Category: Edward John Eyre - Vol 1 - Ch 17
Written by Edward John Eyre
On the 5th, the overseer and one of the native boys got ready to go back for some of the stores and other things we had abandoned, forty-seven miles away. As they were likely to have severe exercise, and to be away for four days, I gave them five pounds extra of flour above their daily allowance, together with the wallabie which I had shot, and which had not yet been used; they drove before them three horses to carry their supply of water, and bring back the things sent for.
As soon as they were gone, with the assistance of the two native boys who were left, I removed the camp to the white sand-drifts, five miles further west. Being anxious to keep as near to the grass as I could, I commenced digging at some distance away from where the natives procured their water, but at a place where there were a great many rushes. After sinking to about seven feet, I found the soil as dry as ever, and removing to the native wells, with some little trouble opened a hole large enough to water all the horses. The single sheep gave us a great deal of trouble and kept us running about from one sand hill to another, until we were tired out, before we could capture it; at last we succeeded, and I tied him up for the night, resolved never to let him loose again.
In the evening I noticed the native boys looking more woe-begone and hungry than usual. Heretofore, since our mutton was consumed, they had helped out their daily half-pound of flour, with the roasted roots of the gum-scrub, but to-day they had been too busy to get any, and I was obliged to give to each a piece of bread beyond the regular allowance. It was pitiable to see them craving for food, and not to have the power of satisfying them; they were young and had large appetites, and never having been accustomed to any restraint of this nature, scarcity of food was the more sensibly felt, especially as they could not comprehend the necessity that compelled us to hoard with greater care than a miser does his gold, the little stock of provisions which we yet had left.