Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/153

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IRISH IMMIGRANTS IN THE COLONIES.

firmness, courage, foresight, and strong common-sense; but Mrs. Chisholm proved herself equal to every emergency. Here is a characteristic little anecdote, recorded by herself: "When we landed from the steamer and entered the bush, we found there was no water. I had thirty women and children in the party, all tired, hungry, and thirsty, and the children crying. Without saying a word, I sent one of my old bushmen off on horseback three miles to get enough of milk or water for the children. In the meantime some of the emigrants came up and said, in a discontented tone, 'Mrs. Chisholm, this is a pretty job. What must we do? there is no water.' I knew it would not do for them to be idle; anything was better than that in their frame of mind; so, partly judging from the locality, I said to them without hesitation, 'If you will dig here I think you will find water.' Directing the tools to be got out, they immediately set to work, and, providentially, they had not dug many feet when they came to water. This had such an exhilarating effect upon their spirits, that they instantly threw off their coats, began to dig two other fresh holes, and did not leave off till moonlight."

On another occasion, when in charge of a party of emigrants, she reached a river that had overflowed its banks during the night. There was but one means of crossing—a punt that had been moored to the bank on the previous night, but was now separated from the land by a hundred yards of rushing water. It was necessary that she should get her people to the other side without delay, and she was determined to do it. "Pick me up and carry me to the punt," she quietly but firmly said to the man in charge of the ferry. He was astounded at the request, but all his objections were of no avail, and, despite his declaration that