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March 12. — The first streak of daylight found us on our way to meet the party, carrying with us three gallons of water upon one of the horses, the other was ridden by the boy. Upon passing the sandy valley, where I had been in such a state of suspense and doubt at seeing the sand-hills behind me, I determined to descend and examine them; but before doing so, I wrote a note for the overseer (in case he should pass whilst I was in the valley,) and hoisted a red handkerchief to attract his attention to it.

I was unsuccessful in my search for water; but whilst among the sand-hills, I saw the party slowly filing along the cliffs above the valley, and leaving the boy to look about a little longer, I struck across to meet them. Both horses and people I found greatly fatigued, but upon the whole, they had got through the difficulty better than I had anticipated; after leaving a great part of the loads of the pack-horses about seventeen miles back, according to the written instructions I had left. The sheep, it seemed, had broken out of the yard and travelled backwards, and were picked up by the overseer, twelve miles away from where we had left them; as they had got very tired and were delaying the horses, he left one of the natives, this morning, to follow slowly with them, whilst he pushed on with the pack-horses as rapidly as they could go. After giving him the pleasing intelligence that his toil was nearly over for the present, and leaving some few directions, I pushed on again with the boy, who had not found the least sign of water in the valley, to meet the native with the sheep. In about three miles we saw him coming on alone without them, he said they were a mile further back, and so tired they could not travel. Halting our horses, I sent him to bring them on, and during his absence, had some tea made and dinner prepared for him. When the sheep came up they were in sad condition, but by giving them water and a few hours rest, they recovered sufficiently to travel on in the evening to the water.

At night, the whole party were, by God’s blessing, once more together, and in safety, after having passed over one hundred and thirty-five miles of desert country, without a drop of water in its whole extent, and at a season of the year the most unfavourable for such an undertaking. In accomplishing this distance, the sheep had been six and the horses five days without water, and both had been almost wholly without food for the greater part of the time. The little grass we found was so dry and withered, that the parched and thirsty animals could not eat it after the second day. The day following our arrival at the water was one of intense heat, and had we experienced such on our journey, neither men nor horses could ever have accomplished it; most grateful did we feel, therefore, to that merciful Being who had shrouded us from a semi-tropical sun, at a time when our exposure to it would have ensured our destruction.