we rocky stream, in the attempt to ford which the baghave proved to be the case on this, I have decided, gage-wagon was thrown over. Happily nothing after well considering our present position, as well material was broken; and the provisions escaped as our future prospects as to provisions, to send with but a trifling wetting, though most of the back one wagon, with two spans of oxen, to Port other things were thoroughly soaked. As soon Natal;

and io proceed with the remainder of the as it was entirely lightened, the sides were lashed oxen, packed with the provisions, &c., on foot. down to the bed; and, with the united strength of The baggage wagon I purpose leaving here. This, ourselves and the oxen, it was again placed upon its under existing circumstances, appears to be the wheels and drawn up the bank. The other wagon quickest, and indeed the surest way of reaching crossed by a better ford, soon after discovered at the colony. Our present distance, west of the a short distance above; and here of course it bemeridian of Port Natal, I consider to be about one came necessary to remain a sufficient time to rehundred geographical miles, the true course made pair damages, and dry the bedding, &c. This good W by N half N.; and that by shaping a S. morning, while riding in front of the wagons, I W.compass course, we shall reach Stockenstrom's picked up the handle of a native hoe, which apriver, and enter the colonial boundary by the dis- peared to have been long exposed to the weather: trict of New Hantam, which is the nearest point. although in itself a trifling circumstance, it could

Friday, 16th.-The rain, which continued not be viewed without interest in this solitary wildernearly the whole of Wednesday, prevented us ness: and I regard it either as an indication of our from making the necessary preparation for pack. approach to the habitable abodes of man, or as a ing the oxen, &c. The cold was quite piercing, memento of a race now extinct, or driven by the with a sharp frost during the night. Yesterday, invader far from the land of their nativity. after much previous practice with stuffed bags

Afternoon.-We had not proceeded more than and a great deal of trouble, the oxen were at four miles when we were obliged to cross another length packed, their noses having been bored for river, which I consider to be still the Umzimcoolu; the purpose ; and in the afternoon we commenced that which we forded this morning being a smaller our new mode of travelling. To an indifferent stream, and appearing to fall into it at no great spectator our appearance at this time would have distance below. To this I have given the name been somewhat ludicrous : but few out of the of Cyrus Ford.* Spanned out soon after sunset. whole number of oxen were decidedly quiet under Distance travelled about fifeen miles-general their burdens, while by far the greater part were course, S. W. Road good over open downs withrebellious ; and in consequence spanned in two- out trees, and-two, with the tractow between, and led in the Saturday, 17th.—I do not recollect ever to have usual manner, with the hope of keeping them thus suffered so much from cold as during

the past night. under sufficient control. Between the two front pair Some water which remained in the bucket was the camp kettle was suspended from the yoke; frozen a quarter of an inch thick. A South African and to the horns and yokes of the rest many of wagon is but a poor defence against wind, every the lighter articles such as mats, tin mugs, &c. part being moveable and well adapted for admiiwere attached. We had not, however, proceeded ting currents of fresh air in all directions ; and far when some of the latter floundered in cross this being my only dwelling for the time being, no ing a rivulet, and one regularly packed, from fire that could have been kindled would have availwhich better things were expected, with a violent ed. As the last stick was consumed in cooking effort dislodged his burden ; and, in the struggle our supper last night, we moved off this morning to disengage himself from it altogether, rent the fasting. The weather was again warm, and the greater part into shreds with his horns and feet. sun powerful; but, after travelling about ten miles, My driver, Richard King, was still limping from a

we found ourselves not more than two or three kick he had received in the course of this morn- from our last night's bivouac—a succession of steep ing's training; and at once perceiving, from the and rocky precipices frequently impeding our difficulties attending this first essay, that we were progress, and being the usual termination of the likely to have much trouble by the way, and that most even and promising-looking downs. In the in all probability more than half the provisions course of these disappointing circuits, I was, at would be damaged, I was induced to give up the one time, quite startled at the appearance of a attempt, and returned, with the intention of taking rugged mountain which I have named the Giant's on both wagons, and endeavoring to cross the Castle, as seen over an intervening hill. Its remountains at another point ; and, should this still semblance to Edinburgh Castle, from one or two be found impracticable, to follow their course, keeping as near them as possible, until we reach- • From my interpreter, Gorge Cyrus.

points, was so striking that, for the moment, I could And Jesus oft himself becomes almost fancy myself transported to Prince's Street Our sanctuary and priest; -an illusion which, as it passed my mind, made Not only scatters children's crumbs, me more than ever sigh for the termination of the But furnishes, and 'tends the feast ! trackless wilderness, and the cheering sight of the abodes of man. Crossed with some difficulty a small Grace makes the howling desert brightrivulet, and spanned out on the opposite side.

An Eden bloom where all was drear; Aftertion.-Crossed a stream which appeared It soothes in sorrow's darkest night, to unite itself with the river I have taken to be

And chases every anxious fear. the Umzimcoolu, further down. On gaining the opposite bank, our curiosity was greatly excited

For ever then that grace impart, by the appearances of human foot-prints in the

No more thy presence, Lord, deny; sand. From these marks, it was evident that two

Oh never from my soul departpersons, accompanied by a dog, had very recently

I cannot want if Thou art night! forded the stream in a contrary direction to that we were taking. The general conclusion was, that they were bushmen, who had either travers

Morning-English service in the tent; Aftered the mountains in quest of game, or were the noon

-Kafir ditto in the open air. inhabitants of some neighboring district on this Monday, 19th.—The level of the country has side of the Quathlamba range. In the course of gradually ascended since yesterday afternoon, and this day's journey we fell in with several hartebeests we were to-day in great expectation that we had and elands, as also a herd of gneu, eleven in num- at length gained the

wished-for pass. Appearances ber. The latter are known in the colony by the were certainly favorable—we were enabled, with name of wilderbeest (wild beast ;) a most indefi- the wagons, to ascend almost to the height of nite appellation, which has been given to them by some of the rocky eminences, which I was inclinthe Dutch. About sunset spanned out under some ed to consider as a part of the main range, and, find hills in the neighborhood of both wood and water. ing a deep valley before us, I left the party to span As several lateral ridges are here observed to out, and climbing over a long and craggy ridge to branch off to the S. E., like buttresses from the the right, reached some table land. The result of main range, the prospect of finding a practicable this two hours' scramble was still disappointment. pass through the mountains in this direction is It proved to be only a collateral ridge, between more cheering. Travelled twenty-one miles-ge- which and the real Quathlamba a series of steep neral course, S. W.

and rocky chasms precluded the possibility of ap

proach. Sunday. 18th.

On these heights several plants of indigo were

growing, similar to those so abundant in the neighCan God furnish a table in the wilderness ?”– borhood of Port Natal, where two or three species (Psalm lxxviii. 19. See also Isaiah xlv. 17. 18.)

are found.

Afternoon.--There being no choice, we crossed How sweet when kindred hearts unite, the neck, and by a very steep descent entered a

In God's own house of prayer and praise ! narrow valley between high mountains, from which, What holy joy–what calm delight- after crossing the stream that wound through it, To each that hallowed hour conveys ! we had some difficulty in extricating ourselves,

the entrance being so narrow, and the night closHow sure the promise-precious word !

ing in upon us before we had emerged from the “Where two or threc for prayer shall meet, defile. Travelled twenty miles-general course There are my choicest gifts conferred,

S. W.
And there my presence shall be sweet!"

Tuesday, 20th.--Completed the descent which

we had been unable to do last night, having been But are there, then, no streams that flow

obliged to span out on sloping ground; and, on For weary pilgrims by the way!

reaching the flat below, twice crossed the stream Is there no ear to heed their wo

which was winding through it, and soon after a No voice to answer when they pray?

branch of the same. Near this spot some burnt, sticks were observed, so methodically arranged

near the skull of an eland, that there seemed little Ah, yes ! omnipotent to save,

doubt that a fire had here been kindled by some The Lord our Refuge still is near, Alike to solace on the wave,

wandering bushman or other native in order to

dress the meat of the animal that had been killed. Or in the wilderness to cheer!

As the ridges continued to run off to the south-east,

to avoid a considerable circuit we crossed the only How oft a table there he spreads,

practicable one; but it was a severe labor for the With angel's food our strength renews ; poor oxen, requiring both spans to each wagon on Around our drooping spirits sheds

ascending, and no less than three wheels to be Refreshing showers of heavenly dews. locked as we descended on the other side, where

it was necessary to apply reims to the sides, in Though oft we seem, like Ishmael, left order to keep them from falling over. On gaining Alone to languish and to die;

the first even ground we spanned out. From our Of every outward means bereft,

present position, and the tendency of all the E'en there the living streams are nigh. streams we are now crossing, I consider that they

« PreviousContinue »