November 30. — Sending back one of the men to the depot, I left the native boy to guide the dray, whilst I diverged towards the coast to look for water among the sand-drifts, that were seen occasionally in that direction; in none of them, however, could I obtain a drop. The country travelled over consisted of very heavy sand ridges, covered for the most part with low scrub, and as the stage was a long one (twenty-two miles), I found upon overtaking the dray that the horses were knocked up, and a party of fourteen natives surrounding it, who were making vehement gesticulations to the man not to proceed, and he being only accompanied by a single black boy was greatly alarmed, and did not know what to do; indeed, had I not arrived opportunely, I have no doubt that he would have turned the horses round, and driven back again. Upon coming up with the natives, I saw at once that none of them had been with us before, but at the same time they appeared friendly and well-behaved, making signs for us not to proceed, and pointing to some sand-drifts at the coast which we had passed, implying, as I understood them, that there was water there. We were now in an opening among the scrub, consisting of small grassy undulating plains, and at these I determined to halt for the night, hoping the natives would remain near us, and guide us to water to-morrow. To induce them to do this, after giving the horses each two buckets of water, I gave two gallons among them also, besides some bread. They at once took possession of an elevation a little above our position, and formed their camp for the night. As we were so few in number compared to the natives, we were obliged to keep a watch upon them during the whole night, and they did the same upon us — but at a much less individual inconvenience from their number; they appeared to take the duty in turn — two always being upon guard at once.
- Category: Edward John Eyre - Vol 1 - Ch 12
- Written by Edward John Eyre
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