Page:Narrative of a Visit to the Australian Colonies.djvu/81

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like to see the last of it, for the sight was awfully grand. Laying hold of a rope at the stern, he said, "Then put your arm round this rope and don't speak a word." To my companion he gave similar instructions, placing him at the opposite quarter. A man was sent into the chains on each side, with the sounding lead. The pilot went to the bows, and nothing was now to be heard through the roar of the wind and waves, but his voice calling to the helmsman, the helmsman's answer, and the voices of the men in the chains, counting off the fathoms as the water became shallower. The vessel was cast alternately from one side to the other, to prevent her sticking on the sand, in which case the billows would have run over her, and have driven her upon a sand-bank a mile from the shore, on which they were breaking with fury. The fathoms decreased, and the men counted off the feet, of which we drew 7½, and there were but seven in the hollow of the sea, until they called out eleven feet. At this moment a huge billow carried us forward on its raging head into deep water. The pilot's countenance relaxed: he looked like a man reprieved from under the gallows, and coming aft, shook hands with each individual, congratulating them on a safe arrival in Macquarie Harbour.

We now soon entered into the inlet, which is about twenty-five miles long, and from three to seven miles broad, by a narrow passage between two rocks, called "The Gates," or from the nature of the settlement, "Hells Gates;" many of the prisoners recklessly asserting that all who entered in hither, were doomed to eternal perdition. We had a fine sail up the Harbour; and on arriving off Sarahs Island, about twenty miles from the entrance, were boarded by the commissariat officer, surgeon, &c.—all anxious to hear what was going on in the world, they having had no tidings for more than three months. They gave us a hearty welcome, and conveyed us to the Settlement, where I became the guest of Major Baylee, and G. W. Walker took up his quarters with our fellow-voyager, J. A. Manton; for whom, as missionary, a house was in readiness.

After a short time spent in conversation, each of us retired to rest, thankful to the Lord, who had answered the prayers