Page:The Irish in Australia.djvu/154

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it was tempting destruction to do what the lady asked, he had in the end to carry her bodily through the storm-waters to the punt. The whole of her party were soon on board along with her, and they all crossed the flooded river in safety. "Ah! sir, she's a bold woman," was the very natural comment of the puntman, when telling the story in after years.

On many of those journeys with emigrant families, Mrs. Chisholm has been known to travel 300 miles into the interior; but such was the general admiration for the sterling character of the woman and the exalted unselfishness of her colonial life, that, wherever she went, squatters, settlers, and store-keepers vied with each other in extending unbounded hospitality to herself and the pilgrims whom she was guiding to the promised land. As to her paying for provisions, they would not listen to the suggestion, and this helps to explain the otherwise incredible statement that during seven years' travelling on benevolent expeditions to all parts of New South Wales, her personal expenses for the whole of that time did not amount to more than £1 18s. 6d. Sleeping one night in a wealthy squatter's mansion, and on the next in an humble settler's hut, she was equally welcomed and beloved wherever she went.

In the early part of 1846 family reasons induced her, but evidently with great unwillingness, to leave the noble work in which she had so long and so advantageously been engaged, and to return to the home country. Her departure, as may easily be imagined, was regarded as a national loss, for, through the agency of her philanthropic schemes, she had visibly founded a new nation. The farewell addresses and testimonials that were showered upon her but imperfectly translated the gratitude of the whole colony