Page:Australia, from Port Macquarie to Moreton Bay.djvu/65

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42
RETURN TOWARDS THE MACLEAY.

my initials on a tree at this place. As our horses did not seem very much fatigued, I now determined to gain the crest of the high range dividing the Bellengen and Odalberree before stopping for the night; for as the moon was nearly full, it would be more pleasant to ascend the range in the cool of the evening, than to wait until the morning at the Bellengen; besides, the grass on the mountains was younger and sweeter than that in the valley. The blacks, however, were much displeased at my determination; for the poor fellows were excessively fatigued, as they had undergone the most severe toil, during the last few days, in carrying our baggage on their heads, up and down those mountain slopes which were too steep for horses. I had very great trouble in persuading them to go any farther this evening, but at length, by promising them an extra quantity of tobacco, and half the remainder of the rum in the spirit flask, I succeeded in rousing them up to resume their march. We now commenced ascending the range along a steep spur of undulating outline, wooded by large black-butt trees, and covered with a luxuriant growth of common fern; whilst the tree-ferns and a dwarf kind of palm formed a thick underwood. After a smart clamber we gained the summit of the ridge, about an hour after the rising of the moon. When we arrived here, panting and perspiring, the cool bracing breeze seemed very refreshing; but we soon found it too cold at so great an elevation, and were glad to make a large fire, and throw ourselves