United States or Bahamas ? Vote for the TOP Country of the Week !


When we came to the Dawson River, near Mrs. McNabb's station, it was in flood. We felled a big tree across the stream, and with boughs and other timber, improvised a bridge. For three days we were working in our shirts only, getting the sheep and when the water fell the teams across. Mosquitoes, sandflies, and a hot sun made us nearly raw.

The intense pleasure afforded by traversing water that had never before been divided by any keel, in some measure compensated us for the annoyance from the mosquitoes and sandflies, that took the opportunity of assailing us while in the defenceless state of quiet necessary in making observations.

Several times during that fearful day I was tempted to rush out from my hiding-place, and defying patrols, gun-boat's crew, and all authorities, make my escape from that place of torture. Anyone who has experienced the necessity of remaining quiet under such an infliction as an attack of millions of sandflies on a hot sunny day will appreciate my feelings.

I rose again and opened both the windows so as to secure whatever breeze there was, and, after a long spell of angry tossing due to sandflies, fell asleep. When I awoke the room was full of daylight and a murmur which I first mistook for that of insects, but soon found out to be the voice of a considerable crowd of human beings.

It was a glorious night, despite the oppressive heat and the almost intolerable biting of mosquitoes and sandflies. In the wake of the departing trap flew a solitary beetle, making a noise exactly like a scissor-grinder at work. Soft and silent moths some as big as small birds went past my face, I fear to the hanging lamp behind me.

Some of our party preferred a bad supper and wet bed to these accommodations; and, to consummate their discomfort, they were kept awake a great part of the night by sandflies. Our lot in the house was more fortunate. We heard the rattling of the pitiless rain, and commiserated those whose choice or distrust kept them in the boat.

However, morning came at last, bright, clear, and calm; and early we resumed our wagon and way-picking among the familiar logs and stumps, contesting as for life with legions of mosquitoes, sandflies, etc.

At one o'clock we renewed our march, and at three halted near a freshwater swamp, where we resolved to remain until morning: that is, after a day of severe fatigue, to pass a night of restless inquietude, when weariness is denied repose by swarms of mosquitoes and sandflies, which in the summer months bite and sting the traveller, without measure or intermission.

The blind one held him fast, and the Redhead left his trail of blood and murmured about the storm.... It was a long range for the rifles, and seemed as harmless as sandflies after the horror of hornets they had known.... They were alone. They saw the heaped rims of the Russian works ahead five of them, alone, for, queerly enough, they were as one.

Still, as I had undertaken to do so, I should not have felt justified in lying down. I should probably have let the fire out, and the smoke from that was at all events useful to keep mosquitoes and sandflies somewhat at bay.