- Category: Edward John Eyre - Vol 2 - Ch 2
- Written by Edward John Eyre
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May 17. — This morning I felt rather better, but very weak, and wishing to give the horses an opportunity of drinking, which they would not do very early on a cold morning, I did not break up the camp until late. Upon laying down last night Wylie had left the meat on the ground at some distance from our fire, instead of putting it up on a bush as I had directed him, the consequence was that a wild dog had stolen about fourteen pounds of it whilst we slept, and we were now again reduced to a very limited allowance.
After travelling about five miles we found a great and important change in the basis rock of the country; it was now a coarse imperfect kind of grey granite, and in many places the low-water line was occupied by immense sheets of it. Other symptoms of improvement also gradually developed themselves. Mountain ducks were now, for the first time, seen upon the shore, and the trunk of a very large tree was found washed up on the beach: it was the only one we had met with during the whole course of our journey to the westward, and I hailed it with a pleasure which was only equalled by finding, not far beyond, a few drops of water trickling down a huge graniterock abutting on the sea-shore. This was the only approximation to running water which we had found since leaving Streaky Bay, and though it hardly deserved that name, yet it imparted to me as much hope, and almost as much satisfaction, as if I had found a river. Continuing our course around a small bay for about five miles, we turned into some sand-drifts behind a rocky point of the coast. from which the islands we had seen yesterday bore E. 47 degrees S., Cape Pasley, S. W., Point Malcolm, S. 33 degrees W., and Mount Ragged W. 32 degrees N. Several reefs and breakers were also seen at no great distance from the shore.
Our stage to-day was only twelve miles, yet some of our horses were nearly knocked up, and we ourselves in but little better condition. The incessant walking we were subject to, the low and unwholesome diet we had lived upon, the severe and weakening attacks of illness caused by that diet, having daily, and sometimes twice a day, to dig for water, to carry all our fire-wood from a distance upon our backs, to harness, unharness, water, and attend to the horses, besides other trifling occupations, making up our daily routine, usually so completely exhausted us, that we had neither spirit nor energy left. Added to all other evils, the nature of the country behind the sea-coast was as yet so sandy and scrubby that we were still compelled to follow the beach, frequently travelling on loose heavy sands, that rendered our stages doubly fatiguing: whilst at nights, after the labours of the day were over, and we stood so much in need of repose, the intense cold, and the little protection we had against it, more frequently made it a season of most painful suffering than of rest, and we were glad when the daylight relieved us once more. On our march we felt generally weak and languid — it was an effort to put one foot before the other, and there was an indisposition to exertion that it was often very difficult to overcome. After sitting for a few moments to rest — and we often had to do this — it was always with the greatest unwillingness we ever moved on again. I felt, on such occasions, that I could have sat quietly and contentedly, and let the glass of life glide away to its last sand. There was a dreamy kind of pleasure, which made me forgetful or careless of the circumstances and difficulties by which I was surrounded, and which I was always indisposed to break in upon. Wylie was even worse than myself, I had often much difficulty in getting him to move at all, and not unfrequently was compelled almost forcibly to get him up. Fortunately he was very good tempered, and on the whole had behaved extremely well under all our troubles since we had been travelling together alone.