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Time passed gradually away until the evening of the 25th, when a party of natives once more came up, and took up their abode near us — three were of those who had accompanied us all the way from Denial Bay, and some others had also been with us before. On the 26th, I went down myself to Fowler’s Bay to look out for the cutter, which we now daily expected. Just as I arrived at the beach she came rounding into the bay, and Mr. Scott and myself got into our little boat, and pulled off to her, though with great difficulty, the wind blowing very fresh and dead against us, with the sea running high. We had three miles to go, and for a long time it was very doubtful whether we should succeed in reaching the vessel; our utmost efforts appearing barely to enable us to keep our ground. I was myself, at the best, not very skilful in using an oar, and neither of us had had much practice in pulling in a heavy sea. However, we got on board after a good deal of fatigue, and were rewarded by receiving many letters, both English and Colonial. I found that in returning to Adelaide the Water-witch had proved so leaky as to be deemed unsafe for further service on so wild a coast, and that the Governor had, in consequence, with the promptness and consideration which so eminently distinguished him, chartered the “Hero ,” a fine cutter, a little larger than the Waterwitch , and placing her under the command of Mr. Germain, had sent him to our assistance. On board the Hero I was pleased to find the native from King George’s Sound, named Wylie, whom I had sent for, and who was almost wild with delight at meeting us, having been much disappointed at being out of the way when I sent for him from Port Lincoln.


Wylie (J. Neil)

After receiving our despatches, and taking Wylie with us, we set sail for the shore, and then walked up in the evening to our depot; my other two native boys were greatly rejoiced to find their old friend once more with them; they had much to tell to, and much to hear from each other, and all sat up to a late hour. For myself, the many letters I had received, gave me ample enjoyment and occupation for the night, whilst the large pile of newspapers from Adelaide, Swan River, and Sydney, promised a fund of interest for some time to come. Nothing could exceed the kindness and attention of our friends in Adelaide, who had literally inundated us with presents of every kind, each appearing to vie with the other in their endeavours to console us under our disappointments, to cheer us in our future efforts, and if possible, to make us almost forget that we were in the wilds. Among other presents I received a fine and valuable kangaroo-dog from my friend, Captain Sturt, and which had fortunately arrived safely, and in excellent condition.

The bran and oats which I had applied for had been most liberally provided, so that by remaining in depot for a few weeks longer, we might again hope to get our horses into good condition. From his Excellency the Governor I received a kind and friendly letter, acquainting me that the Hero was entirely at my disposal within the limits of South Australia, but that being under charter I could not take her to Cape Arid, or beyond the boundaries of the province, and requesting, that if I desired further aid, or to be met any where, at a future time, that I would communicate with the Government to that effect by the Hero ’S return. The whole tenor of his Excellency’s letter evinced a degree of consideration and kindness that I could hardly have expected amidst the many anxious duties and onerous responsibilities devolving upon him at this time; and if any thing could have added to the feelings of gratitude and respect I entertained towards him, it would be the knowledge, that with the disinterested generosity of a noble mind, he was giving up a portion of his valuable time and attention to our plans, our wants, and our safety, at a time when the circumstances of the colony over which he presided had beset his own path with many difficulties, and when every day but added to the annoyances and embarrassments which a sudden reaction in the progress and prospects of the province necessarily produced.

In the instructions I received relative to the cutter, I have mentioned that I was restricted to employing her within the limits of the colony of South Australia, and thus, the plan I had formed of sending our drays and heavy stores in her to Cape Arid, whilst we proceeded overland ourselves with pack-horses, was completely overturned, and it became now a matter of very serious consideration to decide what I should do under the circumstances. It was impossible for me to take my whole party and the drays overland through the dreadful country verging upon the Great Bight; whilst if I took the party, and left the drays, it was equally hopeless that I could carry upon pack-horses a sufficiency of provisions to last us to King George’s Sound. There remained, then, but two alternatives, either to break through the instructions I had received with regard to the Hero , or to reduce my party still further, and attempt to force a passage almost alone. The first I did not, for many reasons, think myself justified in doing — the second, therefore, became my DERNIER ReSORT, and I reluctantly decided upon adopting it.

It now became my duty to determine without delay who were to be my companions in the perilous attempt before me. The first and most painful necessity impressed upon me by the step I contemplated, was that of parting with my young friend, Mr. Scott, who had been with me from the commencement of the undertaking, and who had always been zealous and active in promoting its interests as far as lay in his power. I knew that, on an occasion like this, the spirit and enterprise of his character would prompt in him a wish to remain and share the difficulties and dangers to which I might be exposed: but I felt that I ought not to allow him to do so; I had no right to lead a young enthusiastic friend into a peril from which escape seemed to be all but hopeless; and painful as it would be to us both to separate under such circumstances, there was now no other alternative; the path of duty was plain and imperative, and I was bound to follow it.