Page:Old Melbourne Memories.djvu/34

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18
chap.
OLD MELBOURNE MEMORIES

oh! how hungry I was). The cattle were uneasy, and "ringed" all night. Next morning the camp was like a circus on a large scale. The soil is rich and black. I have seen no mud to speak of for the last ten years. Even the mud in those parts was of a superior description.

Next day we faced the Parin Yallock Creek and its malign ford—save the mark! One dray was bogged; several head of cattle; my colt went down tail first, and nearly "turned turtle," but eventually the corps d'armée got safely over to the sound but rugged stony rises. Crossing them, we reached the broad rich flats around the lovely lake of Purrumbeet.

It was late when we got there, the cattle having been hustled and bustled to get out of the labyrinthine stony rises before dark; and the day turning out warm after the rain, they were inclined to drink heartily. To this intent they ran violently into the lake, I don't know how many fathoms deep, and shelving abruptly. All the leaders were out of their depth at once, and swam about with a surprised air. However, the beach was hard and smooth, so back they came, in good trim to set to at the luxuriant herbage which borders the lake shore. I wonder what the Messrs. Manifold would think now of a thousand head of cattle coming ravaging up close to the house, and walking into their clover and rye grass, without saying "by your leave," much less "reporting."

When the day broke how lovely the landscape seemed. The rugged lava country that we had left behind had given place to immense meadows and grassy slopes, thinly timbered with handsome black-