He called to her and earnestly begged her to come lower down, lest she fall by some mishap; and he added that the meadows lay where he was standing, and that the herbage
was most tender.
About a quarter-past nine in the morning, they caught a glimpse of some signs of vegetation: herbage floating on that sea of sand, and announcing, as the weeds upon the ocean did to Christopher Columbus, the nearness of the shore--green shoots peeping up timidly between pebbles that were, in their turn, to be the rocks of that vast expanse.
The wild-ox revelled in dense herbage that often concealed his whole body; gray, black, and yellow elephants of the most gigantic size burst headlong, like a living hurricane, through the forests, breaking, rending, tearing down, devastating every thing in their path; upon the woody slopes of the hills trickled cascades and springs flowing northward; there, too, the hippopotami bathed their huge forms, splashing and snorting as they frolicked in the water, and lamantines, twelve feet long, with bodies like seals, stretched themselves along the banks, turning up toward the sun their rounded teats swollen with milk.
The banks sloped gently to its margin, without a single tree, but bordered with grass and herbage of a vivid green.
Here and there on the sides of the hills, or along the alluvial borders and bottoms of the ravines, are groves and skirts of forest: but for the most part the country presented to the eye a boundless waste, covered with herbage, but without trees.
So now the apparently causeless movement of the herbage
and the slow, undeviating approach of the line of disturbance were distinctly disquieting.
Golden patches of ragwort blazed here and there among a tangled mass of no doubt worthier herbage
,--such even in nature is the power of gold,--and there were the usual birds.
On the gray moisture of the grass were marks where the cows had lain through the night--dark-green islands of dry herbage
the size of their carcasses, in the general sea of dew.
In the meanwhile also the black ground was covered with herbage
, and the green banks interspersed with innumerable flowers, sweet to the scent and the eyes, stars of pale radiance among the moonlight woods; the sun became warmer, the nights clear and balmy; and my nocturnal rambles were an extreme pleasure to me, although they were considerably shortened by the late setting and early rising of the sun, for I never ventured abroad during daylight, fearful of meeting with the same treatment I had formerly endured in the first village which I entered.
The country was quite level, with a coarse herbage
and a soft peaty soil.
The dark and fleeting forms were already vanished, when the trapper ventured again to raise his head to a level with the tops of the bending herbage
, motioning at the same time, to his companions to maintain their positions and their silence.
Thus wandering tribes are fed in the desert places of the wilderness, where there is no herbage
for the animals of the chase, and where, but for these periodical supplies, it would be impossible for man to subsist.