Just below our encampment flowed a little stream, on the farther side of which is a stony slope, the same down which, twenty years before, I had seen poor Silvestre creeping back after his attempt to reach Solomon's Mines, and beyond that slope begins the waterless desert, covered with a species of karoo shrub.
It was evening when we pitched our camp, and the great ball of the sun was sinking into the desert, sending glorious rays of many-coloured light flying all over its vast expanse.
Here do I sit now, The desert
nigh, and yet I am So far still from the desert
, Even in naught yet deserted
: That is, I'm swallowed down By this the smallest oasis--: --It opened up just yawning, Its loveliest mouth agape, Most sweet-odoured of all mouthlets: Then fell I right in, Right down, right through--in 'mong you, Ye friendly damsels dearly loved!
Some instances of this we met with in the country between Arguna, where we enter the Muscovite dominions, and a city of Tartars and Russians together, called Nortziousky, in which is a continued desert
or forest, which cost us twenty days to travel over.
This region, which resembles one of the immeasurable steppes of Asia, has not inaptly been termed "the great American desert
." It spreads forth into undulating and treeless plains, and desolate sandy wastes wearisome to the eye from their extent and monotony, and which are supposed by geologists to have formed the ancient floor of the ocean, countless ages since, when its primeval waves beat against the granite bases of the Rocky Mountains.
In approaching this deserted
mission-house from the south, the traveller passes over the mountain of San Juan, supposed to be the highest peak in the Californias.
"One of my spies, who is a Blackbird, flew over the desert
to the Land of Oz, and saw the Magic Belt in Ozma's palace," replied the King with a groan.
"Oh," said Dorothy, when the shaggy man had read the sign aloud; "I've seen this desert
before, and it's true no one can live who tries to walk upon the sands."
What you do with him in the desert
is none of my concern, but I shall not have the blood of a Frenchman on the hands of my tribe on account of another man's quarrel--they would send soldiers here and kill many of my people, and burn our tents and drive away our flocks."
So it was agreed that they would make a forced march back through the jungle to where they had been deserted
It seemed as though no caravan had ever braved this desert
expanse, or it would have left visible traces of its encampments, or the whitened bones of men and animals.
Behind the soldiers the green carpet rolled itself up again, so that there was always just enough of it for the procession to walk upon, in order that their feet might not come in contact with the deadly, life-destroying sands of the desert
"My name," replied the Woman, "is Truth; and I live in the desert
in order to be near my worshippers when they are driven from among their fellows.
But the first thing to do is to cross the desert
, and then it should be easy to find your way home."
Meanwhile, the city itself was deserted
. There was hardly anyone in the streets.